Tag Archives: Synth

Superbooth: IK Multimedia Announce The UNO Analog Synth

After a teaser campaign lasting a couple of weeks, the first day of Superbooth ensured that a number of eyes were already peering in IK Multimedia’s direction. After all, why would a company with a mostly software heritage be heading to the mother of all hardware synth shows in Berlin?

As you would expect, this time around it got physical as they unveiled the UNO mono synth.

Uno Synth main top shot
IK Multimedia Uno Synth

Boasting an all-analogue signal path the UNO synth lays out plenty of options for generating and shaping your sounds including  2 VCOs, a noise generator and resonant multimode VCF and VCA.

The 2 independent VCOs feature Saw, Triangle, Pulse waveforms with continuously variable shape including PWM of the square wave plus a separate white noise generator. To help shape the sound it includes a 2-pole OTA-based analog resonant sweepable multimode filter with low pass, high pass and bandpass settings as well as a dual stage overdrive section and effects.

The synth holds 100 presets and includes an easy-to-play keyboard with selectable scales and an arpeggiator to make this an easy to handle performance synth, no matter what your skill level may be.

IK Multimedia UNO synth Rear
Round the back of the UNO synth.

The I/O round the back includes both a mono in and out as well as midi connectivity too. The unit can be USB or battery powered using 4 XAA batteries and the synth is a diminutive 25.6cm/10.1″ x 15cm/8.9″ x 4.9cm/1.93″ and only 400 grams.

The UNO should be arriving with us within the next couple of months and should be doing so for the bargain price point of around £200 when it does.

To D Or Not To D…Behringer Targets Classic Synth Revivals

Last week the internet spontaneously combusted at some news from Uli Behringer that his company was thinking about developing a cheap ($400) Minimoog Model D clone. Ok, that may be a little bit of an exaggeration but the salt was definitely flowing over at the Gearslutz forum and it’s safe to say that Mr Behringer sure knows how to split people into two distinct camps. His following comment rubbed some people up the wrong way:

“Many people have asked us to revive synth jewels from the past and make them affordable so everyone can own one. This very much resonates with me because when I was a kid, I spent hours in stores playing and admiring those synths – however I couldn’t afford them which was tremendously frustrating.

Frankly, I never understood why someone would charge you US$ 4,000 for a MiniMoog, when the components just cost around US$ 200.”

I actually see a lot of merit in this and hot on the heels of the success of the Deepmind12 I see no reason why the company shouldn’t use the engineer talent from MIDAS for every good use they can possibly think of. I highly doubt with that level of talent on-board that they will settle for simple clones, the Juno 106 clone that slowly transformed into the DM12 is a prime example of this train of thought.

Anyway, I digress. On one hand we have a group of people who think that this behaviour is total sacrilege. More so coming from Uli’s company who have the manufacturing facilities and buying power to make this cheap Model D a reality. Certain commenters have been quite vocal about this being a case of big B throwing a serious spanner in the works for the smaller boutique companies who simply cannot compete in terms of buying power and manufacturing cost – especially as Moog have reissued the Model D recently themselves.

On the other hand we have struggling musicians and those who don’t care what badge a piece of gear has, as long as it sounds good and they can afford it then its a win-win. After all the posturing and proverbial mud slinging, Uli posted a gorgeous little render of a Eurorack compatible Model D clone…and with it the internet fire seemed to be suffocated by the lack of oxygen due to the communal gasps.

Some of the staunchest naysayers on the thread seemed to relax a little once Uli revealed it wasn’t going to be just a cheap 1:1 clone. Among the ashes of the weeks bickering and moderated comments, there were posts that say Behringer may have plans for another 20 synths. Wait, what?!

Fast forward a week, Uli has now teased that the OSCar and ARP 2600 are high on the priority list and I am personally over the moon! He left this comment on Gearslutz last night

“Aside from the Oscar synth, I can confirm that the 2600 is high on our priority list as it is a truly remarkable synth; I always wanted one for myself:-)

We are currently trying to acquire an original unit for benchmark purposes.

We hope we will be able to show you a first design draft within the next few weeks, while we’re studying the circuit diagrams to provide you with an estimated retail price.

Once ready we will reach out to you to see if there is enough interest.”

