Simply a synth that responds to MIDI
controllers. Some synths I use that work great are The Korg Triton Rack,
Proteus 2000, Xtreme Lead --all the emu synths have a flexible controller setup.
It works with my E5000 sampler and esi 32, my wavestation SR. Nearly any
synth that takes standard continuous controller commands will work. Here's
the details: 3 of the CCs and both the switches are user definable (the
range is from CC#1 to CC#31 and CC#64 to CC#95) and they are easy to change.
There are 3 controllers you cannot change. Those are Pitch bend, CC#1 (mod
wheel) and CC#2 (breath control). You can turn these on and off though, so
pitch bend is not always in the X-Y equation if you don't want it there.
If your synth responds to controllers for frequency cutoff and resonance, you
can set one to X and the other to Y and turn the rest off. You can do a
classic filter sweep just by "doing a diagonal" on the XY pad.
Audio FX Features
And that's not all, it's also an audio
effects engine capable of dynamic audio effects and can record a sample (and
effect all the audio streaming through) and can severely warp and distort,
delay, filter. reverberate and modulate. Plug it in your mixer send/returns or
use it direct to your audio interface. There's a switch on the back for
either mode. I really appreciate that, because the Kaoss is small enough
to move it where you need it. My favorite application so far is to put it
directly on an input and output of my audio interface so I can route soft synths
and audio tracks through it and record them back into my sequencer. Just
assign the tracks, press record, give it the finger and your Kaoss track is
recorded. There are 60 programs, all arranged in groups that make sense,
so you can find them. (The unit comes with a little sticker you can place
on the unit to remind you.) Of these effects there are 13 types: Pitch shift,
Distortion, Filter, Wah, Tremolo, Flanger, Delay, Reverb, Pan, Gate, Phaser,
Ring modulator, Sample / Play [Forward, Reverse, Time stretch, Loop time
In addition to the RCA line in jacks, the Kaoss
Pad also has inputs for phono (RCA jacks with a ground screw for turntables) and
Mic in (phone jack with trim to adjust level) and a mini phone jack (with level)
for headphones. There's the MIDI out. The power supply is a typical DC 12V
How do the audio effects
These are not pristine effects you might get on
top quality FX box. If you want hi quality reverbs and sampling, this is
NOT the ticket. The specs say it's sampling frequency is 48khz and
does 18 bit linear conversion. To my ears it sounds like my old 12 bit
sampler, which, actually, can be seen as a plus for DJ like material and dance
music. The cool thing is that these effects MOVE with your finger and I don't
hear any glitching, which is rather surprising given how fast you can tweak this
box. This is where the Kaoss really shines, with FX that change and
mutate over time.
The only thing I don't like about the unit is
that it forces you to use line level RCA jacks. There is no way to use
balanced cables. In terms of MIDI operation, (which DJ's may ignore) I
have to question Korg's wisdom of not making all 6 CC's user definable.
Why they made pitch bend, mod wheel and CC#2 as unchangeable assignments is a
mystery to me. If you synths has configurable CCs you can put a cool
parameter on CC#2 so that way you can have 4 CCs operating on a finger sweep.
But even with 3 CCs defined, the sound gets wild pretty quick
It's versatile. Fits anywhere, can be
connected as a MIDI controller and an audio FX unit and used in two different
ways without unplugging anything. It does outlandish things to synths and
audio. It is simple to operate and can be used live or in the studio with
This is an extremely well thought out product
and has earned the coveted Tweak's Pick award for effects processing.
It's a winner!