One keyboard, a mind-bending nine engines, lots of tech specs … now that we’ve lived in a world of impressive, technically-intimidating workstation keyboards for a couple of decades, it’s easy to imagine your eyes glazing over when there’s a new one, let alone the general public. So, what might get your attention? This.

“Workstation keyboard” is usually a phrase that sends me for the exits; my computer makes a perfectly good workstation, thanks. I’ve understood why people like them; I’ve just never seen one that could personally excite me. But now that the trade show hype has died down, it’s time to take a serious look at the Korg Kronos. This one is a bit different. It’s the first real integrated computer-in-a-keyboard workstation since the Korg OASYS – and it and the OASYS really do something no other integrated keyboards have. (Just sticking a PC in a keyboard shell doesn’t quite count; that’s almost more of a case mod than an integrated design.)

Now, imagine the OASYS in a completely new generation, and at half the price. The OASYS was priced so that it seemed like only rock stars need apply, however – US$8000. Kronos is US$3700 street, a price that has typically bought you an arranger keyboard, not something like this. Kronos, at that price, really does seem like a studio in a box. It’s certainly not cheap (not with very capable instruments under a grand), but it enters the realm where a musician could make an investment in a keyboard that’d outlast a couple of generations of computers and (ahem) computer repairs.

Underneath its shell, the Kronos is still based on the Linux kernel (via a custom OS), lots of Korg software, and an Intel processor.

Kronos is impressive enough that other, computer-loving fans I know are taking a look. So, I asked Korg if they could walk us through more of the technical details.

This isn’t a review. But while Korg’s Richard Formidoni is positively glowing about their new baby, I do listen to what he says. Rich is one of us – and having been to his home studio, I can tell you that while he may be a company man, he has a cherished place for some instruments from makers beginning with the letter ‘R’ and rhyming with Yoland, not just Ma Korg. And while his pride shows through, he also has some great details for us. (In the grand tradition of CDM, I’ve … not edited those answers. All the news fits, so we print.)

So, consider this a full, detailed preview. I actually think it benefits from some distance from the NAMM show, the week in which everything is unveiled at once. If you miss the din of NAMM, replace all the bulbs in your house with fluorescents, fire up some white noise generators and background crowd sound effects discs, and then buy yourself breakfast at IHOP before charging yourself $500 to sleep over. And stay tuned for when we get to try this thing first-hand.

The original OASYS. It had a sexy metal body that looked like something from a Klingon engineering deck. But have a close look at the Kronos. While it appears descended from the architecture and philosophy of OASYS, down to similar menu pages, its synthesis engines and new features make it a worthy rival to its predecessor. Oh, and it’s half as expensive.

What’s the relationship of Kronos to OASYS, technically or in terms of learned experience?

There’s absolutely a blood relation. Much of the technology that was originally developed for OASYS has made its way to KRONOS (sound engines, UI, etc). That being said, KRONOS has more than enough innovation to stand on its own. It has quite a few performance-oriented aspects that wouldn’t have been possible without new hardware. One example is the inclusion of a fast solid state drive with direct access to about 12gb of sample libraries, rendering the blanket spec of “ROM size” totally irrelevant. More on that later. In terms of compatibility, KRONOS can load OASYS Programs, Combis, and Sequences.

What’s the underlying hardware engine? (OASYS I know was a Pentium 4 with a custom embedded OS based on the Linux kernel.)

It’s a dual-core Atom processor, again running a custom OS atop a Linux kernel. This is a big deal for a few reasons… Read the next answer for details. :)

It’s very apparent how much the Kronos does, and I think typically we end the conversation that way — “look, it does this, this, and this.” But walk us through, if you will, how someone might typically uses all of these engines? It appears that there are some significant features there (like the ability to seamlessly change sounds, which certainly is non-trivial on a computer).

Strap in, this’ll be the long one…

A walk-through would definitely start with a description of the nine engines. I’ll try to differentiate a little than our marketing copy, which as you might imagine, I am starting to recite in my sleep.

1. SGX-1 Premium Piano: This lets you play and modify large acoustic grand piano sample libraries, directly from the internal solid state drive. There are two 4.7gb libraries, a German grand and a Japanese grand. We include 30 piano types based around these libraries, with different response and tonality. SGX-1 lets you interact with the pianos by adjusting lid position, damper resonance, note release (simulating old damper felts), adding mechanical noises (keys, damper rise/fall), and adjusting velocity intensity/bias. Obviously, the big deal here is the SSD playback. It lets us use more velocity layers, high quality, unlooped samples, and gives us huge polyphony (SGX-1 can sound 400 mono channels at once).

The whole point is that SGX-1 provides the most realistic, detailed, nuanced, and flexible collection of pianos that we’ve ever offered.

2. EP: This engine recreates six different models of electric piano: Four tine-based Eps (Mark I, Mark II, Mark V, and Dyno) and two Wurlys (200 and 200a). It uses a method called MDS (Multi-Dimensional Synthesis) which doesn’t have some of the more unnatural characteristics of looped samples, so it responds smoothly as you play harder. Any audible switching between soft/loud, and sweet/strong is gone. It also has the vintage effect models from the SV-1, without taking up any of the internal effect slots. Tremolo, vibrato, all the fixin’s from the classic EPs are there.

