Sound Collection Tools for the Korg Z1 Synthesizer

Korg Z1 Panel

Korg Z1 Panel

I’ve collected a lot of sounds for the Z1 from several web pages. All those sounds now need some sorting and rearrangement. After that, I’ll send them to the Z1, extract the best ones and refine them to my likings.

The Z1 offers 256 internal slots for single sounds (called programs), arranged in two banks, A and B. Inserting a PC card, it can make two more banks directly accessible via a dedicated button.

The card provides much more space (4MB in total), and can host up to 15 so called card areas. Each card area hosts two banks. A card area switch hidden in the global menu lets the user define which of the 15 card areas is accessible directly from the synths front panel. This means that 512 sound programs are directly accessible (256 internal, one card area), while the card can host 3584 further sounds (14 remaining banks).
This means it is possible to have up to 4096 sounds available in the synth.

That’s not a minus at all. It’s simply impracticable to search such a huge amount of sounds for a particular one. Instead one wants to use some software tools to manage the growing sound collection.

However, searching such a huge amount of sounds from the Z1’s front panel is painful. To manage a collection of 2,000 sounds, usually a piece of software gets used. Such tools most often not only allow to rearrange sounds, but also to edit them and to tweak other settings. So I searched the web and found some tools:

  • Together with the Z1, Korg released an editor for Mac Os 7.5. I wished I had such a machine left just to have some fun, but even if so, it required some other software to be installed to make the tool usable. As the Z1 was not a commercially successful synthesizer, Korg did not maintain this editor and it won’t run on current versions of Mac OS.
  • It seems there was an editor for Sounddiver, but since Emagic was bought by Apple, sounddiver seems to be dead.
  • Harmony Central hosts zed which looked promising, at least feature wise. However, I do not know whether it was useful for rearranging sounds. The downloadable demo version has some limitations, and the domain of the developer nooloop seems to be unavailable.
  • There’s a demo version of the Korg Z1 Editor 2004. AFAIR it was very limited and the price was much more the last time I visited the page. There was an update in november and it’s just about 14€. Though it’s still a Windows application, whereas I run Linux almost all the time, I think I should give it a try again.
  • I used UniversalManager a couple of years ago, a freeware Windows application, when I arranged sounds for the Access Virus synthesizer. The great thing about this small tool is that one can manage two collections for the same synth at a time. This way it is very easy to move sounds from the synth to the hard drive and to stuff others into the synth. The tool is highly configurable via a text configuration file. Unfortunately it seems that it does not fit the Z1 well. Firstly, the Z1 does not support to request individual sounds (instead, it always sends one bank as one huge SysEx package). Secondly, I have no clue whether it supports creating checksums for the Z1 or even not. If you are running one of the supported synths (such as a Waldorf MicroQ or an Access Virus), it’s worth a try.
  • Pete Kvitek has written some command line Windows applications to convert sounds from the Prophecy or Triton to the Z1. Three further utilities can split one Z1 bank into individual sounds and merge them back into a bank, or list the names of the sounds in a file. Though I always denied to use wine to get some Windows program to work, I didn’t resist this time. Pete’s tools do a great job: Just arrange the sounds using your computer’s file system.

That’s it so far. A post about sorting the files using Ruby will follow :) .

3 thoughts on “Sound Collection Tools for the Korg Z1 Synthesizer

  1. Ian Clark

    Good to see a helpful page giving advice to Korg Z1 users.

    I agree with your comment about searching through a large number of Korg Z1 sounds, and recommend that you have a look at the latest version of Korg Z1 Editor 2004 as you suggest. There is a Sound Show tool there which can send selected sound patches to the Korg Z1 in succession without needing to press any buttons on the Korg Z1. Worth a mention.


  2. Michael Meier

    I have found on
    some files.
    There is one file
    I don’t know what this is.
    I cannot extract it, because it is password protected.

    Do you know what Manipulator1.4 is and do you have any extra information (password) or links for me ?
    I used google to search for information about Manipulator1.4, but I could not find any.

    Another question:
    I read that nooloop no longer exists.
    So how to get a serial for their Zed 1.0 Editor ?
    Would it be still illegal if someone would share his serial though the company (nooloop) doesn’t exist anymore and it is more or less impossible to clear if the Zed 1.0 Editor is still protected by copyright ?

    Thanks in advance !

  3. ce Post author

    Unfortunately I cannot share any knowledge about extracting/unlocking either of them.

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