Pioneer takes on Korg with its first analog synthesizer

Korg kinda has the mini-synth thing locked down, at least it did.

Sponsored Links

Pioneer takes on Korg with its first analog synthesizer

If you want an analog synthesizer, but don't have a lot of floorspace, then Korg's Volca range is for you. Maybe hold that thought a sec. Until now, Pioneer has focused on the club crowd with its ubiquitous DJ decks and controllers. The company branched out into general music production with its Toraiz SP-16 sampler last year; today it's stepping further into music-making with the Toraiz AS-1 analog sound machine.

When I fist saw the photos of the AS-1, my first thought was "that looks a lot like Korg's Volca series." And it does. Sure, there aren't that many ways to present a small synth, but the general layout and basic concept really do resonate with what Korg has been doing (and doing well) for the last few years.

Gallery: Pioneer AS-1 | 10 Photos


There are some key differences of course. The Volca series is made up of different synths for different jobs (drums, keyboards etc.), and each model costs around $150. Pioneer's AS-1 is a straight up sound machine (though it will sequence those sounds into "songs"), and it weighs in at $499. The AS-1 is also slightly bigger than it first looks. The preset sounds it comes with cover all the bases -- from strings to crunchy "acid" noises, but the real fun will be making your own.

While the AS-1 is a Pioneer product, it's actually a collaboration with Dave Smith Instruments (based on the Prophet-6 if you're wondering). This co-branding adds a chunk of credibility to Pioneer's first venture into sound making, and somewhat explains the higher price.

Turn on browser notifications to receive breaking news alerts from Engadget
You can disable notifications at any time in your settings menu.
Not now

The monophonic AS-1 will also play nice with Pioneer's other gear, and not just the original Toraiz. If you own a DJM mixer and CDJs, you'll be able to hook them all up together and "play" the tracks from the AS-1 via the CD turntables. That is, once it lands in stores some time in March.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. All prices are correct at the time of publishing.
Popular on Engadget