Korg M3: Switching sounds on/off in a combi


We know the problem, that switching between combis will have a delay so you can't switch between two combis silently. But if you only want to enable or disable one or more sounds at the same time, you can make this without a delay with a switch or footswitch.

Method 1

You set the filter volume of the programs you want to switch off to 0 and a switch as an AMS to 99 (or anything else), so you can only hear the sound when the switch is pressed.

Then you can put the programs in the combi, and you won't hear them until you press the switch, so you can add some extra sounds to a part of a song.

Note: Find the programs you want to switch on/off and save them again in another location to keep the original versions. In other words, modify the Programs according to the following instructions, but save them in empty locations so that you do not affect any combis using the original versions.

  1. Go to page 3-1 and 3-2 (if it's a double sound) and set the output of the filter(s) to 0
  2. Set AMS to SW1:#CC80
  3. Set AMS Int.: to 99 (that's how loud the sound will be when it's enabled
  4. Do that with all filters
  5. Check that on P1 Controllers the SW1 is set to SW1 Mod

Then you can test if everything works, you should hear nothing until you press the SW1, then you should hear the sound.

Then you can put these sounds in your combi and you won't hear them until you press the SW1, so you can use these sounds to boost a part of your song.

You could even set the other sounds to the opposite settings (filter output 99, AMS Int.: -99) so they will be switched off if the other sounds will be switched on, so you can use two different sounds (or two sounds line-ups) in one combi and you've got no delay.

It should be noted that it is not possible to switch on or off RADIAS programs (bank I-F and U-F) with this method, as they do not have the AMS settings.

Method 2

You can do nearly the same if you use effects to switch the sounds on and off, so you don't have to edit the programs. But this method requires using the effect slots, which may or may not be available and unused.

  1. Put the programs in the combi.
  2. Route the programs to the inserts (P8-1/8-2).
  3. Choose the "Stereo Limiter" as an effect.
  4. set the "Ratio" to 1.0 : 1. In this case, no limiting is going on; therefore, you are not affecting the sound other than to turn it on or off.
  5. set "Gain Adjust" to "-Inf" (meaning infinitely low, you cannot hear it.)
  6. set "SRC" to "SW1".
  7. set "Amt" to "0" (or some other number) (that's the volume the sound will have when the switch is pressed)

Now you won't hear the program routed to the effect until you press SW1. You can use the opposite settings to switch a sound off with the switch:

  1. set the "Gain Adjust" to "0" or some other number - that's the volume you will hear when the switch is off.
  2. set "SRC" to "SW1".
  3. set "Amt" to "-99". This is opposite the effect of the first settings.

Now, the switch will turn one sound off and another sound on.

And you can use SW2 with another limiter to switch another program independently.

You can also use this method to fade in several programs at once without having to move several faders and hope the volume ratios are correct. Just change the SRC from SW1 to the value slider, or one of the other control sliders.

Method 3

The KARMA On/Off switch has the capability to mute and unmute different timbres. So at the most, you can have two different states, by using the KARMA On/Off switch.

Assuming you didn't want to use KARMA to do anything else, you would set the module's KARMA input key zone to something like C-1 to C-1 (so that it cannot be triggered) on page 7-1 Setup. Then, you would use Page 3-7/8 Timbre Parameter > Other, and the KARMA Timbre Off Control Parameter.

For example, let's say you have two timbres on 1-2 you want to switch quickly with two other timbres on 3-4. You would set KARMA Timbre Off Control for timbres 1 and 2 to "by On", and for timbres 3 and 4 to "By Off". What this means is that timbres 1 & 2 will be shut off by setting KARMA On/Off to On (Off by KARMA On), and 3 & 4 will be turned on at that time, while KARMA being set to Off will do the reverse (Off by KARMA Off).

Tips (Method 1 and 2)

You can assign a footswitch to SW1 (Global Mode P2), so you can switch the sounds on/off with a footswitch and have both hands free to play!

Alternately, you could assign the effects or the filters to use CC#82 FootSw, in which case you can use SW1 and SW2 for other things.

Warnings (Method 1 and 2)

You have the same slots for effects in program and combi mode, so if your programs use a lot off effects, you can't get the same sound in the combi with different programs. So don't wonder if the program sounds different in your combi. Check the effects.

Another difference between the original sound and the modified sound could relate to the filter settings, some sounds use the filter output AMS to enable the second oscillator (an example for that is program I-C-000, there the filter AMS SW1 is used to switch on the second oscillator [string sound], in the same way as here explained to do that with whole programs). And there is also the disadvantage that this method is not possible for RADIAS programs (Bank I-F and U-F)

There are also some "problematic" things about the second method, you lose insert effects that are already rare in combi mode and the sound is a bit modified by the effect, but that method is very fast and you don't need to change the program.


If you want to switch between two combis (as long as together they don't use more than 16 timbres) in one song, you can put them in one combi and switch the on/off without a delay!

Another way to use that is to switch on/off an additional sound in a combi to highlight a part of a song, that's how I use it, I enable a lead synth in a combi to get more presence in the band :)

The second method has also its advantages, it's fast and you don't have to change the program.

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