Considering I’m not rolling in dosh, I have never had the opportunity to play on any of these mythical beasts, and his projected price range is much more suitable for someone like myself. I personally don’t see these units taking any market share away from the likes of Moog as they are aimed at completely different price points and completely different customer bases that very rarely venture into each others gear territory.  Uli Behringer I salute you!

For more info be sure to head over to the Gearslutz forums, unfortunately some of the more colourful posts have been moderated but these threads are still a fantastic read.

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/electronic-music-instruments-electronic-music-production/1142144-behringer-mini-model-d-good-idea.html

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/electronic-music-instruments-electronic-music-production/1141074-what-synths-should-behringer-make-next.html

Uli’s post regarding the OSCar and ARP 2600:

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/electronic-music-instruments-electronic-music-production/1141074-what-synths-should-behringer-make-next-9.html#post12499056

If this little article has got your synth buds salivating, why not take a look at the oscillating goodness we have in store!

https://www.scan.co.uk/shop/pro-audio/instruments/synthesizers

The Arturia MatrixBrute

Arturias latest synth is another stunner to look at if your a synth programmer and more than lives up to its name. With so many options, its going to be hard to know where to start, but we bet anyone with a passing interest in sound design is going to love getting their hands on one of these.

The MatrixBrute features a 100% analog signal path generated by its three oscillator + sub oscillator style design. It features a Steiner-Parker filter along with its ladder filter setup, which are capable of being arranges in series or parallel configurations. Routing is handled by a 16×16 modulation matrix that allows you to assign any of the 16 modulation sources to any of the 16 modulation destinations, offering a staggering amount of control over your patches, the sort of which you’d rarely see outside a full modular setup.

Those patches can also be saved for later use, so whilst the MaxtrixBrute might not qualify as a modular function wise at least you get the best of both worlds with control more in depth than most other synths, whilst still maintaining the ability to instantly recall a patch when your performing.

Speaking of performing, it has a 49 note controller keyboard with a full compliment of additional sequencer and arpeggiator controls. A USB connection allows you to connect it to the editor and patch libraian software for easy managment, its also fully MIDI controllable and impressively it includes 12 CV inputs and 12 CV outs for connection and control of any modular gear you wish to connect up alongside it.

This really is an amazing looking synth, one we’re sure will end up on many a wishlist this year.

Main Features

Analog Matrix Synthesizer

256 Preset memory locations

2 Analog Exponential VCO’s:

Saw + UltraSaw, Square +Pulse width, Triangle + Metalizer, Sub

1 Analog Linear VCO/LFO

Saw, Square, Triangle, Sine waveforms; LFO time divisions; Key track

VCO 2>1 Hard Sync

Audio Mod:
VCO1>2 ; VCO1 < VCO3> VCO2 ; VCF 1 < VCO3> VCF 2 ; VCF1 < Noise> VCF2
 

Noise Generator:
White ; Pink ; Red ; Blue noise types

5 input Audio Mixer with Filter routing

Steiner Parker filter with 12+24 db per octave modes ; Drive ; Brute factor; Low Pass, High Pass, Band Pass, Notch

Ladder filter with 12+24 db per octave modes ; Drive ; Brute factor; Low Pass, High Pass, Band Pass

2 LFO’s
Sine, Tri, Square, Ramp, Saw, Random, S&H

3 Envelope Generators

2 Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release

1 Delay, Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release

External Audio In

16×16 Matrix modulation panel

64 step sequencer

STEP enable, Slide, Accent, Modulation

Save and recall sequence patterns on the fly

Analog Effects

Stereo delay, Delay, Flanger, Chorus, Analog Reverberator

Arpeggiator

12 CV / Gate Inputs/Outputs

Audio Input, Line or Instrument level

Stereo audio output

MIDI and USB I/O

Pedal inputs for Expression and Sustain

Arturia MatrixBrute @ Scan

All Arturia Hardware @ Scan

Artura MatrixBrute Homepage

Waldorf KB37 Keyboard, NW1, MOD1, DVCA1, CMP1 Modules

KB37 complete side

With the now well established Eurorack standard continuing to prove ever popular amongst synth enthusiasts, we’ve seen a number of new units appearing at NAMM in possibly what could be the year of the Eurorack format.

Waldorf who are ever at the forefront when it comes to synths have decided to put a new spin on things by introducing the KB37 chasis. This unit is based around a high quality Fatar TB9 keyboard, which can host a total 100 HP worth of modules (around 4 in total) in its angled front panel.

