KRONOS for CHRISTMAS?
So, its nearly that time of year. That time of year when professional musicians face the age old conundrum….new gear for Christmas?
You see, most gigging musicians know that at this time of the year, there are usually more and better paid gigs, which means a touch more money in the coffers, but also, it’s a time when you think long and hard about your gear. Would I sound a LOT better if I had the latest ‘so & so’ from ‘such a company’….. If I sounded a lot better, would I get more gigs, If I got more gigs, the new gear would have paid for itself in no time, and actually, by not getting the latest kit, I’m harming my core business etc.
And so, it is, that eventually the Pro musician will convince himself he has to have the latest piece of kit, and as far as we’re concerned, for Pro Keyboards players, it’s the new KORG KRONOS X.
So what are you getting in real terms?
Let’s have a look at what they say, and what it means to you……
KRONOS X Highlights
“Peerless synthesizer containing nine sound engines, such as realistic piano, richly expressive electric piano, tonewheel organ, digital synthesis, and powerful analog/physical modeling.”
Actually, this is the crux of the matter. Whilst soft synth and samplers like Kontakt, undoubtedly have the edge in terms of string and brass sounds, just because of the sheer huge size of the libraries and the amount of processing power available to your average audio PC or MAC, in terms of Pianos, Electric Pianos and Organs, there is very little if any difference between the top end Software versions and the onboard sounds within KRONOS. They are just uniformly excellent. To accurately capture the rich character of a concert piano, Korg abandoned working within the limitations of existing sampling methods and took advantage Virtual Memory Technology (VMT), able to play large samples directly from the internal high-capacity Solid State Disk (SSD).
Whether you’re playing Rock, Pop, Jazz or Restaurant music, these are some of the best keyboard samples available. Korg have such a long history of wrestling and squeezing samples to get the very best out of them, that now they have the luxury of Gigabytes of sample RAM, (Approximately 2GB of available PCM RAM and a doubled SSD capacity of 62 GB ) they are just superb at tailoring the sounds, and I would defy anyone to not find a usable Piano, E.Piano or Organ from the vast palette available in KRONOS.
“16-part Combis allow all engines to function together in perfect harmony;”
Again. This is one of the key strengths to the KRONOS and its compatriots.
Yes, it’s perfectly possible to combine different soft synths within a DAW, and to play them all on MIDI channel 1, but hardly anyone ever does, and yet, the bods at Korg have been doing this for decades. At first it was an attempt to bolster some fairly weedy Programs sounds into a fatter, more usable whole, but as memory size has increased, and the Programs themselves have become hugely powerful sounding in their own right, the Combi’s have allowed the programmers to take some very cool (and in some cases, weird) flights of fancy.
On a more practical level, for the gigging musician, the ability to split a keyboard into say, Bass in the Left hand and Piano in the right, is a necessity, and the nice thing about the Kronos, is auditioning/changing the various voices is a doddle.
“On-board sequencer offers 16 MIDI tracks + 16 audio tracks (24-bit, 48kHz recording quality)”
For those of us blessed enough to run fully fledged DAWS on powerful computers with large, multiple monitors. The idea of the old ‘workstation’ type sequencer seems antiquated and laughable, but hold on, and take a closer look. As with everything else, the sequencer has actually borrowed from the best of what’s gone before, and is now a very usable and powerful tool. The 16-track audio recorder simultaneously captures up to four tracks of 16-bit/24-bit uncompressed data at a sampling rate of 48 kHz, it has mixer automation and editing functions such as copy, paste, and normalize, and a USB CD-burner so you could assemble your album right from the TouchView display.
“Open Sampling System – Instant sampling and resampling from any mode:”
It’s true, and very, very powerful, once you’ve got your head around it.
You can use KRONOS to sample an external audio source, or to resample the performance of the KRONOS itself. User samples can be edited using operations such as truncate, normalize, time stretch, or time slice. Edited samples can also be exported in AIFF or WAVE format. You can also load external samples in AIFF, WAVE, SoundFont 2.0, and AKAI S1000/3000 formats via USB memory. By loading samples that you’ve previously created on other instruments or on a PC, you can set up your music production system on the KRONOS.
Essentially, you just need to put the time in to get to know your instrument. Once you’ve seen the Korg ‘power-users’ getting the kind of results you’d expect from a fully fledged DAW, you’ll be very surprised at the amount of creativity this offers you.
Sophisticated KARMA® technology generates infinitely variable performance-driven phrases, musical effects, and backing tracks to catalyze your creativity
“Set List mode: Organize the Programs, Combis, and Songs you need to perform your set in a single, easy-to-select screen – including performance notes!”
Phenomenal idea. For any gigging musician, especially if playing solo, this is an absolute Godsend.
Again, you need to learn how to drive it, but this is so good.
Essentially, you can load up your various Combi’s ,Presets, Programs etc. IN THE ORDER YOU’RE GONNA NEED THEM!!!!
So, for example if your first song relies on a Huge Electronic Pad with a cutting edge high synth lead line, and your second needs to feature a lush Grand Piano with backing strings, you can just programme whatever you need into your setlist, hit the track name, and Voila, the sounds you need are there right away. None of the struggling changing patches and jabbing frantically at buttons of old, just a seamless transition between songs, and because of the Smooth Sound Transition feature, the notes will flow from one to the other without a hitch or glitch.
Also, if someone, changes the set-list on the fly, it’s as easy as just picking the correct song name.
- Direct support for playing drums and chords from Korg pad-equipped USB controllers, including the nanoPAD, nanoPAD2, padKONTROL; general support for all class-compliant USB controllers, including the Korg nano series and microKEY series
- Support for the KRONOS Editor and Plug-in Editor software
- USB Ethernet adapter compatibility enables high-speed data communication between the KRONOS X and your computer.
Does what it says on the tin. Complete communication between control devices, your computer and their own editing software. Can’t ask for any more.
“Comprehensive interface, based around a large 8” TFT TouchView™ display”
Hallelujah! The biggest and best touch screen of the whole range. Very easy to see everything you need, and very intuitive to use.
So, will you do it?
Will you allow yourself to indulge this Christmas?
Well here’s one final Cherry on the Christmas Pud.
It’s just come down in price. LN46685
Happy Christmas to you.
You deserve it.