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A brief write-up/useful information on Korg M3R (not = M3)

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Joined: 22 Oct 2022
Posts: 7
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2022 9:01 pm    Post subject: A brief write-up/useful information on Korg M3R (not = M3) Reply with quote

Hi fellow musicians and Korg M3R owners.

Below I share some basic information having read up on the Korg M3R, since switching my unit back on after 30ys racked in our case from the time. A coin battery replacement; a factory reset and the synth powered up again!

Hope you may have further intel, tips and how-tos to add on the M3R. After all, there is not a whole lot written/available on this great sounding synthesizer module:

Korg M3R AI Synthesis Module – Notes [updated Aug 2023]

“AI”: Advanced Integrated
Latest OS version: #16 (?) [needs verification pls]
Check OS version: Turn on the MR3 and keep hold EDIT + GLOBAL (my M3R 1: #13, my M3R II: #14)

Battery Replacement: CR2032 in a simple holder (after replacement, factory reset)
Factory reset: EDIT, GLOBAL, go to page 5, RELOAD PRESET, OK

Sysex mode: In Global go to 4A MIDI DUMP (before ensure: memory protect = OFF and sending/receiving unit midi channels are matching)

Editors: MIDIQuest, Emagic Sound Diver (reportedly works fine on Win10 x64), M3LibEd (win98), Motu Unisyn (up to OSX 10.4), CLAB m1-3 Manager and Big Noise (both ATARI ST). Review author T. Goldschmitz, Amazona.de (see section at end of this document) has built an M3R Editor in CTRLR.

Hardware Editor: Korg Remote Editor RE1 (rare). Used for editing with the M3R, 03R/W, A1 and Wavedrum using a dedicated 8-pin DIN cable. You can simultaneously edit two or more M3Rs from a single RE1. The RE1 parameters are divided into six sections:

**F1. Combination Play**
**F2: Combination Edit**
**F3: Program Edit**
**F4: Effects**
**F5: Global**
**F6: Drum Kit**

RAM memory cards: Korg MCR-03 256 kbits (said to work with Korg M1, M3R, WAVESTATION, T Series 707, DS-8, A series; and also with Waldorf Microwave). M3R Mitsubishi Plastics Bee Card S-RAM 0256SRMSP25. RAMBoy 256 von K.S.R.E Music.
Korg RAM memory card battery: CR-2016

ROM cards and Sysex file expansions
ROM cards: for the Korg M3R ROM cards were released in pairs. One card contained waveform data (PCM: M1/M1R and M3R) and the other contained patch data (RPC: M3R unique). The PCM card is the same as the ones used in the Korg M1, while the program/patch card is specific to the M3R. In addition to the plastic black cheat card (boxed with the Korg M1 at purchase), the following card sets were released from Korg, as well as from commercial third-party sound design publishers:

Publisher: Korg
RPC-00P - M1 internal pre-load data (factory presets)
RPC-12 - World omnibus
RPC-13 - Bun May
RSC-01S (MSC-01 and RPC-01) - Variety
RSC-02S (MSC-02 and RPC-02) - Synth 1
RSC-03S (MSC-03 and RPC-03) - Drums 1
RSC-04S (MSC-04 and RPC-04) - Orchestra 1
RSC-05S (MSC-05 and RPC-05) - Piano
RSC-06S (MSC-06 and RPC-06) - Fretted Instruments
RSC-07S (MSC-07 and RPC-07) - Synth 2
RSC-08S (MSC-08 and RPC-0Cool - Percussion
RSC-09S (MSC-09 and RPC-09) - Organ
RSC-10S (MSC-10 and RPC-10) - Ethnic 1
RSC-11S (MSC-11 and RPC-11) – Brass (“Akira”)
RSC-12S (MSC-12 and RPC-12) - Synth 3
RSC-13S (MSC-13 and RPC-13) - Ethnic 2
RSC-14S (MSC-14 and RPC-14) - Sound FX
RSC-15S (MSC-15 and RPC-15) - Drums 2
RSC-16S (MSC-16 and RPC-16) – Environment

Publisher: Key Clique Inc.
RPC101 - L.A. Studio Hits M3R Vol. 1
RPC102 - L.A. Studio Hits M3R Vol. 2
RPC103 - L.A. Studio Hits M3R Vol. 3
RPC104 - L.A. Studio Hits M3R Vol. 4

Publisher: Kid Nepro (Sysex)
KN - M3R - New Age/Soundtrack Mix

Publisher: Many Midi Products (Sysex)
ManyMIDI - 2471 - M3R - Synth Patches Set #1
ManyMIDI - 3014 - M3R - Synth Patches Set #2

Publisher: Metra Sound (today Sound Art Media)
Soundcard I - M3R - Metra Sounds - Standards - Peter Gorges
Soundcard II - M3R - Metra Sounds - Modern Times - Ciccio Malacrida
Soundcard III - M3R - Metra Sounds - Actual - Mike Boekler

Publisher: Patch Pro Inc.
ROM3R1 - M3R - Patch Pro Inc.
ROM3R2 - M3R - Patch Pro Inc.
ROM3R3 - M3R - Patch Pro Inc.
ROM3R4 - M3R - Patch Pro Inc.

