See You Kaossilator: New Sounds for Your Set

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Korg's new Kaoss hand-held product
Future Music

The Kaoss Pad from Korg began first as a stereo multieffects processor with 60 presets and five seconds of sampling time.

Eventually, with Korg’s release of the KP 3 and MiniKP, a few programs near the end of the dial were dedicated to synth sounds. The horizontal axis was assigned to pitch and the vertical axis to a timbral change, like a filter sweep. This ignited the idea to make a unit dedicated to a simple to use, “keyless” synthesizer—and thus the Kaossilator and Kaossilator Pro were born.

The Pro edition ($399 MAP ) boasts 200 presets, sample memory, and a large neon-green illuminated touch pad. Flashy and futuristic, yes, but does it sound good? We’ve had the “dynamic phrase synth/loop recorder” for several months now, using it both in the studio and onstage.

Here’s a sampling of what our Phil Moffa found:

“There is a lot of expressiveness to playing this unit and it certainly allows for things that are impossible to pull off with a standard keyboard, especially for people with little to no experience. I did see this device in the hands of someone considered to be a piano virtuoso, and she rocked it better than anyone I’ve ever seen. Where this unit excelled for me was as a source of sound effects that were in key with a production. Tracking a bunch of sweeps and editing them later added that little extra something to a song.

At the bottom of the touch pad are four buttons labeled A-D, which are loop recorder banks. Here you can record any sounds you perform on the pad on infinite layers up to 16 beats. These recordings can be saved to an SD card in the provided slot. There is also the option to record external sounds coming through the RCA external inputs or the ¼-inch mic jack. These loop banks, in my opinion, are the most wasteful of all the features. Even the most humble production rig (basically, any DAW or even workstation) would have a more sophisticated way to record. I can see it as useful to save sounds in here for the stage, but I’m not sure if any “songs” can or should be made with these banks.

Still, this type of keyboard-less touch-pad playing is certainly a step towards the future of musical instruments.”

For the full review, check the next issue of DJ Times…