Korg SV-2 Review – Is It The Best Option?

73 SV-2

The Korg SV-2 was announced at the famous winter NAMM 2020 event. This was a pleasant surprise that left a lot of keyboardists extremely excited.

While the SV-1 made some really big waves in the digital piano game, I believe that the SV-2 could make some even bigger waves. This keyboard seemed to be one of the hits at the NAMM event and I totally get it.

In this article, we are going to be taking a deep look at the Korg SV-2 and everything it has to offer.

In my opinion, the Korg SV-2 is a win for Korg. Korg didn’t veer from the SV-1 in very many ways, including even the appearance. The main thing that Korg seemed to focus on with the SV-2 is to really improve the sounds. I believe that they did an incredible job in this department as I feel like the electric pianos sound great & the pianos do as well.

Pros

  • Great key-bed (RH3)
  • Simulated pedal noise(emulates acoustic piano)
  • Fantastic sounding pianos, organs & electric pianos
  • Available in 73 keys & 88
  • Great for gigging

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Lacks a mod-wheel or pitch-bend

Korg SV-2 VS The SV-1

I thoroughly believe that SV-2 is an upgrade from the SV-1. While you’re getting more sounds, the bigger thing to me is the quality of some of the sounds is just better.

Everyone knows that the SV-1 was all about the electric piano sounds. Korg did an incredible job putting in the same effort to the piano sounds of the SV-2.

While the SV-1 has 36 sounds, the SV-2 comes in at 72 sounds. Some of the electric piano sounds are basically the same thing, however, they didn’t need to be changed.

As far as polyphony goes, the SV-2 has 128 note polyphony whereas the SV-1 has 80.

Korg used their famous RH3 key-bed for both the SV-1 and the SV-2. This doesn’t really come as a surprise as it’s a fantastic key-bed for Korg digital pianos.

Quite possibly my favorite thing about the SV-2 is that it has more than 10 times the sample data of the SV-1. This is a huge difference.

Korg SV-2 Overview

SV-2 Review

At first glance, The Korg SV-2 is a very attractive looking stage piano, much like its predecessor.

It currently comes in a glossy black, which is pictured above, as well as a glossy silver. I personally don’t have a preference between the colors with this keyboard as I think they both look really slick.

As you can by looking at this keyboard, it has a very vintage feel to it. It kind of reminds me of a modern-day Rhodes in a way. It also has a very clean layout.

Features

  • Polyphony: 128 note polyphony
  • Software: SV-2 Editor allows you to create split and layered programs & save them
  • Keys: RH3 key-bed
  • Sounds: 72 total
  • Favorite Savable Sounds: 64
  • Studio-grade processing: Yes
  • Korg Valve Reactor circuit & real 12AX7A vacuum tube
  • Headphone jack: Yes, on the front
  • MIDI DIN I/O; MIDI over USB 2.0
  • Pedal Noise

The Design

Overall, the design is in my opinion, spot on. I love the vintage look that both the SV-1 and the SV-2 have. It really gives you this feeling of nostalgia all while delivering some incredible sounds.

I think the design is similar to that of a Nord Stage, however, I find the layout on the Korg SV-2 to be a little more user-friendly and I personally prefer it over the Nord’s.

Sounds

The SV-1 packed some incredible electric piano sounds, however, the SV-2 also does the same while adding some great piano & organ sounds as well.

You are also getting 72 sounds in total. While this is not a crazy amount, Korg has packed all of the vital sounds you would need for gigging in most bands. If you play in a synth-heavy band, you could always use this as a MIDI controller as well.

Note: The SV-2 does not come with built-in speakers. With this being said, for an additional cost, you can get the SV-2S which comes with speakers.

One thing I really like is the fact that the SV-2 has simulated pedal noise. This gives you that real authentic acoustic piano sound that actually sounds really believable when playing softly.

Looking at the different sounds, they are as followed:

  • Electric pianos: 23
  • Pianos: 25
  • Clavier & Organs: 14
  • Synths & Strings: 10

As you can see, there’s a good breakdown of sounds, with most of these being usable and actually really good sounding.

The big takeaway here is that the Korg SV-2 electric pianos are out of this world in my opinion. This was to be expected as the SV-1 did this very well as well.

Studio-grade FX and Valve Reactor circuit

The Korg SV-2 features a Valve Reactor circuit. which adds warmth and fatness for each sound. As far as the effects go, they include a 3-band EQ, red compressor, treble boost, u-vibe, vibrato, tremolo, and VOX wah.

Compared To Its Competition

In comparison to its competition, I believe that the Korg SV-2 is up there with some of the options on the market. One that is very similar in price and sound is the Yamaha CP88.

With this being said, I may prefer the CP88 key-bed over the SV-2, however, there are features I like more on the SV-2.

As far as the sounds go, this is completely subjective. Some people swear by the sounds of the Yamaha while others swear by the Korg sounds.

I do lean towards the electric piano sounds of the SV-2 though.

The Clientelle For The Korg SV-2?

I would say that this is more for advanced players because of its price. This would still work for any level of musician, however, it wouldn’t really be needed for beginners as it’s expensive.

This makes a great gigging keyboard as it packs in some incredible sounds that would be used heavily for cover bands or certain styles of bands.

The only bands it wouldn’t be great for would-be bands who don’t use a lot of pianos or electric piano sounds and are mainly synth sounds.

Overall

Overall, my review of the Korg SV-2 has been pretty favorable. I truly believe that this is a powerhouse of a keyboard and I recommend it to keyboard enthusiasts.

I would recommend this over a Nord as I think that it sounds just as good, if not better in my opinion and it’s half the price. This is currently one of my main choices when it comes to Nord alternatives as it is a little cheaper and is comparable in quality.

If you haven’t checked out the Korg SV-2, I definitely recommend diving deep into some Youtube videos on it!

5 comments
  1. I just got the SV-2S. I love the forward facing controls. They are much easier to access under my Hammond in my two tier set up compared to my Yamaha P200.
    I much prefer the sounds of my Yamaha, old as it is. The piano timbres in the Korg just don’t compare. It is disappointing, and I am consider returning it unfortunately. I wish more keyboards would consider forward facing controls. This is one of the main reasons I bought the Korg.

    1. Hi William, thanks for the comment. I am a bit surprised here, but totally get it! I really love the electric pianos on the Korg myself. It’s all a matter of preference in the end!

      The P200 is a classic and a great board!

  2. Not sure the Nord Stage is the direct competition here, more like the
    Nord Electro 6 HP, and that is about
    $1,000 more not twice.
    However, the Korg keys are absolutely a step above The Nord offering, so if you play more piano then the SV2 is the choice.

    SV2 is heavier tho, and in my advancing years
    I have to consider that.

  3. The SV2 has no speakers, just like the SV1. it is the SV2S model that has a built in speaker system at additional cost.

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