KB37 complete

What this means, is that Walforf is come up with a design based around a great keybed, allowing you to build your own synth using the modules of your choice. The base keyboard itself provides extremely flexible control for any of those mounted modules thanks to its high-resolution, temperature-stable 16-bit CV interface and the additional MIDI control offers fully programmable MIDI channels and velocity curves, making the kb37 the perfect partner both in the studio and for taking your modules out on stage.

KB37 rear

Alongside the base KB37 keyboard, Waldorf has a number of new modules to tempt you even futher.

NW1

The NW1 is based on an advanced wavetable engine, which historically has always been a strong point for Waldorf, so we’d expect good things here. This is backed up by the fact that the NW1 uses the classic wavetable banks from the Microwave & Wave synths of yesteryear. Not only that but the NW1 also lets you easily create your own wavetables right from the front panel via time domain multiple foldover analysis. All you need to do is connect any sound source to the NW1 to transfer audio into a wavetable, or you can even use the integrated speech synthesizer to translate typed text into wavetables!

NW1front

MOD1

The MOD1 unit gives you three different modulation sources in one module make the MOD1 the control center of your modular patch. From simple envelopes and LFOs to complex looped multi-stage curves, the MOD1 delivers rich and endless modulation options, from gently undulating LFOs to ultra-precise hard cuts, you get it all based on innovative analogue circuits for a truly musical touch.

mod1 straight 687

DVCA1

Built around two VCAs with a wide range of options including the most important one: the ability to musically colour the signal. Starting in dry mode, you get high-precision analogue amplification. But then when you turn the Colour knob, you add a warmer and more colourful timbre to the signal based on a finely-crafted state variable filtering circuit. Additionally positive gain control makes the dvca1 a true “amplifier,” and flexible link modes let you create modulated panning.

dvca straight new exp 701

CMP1

A true high-end analogue compressor not only adds punch to your signal, but it also can be modulated in intriguing and unconventional ways including side-chaining with a adjustable balance control that will open up a huge set of modular possibilities.

cmp1 straight 685

Kompaktklavier

The Kompaktklavier otherwise known as the Zarenbourg Module, offers the sound engine of the Zarenbourg Piano in a rack unit. Just like its larger cousin, three different sound generators deliver uncompromising quality where physical modeling recreates the classic E-Piano sounds with staggering authenticity. The direct streaming sample playback engine with 4 GB of sample memory provides a selection of fantastic grand, upright and electric pianos. The third sound generation system is a 6-operator FM synthesizer, perfect for classic DX pianos and a variety of other trademark FM sounds.

Along with the sound generation capabilites it also provides a huge selection of high-quality effects, such as
Reverb, Chorus, Flanger, Phaser, Echo, Auto Wah, Equalizer and Overdrive, as well as many effect combinations. Each sound can be freely combined with an effect / effects combination and stored in the internal memory. New sounds and effects can also be added via the integrated SD Card slot.

It’s an interesting setup that makes your module collection a little bit more portable than before. If you have the need to take them on stage with you, the KB37 should certainly be seen as an option.

Waldorf @ Scan

Waldorf KB37 Homepage

The Roland AIRA Modular Synth And Effects Range Unleashed At Musikmesse

Expanding futher on the ARIA range, what we see here is a new, old twist in the shape of the System-1 synth gaining CV/Gate connectors, externals input and a revamp to the available routing options. All this means you can add it into a Eurorack compatible setup for futher modular routing fun and madness. Along with  central System-1m synth the are a number of additional effect modules including the Bitrazer (Bitcrusher), Demora (Delay), Scooper (Loop Recorder and Scatter effect) and Torcido (Distortion effect) which can be added into the setup as well.