Publisher: Sound Source Unlimited (today Greytsounds)
Category: Top-40, Soundtrack
M301R - Pop/Rock Collection
Category: Top-40, Soundtrack, Jazz
M302R – Multi-Timbral, Vol. 1
M303R – Radical Film Textures

Publisher: Ultra Sounds (today Sound Art Media)
Comeback 2010 Vol. 1 - M3R - Ultra Sounds - Sound Art (largely same as Metra Soundcards - no need to have both these files and the cards)
Comeback 2010 Vol. 2 - M3R - Ultra Sounds - Sound Art (largely same as Metra Soundcards - no need to have both these files and the cards)

Publisher: Valhala Music
Category: ROM Style
M301 – Top 40
M302 – Orchestral
M303 – New Age
M304 – Rock
Category: International Gold
B301 – British Mix #1
B302 – British Mix #2

Publisher: Voice Chrystal
VC2 [some VC2 voices use the Korg Orchestra 1 PCM Data Card model MSC-04]
VC3 [some VC3 voices use the Korg Synth 1 PCM Data Card model MSC-02]

Can't hear certain programmes output sound as you scroll through the "presets" (but perhaps only some programmes)?
If it is the Combinations that do not output sound, you may want to check/set all included single programme midi channels (one through eight), that together make up the “Combi”, to correspond to the global midi channel as selected on the M3R.
Each of the max. of eight programmes comprising a Combi can be set to play on any midi channel (1-16) of your choice [M3R is 8-part multitimbral – see technical specifications below].
1 Press Edit+Combi
2 Press Combi four times = menu 4A "midi ch 1-4"
3 Make sure each program included in the Combi (i.e. 1-8; press page right to go to menu 4B = "midi ch 5-8") is changed to correspond to the same midi channel as your global midi channel selection
4 Press Global (page down) four times = menu 0B “combination write” to confirm/save your changes
NB. you will have to repeat/set this, manually, for every Combi programme.

Amazona.de, by T Goldschmitz (November 2022): https://www.amazona.de/greenbox-korg-m3r-budget-rack-version-der-korg-m1/?fbclid=IwAR3Y-GmVP5gw7kgZLvRUyWxr_ncFrN7kr-JQIcMmI5Y85KtvdCfog06WtCY
Muzines, by Simon Trask (September 1989): http://www.muzines.co.uk/articles/korg-m3r-and-re1/134

Pricing at release
Amazona.de (November 2022): “The M1R rack cost around £1300 in the UK when it first appeared. The M3R undercut that significantly at £900. But if you add the RE-1 Remote Programmer, which cost £275, you're back at £1174 (all prices including VAT).”

Technical specifications
Company: Korg
Model: M3R «AI Synthesis Module»
Class: 19" module, rack HE: 1U
Country: Japan
Year: 1989
Display: 16 x 2 LCD
Technology: Korg AI synthesis [Advanced Integrated]
Samples Resolution: 16 bits
ROM size: 3 MB
Polyphony: 16 voices
Multitimbric: 8 parts
Oscillator: 1 sample PCM
Filter: Digital Low pass
LFO: 2 modulators
Envelope: 3 EGs
Memory: 100 slots
Effects: 22 models
CPU: NEC D70320
Dimensions: 483 (w) x 320 (d) x 45 (h) mm. Weight: 5 Kg

Thanks for reading,
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Joined: 07 Dec 2022
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2024 6:53 pm    Post subject: M3R Actually Only Has 2MB PCM ROM (NOT 3MB), Mostly 8-Bit Reply with quote

For sake of accuracy, and despite the very long-standing incorrect specification info (possibly stemming back to the original Keyboard magazine review in 1989 or 1990!), the M3R actually only has 2MegaBytes of PCM/sample data in ROM (NOT 3MB), in four Fujitsu MB834200 ROM chips (each 512kB).

Further, most of that 2MB PCM ROM has only 8-bit bit-depth. The M3R service manual shows that three of the four PCM ROM chips contain 512kB of 8-bit PCM, and the fourth ROM contains 256kwords of 16-bit PCM (which is equivalent in memory storage space to 512kbytes, i.e. 8-bit words).

Solves a mystery, since for the big original price difference between M3R and M1R, 3MB PCM ROM seemed overly generous (compared to 4MB in M1R) -athough the rest of the sound-generating hardware seems identical between the two (TG1 & 2 sample playback/synthesis, VDF filter, MDE effects, and even DAC).

EDIT: The M3R service manuals specs expressly state "Wave Memory: PCM 16Mbit" (which is same as 2MBytes). And conspicuously ABSENT is the "Quantization: 16 bit" that appears in M1 service manual. Also, it's interesting that M1/M1R have two identical filter chips (VDF1 and VDF2), while M3R only has one VDF, which is odd since the VDF chips each apparently each filter eight of the 16 voices in M1/M1R, and the M3R also has 16 voices, each with a filter , which would also seem to necessitate a second VDF chip to accommodate all of the voices. Maybe I'm missing something about the synth engine on M3R that's been downgraded? (Don't think so, because all are "AI" system.)
M3-M/Triton Classic 61(x2, 1x MOSS)/Triton Rack(x2)/Trinity V3&Plus/01Wfd/KPR77
+ PC3(x2)/K2500/K2000R(x2)/TG77/A4000/TQ5/JD990/S5000/ESynth-Kb/K5000S/SQ80
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