Korg's M1 synth is generally considered the first workstation, although earlier synths such as the later models of the E-mu Emulator had some similar capabilities. The M1 is a sample playback machine, with onboard effects but little ability to edit or modify sounds. The M1 was noted for its onboard sequencer capability and its ability to accept ROM cards to expand the number of available sample sets. This set the pattern for most later workstation models.
Workstations are often marketed towards musicians and arrangers who have no interest in creating new timbres and sounds; rather, they want to use the synth to replace conventional instruments, allowing them to build songs and soundtracks without using additional musicians. Typically there is a very large library of sampled sounds available within the synth and via external storage, but little capability for modifying sounds, or building new sounds from scratch. Due to this, workstations have something of a bad reputation among electronic musicians.