Korg Triton

The Korg Triton is a music workstation synthesizer, featuring digital sampling and sequencing, released in 1999.[1][2][3] It uses Korg's HI Synthesis tone generator and was eventually available in several model variants with numerous upgrade options. The Triton became renowned as a benchmark of keyboard technology, and has been widely featured in music videos and live concerts. At the NAMM 2007, Korg announced the Korg M3 as its successor.[4]

Korg Triton Classic
Successor, Korg M3 and
predecessor, Korg Trinity
KORG M3, KORG Triton, 2 KORG Radias-R and Mackie 1402 VLZ3, with MIDI Merge and Thru boxes sitting on the M3 (left and right respectively)

History and pedigree

The Korg Triton line is considered the direct descendant of the earlier Korg Trinity line of workstations.[5] The two ranges are aesthetically and functionally very similar. The Triton "Classic" followed the Trinity's naming conventions of the Pro and Pro X being designated to models featuring 76 and 88 keys respectively.

The original Triton introduced many improvements over the Trinity, like 62-note polyphony, arpeggiator, onboard sampler, faster operating system and more realtime controllers.[1] However, to much surprise of musicians and journalists, it lost the sequencer audio tracks, digital input and output, and the digital filter section was downgraded, thus limiting sample-based synthesis.[1] The original piano samples, a crucial evaluation element of expensive synths and music workstations, were the subject of even greater criticism; arguably, the integrated sample RAM could compensate for this. With successive models, some of these shortcomings were rectified, such as the digital connectivity, and improvement of the piano samples. The sample-based synthesis filter section, however, was never improved. Some limited 2-track audio recording was added to later revisions of the Triton Studio, while the Triton Extreme added in-track sampling support,[6] allowing stereo samples to be recorded in context with a MIDI sequence and automatic triggering of the samples at their proper locations in the sequence during playback. Whilst less robust in function and practice, in-track sampling did mitigate for the lack of full audio recording in the Triton Extreme.[6]

Model variants

Korg Triton Pro


The original Triton was released in 1999 and as subsequent models were released became known as the "Classic". The options available to buyers included a MOSS board, SCSI interface, two EXB-PCM expansion boards and 64MB RAM. It had a 61-key keyboard.

Pro and Pro X

The Pro was a 76-key workstation, while the Pro X was an 88-key workstation with weighted keys.

Korg Triton rack


The Triton Rack was the rackmount version of the Triton. Since musicians would use it as a sound module rather than a complete workstation, requiring a separate keyboard to control it via MIDI, it was designed with different abilities. The oversized touchscreen was replaced with a smaller, more conventional graphic LCD. Though not equipped with a keyboard, it had the advantage of storage of up to eight EXB boards containing additional sounds, and featured a built-in S/PDIF digital output. It also supported the EXB-DI "Digital Interface" board providing ADAT output and Word Clock, or EXB-mLAN option featuring mLAN output.[7]


Main article: Korg KARMA

The Korg KARMA, released in 2001, featured the Triton synthesis technology with 2 PCM slots and MOSS slot but without the sampling functionality. It instead included the more specialised KARMA music system. It was only available in a 61-key version (with a lesser quality keyboard than the Triton).[8]


The Triton Le, released in 2002, was a stripped-down, streamlined version of the original Triton. It uses a smaller non-touch screen similar to the TRITON-RACK. Rack The ribbon controller and floppy disk drive were omitted but a Smartmedia slot was instead included. A lighter and cheaper key bed than those used on the Trinity/original Triton range was installed, and the effects bus was downscaled from five insert effects to one. The MOSS, a Z1-based board, can not be fitted on the Le. The functionality of the original sequencer and arpeggiator was retained, though.[9] It was possible to load samples via the Smartmedia slot into the onboard sample RAM without requiring the sampling board to be fitted.

Korg Triton "Le"
Korg Triton Studio

Marketed at a much lower price than the original Triton range, the Le was a commercial success.

