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Korg Kronos Unveiled
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Electrica



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:53 pm    Post subject: Korg Kronos Unveiled Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

All details regarding the new workstation and video presentation from NAMM 2011:

http://en.audiofanzine.com/workstation/korg/kronos/news/a.play,n.9160.html
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v-un-v
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I don't know. I think this Kronos thing is boring as hell. Sure, someone will find something to do which is good with it, perhaps, but someone please tell me what makes this thing any different from keyboard workstations of yesteryear?

And why oh why does it always have to be like- if you are white you are going to be making orchestral proggy-rock stuff, and if your black, hip-hop or jazz? Come on Korg! Is this all you can come up with? Do we all have to be pigeon-holed all over again? Rolling Eyes

The classic line at the end, "this is gonna change everything again" sums it up really. Dull. Sad

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GovernorSilver



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

v-un-v wrote:
I don't know. I think this Kronos thing is boring as hell. Sure, someone will find something to do which is good with it, perhaps, but someone please tell me what makes this thing any different from keyboard workstations of yesteryear?


It has more physical modeling engines than past workstations, which have largely been sample-based (except of course, Korg's own Oasys):

Electric Piano Model:
Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

MS-20 EX Model:
Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

Not pictured:
Ex Polysix Model
AL-1 Analog Synthesizer
MOD-7 Waveshaping VPM Synthesizer (a 6-op FM synth plus other stuff)
STR-1 Plucked String Synthesizer (String physical modeling synth)
CX-3 Tonewheel Organ (Hammond organ model)

There's also Wave Sequencing, based on the old Korg Wavestation, which in turn was based on the Prophet VS vector synth.

Also, the KARMA software - it's an algorithmic generative software often mistaken for an arpeggiator (it does a lot more than that). No previous non-Korg workstation has had KARMA onboard.

No past workstation has had a Set List mode that looks (and appears to work) like this:
Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yes of course, but we also drooled over the Yammie SY85 when that came out, the Ensoniq, and others too.

I want a Nord G3 dammit! Evil or Very Mad

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

v-un-v wrote:
Yes of course, but we also drooled over the Yammie SY85 when that came out, the Ensoniq, and others too.

I want a Nord G3 dammit! Evil or Very Mad


The boards you mention are sample players.

I drooled over the Korg Oasys. The Kronos appears to be an updated Oasys with a lower price and an iPad-sized touchscreen, and it has multiple "real" (non sampled based) synthesis engines.

Someday, I'll get around to putting together a proper demo of my current Korg workstation (M3), highlighting the KARMA system and EXB-RADIAS (virtual analog, VPM and other modeling add-on board). I'm guessing your reaction is based on Korg's introductory video, which shows the Kronos being used in a conventional manner - play some bread-and-butter keyboard sounds (piano, organ, strings) or some standard pop beats. I figure you're not interested in that, and neither am I. Workstation demos that feature smooth lounge music or standardized R&B are boring to me too. Even more boring are demos in which the player wanks all over the keyboard in prog-head mode.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

There wasn't enough Lyle Mays in the demo vid either Laughing

(and he's looking so old too Shocked )

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

v-un-v wrote:
There wasn't enough Lyle Mays in the demo vid either Laughing

(and he's looking so old too Shocked )


Agreed. Lyle should just be allowed to demo everything on the Kronos. He knows a thing or two about synth programming as well as playing. I was not moved by the participation of those pop music producer types.

Speaking of age, I just had a conversation with a younger coworker about jazz fusion and how it seems like only old people like it. There are plenty of kids in US cities who play jazz, but we don't see many of them move into fusion a la Weather Report/Pat Metheny Group/etc. If they stick to jazz at all, they stay traditional, go to jam bands, or end up in prog metal. Seems like the only big name fusion player who is not a graying man is Hiromi.

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nobody



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

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Last edited by nobody on Mon Jan 17, 2011 6:57 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

It seems like the Kronos is a promising device. Apart from the now vintage weird workstation suites like the Fairlight ( was it ever a workstation or not? ) and the PPG Wave + WaveTerm ( synth, sampling, sequencing and then some that really was probably insanely great but those partions of the Waveterm software pretty much demoed something.... hard to say really - great combo though) ... anyways.. the japanese made workstations boards never really grabbed me. Some were nice instruments, but the overall feel was more in the direction of a polkastation than a synthesis studio.. no matter what they actually crammed into the poor board. The later attempts from say Korg and Roland aren´t too bad though.

There is however something about the Kronos that screams "Evil Swedes! Eat shit! This will out-clavia the nasty Stage and Electro.. uh.. please.. ignore that it isn´t red.." .. try that one in a voice of desperation.. possible after shooting your left foot off with a shotgun.

That being felt and said, the Kronos seems like a nice package and just possibly they have also hidden away a great new instrument somewhere in there that is slightly more than just a rehash of emulated vintage stuff. I´m guessing the Kronos will do fairly well in the marketplace.

