Today I stumbled upon a fantastic deal for a vintage Korg T2 EX Workstation for $100 bucks. This 76 key workstation is a real beauty and sounds absolutely wonderful. I bought it for a number of reasons one of which was the key bed that plays very nicely and very similar to my Roland Fantom X7. I love 76 keys and thought at the very least, the Korg T2 EX would be a great controller.
First, there were a few issues with the Korg T2 EX which allowed me to leave the used music shop with a pretty cheap professional keyboard. The floppy drive appears to not be working properly because I’m getting the infamous “data error” that I’ve been discovering a lot of info about all across the internet. There doesn’t seem to be any cure for the “data error” floppy drive message other than replacing the drive with a different one. I may attempt to use an extra HxC Floppy Emulator I have to see if that would work with the T2, but with regards to Programs, Combis, and Sequences, the computer would work just fine. For now I can do without a floppy drive but eventually I would like to either get it fixed or replaced.
The Second problem was that there were no presets loaded into the Korg T2 EX. All of the data was basically set to INIT. The sales clerk did not have any disks and with the floppy drive not working properly, he wasn’t able to get any sounds working on the synth. When I tested the T2 EX, I basically had to dive into the Program editing and select the multisamples in order to check the sound. This actually gave me lots of distorted output because the gain on the wavforms was turned up high if correct. At home I was able to reload the Korg T2 EX with the default factory presets and everything then sounded excellent. Thank goodness as I didn’t want to deal with any static output issues. I’m already dealing with that on another project with the Roland S-50.
Third, the LCD Screen looked to be a tiny bit faded which may be correct, but I actually found the contrast to be quite good and not all that bad. In fact I didn’t see a problem with it but the sales clerk I suppose didn’t like the look. The body of the Korg T2 EX also had some stains on the top which I was able to remove completely with some cleaner at home. The Korg T2 EX looks almost in mint shape now and there’s practically not a scratch on it. Just like my Korg M1, the Korg T2 EX is built very well and it simply is a sleek looking keyboard.
As a result, the sales clerk decided to sell me the Korg T2 EX for a hundred dollars and thus I couldn’t pass up that sort of price. I also was able to get the original Korg Hardshell Flight Case which was in excellent condition. Overall the Korg T2 EX works good as new with the exception of the floppy drive “data error” problem. There is a replacement drive on Ebay for $75 to Japan but I’ve heard stories that even with a replacement drive you can still get the “data error” so until I crack open the Korg T2 and investigate, I’m reluctant to buy another drive.
In addition to the 75 keys and great sounds out of the Korg T2 EX, I was excited to see that there was a 1MB PCM Sample Ram area on board. It was quite easy to transfer WAV samples using SDS and software on my Apple G4 to the Korg T4 EX. The 16 bit Wav samples were dumped into the Drum Kit area of the T2 EX and I was then able to use them to create programs and combis with. You need to have the Disk Drive working in order to load PCM samples into the Multi-Sample area and not just the Drum Kit area if correct. I’ll be checking this out once I get the floppy drive fixed, but for now using SDS is extremely fast and I don’t mind using a Drum Kit or two for samples. I am using Elecktron’s C6 utility software to transfer the Wav samples and it has a nifty progress bar to indicate the speed and progress. I was pleasantly surprise to see that transferring samples via SDS was quite fast between my G4 and the Korg T2 EX. In fact it only took seconds to transfer one file which was amazing. I have zero complaints about SDS!!
The only disappointment I have found with the Korg T2 EX other than the non working floppy drive is the fact that when powering off the unit, you lose all of your sequences, patterns, and PCM samples in Ram. My Korg M1, X3, and N364 all retain sequences and patterns in memory. This means that I have to reload sequences, patterns, and PCM samples using a floppy drive or the computer each time I power up the Korg T2 EX. This actually really sucks but that’s pretty much how all the newer keyboards handle such data. With a floppy drive or the HxC Floppy Emulator that may not be such a big issue down the road. Other than that everything else is superb on the Korg T2 EX.
The Korg T2 EX is a beautiful workstation. The 76 keys and sounds alone are worth what I paid for it most definitely. I find the 1MB PCM Sample area is golden for creating a custom 808, 909, SP1200, LinnDrum, etc drum kit or one shot sample loop set. The C6 software retains the loop info embedded in the Wav file beautifully so the samples loop great thus far. The Floppy drive will also allow me to get more out of the sequencer and load up some custom PCM multisamples hopefully in the near future. Also, there are four midi outputs on the back which are outstanding for controlling several sound modules at once. That’s always a good thing! The Korg T2 EX is a real solid keyboard and I’m so excited I found it.
Stay tuned for additional PCM sample and floppy drive repair updates as I venture further along with the Korg T2 EX.
UPDATE #1: The Korg T2 EX works with the HxC Floppy Drive Emulator. Awesome!! I installed the HxC Floppy drive emulator into the Korg T2 EX, made some configurations to the floppy drive cable and HXCSDFE.CFG of the emulator. Presto it worked flawlessly! I converted some DSM-1 .DSK images to .HFE files and the HxC Emulator loaded up the PCM samples perfectly. I now can dump all my .DSK PCM images to one SD Disk in the HxC. I have further testing to do with regards to saving data but that shouldn’t be a problem. I’ll update with more info shortly. If your Floppy Disk Drive is broken on the Korg T2 EX, the HxC is a fantastic and powerful replacement solution.
UPDATE #2: I finally fixed the Korg ERROR: Data Error issue with my floppy disk drive. The problem I discovered was that the floppy drive would not take and format any HD disk I gave it. So on the Korg Forums I found an Omniflop .img patch disk which I copied to a floppy disk formatted with Omniflop. I then put this disk into the T2 EX and presto it loaded the program/combi sounds without issue. I then formatted that same disk using the Korg T2 EX and again it worked beautifully. I took the blank formatted floppy and made a copy of it using Omniflop saving the Korg_T2_Blank_IMG file to my computer. I then was able to take any old or new HD Floppy disk and create a new formatted disk using Omniflop and the blank image I created. Thus I found that the “Data Error” was a result of the Korg T2 EX Floppy Drive not being able to format any HD disk, but once I gave it a preformatted T2 EX floppy disk it work great. My T2 EX Floppy Disk Drive is now back in operation with a ton of pre-formatted T2 EX Blank disks to feed it. Awesome!
UPDATE #3: I found a bunch of DSM-1 formatted .dsk PCM disks on the internet and managed to use CopyQM to create Korg T2 EX compatible floppy disks. I ran CopyQM on Win98 using regular HD disks and had no problems copying all the .DSK files to disk. The PCM Sample disks all work and sound great on the Korg T2 EX.