The first synthesizers were all analogue, but then digital synthesizers came up and became more popular because they were relatively cheaper to produce. Even so, today, the trend has gone back to analogue models. This is because analogue synths generally offer better audio quality. Still, digital synths are getting better and better at emulating analogue sounds. In this article, we will discuss about two synths available in a similar price range, which are Korg Minilogue vs Roland Gaia. However, these are actually different types of synths. Korg Minilogue is a four-voice analogue, whereas Roland Gaia is a 64-voice polyphony digital model. Which one is the better synthesizer?
Out of the box, Korg Minilogue looks impressive. The front panel features a 2mm-thick layer of sand-blasted anodized aluminum. It is nicely contoured, and it feels really tough. The chassis is plastic, whereas the back panel is made of Pyinkado wood. The combination of these features creates a nice future/retro vibe.
You can find 14 metal paddle switches and 29 plastic dials on the panel. They have internal metal shafts that make them feel very sturdy and durable. You can even swap the dial caps with something more blingy if you want. There is an OLED display on the right which functions to show patch names, parameter values, four sequencer lanes, and a real-time oscilloscope. The display is also useful for navigating through the settings and for editing. However, you don’t need the screen at all for general sound making and sequencing.
On the other hand, Roland Gaia comes with a black-and-white design which appears smart and crisp. The plastic casing is remarkably lightweight, yet it is robust enough for live performances. It blends the traditional controls and markings with a modern aesthetic. Every parameter has a visual feedback which makes patch creating and editing very simple and quick. The layout is very intuitive that you can get straight into tweaking and playing without manual flicking or head scratching.
Korg Minilogue Performance
In terms of performance, considering that they are different types of synths, Korg Minilogue vs Roland Gaia offer different pros and cons. Korg Minilogue is versatile and powerful. Roland Gaia manages to produce powerful virtual analogue sounds, but some of the presets aren’t impressive due to not exploiting the fullest potential of the device.
After powering on Korg Minilogue, you will be greeted by the tuning screen. The oscillators will take about ten seconds to warm up. The heart of the machine is armed with eight lively sounding analogue oscillators, each with square, triangle, and saw waves. In the Mono Mode, there is a square wave sub-oscillator sitting one or two octaves under Osc 1.
These oscillators sound full and rich. You can clearly hear that these are VCOs rather than DCOs. Each wave possesses a continuously variable and modulatable shape. You can make it thin, fat, evolving, or anywhere in-between, and you will be really impressed by the huge range of timbres available from the eight Voice Modes and some shape modulation.
Roland Gaia Performance
A lack of quality on the oscillators spells certain doom to the product. Fortunately, Roland Gaia does not disappoint on this aspect. It offers various waveforms, ranging from square, triangular, sawtooth, supersaw, sine, noise, to pulse. Each has three variants. Note that these variations have slightly different harmonic weightings and they can give you a total of 21 waves to start with. The waveforms allow you to be as creative as possible, and there is the shift function for controlling the master tuning and oscillator pan position using the pitch and detune knobs respectively.
Roland Gaia comes with plenty of Faithless Lite and Basshunter sounds that play down the analogue simplicity. However, most people agree that starting with a blank patch and building it up tone by tone is more fun than untangling on-board sounds to make them more original.
While the sound quality is good, it is a shame that Roland Gaia can’t produce output signals for both headphones and master outs. When you plug in a pair of headphones, the master outs will be cut out.
The next thing that you need to consider when choosing between Korg Minilogue vs Roland Gaia is the memory. Korg Minilogue comes with a huge memory capacity with 200 locations for storing your patches and sequences. Korg Minilogue is very inspiring; it is even a little bit scary how the synth enables you to make so many different types of sounds with little effort. So, the large memory capacity is certainly very useful. By the way, there are eight favorite locations which you can assign for recalling patches quickly.
On the other hand, Roland Gaia comes with 64 user patches and 64 factory presets. Such memory capacity is good enough for most purposes. You can make a backup of your patches by plugging a flash drive into the synth’s USB port.
Each program on Korg Minilogue has its own 16-step sequencer that sends MIDI signals out. The sequencer can also record polyphonically, and it is a handy idea scratchpad. The note length, gate time, and swing are all customizable. The timing is rock solid.
Korg Minilogue also has loads of modulations that you can use to mess-up or subtly massage sounds. The delay is characterful and indispensable. You can use it to make reverb-like ambiance or distorted atmosphere. The delay tweaks can be sequenced, too.
Roland Gaia’s effects section is rather simple and easy to use. However, it offers a surprising amount of patch enhancement potential. There are four effects blocks, but the fixed Low Boost effect on the end of the chain is technically the fifth. There are great filters and amps, three distortion choices, and various delays and reverbs.
Korg Minilogue Vs Roland Gaia
|Korg Minilogue||Roland Gaia|
|Key features||- Flexible, powerful four-voice analog synthesizer - Fully programmable, with 200 program memories (100 sounds included) - Voice Mode lets you flexibly configure the four voices||- 3 virtual analog engines onboard, each with a dedicated oscillator, a filter, an amplifier, an envelope, and an LFO - Layer up to 5 simultaneous effects, including distortion, flanger, delay, reverb, low boost, and more|
|Customer Ratings*||4.4 out of 5 stars||4.0 out of 5 stars|
|Best Deal*||Save Money Please click here||Save Money Please click here|
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In general, between Korg Minilogue vs Roland Gaia, the first option is more recommended. The analogue synthesizer offers outstanding and powerful sound quality with rich customizable effects. It has 200 memory locations for storing your patches and sequences. On the other hand, Roland Gaia is pretty good, but the factory presets aren’t good. The headphone out cutting the master outs is also a drawback.