A special edition of Le was released featuring a black body, visually similar but functionally different to the later TR.

Three versions of "Le" are available :
Triton Le 61 61 keys
Triton Le 76 76 keys
Triton Le 88 88 keys (RH2 Real Weighted Hammer action)


The Triton Studio, released in 2002, included the features of the "Classic" with the addition of S/PDIF input and output, as well as the EXB08 expansion board offering a much higher quality piano sound. The instrument also had space for seven expansion modules and could be fitted with an optional hard drive, CD-RW drive, EXB-DI expansion board with an ADAT interface or EXB-mLAN expansion board with mLAN interface.[10]


In 2004, Korg released the Triton Extreme, with many of the features of the Studio (such as the entire PCM ROM from the Studio model) plus the entire sample sets from Korg's best-selling Trance Attack, Orchestral Collection, and Vintage Archives expansion boards, as well as the most popular sounds from the Dance Extreme, Studio Essentials, and Pianos/Classic Keyboards collections. PCM data not available on any other Triton models was also included such as improved pianos and acoustic guitars. The 34MB ROM of the "Classic" was upgraded to 160MB.

Valve Force circuitry, using a vacuum tube and an analog ultra gain transistor to allow for warmer, guitar amp-like sounds for more extreme analog overdrive/distortion sounds was included, and proved especially useful for pad and organ sounds, as well as adding depth and realism to acoustic sounds, such as piano. Unlike previous Tritons, which were a white-silver color, the Extreme was finished in dark blue.

Like the Triton "Classic" and Studio, the Triton Extreme included a touch screen interface, along with the knob and button controls. A USB interface enabled connectivity with a PC, facilitating exchange of samples, sound programs, sequences, and other Triton-compatible files. CompactFlash and microdrive cards up to 8 GB were supported, negating the need to sample directly to RAM. The USB port also allowed control of software synths and host applications via MIDI. However, unlike the "Classic", Studio, and Rack versions, the Extreme could not be fitted with sample expansion boards due to the expansion ROMs having been pre-installed. It was compatible, though, with the MOSS board and up to 96 MB of sample RAM. No SCSI, mLAN or ADAT interfaces were included but optical stereo S/PDIF inputs and outputs were installed.

Another USB Type A connector can be used to connect a hard drive or CD writer drive for making music CDs and loading AKAI format sample libraries. The sequencer was upgraded to facilitate in-track sampling.[6]

Triton Extreme


Korg TR88 (2007)

Released in 2006, the TR was similar to the Triton Le but included expanded ROM and additional programs and combinations. It also features a USB cable for data connection with a PC. The TR also features an SD card slot. The piano quality was also improved compared to the "Classic" and Le keyboards.[11]

Korg X50
Korg microX

X50 and MicroX

The X50 and MicroX, released in 2007, were oriented towards the lower end of the market and were consequently less physically robust and included fewer features. They contained the same HI synthesis engine found on the TR with the basic Triton and extended ROM: the X50 maintains the same extended ROM as the TR, while the MicroX extended ROM focused more on drum and percussion samples. Neither had the sequencing or expansion capability of the TR. USB connection was available for high-speed MIDI control (and use with the included plug-in editor), but incompatibilities with the other Tritons hampered the use of libraries for those keyboards. The main difference between the two keyboards was in scale and control layout: the X50 was a 61-key keyboard with pitch and modulation wheels, while the MicroX had only 25 keys with the Triton joystick. Neither had the aftertouch functionality of the TR keyboard. Both included patch editor and librarian software as well as a plug-in for DAW control, allowing the import and export of Triton-compatible files. Similarly to the LE and TR, only one insert effect and two master effects could be assigned.[12][13]


All models, except the Triton Rack, X50, Micro-X and KARMA were available in 61, 76 and 88-key configurations. They could also be upgraded with increased sample EDO RAM and expansion boards for additional sounds. Only the Triton Le did not provide this feature. The Triton "Classic", Extreme, and Studio were controlled by a touchscreen. The KARMA, Le and Rack, however, featured a more conventional display.