Roland System-1m Features

  • Semi-modular synthesizer with PLUG-OUT capability
  • 19 color-coded CV/Gate and audio connections with LED lighting
  • 84 HP Eurorack, tabletop and 19” rack compatible using AC adaptor or Eurorack power
  • Versatile oscillators with six waveforms, Crossmod, Ring Mod, Sync and Color control
  • All parameters controlled with high-resolution knobs and sliders with LED indicators
  • External input for processing external signals through filter, amp and FX section
  • -12 dB and -24 dB filter types with independent high-pass filters
  • Integrated tone, crusher, reverb and delay effects
  • Tempo syncing for LFO and delay
  • 24-bit/96kHz audio and MIDI interface
  • AIRA Link for easy connection to MX-1 Mix Performer
  • Includes rackmount adapter and braided patch cables

Roland System 1m

 

Roland Bitrazer Features

  • Intense bit and sample rate destruction
  • CV/Gate parameter control including sample rate, bit depth, and filter
  • Tabletop unit or 21 HP Eurorack module using AC adaptor or Eurorack power
  • 24-bit knobs with over 16 million steps of resolution
  • Re-programmable via Mac, PC, iOS, Android application
  • 15 patchable submodules, expandable with free updates
  • 2 inputs and 2 outputs with dual-mono or stereo capability
  • AIRA Link compatible
  • 24bit/96kHz audio interface
  • Includes braided patch cables

Roland Bitrazer

Roland Demora Features

  • High-resolution, ultra-smooth delay effect
  • Huge delay range from 20 microseconds to 10 seconds
  • CV/Gate parameter control including delay time, feedback and width
  • Tabletop unit or 21 HP Eurorack module using AC adaptor or Eurorack power
  • 24-bit knobs with over 16 million steps of resolution
  • Re-programmable via Mac, PC, iOS, Android application
  • 15 patchable submodules, expandable with free updates
  • 2 inputs and 2 outputs with dual-mono or stereo capability
  • AIRA Link compatible
  • 24bit/96kHz audio interface
  • Includes braided patch cables

Roland Demora

Roland Scooper Features

  • Single-pass looper with dramatic Scatter effects
  • CV/Gate parameter control including Scatter depth/type, pitch, and filter
  • Tabletop unit or 21 HP Eurorack module using AC adaptor or Eurorack power
  • 24-bit knobs with over 16 million steps of resolution
  • Re-programmable via Mac, PC, iOS, Android application
  • 15 patchable submodules, expandable with free updates
  • 2 inputs and 2 outputs with dual-mono or stereo capability
  • AIRA Link compatible
  • 24bit/96kHz audio interface
  • Includes braided patch cables

Roland Scooper Module

Roland Torcido Features

  • Classic Roland distortion sound
  • CV/Gate parameter control including distortion amount, tone and tube warmth
  • Tabletop unit or 21 HP Eurorack module using AC adaptor or Eurorack power
  • 24-bit “GRF” knobs with over 16 million steps of resolution
  • Re-programmable via Mac, PC, iOS, Android application
  • 15 patchable submodules, expandable with free updates
  • 2 inputs and 2 outputs with dual-mono or stereo capability
  • AIRA Link compatible
  • 24bit/96kHz audio interface
  • Includes braided patch cables

Roland Torcido

The Roland ARIA modular homepage

Roland Products @ Scan

Nord Stage 2 EX Keyboard Range Launched At Musikmesse

Nord-Stage-2-EX-HA88 Keyboard

Starting off our Musikmesse hardware coverage this year, Nord has announced an update to their ever popular “Stage” range in the shape of the Stage 2 EX piano range.

Ever popular with live performers world wide, the new Nord Stage EX range comes in 3 sizes with the EX 88 offering a fully weighted 88-note hammer action keybed, the EX HP76 has a lightweight hammer action keybed, and the EX Compact has a 73-note semi-weighted waterfall keyboard. Other than the keyboard variations, all the keyboards offer the same features across the range and include 1GB for the new factory bank that features a total of 5 Grand Pianos, 7 Upright Pianos, 11 Electric Pianos, Clavinet, Harpsichords and a vastly improved Nord Sample Library selection including great new Strings, Choir and Folk instruments.

Main Nord Stage 2 Ex Features

Piano Section

  • 1 GB memory for the Nord Piano Library
  • State-of-the art sample-based Acoustic and Electric Pianos
  • Advanced String Resonance (Gen 2)
  • Long Release option
  • Dynamic Pedal Noise via optional Nord Triple Pedal

Organ Section

  • B3 Tone-Wheel simulation
  • Vintage 122 Rotary Speaker simulation
  • Faithful simulations of classic Vox and Farfisa organs
  • Digital LED Drawbars for easy overview of active drawbar settings.

