Korg X3 Workstation for that 90’s Sound

Korg X3 Workstation
Korg X3 Workstation

The other day I was in a used music shop here in Nagano-city Japan and I ran across a used Korg M1 Workstation in mint shape. The asking price for it was $485 and I reluctantly passed it up. I asked the sales clerk if he could come off the price as it seemed a bit high compared to prices found on Yahoo Japan Auctions. Korg M1 Workstations are pretty high priced on Ebay right now at around $500 to $600 but I don’t see any selling for that price in the completed listings. As a result I skipped the opportunity and instead went home and dug out my old Korg X3 which is still in rather excellent condition. I turned it on and everything worked great except the floppy disk drive. It worked previously but I guess storage has caused it to break down.

I opened up the Korg X3 and found that the rubber floppy belt inside was still intact and in rather good condition. I figured it might be stretched out to much and so I ordered a new one online for 10 bucks to replace it. I already tried a rubber band which worked on my Yamaha SY-77 once before, but no luck with the Korg X3. It doesn’t look like the drive itself is broken so hopefully it’s just the drive belt that needs to be replaced. When I get the belt I’ll update this article with the result.

The software editor and librarian I use with the Korg X3 is Sound Quest Editor/Librarian 10 XL. I run it on an older Apple iBook G4 OSX 10.4.11 which works perfect for most of my older synths. I have had no issues at all transferring programs, combinations, or sequences to and from the Korg X3 and the Apple iBook. It’s also easy to record the midi tracks into Pro Logic 8 which I also have on the iBook G4. So if the floppy disk drive can’t be fixed, then it likely won’t be too much of a problem.

I really like the Korg X3 actually. It’s perfect for that New Jack Swing sound of the 90’s. I would love to snag a Korg M1 or M1r one of these days when I find a good price. Five hundred just seems a bit much for a Korg M1 but maybe some people might not think so. I’m not sure. I also have “imitation” sound programs of the Korg M1 and Korg 01/W for the X3 which were found on the Korg UK website. They sound pretty decent and will work. The key bed is also fantastic on the X3 and is made by Yamaha. It’s very similar to the one on the Yamaha DX7 and I’m curious if it’s the same. It sure feels like it. I also like the sequencer very much as well which is very easy to program and has an adequate 10 song / 100 pattern memory for laying down tracks and ideas.

I remember buying the Korg X3 used back in 2000 in Tokyo. I bought it for a really cheap price because it wasn’t selling in the used shop. The sales clerk said nobody wanted it and so I figured I would take it off his hands. I’ve kept it ever since and likely will not sell it. For that 90’s sound it really is great.

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7 thoughts on “Korg X3 Workstation for that 90’s Sound

    1. It’s important to note that the above X3 floppy drive belt does not work for replacing the Korg N364 floppy drive belt. Although the length of the belt is the same, the width is different. The Korg N364 floppy drive belt is wider and thus doesn’t travel well through the guides of the floppy drive. bustedgear.com does not claim it works with the Korg N364, but some people are claiming the drives are the same ( Korg X3 and Korg N364 ), but they are not. Beside having different drive belts, the X3 Floppy drive is DD and the Korg N364 drive is DD/HD. I own both the X3 and N364 keyboards and swapping out the X3 drive belt and using it on the N364 did not work at all. I have emailed the owner of bustedgear.com about further info and experiences, but never received a reply. I would not recommend buying a floppy belt drive from bustedgear if you own a Korg N364.

      1. richard kinney NY USA

        Hi Jim. I recently dug out my X3 after about a year in storage. The unit powered up but displayed a m essage InitCombi0 I could not accesss any programs and the unit would not produce any sound. Do you have any suggestions

      2. Hi Richard! It may be that you need to load the X3 with the factory sounds and presets. It looks like you’ll need the factory disk and then you can load that up into the X3. InitCombi0 means nothing is loaded or inside the X3. My first step would be to download the factory presets from Korg and load them either via MIDI or Floppy into the X3. That should do it. – Jim 🙂

  1. xymez

    Hi Jim, I found your blog while researching about the X3. I’m seriously thinking of getting one. But I have a couple of problems. (1)There is a 99.9% chance that the disk drive is already busted. Even if I can get it repaired, (2) I don’t have a PC that has a floppy drive. My question is: is there a “modern” way of loading stuff into the X3 via the MIDI port, without the need to use the disk drive… ever?

    Thanks!

    1. You can load your sounds, but I don’t think you can do anything about the midi sequences. You might just need a new belt for the X3 which is a pretty easy fix. How bad is the floppy drive?

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