Misc: Comparison of Korg M3 vs Korg OASYS


  • Korg M3
    • Custom sound chip based on HD-1 design
    • Radias chip (on EXB-Radias board)
    • 320x240 Color LCD Touchscreen (5 in. diagonal??) w/ XY mode
    • x amount of RAM to run OS and software
    • 256MB of compressed Sound ROM
    • 64MB of Sample RAM, expandable to 320MB
    • Control surface elements (keys, buttons, sliders — no knobs)
    • audio inputs (2 analog [1/4"], S/PDIF)
    • audio outputs (6 analog [1/4"], S/PDIF, optional Firewire)
    • no internal hard drive
    • no internal CD burner
  • Korg OASYS
    • generic (more powerful) PC processing chip
    • 10.4 in. diagonal Color LCD Touchscreen
    • 1GB (or 2GB) of RAM to run and hold everything
    • 628MB of uncompressed samples (effectively loaded as if ROM)
    • 200MB to 1.5GB Sample RAM (depending what Instruments are loaded)
    • Control surface elements (keys, buttons, sliders, knobs)
    • audio inputs (4 analog [2 XLR-1/4", 2 1/4"], S/PDIF) XLR Oasys audio inputs support 48V phantom power
    • audio outputs (10 analog [1/4"], S/PDIF, optional ADAT)
    • internal hard drive
    • internal CD burner


These hardware differences create some feature differences.

  • M3: 2
  • OASYS: 6

The M3 is fixed with the ESD sample synth and Radias synth engines. The OASYS is limited by only what Korg develops which currently includes the HD-1 Sample synth, AL-1 Analog Synth, CX-3 Modeled Organ, STR-1 Plucked String Model, LAC-1 Legacy MS-20 EX and PolySixEX, and MOD-7 Waveshaping Synth (FM).

  • M3: 120 voices (fixed)
  • OASYS: 172 [HD-1][PolySixEX][CX-3], 96 [AL-1], 48 [STR-1][MS-20EX] (dynamically allocated)
User Interface

Given its larger screen, for similar functionality, there are less numbers of screens to navigate in the OASYS when compared to the M3. Some of this is compensated for with the M3's PC/Mac editor (cool). The M3 does have the new XY mode (also cool), but the OASYS supports similar X-Y control via its Vector Joystick (though not as cool).

  • M3: 320 MB
  • OASYS: 1GB (all instruments loaded) to 1.5 GB (no EXs instruments)
Audio Track Recording
  • M3: none
  • OASYS: 16 audio tracks
Simultaneous Effects Processing
  • M3 has 170 effects: 5 insert effects, 2 master effects, and 1 total effect.
  • OASYS has 185 effects: 12 insert effects, 2 master effects, and 2 total effects;
Audio Routing

The OASYS has better audio routing capabilities


Both keyboards share a virtually identical implementation of KARMA 2, with the following differences:

  • OASYS is presently at KARMA 2.1, which includes several new features such as selectable quantize windows for scene changes and module triggering, and the ability to interface with KARMA Oasys Software (available separately). KO Software allows the deeper editing and creation of User GEs, which may then be uploaded to a User GE area of the OASYS.
  • The M3 is presently at KARMA 2.2, and has 4 physical Scene switches instead of 8, which can still be used to select one of 8 scenes in each Control Layer through a method involving pressing the KARMA Button twice. It also has the ability to interface with KARMA M3 Software (available separately) and has User GE memory for uploading newly created or edited GEs from the software.
Program structure

Except for the drum track, and perhaps a few other small details, the M3's Program structure is a subset of the OASYS HD-1, and it inherits many aspects of the HD-1's cool features and great sound quality.

The HD-1 still has a number of advantages, however, as befits the higher cost of the OASYS system. These include higher polyphony (172 vs. 120), faster envelopes and LFOs, larger ROM (more than twice the size of the M3, with EXs1), linear as opposed to compressed PCM, slightly better anti-aliasing, Wave Sequencing, per-voice Vector Envelope, etc.

Signal path

The OASYS signal path is 32-bit floating point, for extended dynamic range and less worrying about gain structure and clipping; the M3 uses a traditional 24-bit signal path.

Control surface

The OASYS has a more robust control surface, with 8 knobs, 9 sliders and 16 buttons, and LED indicators for the sliders and knobs. The M3 has the touch-screen controller, but the OASYS has a physical joystick.

Analog inputs

The OASYS has 4 analog inputs (including two XLR mic inputs) and 10 analog outputs, compared to 2 ins and 6 outs on the M3. The M3 has the EXB-FW for 6 digital outputs via firewire; the OASYS has the EXB-DI for 8 digital outputs via ADAT.

Expansion cards

The OASYS has the 172-voice CX-3 and PolysixEX, 96-voice AL-1, 48-voice STR-1 and MS-20EX, and any other EXi that come in the future; the M3 has the 24-voice RADIAS-EXB.

M3 features that are considered better than on the OASYS

There are some new features on the M3 that are better than the current OASYS implementation:

  • Midi Sequencer: better resolution on the M3 (480 ppq vs. 192 ppq) and the return of the Cue List feature (OASYS owners are expecting similar enhancements to the OASYS sequencer)
  • PC/Mac Editor: Similar to the X-50/micro-X, this is definitely cool since the editor runs as a VST/AU/RTAS plugin
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