Synth Section

  • 380 MB for the Nord Sample Library
  • Powerful Classic analog, 3 Operator FM and Wavetable synthesis
  • Arpeggiator
  • Unison mode
  • Master Clock

Global features

  • Comprehensive Effects section
  • Single-function control knobs and instant visibility of current settings
  • External section allowing the Nord Stage 2 EX to serve as a master keyboard
  • Expanded Live Mode with 5 locations
  • USB-MIDI. No driver required for Mac OS X. WHQL certified driver available for Windows.

 

All said, it looks to be a solid upgrade to a well loved synth range and improvements to the sound engine and keyboard itself should go down well.

The Nord Range @ Scan

The Nord Stage 2 EX Range Homepage

 

 

 

The Novation Mininova goes on special, just in time for Christmas.

Novation Mininova Price Drop

 

In an attempt to get ahead of all the December sales and in perfect time to make it onto your X-mas wish list (it may even fit in a stocking!) Novation drops the price of their small but perfectly formed Mininova synth.

This 37 note controller keyboard with up to 18 voices capable of stacking 5 effects per sound, a built in vocoder and the ability to edit the synth patches from inside of your DAW for ease of use, this special price should put it firmly on the want list this Christmas.

Check out the Mininova in action

Check out the Novation Mininova @ Scan

 

Korg Volca – Analogue Beats, Bass & Keys

The Korg Volca analogue synths are a progression from thier Monotron and Monotribe synths, but this time they’ve listened to the public and added Midi support, whilst retaining the pure analogue control. There’s still no definate ETA on them, but they are priced at only £120 each! With the midi sync option, this really makes a fantastic way to integrate the unique sound of analogue synthesis into your productions. Personally, I find programming small patterns into the built-in sequencers and sync’ing them to midi clock gives a fantastic result, stick your sequencer audio on record and go crazy on the knobs, then go back and cut up the best bits.

USA_volca_1_MAIN

 

 

SYNC jack and MIDI IN connector allow synchronized performance with multiple units or with your DAW
By using the sync jack you can enjoy synchronized playback with multiple volcas or with a monotribe. You can also use the “SyncKontrol” iPhone app to wirelessly control tap tempo, swing settings, and synchronized playback with iOS music apps via WIST. The MIDI IN connector lets you synchronize with other devices, as well as play the volca from any MIDI keyboard. You can also send note messages from your DAW and use the volca as an analog sound module.

Volca Keys – Analogue Loop Synth 

The ideal introductory synthesizer, with a simple – yet powerful – polyphonic analog sound engine and loop sequencer
USA_volca_4

     

  • Three note true analogue synthesis
  • Voicing function lets anyone create sounds easily
  • Delay effect for even more sonic possibilities
  • Simple loop sequencer
  • Loop sequencer lets you record phases just as you play them
  • Motion Sequencer records knob edits in real time
  • Active Step function and Flux function to add dynamic change to your sequences
  • Convenient functions for tremendous ease of use
  • Self-tuning function for constant, stable pitch
  • Sync In and Out allows clock sync of multiple instruments from the volca Series as well as Korg’s Monotribe
  • Compact size, battery-powered operation, and built-in speaker for enjoyment anywhere

Volca Bass – Analogue Bass Machine

USA_volca_2

     

  • Powerful analog bass sound
  • Three analogue oscillators for thick, huge bass line
  • Newly designed analog filter for crisp, bright response
  • Simple structure with single VCF, VCA, LFO, and EG
  • Loop sequencer distilled from the Electribe series
  • Electribe-style 16-step sequencer with eight memory patches
  • Slide function that’s indispensable for acid and other types of electronic music
  • Active Step function generates new bass lines by removing or inserting steps

Volca Beats – Analogue Rhythm Machine

USA_volca_6

     

  • Real analog sounds created with reference to classic rhythm machines
  • Six editable analogue parts with one knob per function for easy editing
  • Maximum effect from minimal parameters – a unique advantage of analog
  • PCM sound engine expands possibilities when used with analog sounds

Loop sequencer distilled from the Electribe series

  • Electribe-style 16-step sequencer with eight memory patches
  • Stutter function generates repeated triggers that dramatically change the sequence
  • Active Step function generates new bass lines by removing or inserting steps.
  • Step Jump function instantly plays only the step you’re pressing

Volca @ Korg

Korg @ Scan

Korg MS20 Mini

Another interesting announcement from Korg as they take their classic MS20 synth, shrink it almost 20% and re-issue it again after 30 years! A VSTi version of this synth cropped up a few years back with a mini controller also in this vain but this synth is a standalone monster just waiting for you to get to grips with all it’s loverly controls once more.

