Korg SV-1 Vintage Stage Piano Review

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Korg SV-1 Piano

The Korg SV-1 is an excellent vintage stage piano (available in 73 and 88 keys) that comes with a cool & retro look, is easy to use, and is affordable. Doesn’t come with lots of sounds & effects, not does it have any editing capabilities, but it comes with the hippest, and most in-demand keyboard sounds. A must-have for any jazz musician!

Pros – Best vintage stage piano design, built-in tube power amp, RH3 graded hammer keyboard, excellent piano and Rhodes sounds

Cons – Lack of drawbars, okay organ sounds, you need a computer to edit the internal sounds, doesn’t come with lots of sounds

Review


Power Amps / Speakers
The keyboard does come with great sounds, but you need an appropriate sound system to fully appreciate the sounds. So it is recommended that you plug it into a good loud amp to do full justice to the sounds. For live stage use, you can plug it directly into the mains.

Looks & Design
It has a sleek and retro design with rounded corners, and fat metal toggle switch for the power button.

The analog dials and the built-in vacuum tube makes it look truly vintage stuff; one of the best & most authentic looking vintage stage piano.

The Preset buttons however seem to be a bit closer to the keys, so you need to be careful not to accidentally mess up any of the settings.

korg sv1 vintage stage pianos

Keys
Available in 73 and 88 keys, it comes with RH3 graded hammer keys, which means the keyboard is like that on a piano and not a synth.

Sound
This is really not a workstation, synth, or a high-end arranger, and doesn’t come with hundreds of sounds, arpeggiators, drums, etc. You don’t even get a sequencer.

What you get is an excellent collection of vintage piano sounds that includes pianos, organs, fender rhodes sounds, wurlitzer’s, hammond and lowery organs, vox continental , etc.

There are many who feel that this offers a better value for money compared to some of its competitors, such as the Nord stage pianos; however the organ sounds are better on the Nord. But if you use more of wurli, rhodes and piano sounds compared to organs, than this one is definitely a good option.

You do get some cool effects on this board including the tube amp modelling sound.

Ease of Use
The best thing about this keyboard is that its built to be played, so you don’t really have to refer to the manuals every now and then. It doesn’t even have a screen; you need to use the buttons and knobs, which is actually quite useful when performing onstage.

This is one of the most authentic and best sounding vintage stage pianos around; if you’re a jazz musician this is definitely the one to go after.


korg sv1 vintage stage pianos

Competition Check
The best thing about the Korg SV-1 is that it has vintage sounds that were used in songs, which most of us have grown up listening to. Its very difficult not to like it.

It has excellent Rhodes and Wurli sounds, but somewhat okay acoustic piano sounds. But then Korg offers Sound-packs that has excellent acoustic pianos as well (you need to download them).

  • In terms of other options, you may consider the Yamaha CP33, which has excellent piano sounds and a great keyboard feel.
  • Nord Stage & Electro (nice analog synth sounds, pianos, strings) is another excellent option, but its much more expensive.
  • There are some other cheaper options as well from Kawai (MP6) and Kurzweil (SP4-7 or 8)

For someone looking for lots of onboard tweaking features and lots of great sounds, the SV-1 may not match the likes of a NORD electro.

But if its vintage sounds (electric pianos, rhodes) and effects that you’re looking for, something that’s reasonably priced, then there’s no beating the Korg SV-1.

If you play more of Electric pianos, then just pick up the Korg!

Besides, the instrument panel is very easy to use, no complications and you can easily save your favorite sounds. Plus it has weighted keys. The 73 keys is just about perfect for those who just don’t want to lug around an 88 key piano.

Specs


Here are the important features of the Korg SV-1 vintage piano:

  • 73 or 88 keys, RH3 weighted hammer action keybed, 8 velocity touch curves
  • Transpose to any key in +/- 12 half-steps; fine tuning; 8 tuning schemes
  • Sounds: 36 (6 banks x 6 sounds), Excellent Rhodes and Wurlitzer sounds
  • Polyphony: 80 notes
  • 8 assignable Favorites for quicker program recall
  • Effects/Processing: Five Individual Sections (EQ, pre FX, amp model, modulation, reverb/delay, and limiter)
  • Equalizer: On/Off Switch; Bass, Mid, Treble Knobs
  • Amp modeling, Valve Reactor tube (1 x 12AX7)
  • Extensive studio-grade effects, including Reverb/Delay
  • MIDI In, Out plus USB/MIDI port
  • 3 pedal jacks: Damper (fixed), Pedal 1 (sostenuto; rotary speaker), Pedal 2 (volume/expression; wah)
  • Damper pedal is included
  • 1/4″ headphone out
  • 1/4″ unbalanced and XLR balanced stereo audio outputs (this is a big plus)

You also get a free SV-1 Editor/Librarian software that gives you full access to all the sounds and effects parameters.

Video Review

Here’s a video review of the Korg SV-1 vintage pianos


Fancy more sounds for your music needs? You can download the sound packs (available from Korg) for your SV-1 Stage Vintage Piano! Here’s a video that demonstrates how to download and install the sounds, and how to make the most of them as you play.

Here are a couple of videos where the Korg SV piano is pitted against other top keyboards, and Korg does manage to hold on its own.


Here’s a video that compares Korg SV-1 to the Rhodes Mark 2

Here’s another video where the Korg SV-1 is pitted against Roland Fantom G7 ARX-02 E-PIANO, and the Clavia NordStage EX DEMO

Overall Ratings


An excellent vintage stage piano, the Korg SV-1 is affordable and offers some of the hippest keyboard sounds. Its a must-have for any jazz musician! The SV-1 comes with a weighted keyboard, which means it plays more like a piano than a synth.

Buying Options

Korg SV-1 73 keys vintage piano
Korg SV1 88 keys vintage piano

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