Korg M3: Improving latency of the EXB-FW


You're finding that audio coming from your M3 through the EXB-FW interface in your computer has too much latency to allow the M3 to play in sync with the other VST softsynths in your DAW software.

Procedure (PC)

The following process was tested on 64-bit Windows XP, but it should work on 32-bit XP and 32-bit Vista as well. It is doubtful whether this will work on 64-bit Vista 64.

  1. Disable the midi functionality of the EXB-FW in the windows device manager. (It is reported that Korg advises to use a USB for MIDI communication with the M3.) Uncheck (disable) every connection with the EXB-FW MIDI port in the software you use. In short, all MIDI communication should run through a USB connection.
  2. Download and install ASIO4ALL, which is a freeware application. After installing it, you will find an instruction manual in your ASIO4ALL folder in your Start menu, which is as simple and straight forward as the tool itself. In the same folder you will find ASIO4ALL v2 Off Line Settings. You also can make changes on line from within any audio application (Preferences > Audio Device > Settings or similar), but you are less likely to encounter issues if you first configure settings in the off-line mode.
  3. Open the Off-Line Settings application and activate the EXB-FW interface. You will see all your audio devices listed. You can activate one or more (it supports multiple audio devices) by selecting one and clicking Enable. When the icon turns green, it's activated.
  4. Close the Off-Line Settings application and start your VST host. In your host, select ASIO4ALL as your audio device.
  5. Played the M3 itself with local control on. You should hear the typical latency delay between the signal from your M3 and the output from your VST host.
  6. Open the audio device panel of your VST host and select ASIO4ALL's properties. The same window you saw in when working with the off-line settings appears.
  7. Locate the fader for the the asio buffer size, which by default is at 512 samples. Drop it to 256 samples and play the M3 itself again. The latency you hear this time will be better, but probably still not playable.
  8. Drop the buffer size again to 128 samples play the M3 again. This time you might still hear a little delay, but it will sound more like phasing, which will generally be a quite playable amount of latency.
  9. Now kill the direct sound of the M3 in your VST host's mixer, add a softsynth plugin to your VST host, and in the M3 choose a combi that has a rhythm track and KARMA bouncing around with an arpeggiated rhythm.
  10. Make sure that your VST host is using the M3 for the MIDI clock and play something from your VST host. You should hear no latency and all sounds should be synced.

Procedure (Mac)

need a procedure here, somebody!


  • You can experiment with further reducing the sample size in the on-line ASIO4ALL settings, but you probably won't need to. You can also experiment with other ASIO4ALL options such as latency compensation, hardware buffering, etc.
  • When working with ASIO4ALL in on-line mode through your VST host, radical changes in the settings can affect your computer's behavior unexpectedly. In that case reboot and change the off-line settings back closer to their defaults and you'll be fine.
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