Model Year of release Wave ROM size, MB Features Polyphony Number of keys
Triton 1999 32 sequencer, sampler 62 61/76/88
Triton Rack 2000 32 sampler 60 None
KARMA 2001 32 sequencer, KARMA 62 61
Triton Le 2002 32 sequencer 16 tracks MIDI, sampler (optional) 62 61/76
Triton Le 88 2002 [14] 32 + 16 (piano bank) sequencer 16 tracks MIDI, sampler (optional) 62 88
Triton Studio 2002 32 + 16 (piano bank) sequencer, S/PDIF, CD-ROM, HDD option 60 × 2 banks[15] 61/76/88
Triton Extreme 2004 [16] 160 sequencer, Valve Force circuitry (using a 12AU7 "Russian Bullet" tube), USB MIDI link, CF card slot, sampler with in-track sampling 60 × 2 banks[17] 61/76/88
TR 61/76/88 2006-07 64 sequencer, USB MIDI link, SD card slot, 64Mb PCM, sampler (optional) 62 61/76/88
MicroX 2007 64 USB MIDI link, 64Mb PCM: 32Mb Triton "Classic" + 32Mb unique, Editor Program Librarian software and Plugin (VST) 62 25
X50 2007 64 USB MIDI link, 64Mb PCM: same as TR, Editor Program Librarian software and Plugin (VST) 62 61


All models of the Korg Triton model range have been discontinued by the manufacturer.[18]

Notable users

This list represents a wide (but not complete) range of artists who have used Korg Tritons.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 "Korg Triton". www.soundonsound.com. Retrieved 2015-12-22.
  2. "Korg Triton | Vintage Synth Explorer". www.vintagesynth.com. Retrieved 2015-12-22.
  3. "Resource for Korg Triton". www.tritonhaven.com. Retrieved 2015-12-22.
  4. "Korg M3 Synth/Sampler". www.soundonsound.com. Retrieved 2015-12-22.
  5. "Korg Trinity". www.soundonsound.com. Retrieved 2015-12-22.
  6. 1 2 3 "Korg Triton Extreme". www.soundonsound.com. Retrieved 2015-12-22.
  7. "Korg Triton Rack". www.soundonsound.com. Retrieved 2015-12-22.
  8. "Korg KARMA". www.soundonsound.com. Retrieved 2015-12-22.
  9. "Korg Triton LE". www.soundonsound.com. Retrieved 2015-12-22.
  10. "Korg Triton Studio". www.soundonsound.com. Retrieved 2015-12-22.
  11. "Korg TR88". www.soundonsound.com. Retrieved 2015-12-22.
  12. "Korg Micro X". www.soundonsound.com. Retrieved 2015-12-22.
  13. "Music Synthesizer | Synth | Korg X50". i.korg.com. Retrieved 2015-12-22.
  14. "Triton LE". Korg UK. The TRITON Le 88 was introduced at the NAMM Show in July, 2002.
  15. a weird arrangement that provides up to 120 notes of polyphony, depending on the source bank of the sounds played. However, the 16 MB "PCM expansion boards" always give the Triton Studio 120 notes of polyphony, whatever sound is selected
  16. "NAMM - Korg Triton Extreme". 2004 Summer NAMM. synthtopia. July 27, 2004.
  17. a weird arrangement that provides up to 120 notes of polyphony, depending on the source bank of the sounds played. "KORG Triton Extreme Parameter Guide" (PDF). KORG.
  18. "Triton LE". Korg UK. This product has now been discontinued in the UK and information supplied here is for reference only.
  19. i.korg.com/Artist.aspx?artist=125
  20. Sokol, Zach. "Andy Stott Decodes the Mad Science Behind His Latest Sonic Experiments". THUMP. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
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