Korg EMX-1 Electribe – The 80’s Time Machine

Korg EMX-1 Electribe
Korg EMX-1 Electribe

With a stroke of luck I finally found a mint condition Korg EMX-1 Electribe for a stunning $160 bucks at a used music shop here in Nagano-city, Japan. The version I bought is the old one with the Smart Media card instead of the SD type, but I already have quite a few Smart Media cards so I didn’t really mind. I also heard that the EMX-1 Smart Media version is identical to that of the SD version so I’m pretty excited about it. The price of the EMX-1 in Japan is actually quite high, especially for used ones but I strongly believe that the sales clerk had no idea how to price this. In fact, this is the same place where I bought my second Roland JP-8000 which I posted an article on below. I’ll definitely be frequenting that spot quite often as it’s kind of a hot bed for popular gear with great prices.

I’m a growing fan of “Synthfreq” who uses the EMX-1 quite a bit in her 80’s oriented compositions. I find the sound of the Korg EMX-1 and the fact that it has five synth sequencer tracks great for putting that 80’s sound together. Of course the Korg ESX-1 would also be great for loading up 80’s drum samples, but I feel the EMX-1 already does a pretty good job with it’s stock PCM sounds. It can also sequence basslines and melodies very easily which I like as well. Do check out Synthfreq’s youtube channel for more examples of how the Korg EMX-1 can work well as a drum/synth sequencer workstation.

In the video below, Synthfreq is using the Korg EMX-1 for the drums. She and her sister are playing the other parts on various synths. Also check out that wonderful Roland Jupiter 8!!

Update: I’m now looking to upgrade my tubes in the Korg EMX-1 with something like the Sovtek 12AX7LPS ECC83, JJ 12AX7 ECC83S, or GT ECC83-S Gold Series Eletron Tubes. Any ideas? Thanks!


10 thoughts on “Korg EMX-1 Electribe – The 80’s Time Machine

  1. I’m looking to upgrade the tubes in the Korg EMX-1 but am not sure which ones to buy. Amazon Japan has three popular brands. Does anyone have any suggestions or experience with these tubes? Thanks!

    Sovtek 12AX7LPS ECC83 Tubes for Korg EMX-1
    Sovtek 12AX7LPS-ECC83 Tubes Korg EMX-1

    JJ 12AX7 ECC83S Tubes for Korg EMX-1
    JJ 12AX7-ECC83S Tubes Korg EMX-1

    GT ECC83-S Tubes for Korg EMX-1
    GT ECC83-S Tubes Korg EMX-1

  2. I wish Korg would post it’s Factory Default Patterns for the Korg EMX-1 Electribe on it’s website. It took me forever to track down and get the default pattern sets for my used EMX-1 Smart Media version. I may not use them, but it’s nice to have both SD and SM .EMX factory pattern sets on my EMX-1 now.

    1. _INTER_

      Im going to buy JJ 12AX7 ECC83S tubes for my unit. I want to replace the Ruby (chinese?) ones. Hope they work well, they were the easiest and cheapest to get in my country. In the korg forum there’s a whole thread about replaceing tubes. Greetings

  3. _INTER_

    The new tubes are way better then the factory ones! I’m now able to use Tube Gain at higher levels without too much distored sounds. It really is a blast, the effects kick in nicely aswell now.

  4. Meeya

    Hey Jim, love your posts. Not sure you’re active on these channels anymore… thought I should ask you. I am looking to buy Electribe EMX-1. How difficult is to find one these days? Here in Canada, second to impossible.

      1. Meeya

        Thank you, I actually found one in perfect condition here in Toronto. It was used only in professional recording studio, never left the studio. Also, smoke free environment. I practically bought this unit that looks just like the one in your photo at the top of this page. No jitter problem with knobs/rotary encoders many reported, this unit is in perfect condition. Having so much fun with it. It looks like EMX-1 could easily become phenomenon just like TB-303. One day, I’m pretty sure one won’t be able to find this unit under $1000 🙂 Such a powerful station. And yes… thanks for all these super helpful information you’re posting there.

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