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Korg | Z1


Z1 Multi Oscillator Synthesizer is a "next generation" DSP synthesizer, with advanced synthesis techniques that provide realism, limitless creativity and expressiveness at an unsurpassed level.

The new Z1 sets the standard for DSP synthesis

Previous DSP synthesizers may have gained a reputation for a single type of sound modeling, but the Z1, using Korg's advanced MOSS (Multi-Oscillator Synthesis System) technology, provides an awesome array of high-quality algorithms that cover the fullest range of sounds, from imitative to imaginative. Standard polyphony is 12 voices, and an optional board will expand the Z1’s polyphony to a whopping 18 voices!

MOSS (Multi-Oscillator Synthesis System) tone generation: the result of years of research and development

The oscillator algorithms of the Z1’s MOSS tone generator are direct descendants of Korg’s now legendary OASys (Open Architecture Synthesis System) development platform. It’s the result of years of development of detailed models and a toolkit approach to synthesis voice design, and it gives the Z1 unsurpassed sonic power.

Thirteen oscillator types for the widest range of sounds

The Z1 features a broad range of oscillator algorithms: Standard, Noise, Comb Filter, VPM, Ring Modulation, Cross Modulation, Oscillator Sync and Resonance provide exciting ways of creating synthetic sounds. The Organ, Electric Piano, Bowing, Brass, Reed and Plucked String Models emulate those types of musical instruments with a greater degree of realism and expression than PCM-based instruments can ever provide. This algorithmic diversity gives you a range of sounds that far exceeds other DSP synthesizers.

Since up to two of these 13 oscillators can be combined – along with a Sub-oscillator and a Noise Generator – you can also create unique, hybrid sounds with "organic" qualities that can be molded in ways that are impossible with any traditional acoustic instrument!

A powerful voice

The dual multi-mode filters feature resonance, low-pass, high-pass and a new band-pass mode that allows four center frequency points to be set simultaneously. This lets you create complex tonalities like those found in the human voice and the body resonances of a violin or guitar.

Dedicated parameter knobs for filter cutoff, resonance, EG intensity and both filter and amp EG are located at the left side of the front panel. They let you control sound in realtime – just as on an analog synthesizer. Four LFO’s (which can sync to MIDI clock!) plus polyphonic portamento allow for unique synth effects.

Plenty of memory

The Z1 features 256 Programs, and additional Programs can be stored on a PCMCIA Flash memory card. Thirty-two Multi Set-ups are also available, each combining up to six timbres for split or layered sounds and multi-timbral playback.

Realtime controllers/knobs

The Z1 provides all of the traditional controllers like Pitch Bend and Modulation wheels, plus inputs for up to four foot pedals. It also includes dedicated controllers like eight Filter control knobs and four Amp. control knobs, as well as switches for Hold, Modulation and polyphonic Portamento. To take advantage of the Z1’s rich modulation power there are five Performance Editor (PE) knobs which are assignable to numerous parameter modulations with each knob able to control up to four parameters at the same time. Finally, the Z1 premieres Korg’s exclusive X/Y Pad which offers the musician ultimate expressive control. It is a four axis "grid" that lets you blend in controller amounts in real time.

High-quality stereo digital multi-effects

The Z1’s effects section features superb, digital multi-effects with 15 high-quality insertion effects such as multi-tap delay, overdrive, wah, phaser, flanger, chorus and rotary speaker, plus three stereo master effects: two reverbs and stereo delay. All of these effects include realtime modulation capabilities for maximum expressive control. Finally, 2-band EQ is available per Program to help you shape your final sound as desired.

Polyphonic arpeggiator

The Z1 includes a unique polyphonic arpeggiator which enables easy performance of complex patterns. In addition to the five preset patterns (Up, Down, Random, ALT1 and ALT2), 15 user-programmable arpeggio patterns can be stored in internal memory. Arpeggio performance data can also be transmitted via MIDI to external sound sources, and the Z1’s arpeggiator syncs to incoming MIDI clock. Dedicated Gate, Velocity, Resolution and Speed knobs provide excellent realtime control.

Expansion possibilities

Twelve-voice polyphony in a DSP-based synthesizer is pretty awesome. But Korg makes available an optional expansion board that will crank simultaneous polyphony up to an even more amazing 18-voices!

An optional ADAT® optical digital interface board is also available. With the ADAT® I/F you get single-cable connectivity with any device that has an ADAT® interface.

Effects List

INSERT EFFECTS SIZE 1 (two effects can be used simultaneously) Overdrive, Compressor, Parametric EQ, Wah, Exciter, Decimator, Chorus, Flanger, Phaser, Rotary Speaker, Delay (Mono)

SIZE 2 (single effect can be used) Talking Modulator, Multi-tap Delay, Ensemble, Rotary Speaker (L)

MASTER EFFECTS Stereo Delay, Reverb (Hall), Reverb (Room)

Z1 Algorithm Descriptions 

The Z1 offers thirteen synthesis algorithms, many of which can be combined together to create an unprecedented range of sound possibilities.


