EPILOGUE 2013

ONE of the great things about the Internet is that it serves as an archive for information no longer available elsewhere.  But one must be careful about using this 'stale' data ...

This page is based on information that is now many years' old.  Most of it was written during 2000-2002, when the Korg CX-3 was sold by Korg, and arguably the best Hammond B-3 clone available in the market.  Since then, many things have changed -- not the least, the fact that Korg no longer sells and supports the Korg CX-3.  Upgrading a Version 1 CX-3 is now a very difficult process, because technology has marched along, leaving the process in its wake:

  • The upgrade program was written for the Windows environment, which in 2000-2002 meant Windows 98, Windows ME, and Windows 2000.  Very few machines still run these OS versions.

  • There was supposed to be a MacOS version of the upgrade. It never happened.

  • The tested/verified MIDI interfaces were quite popular in 2002, but almost unavailable in 2013.  This is significant because the biggest risk in the upgrade is from a loss of MIDI data during the process, and the MIDI interface and drivers were a big part of this risk.

AT this time, I DO NOT recommend upgrading any CX-3 that still runs the Version 1 OS.  It was never a 'foolproof' process, and Korg will no longer provide support if something goes wrong.  My personal experience with the upgrade was very good, but there are others who ended up with broken gear.  In 2002, it might have been possible to convince Korg to repair the organ -- perhaps, even for free, -- but even the Version 2 CX-3 has been out of production for more than five years; the Version 1 for over ten years.  Take a look at the bug list and Version 2 features on this page, and see if you can live with what you have; if not sell the organ to someone who can.

-Bruce Wahler

Korg CX-3 Issues


The Korg CX-3 is a terrific copy of the venerable Hammond B-3 organ, down to subtle details like the positioning of the drawbars and switches, and even smaller details like the "ping" that you get when you turn on the percussion with notes already held down. Early models of the organ, though, may have some minor flaws. Most of the problems seem to be firmware-related, which means that they can be corrected with a code update.

In the interest of helping out the current owners, I'm keeping a log of the problems, their effect to the user, and workarounds or fixes, if they're available. Many of these issues were either learned through information in the Keyboard review, or discovered on a pair of early CX-3's, S/N 000150 and S/N 000155. Corrections were verified on my own S/N 001383. Some of the information about corrections is from Korg, but much of it is unofficial. The Fix column refers to the present or future method of correction, based on the best information that I can obtain; availability of such corrections is not guaranteed.

NOTE: Most of these issues pretain to the "Version 1" CX-3, rather than the newer "Version 2" CX-3 or the BX-3. The easiest way to tell which version you have is that Version 2 shows a drawbar animation on the display during power-up, while Version 1 only displays the words "KORG CX-3" during this phase.

 

Firmware and Revisions

The CX-3 has several "Easter egg" features that can be found by holding down buttons during power up. NOTE: Be patient; the buttons must be held down a relatively long time, until the display goes from "KORG CX-3" to displaying patch A-1.

Holding the '1' and '8' buttons while powering up displays the 'low-level' firmware revision -- kind of like the BIOS in a PC. The latest (and only) version that I am aware of is --

    Ipl V2.00  000422AB

Holding the 'DISPLAY' button during power up shows two more firmware revisions:

    Mwwxxyyzz  Skkmmnnpp

These numbers refer to the code loaded in the Master and Subsystem CPUs. The latest revisions available are --

    M01070501  S00111400

VERSION 2

An upgrade to BX-3 performance was available as the "CX-3 Version 2."  A software upgrade for v1.x CX-3's was available from the Korg website.

This upgrade is much more user-friendly than the earlier upgrade, but it is not a "no brainer."  If you have a reliable PC with a rock-solid MIDI interface, and feel confident about doing software upgrades like patches to programs and BIOS updates, this upgrade software will allow you to add significant new features to your CX-3 in a matter of about 15-30 minutes.  If, however, this kind of upgrade makes you queasy, you might want to have a more technical friend help you.  If you don't have such a friend available, consider sending the organ to a Korg service center.

NOTE: One point that doesn't really get hammered in place in the readme file is that the Global channel of the CX-3 MUST be set to CH1 for the upgrade.  After that, you can put it back to whatever channel you were using beforehand.

The previous update to version M00111500/S00111400 is no longer available from Korg Canada.  It corrected many of the problems seen in my list (below).

The details about what has changed in Version 2 are available here.

Factory Reset

Holding down the '2' and '7' buttons during power up brings up a prompt, "Load Factory Data?" to allow the user to completely refresh the unit to factory condition.

 

Version 1 Issues and Corrections

ProblemS/N RangeInfo FoundFix S/N 001383
Keyboard causes occasional double-strikes. 1-600 Keyboard article replace keyboard fixed
DSP settings sometimes change in Preset mode, cause "drawbar jitter." 1-600 use of S/N 000150, KORG Tech Support update to M111500/S111400 fixed
Pitch Bend returns to +7 level on power down. unknown testing on S/N 000150, 001383 update to M111500/S111400 fixed
Receipt of MIDI patch changes cannot be disabled. unknown testing on S/N 000150, 001383 update to M111500/S111400 fixed
Rotary Speaker simulator does not obey foot pedal in Local Off. The correct MIDI data is sent by the CX-3, and will be obeyed on playback; just not in real time. unknown testing on S/N 000150, 001383; fix verified on M01070501 M01070501 not fixed
Fast playing causes stuck notes (without the use of MIDI). 601-1179 reported on S/N 001017 update to M111500/S111400 fixed
Fast use of expression pedal causes erratic behavior. 1-600 KORG revision list update to M111500/S111400 fixed
"Scratchy" treble control. 1-600 KORG revision list update to M111500/S111400 fixed
Pops and clicks heard in the audio. 1-600 reported on two units update to M111500/S111400 fixed


Copyright © 2001-2013 by Bruce Wahler of Ashby Solutions. If you have suggestions or comments, please send them to cx3@ashbysolutions.com.

This site is not affiliated with Korg or Korg USA, Inc. No commercial benefit is derived from the dispensing of this information.

Last updated 2/15/2013.