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Korg NTS-1 Digital Kit: More Than Meets the Eye

Updated: Sep 25, 2022

The Korg NTS-1 is a powerful synth and effects processor that is extremely easy to assemble and can fit in your pocket. It features a ribbon controller and an audio input similar to Korg's Monotron series, but that is where the similarities end. The NTS-1 is an all-digital synth designed around Korg's logue-SDK, allowing you to create custom oscillators and effects or load ones currently available for the minilogue xd and prologue. But the modern features don't end there. There are multiple types of oscillators, filters, envelope generators, modulation, delay, and reverb effects, an arpeggiator, midi input and output, and sync in and out. It is powered by 5v USB and can be connected directly to a computer, tablet, or phone. It can easily be integrated into any synth setup and provides many useful options.

The kit comes with everything you need to build the synth, including a tiny screwdriver to put it together. It uses printed circuit board material for the top, sides, and bottom panels. It doesn't require any soldering or complicated procedures. Simply break apart the panels, attach the ribbon controller, connect the panels together and screw the corners and side panels on. It takes around 30 minutes to assemble and when you are done you have an awesome little synth to take on your next adventure.

If you are a bit more experienced with electronic kits, the designers at Korg have included some solder points on the circuit board to make modifying the NST-1 easier. There are connections for many of the inputs and outputs to allow you to bypass the ones on the circuit board in favor of your own. This would come in really handy if you were going to mount the NTS-1 in a Eurorack case or some other custom enclosure. I will say that the NTS-1 is very flimsy, and care should be taken when using it, especially when plugging in cables. One musician I spoke with says that he covered all of the jacks on his NTS-1 with epoxy before he assembled his to make them a bit more stable.

Overall, I love the NTS-1. It sounds fantastic, has some amazing onboard effects, and is a great companion for your Volcas and Monotrons. Don't be afraid to give it a try.

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