I’ve had my eye on a Korg N364 Workstation for a while at a nearby used music shop here in Nagano-city, Japan. Ever since I started working with my older 1993 Korg X3 I’ve been really liking the functionality and sound of the Korg X and N series synths released during the 1990’s. The Korg N364 was released in 1996. What I also like about these two synths which are very similar, is how well the sequencer is put together and quite easy to use. The Korg N364 later introduced an arpeggiator and RPPR Pattern Play which made the sequencer more fun to use as well. The sound out of the Korg N364 is really really good and after giving the Korg N364 a trial run, I new I had to have it alongside the X3.
What’s interesting is how expensive the X3 and N364 are on Ebay. I bought my X3 back in the late 90’s for about $400 and the N364 I picked up for $350. On Ebay though, the Korg N364 is going for between $600 and $800 which is pretty steep. The X3 is a little less but close. The N364 that I bought has two common issues unfortunately. First, the LCD Backlight is no longer working. I’ll likely have to buy a new backlight and solder a new one inside so that I can see what I’m doing in the dark. I did this with the Roland W-30 recently and it worked great. The other problem is with the Floppy Drive. The belt inside is shot and I today I had to order a new one. I recently replaced the Floppy Drive Belt on my X3 and now it works great so I’m hoping to get the N364 Floppy back on it’s feet shortly. When I opened up the N364 I noticed the Floppy Drive had the same 26pin cable arrangement as the X3, however the X3 Floppy Drive is DD while the N364 is DD/HD.
Until I get the Floppy Drive fixed, I’ve been transferring files to and from the Korg N364 using a few programs. On the PC, I use the free XEdit v3.13 which allows me to load up X3 and N364 PCGs to transfer to the N364. I can also convert PCGs to Sysex as well. On the Mac, I use both Midi Quest and Sysex Librarian which both work great. Currently I have the N364 loaded with all the factory preset programs and combis. Unfortunately I don’t have the preset RPPR sets loaded but that’s no problem as I plan to create my own. Until I get the Floppy Drive fixed, there is actually no alternative method for importing the RPPR files. Pretty much everything else can be loaded via Sysex or Xedit using PCG files. Sequenced songs and patterns can be transferred via sysex so it’s easy to back those up. One of the great things about both the X3 and N364 is that the RAM saves the songs and patterns internally. You don’t have to save to disk to retain your work on power up. This is awesome and a big reason why I like these two synths.
I’ll update this article when I get the replacement LCD Backlight and Floppy Drive Belt for the Korg N364. It should be as good as new very soon although it plays great already. Both the Korg N364 and X3 are wonderful workstations. I recommend to check them out if you can find one at a decent price.
The sound though is really really good.