Today, the sounds of the MS-20 have been reborn as the MS-20 Mini. The same engineers who developed the original MS-20 have perfectly reproduced its circuitry and fit into a body that’s been shrunk to 86% of the original size, yet retains the distinctive look of the original.

Korg MS20 Mini

Korg MS20 Mini Developers Comments

Fifty years have passed since Korg was founded, and we have once again put our hand to an analog synthesizer. We took particular care to deliver smooth parameter adjustments, which are a distinctive feature of analog synthesizers. We also took special care to completely reproduce the original specifications of the MS-20. The analog circuits we designed 35 years ago still deliver the same unbeatable, powerful sound, from the ultra-low to the ultra-high range.

Highlights:

    • Overseen by the engineers of the original MS-20, a complete replication of the original analog circuitry
      • 2VCO / 2VCA / 2VCF / 2EG / 1LFO structure
      • Self-oscillating high-pass/low-pass filters with distinctive distortion
      • External signal processor (ESP)
      • Extremely flexible patching system
    • Miniature MS-20 that’s 86% of the original size
    • MIDI IN and USB connector
  • Replicates every detail of the original, down to the package binding and the included manual

The MS-20 mini painstakingly replicates the original MS-20. A development team led by the original engineers themselves worked to recreate the original circuitry, and when it was necessary to substitute a part, these engineers made the decisions based on careful listening, in order to reproduce the original sound faithfully. In fact, the sound of the MS-20 mini has a somewhat bright and extreme quality to it because its sound is that of an original MS-20 in mint condition at the time it went on sale, before any of the components aged.

2VCO / 2VCF / 2VCA / 2EG / 1LFO structure
The MS-20 mini reproduces the distinctive synthesis of the MS-20; two oscillators with ring modulation, and envelope generators with hold and delay. The VCA maintains the basic design of the original, but it’s been modified to produce less noise than the original.

Self-oscillating high-pass/low-pass filters with distinctive distortion
One of the greatest characteristics of the MS-20 was its powerful filters, which provided resonance on both the high-pass and the low-pass. Maximizing the resonance would cause the filter to self-oscillate like an oscillator, producing a distinctive and dramatic tonal change that was acclaimed as inimitable, and was later used on the monotron and monotribe. The filter circuit was changed mid-way through the production lifecycle of the MS-20; the MS-20 mini uses the earlier filter, which was felt to be superior due to its more radical sound.

External signal processor (ESP) for processing an external signal
The ESP carries on the experimental spirit of MS-20; it allows you to use the pitch or volume of an external audio source to control the synthesizer. For example you can input an electric guitar and use the MS-20 mini as a guitar synthesizer, or input a mic and use it as a vocal synthesizer.

Extremely flexible patching system
The patching system provided to the right of the panel lets you create complex sounds by plugging-in cables to change the connections between the various units. The possibilities are limited only by the user’s imagination; different combinations of the modulation input/output and trigger, sample and hold, and noise generator can produce an incredible variety of sounds. By patching according to the MS-20 flow chart that’s printed on the panel, even the beginner can start taking advantage of these possibilities right away.

Korg MS20 Homepage

Korg@ Scan

 

 

 

Korg KRONOS for Christmas?

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

They say:

“Peerless synthesizer containing nine sound engines, such as realistic piano, richly expressive electric piano, tonewheel organ, digital synthesis, and powerful analog/physical modeling.”

We say:

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.

 

They say:

“16-part Combis allow all engines to function together in perfect harmony;”

We say:

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.

 

They Say:

“On-board sequencer offers 16 MIDI tracks + 16 audio tracks (24-bit, 48kHz recording quality)”

We Say:

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.

 

They say:

“Open Sampling System – Instant sampling and resampling from any mode:”

We say:

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.

 

They say:

Sophisticated KARMA® technology generates infinitely variable performance-driven phrases, musical effects, and backing tracks to catalyze your creativity

We say:

Monkey Nuts.

Seriously.                                       

Monkey Nuts……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They say:

“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!”

We say:

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.

Very cool.

They say:

  • 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.

We say:

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.

They say:

“Comprehensive interface, based around a large 8” TFT TouchView™ display”

We say:

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.