Thursday, 19 February 2015

Korg (Keio) MiniPops 1

This is a odd one to categorize as it has no official name.
She looks like a minipops 5 (MP5). It's shape indicates that it was meant to sit under an organ or piano.
The MP5 was manufactured in 1966 as was the MP 7

Prior to the Mini Pops, Korg or Keio as it was known then, were famous for their Donca Matics.
So maybe this this could be called the Keio - Doncamatic Minipops. ???
Or shall it just be named "The Unnumbered MiniPop".????

And to make matters more confusing the MiniPop numbering system was not cronological.
The MP 5 & 7 came out in 1966.
The MP3 was manufactured in 1967.

Anyway, I think it's safe to assume that this drum was the first in the line of MiniPops, and was produced
in 1966 or before.

Temp, Cymbal & Switch-Volume dials. The Cymbal dial sets the volume level of the cymbal .... so you can cancel this sound completely if you like.

I really like the preset buttons which look like fake toy piano keys.
We have 16 patterns:
Waltz, Samba, Cha-Cha, Mambo, Rumba, Beguine, Habanera, Tango, Blues, Rock-Beat, Bossanova, Rock-a-Ballard, Swing, Six Eight, Fox Trot & March-Polka.

And you can combine up to 3 patterns at the one time.... creating some crazy rhythms

 The bottom cover slides off to reveal the inner PCBs.

We have 3 separate PCBs. The top is for the power supply.
The second (lower) PCB is the pattern generator. Notice the diodes.
The 3rd & largest PCB holds the voice circuits.

Well what does it sound like. It sounds nothing like a real drum. It's distorted . That bass drum is malformed beyond recognition. The snare and toms ... are they really toms ??? OMG.....well everything is twisted & misshaped. In other words I love this drum.

What was probably considered a mistake my the manufacturer makes this one a real find.

I'm seriously tempted to mod this one. The pattern board is at the top. I love the layout of these Japanese boards. They are logical & well thought out. It should be very easy to bypass the pattern PCB and trigger the voices directly.

I'll sit on that thought for a while. This drum is uber rare. It is good to sometimes leave things in virgin condition.

Modding ??? would be nice but maybe if I found a second one ....

For more info on the history of Korg Drum Machines Click Here


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  2. Hey there, I have one of these as well! Mine is a bit different though (mine is a bit more industrial looking and has a black body and a machine stamped serial that starts with 70 and is 100V). My question is have you found out any other info about this drum machine since you post? I have been looking for years trying to get a label for this drum machine, and have had little luck. From my research this predates the typical Mini Pops series, including the MP2 and up. My thought after talking to some vintage gear experts about this unit is that this is likely a very limited production model that was a prototype that would later become the stand alone MP series. If that isn't true, there is certainly no evidence to deny this claim. You are correct, these were made to be attached to organs. In an odd twist, mine came from an old Yamaha organ which predated the early-mid 70's that the MP5 showed up. I have been trying to find out 1) How much this thing is actually worth (so maybe I'll stop playing with it, haha), and 2) What the model is actually called. Have you found out anything else about this thing?

  3. Hello, Thanks for your valuable comments. I have heard that these did sometimes come with Yamaha organs. Do you know what model number?
    I'd love to see some pics of it. if you have uploaded any I'd be happy to place links from this page to yours. The more info we can find the better. I'm sure Korg knows. I'll see if I can ask my local retailer.
    My model is also 100V
    You are probably right that this model is a prototype. Thus the lack of an official name. If I learn more I will certainly update this page.
    Cheers Jono

  4. I found one of these in a second hand shop yesterday. Never heart of it and just bought it out of curiosity.

    Photo's and a video @ my facebookpage:

    Mine looks even more like a prototype than yours. The body can not be adjusted in height and there are no switch and fuse at the back. Even the PCB's look a bit more crude. The serial no is 2282.

  5. Cool.
    Yes the PCB looks different.