Metra Sound Soundcard 1
For the Korg 01W
New sounds for the Korg 01/W are a bit thin on the ground at the moment, so it was with great relish that I dived into the 200 sounds and 200 combinations on this offering from Metra Sound. The card holds two banks, each containing 100 programs and 100 combinations. Bank C contains 100 'Pop Mix' sounds, programmed by Plush Seiler, whilst bank D contains 100 'Hit Wave' sounds from Peter Gorges.
Taking the Pop Mix selection first, it starts off promisingly with a superb saxophone voice - widely regarded as an omission from the basic set of 01/W noises - and moves rapidly on through a good selection of basses, the most notable being 'Stabbass' (for all you rave fans), and some excellent 'cheesy' organs (some with Leslie), hard pianos and soft pads. There are also some good drum kits in this bank and, joy of joys, these actually conform to the 'standard' Roland drum map instead of the ridiculous arrangement chosen by Korg for their kits.
There are plenty of weird atmospherics here too - which are, after all, the 01/W's forte - though it's hard to see how many of them would fit into a 'Pop Mix' - and therein lies the problem in naming sound cards in this way.
Whereas many of the programs are excellent in this bank, the combinations are, by contrast, a little unimaginative. There are some good piano-based combinations, but there are too many of them and they tend to sound rather similar.
Bank D, once again, contains some excellent atmospheric synth sounds, and probably the best drum kit on the card. Sounds particularly worthy of note are 'BigGrand' (an excellent grand piano with lots of reverb), '01W Arcs' (rich strings with enough guts to blow your speakers), 'SpaceStr' (straight off the intro for 'Girls On Film') and the spattering of sci-fi FX. The bank D combinations are undoubtedly better than those on C with some big synth and piano patches.
Though few programs or combinations could rival the best of the basic 01/W sounds, there are certainly a sufficient number of sounds on these cards that will appeal enough to make the Metra Sound card a worthwhile investment. Definitely worth a listen.
Prices: ROM card £69, RAM card £89, Disk £39, GM standard £39. All prices inclusive of VAT.
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