Thursday, 10 September 2015

A case of cases

I recently bought a Korg Micro X that sadly didn't come with its signature case. As a collector as much as a fan of things that make wizzy noises, I resolved to keep an eye open in case one came on the market. Like a hunter waiting for the antelope to hit the watering hole, one recently came up on Gumtree so I managed to pick it up earlier this week. I had heard some comments and seen a few photos but nothing really prepared me for the reality of the Micro X's case. Which made me ask the question: whatever possessed Korg to make the Micro X case the way they did? 

Regardless of whether you opted for the black or white version of this analogue modelling and sample-based synth, the chunky plastic behemoth in a garish shade of orange makes for an interesting thing to carry a synth in. Most hard cases I have seen for keyboards, including some of Korg's own offerings, are rather innocuous and unassuming - designed to look and function like conventional luggage in black or dark grey. But the Micro X seems to have taken a leaf out of the EMT or Black & Decker catalogues, with a colour and style that screams "power tools". Rock up to a club or practice session with it and some might think that you had packed for a DIY course instead. In short it's hard to be taken seriously with it, whether you see the small Korg logo on the side or not.

In their review of the keyboard, Sound on Sound referred to the case as something that could only be referred to as "ridiculously funky". Even by mid 2000's standards, orange was not exactly in vogue.

But the silly thing is, that despite the unique colour scheme, the hard case did its job perfectly. There were plenty of reviews on its release that heralded the inclusion of a hard case as a sensible option and indeed one reviewer praised it as something he would have shelled out $150 for. so long as it functioned perfectly to and from a gig or in storage, who cares what the colour is? And this is the funny thing - to include a hardcase for a sub-£1000 keyboard was and still is excellent value. I can't recall another Korg synth in the last few years that came with its own case and though plenty of third party sellers I have seen tend to bundle Gator cases with MicroKorgs, these are just soft cases and don't do much apart from keeping the dust off.

Funnier still: if the case were any other normal colour, the case and the synth as well would pass into obscurity like all other discontinued products: no doubt we would not even be discussing the case at all. So in the end, what seems like a strange design choice was not that strange after all and looking back on this nearly 10-year-old product makes me think that it's a smart move by guys in marketing to get more coverage from news sites. As Oscar Wilde said, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.

Either that or someone at Korg really liked orange.

Care to weigh in on the topic? What do you think about the colour of the case?