Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Kaossilator Pro Review

New ways to shape your sound

by TweakHeadz Lab

Korg Kaossilator Pro Dynamic Phrase Synthesizer
Announcing the KAOSSILATOR PRO - a supercharged version of the palm-sized KAOSSILATOR, reborn as a powerful track-making tool and loaded with live performance power.

What it is and Does

The Kaossilator is here at the lab, arrived Friday from zZounds, absolutely perfect new stock, already updated to OS1.2. I just finished a rough draft of a techno-ish piece using only the Kaossilator pro in logic and it went well. I've read all the documentation, formatted an SD card for storage, made up a bunch of loops as I went through the library of 200 patches.

Most of the patches appear to use Korg's virtual analog engine, though they never explicitly mention it in the docs. There are some PCM samples, like drums, brass and guitar hitz, that are documented as such. (See the program list in the manual). While, there is no mention of the sound generating engine anywhere, it sounds like a Virtual analog engine to me. There are leads, chords, pads, just dripping with character, and controlling them with a finger is a delight. You can set any program to any of 31 scales and many are truly exotic sounding. You can also turn off the scaling and you can be in the land of microtonality. You can have the touch screen control between 1 and 4 octaves or "all" which seems to be 7 octaves. At max range you can roll up or down an octave by rolling your finger. You can tap a melody, glide, zig zag or make quick jabs and quick smears for an animated lead.

You can also put the Kaossilator pro in "external" mode. This lets you play external instruments like a midi controller. it did great with my V-synth and with my Motif and with all the soft synths I tried. Anything that is a one voice solo synth works well. The Kaossilator does not send polyphony. Controlling drum kits is quite interesting. Korg's internal kits typically have 4 samples so making a pattern is not difficult with a little practice.

You can tweak exactly what controllers the Kaossilator will send in external mode. Make sure you download the free editor at one of the links below. So you can tailor the X-Y pad to your favorite synth. You can save and load settings from this editor, or to/from SD ram.

You can also record through a microphone/line inputs through the Kaossilator's onboard vocoders and effects patches. Yep you tweak the finger as you speak through the mic. While this vocoder is not going to rival the one on my Vsynth, its got its positive attributes. Yes you can record the vocoder in loop mode.

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