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Kaossilator Pro Review
New ways to shape your sound
by TweakHeadz Lab
First came the Kaoss Pad, an effects processor with a revolutionary touch-sensitive X-Y interface that made sound manipulation more interactive and expressive than ever before. Then came the Kaossilator, a pocket-sized synth with basic looping capabilities which incorporated that same intuitive X-Y surface. Now there's the Korg Kaossilator Pro. Built around the now-classic X-Y touch pad model, the Kossilator Pro is a powerhouse synthesizer, loop-sampler, live performance, music production wonder-tool. Whether you're an electronic musician looking to add some expressive panache to your rig, a DJ who'd like to do some live remixing, or a producer looking for new sources of inspiration, the Kaossilator Pro is just what you've been looking for.
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.
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.
The Kaossilator Pro, at heart, is an audio phrase/loop recorder. You can record to the 4 pads from the internal synth sounds or from either the Mic or Line inputs. Pres the record button and a pad button and recording starts. Press record again and you are in audition mode where you can try out a 2nd patch or try playing something different in the through the Mic or line inputs. You can overdub endlessly. The trick is to stop before you make a mistake on the 5th or nth pass. There is no undo. After you have your loop you can make it play back by tapping its pad button. Making loops is tons of fun.
Ok, here's a quick little song I did. Note all those 80's electronic textures. You can hear the results of my first loops!
Storage and Editing
You can save these loops to an SD card or to your computer. You can store 100 loops, 100 .wav and 100 .aif in addition to global data and 10 .all bundles. Plenty enough for a gig though. Data format for the .wav and .aif files is 8 or 16 bit PCM, mono or stereo. If you load a 24 bit file, it will be truncated. Loops can be as long as 16 beats (4 measures) and as short as 1 beat (a quarter note). Each loop is created on a single pad. You can overdub as many times as you want with as many of the internal instruments as you want.
Unless you are gigging, your may not need an SD card. You can transfer loops and all settings back and forth to your computer over USB and it is easy. You can also access the card from your computer without taking it out of the slot in the Kaossilator pro.
The max SD Card capacity is 2GB. You can't use SDHC or SDXC
cards. I am using a 512 card and think it should be enough.
Recording in a Software Sequencer
Recording with MIDI: You can record out the MIDI out in internal mode and plays back perfectly. The odd thing here is that the internal sounds of the Kaossilator are NOT controlled by MIDI note messages, but by CC12 and 13. Those controllers turn the notes on and off and you can edit and quantize them in Logic's editor. Once you perfect the sequence you can then record it as audio.
What is even more strange is that you cannot "play" the Kaossilator from an external midi controller. Note on commands sent to the Kaossilator's midi port do nothing. Yet in external mode, where you control other synths, note ons and off are sent from the XY pad. I thought I'd be able to loop that data back to the Kaossilator but nope, the data is ignored.
Recording as Audio: of course this works just fine. Simply connect the outputs to your audio interface inputs and press record on your software sequencer and play the touchpad in real time or in sync via the gate arpeggiator synced to the sequencer's clock.
So lets sum up:
Manual, EZStart Guide, Free Software editor, Updater
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