Is it just me, or does it seem that Korg is trying a tiny bit too hard to cash in on their classic synths ( and then some of the competitors old classics too?) Korg is not alone in this. They are all doing this now. Even the Moog brand is doing the same. I´m not saying that it is a bad thing, but this is 2011. The emulation, cloning and repackaging trend is now simply beyond belief. And how many Roland TR clones do we actually need? Shocked
Hello.. something new.. soon?

It´s kinda disturbingly cool though.. watching all these brands do basically the same. It has a kind of "South Park - The lost season " feel to it. I reckon they all hired Cartman for their market research.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

On second thought, the workstation class of instruments is probably what the market wants, as the brands must be selling a reasonable number already as to be willing to invest into developing the concept further. The Kronos does however seem to be something of a customer friendly mid-range rethink of the workstation idea based on current trends and ideas and hypes.
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Electrica



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well I have to say one thing- the marketing around it, the tag line, slogan and teaser video is very cheesy to say the least.... with too many superlatives. If your stuff is the bomb let other people say that it 'will change everything' - that's the biggest compliment. But don't presume it for others.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I never thought I'd buy a workstation keyboard before I bought my Korg M3. I was intrigued by the KARMA generative software, the likes of which had not been incorporated into a standalone workstation up to that time. On top of that it made sense to get have standalone sequencing and basic sample playback capability (the "workstation" part of this machine).

KARMA appears to require a very different mindset though from the generative noodles this wonderful community has created for the Nord Modular platform. Most users of synths/workstations equipped with KARMA seem to just use it for smooth jazz/R&B or typical techno. KARMA is capable though of more interesting, dare I say more experimental musical forms. Once I get a better handle on KARMA, I'll have its MIDI output drive my Moog Voyager and other devices.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Do we have a price for the Kronos? Still a TBA or do we have an actual number in euro or USD?
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
Do we have a price for the Kronos? Still a TBA or do we have an actual number in euro or USD?


NovaMusik tentatively lists $2999 US for the 61 key version, but as stated on the website, you have to email them to get the real pre-order price, which is presumably discounted from the display price.

This is their preorder page. Yes, other NAMM items of interest are there (eg. the DSI Tempest, UAD2 Satellite):

http://www.novamusik.com/search.aspx?type=Manufacturer&keyword=406

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

2,5-3K isn´t too bad for something like this.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Much, much longer presentation, which I listened to while working:



Interesting bits:

28:30 - Didgeridoo morphing into an alien thing. I think it's their MOD-7 engine, with ring mod and waveshaping.

30:53 - Cool, animated processed string modeling patch

The rest of the video featured conventional applications of the Kronos. I figured most here would find them boring, so I put up the two interesting (from the experimental/synthesis perspective) bits that I found for you benefit. Too bad they could not get Lyle Mays to demo it at NAMM. Hopefully he contributed more than just acoustic piano patches - his synth patches on albums such as As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls are fantastic.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

How many gates, triggers and CV outputs does it have? Laughing

My only real worry about things like this is I'm not sure it's such a good idea to do a synth that's trying to be all things to all people. It looks to be so huge in scope that, once again, people will pretty much be preset whores 99% of the time and not really learn what the thing's capable of.

I'm always reminded of the DX100 that a friend of mine used to have. We got sounds out of that thing that I've never heard from even the most sophisticated FM synths of later years. Not because it was so awesome, or because we were so great at programming, but because we actually bothered to spend (countless) hours f-ing around with the thing and letting it be what it could be rather than what we wanted it to be.

Kronos looks to be a maximalist vision...all those synth engines that can then all be combined. Pretty powerful in itself, but I'm not sure most will squeeze anything more out of it than what it ships with. Sometimes complexity breeds laziness (or timidity).
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well, if it is any comfort.. there will soon be a zillion new age albums demoing all the presets.

Shocked

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

GovernorSilver wrote:
Much, much longer presentation, which I listened to while working:


Thanks for posting, indeed a very nice piece of hardware. If any of my ten thumbs were at all aquainted with any of the others...

My only complaint would be that at 12 gig the sample library is about two orders of magnitued too small and it needs a physical modeling winds synth too.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

emdot_ambient wrote:

My only real worry about things like this is I'm not sure it's such a good idea to do a synth that's trying to be all things to all people.


It's an old idea, which was already implemented in the Synclavier and Fairlight CMI of the 1980s.

emdot_ambient wrote:
people will pretty much be preset whores 99% of the time and not really learn what the thing's capable of.


This was already known in the 1980s, when it was discovered that the presets of Yamaha DX7 synths were never edited by customers.

Laughing

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

GovernorSilver wrote:
This was already known in the 1980s, when it was discovered that the presets of Yamaha DX7 synths were never edited by customers.
Laughing


As I recall, editing on the DX7 was slightly more enjoyable than slamming my forehead into a brick wall. But only slightly. That may have had something to do with it Smile

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