The classic analog synth model, with choice of Saw or Pulse waveforms, plus the addition of a Ramp Wave (Triangle or Sine). You can also modulate the waveform for classic effects such as Pulse Width Modulation, or new timbral variations from the Saw and Ramp waves. Korg’s exclusive Wave Shaping is also available to add more complex harmonic characteristics to your sound.

Comb Filter 

This oscillator setting combines the input from another oscillator, the SubOSC, or the Filter along with the Noise Generator and passes them through a complex Comb Filter, with feedback control. It produces spectrum-type sounds, special effects and unique sounds with rich harmonic content.

VPM (Variable Phase Modulation) 

Using the classic Carrier and Modulator design, this algorithm gives you the ability to modulate the Phase of a given waveform, along with Wave Shaping and Feedback controls. Waveform choices for the Carrier and Modulator include sine, sawtooth, triangle or square, and you can even choose to use another oscillator algorithm as the modulator for incredibly complex new timbres.. This oscillator type is also great for FM emulation.

Ring Modulation 

Another classic analog concept updated for the digital age. Four waveform choices are available for the carrier wave: sawtooth, triangle, sine and square. Produces a rich metallic or clangorous sound.

Cross Modulation 

Similar to Ring Modulation with the addition of frequency modulation applied to the Carrier waveform.

Oscillator Sync 

Yet another classic analog synth effect, where a "slave" oscillator is synchronized to the wave cycle of a "master" oscillator. The tuning of the slave will emphasize the upper harmonics of the master oscillator, and when swept by a modulator produces rich timbral changes in the harmonic spectrum.


A new algorithm designed exclusively for the Z1, with four resonant band-pass filters arranged in series which can be "tuned" to different frequencies. When an oscillator, noise, or filter output is sent through this filter bank you can produce very ethereal and complex tonalities.

Organ Model 

Another new algorithm which provides three tunable organ drawbars along with variable percussion. Using two oscillators you can produce strikingly realistic organ timbres, or use this additive approach for new, imaginative synthesis possibilities.

Electric Piano Model 

Another new algorithm which gives you control over the Tone Generator (including decay and overtones), the Hammer (force, velocity, click and width) and the pickup position. Great for emulating classic types of electric pianos and for creating new organic-sounding piano timbres.

Brass Model 

A complex recreation of the characteristics of brass wind instruments, with control over Bell, Air Pressure, Lip and numerous other parameters. Because this is Physical Modeling, and not just a sample, you have true expressive control over the sound.

Reed Model 

This model covers the woodwind range of instruments, with control over Lip Pressure, Air Pressure, Tone, Growl, and many other parameters. Covers the gamut from flutes, to saxes, to new unique wind-based sounds.

Plucked String Model 

A complex plucked model with control over Attack, Dispersion, Harmonics, String Position and many detailed characteristics. Great for everything from basses to guitars, to harps to many interesting synth sounds.

Bowing String Model 

This new model emulates the characteristic of scraping a bow across a string. Rich in attack harmonics, this gives you true control over the bowing of a sound source as opposed to the "static" nature of a sample.
Engine TypeDigital
Voices (max)12
LFO4 LFOs; 18 waveforms including sine, tri, saw, square, sample/hold, stepped
Engine Detailed2 osc (13 types including pulse, saw, tri, sine, organ, electric piano, piano, brass, reeds, strings, more) 1sub-osc, noise
Filter (VCF)Resonant low, hi, dual band pass
FX2 effect units with 15 effects including Reverb, Parametric EQ, chorus, phaser, flanger, rotating speaker, overdrive, auto-wah, talkbox, decimator, compressor
Memory256 patches, 32 multis (+ 16x with memory card)
ControllersReal time controls and X/Y pad.
Key typeKeys
Extra infoVoice expansion to increase polyphony to 18
Produced:1997 - 1997
Legend: Obvious Y: Yes, N: No, N/A: Not Applicable
VCO Voltage Controlled Oscillator DCO Digital Controlled Oscillator
LFO Low Frequency Oscillator Sub Sub Oscillator
VCF Voltage Controlled Filter VCA Voltage Controlled Amplifier
Velocity As with a piano, the harder you hit a key, the louder the sound, unlike most organs which always produce the same loudness no matter how hard you hit a key. Aftertouch Pressing a key after you activated it. Channel Aftertouch, no matter which key, it will send a Channel message. Poly Aftertouch, sends the pressure per key instead of the whole channel.
Values for OSC, LFO, Filter, Envelope are per voice unless stated otherwise.

Manuals, patches etc.


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