Saturday, July 11, 2020

The history of Korg Pandora

Hello and welcome to this week's article!
Today we're going to make another review of a legacy product that is on its way of blowing 25 candles and that yet is still on the market in its latest version: the legendary Korg Pandora!

During the '90s digital effects for guitar were seen like something almost exoteric, something that belonged to the complicated racks of the guitar heroes and that costed a fortune, but then Zoom came and started offering digital multi effects for dirt cheap (and very low sound quality), and basically revolutionized the market letting anyone have all the most common tones and effects in the world.

Korg is a Japanese brand famous for making music instruments since the '60s, but it's today most known for being one of the main producers of synths and samplers (they even invented the synth+sampler hybrids in 1988), and in 1996 they decided to propose a small tool that in some way revolutionized the concept of playing guitar: the Pandora.

The Pandora is a small device, more or less of the size of a smartphone, battery powered, that offered 60 effects (up to 4 at the same time), various amp tones (from clean to extremely high gain), cab simulator, a guitar input, a volume knob, some control and a headphone out.
This little thingy was so small, light and revolutionary that became hugely popular, every guitarist imagined himself rehearsing on the headphones in some public transport, or the night in the bedroom, and the price was not particularly high.

Sure, the sounds were bad, even worse than the ones in the cheaper Zoom 505, but the size and weight were surpassing any logical reasoning.
The following year a second version, the Pandora PX-2 came out, featuring 32 drum patters with adjustable tempo, and this one was the real killer application, the ultimate guitar exercising machine.

Three years later, in the year 2000, Korg expanded its amp simulator array launching a serie called Toneworks (click here for the review of the Korg Ampworks), which was intended to be a large family of products for guitarists and bassists, and that featured the Pandora PX-3, a version for guitar and one for bass.
The only problem of this serie was the timing: the Toneworks serie was still sounding like in the '90s, when in 1998 the Line6 POD came out, changing the game forever.

In the following years there have been even more iterations of the Pandora, such as the PX-4 and then they started incorporating the Pandora tones and effects in their portable recording stations.

The current version, which is still on sale on their website, is the 2011 iteration, the Pandora Mini, which is even smaller, lighter and features 200 presets (some also for bass), 158 effects and tones (7 of which usable at the same time), 100 drum patterns, tuner and so on, and it's still today a great idea if you want to have an awesome little practice gadget always in the pocket of your guitar!!

Thumbs up (if you don't care too much about the sound quality)!

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