3. CX-3: This is the software version of our CX-3 tonewheel organ. It lets you use the physical sliders as you would drawbars, and accurately models the chorus/vibrato, percussion, overdrive, leakage, and amplifier/rotary speaker. The fun part for me is how ridiculously tweakable it is. For example, you can basically design your own rotary speaker, as well as the room it’s sitting in… And you can add four additional drawbars to the organ, with customizable pitches. I’ve logged a few gig/studio hours with this engine alone, and I’m pretty thrilled that Urban Sun finally has true drawbar organs to work with.

4. MS-20EX: Taken almost directly from our Legacy Collection software, this recreation of the MS-20 monosynth (now with 40 notes of polyphony) is a point-to-point model of every component from the original design. It was created by the same designers who made the original. You can even run audio input through the frequency-to-voltage converter, and have the synth sing along with you. You can create patches just as you would on the original, except instead of using actual cables, you just touch points on the display.

Put simply, it’s an MS-20 that would not pass a screening for performance-enhancing drugs.

Ed.: Careful, Rich, the iPad fans may chime in here … as may someone with some other drug reference, dunno. Readers, see image above.

5. PolysixEX: Along the same lines as the MS-20EX, it’s a recreation of the venerable Polysix (only now more like a Poly180). The display lets you touch a graphic representation of the Polysix, and we’ve also mapped all the controls to the KRONOS control surface for hands-on tweaking.

Just like the original Polysix, the PolysixEX is a great way to get into synthesis. It can be incredibly powerful, but it’s also really approachable. If you’re new to analog synthesis, it’s a wonderful place to start experimenting.

6. AL-1: A more futuristic look at analog modeling. We often describe AL-1 as “futuristic” because of its potential to go so far beyond classic analog synthesis. It’s a ground-up design, with massive capabilities. Each instance (two per Program) can have three oscillators, five envelopes, five LFOs, a step sequencer, and various filter types including a Multi Filter, which lets you blend together (and morph between) different filter shapes. One of its most notable features is the Ultra Low-Aliasing Oscillators, which sound pure throughout the audible frequency spectrum.

7. MOD-7: This is a frequency modulation synthesizer based on Korg’s VPM architecture. It can read SysEx from classic FM synths (you know the ones), and it lets you go beyond the traditional “choose an algorithm” format, and create your own using a patch panel system. You can also modulate using PCM samples, ring modulation, and waveshaping. All things considered, MOD-7 offers the most programming depth of all the engines in KRONOS.

8. STR-1: This is a plucked-string physical modeling engine. You can design a string, with specific properties like damping, dispersion, and nonlinearity, and then excite it at any given position with a pluck, strike, or scrape. It’s very good at replicating string-based instruments like harps, guitars, sitars, etc., but it’s also capable of percussion, bell, and wind sounds, plus some really haunting textures that wouldn’t be possible for a string to generate in the real world. There’s a lot of fun to be had by warping the string’s physical properties with the Vector Joystick as you play.

9. HD-1: Our all-purpose, high-definition sample playback engine. Eight stereo velocity layers with crossfading means we can into greater detail than we ever could before. As with SGX-1, we’re taking advantage of large sample libraries being played from the internal SSD. With access to nearly 12gb of sample data (remember what Korg did with only 4mb in the M1?), It is a huge Swiss army knife of sound. HD-1 also incorporates Wave Sequencing and Vector Synthesis, from the Wavestation.

One of the big themes of KRONOS is making sound design fun, varied, and inspiring. There is so often a divide between modeling synthesizers and sample-based instruments, so it’s pretty exciting to have one instrument that raises the bar in both areas. Having three different flavors of analog modeling is a great example of that. If you want quick and easy, go for the PolysixEX. If you want to experiment with a semi-modular patch panel, grab the MS-20EX. If you want to go beyond “classic” capabilities, fire up AL-1. I end up using the word “playground” very often while describing it.

There’s also onboard KARMA, a powerful sequencer with 16 MIDI tracks and 16 24-bit audio tracks, our Open Sampling System, and loads of effects… I don’t want to undervalue these aspects, but the fact that it’s nine complete synthesizers is definitely a paramount feature.

So, this is all well and good… It’s a synthesis monster. You can get lost for weeks, just programming sounds. The real beauty of it, though, is how all of them can work together and feed off of each other.

For instance, we now have a “Set List” mode that gives you immediate access to Programs, Combis, and Sequences from the same display. You can organize sounds and songs into groups of 16 slots. You don’t have to duplicate sounds in an empty bank any more, or waste a Combi location just to play a single Program. Now you can make quick shortcuts. This is a godsend when you’re playing live.

There are also some “under the hood” operations that really make all the difference in the world for live players as well as studio guys. For example, the smooth sound transitions are a vital new feature that the world has been waiting for. As you’re playing, you can now switch to a new sound (regardless of mode), and the last one decays naturally, as if you just reached for a different keyboard altogether. We’re able to do this without limiting the number of effects you can use, the number of timbres playing, or any of the other limitations that exist in other instruments.

Here’s another one: KRONOS is always performing dynamic allocation of CPU processing power. Each of these synth engines has its own polyphony spec, and when one engine is running low, it will steal voices from another engine that isn’t using it. The same is true of the effects, which are running on a separate processor core, unaffected by the synth engines’ performance. KRONOS also allocates voices depending on other factors, such as where on the keyboard you’re playing, how fast you play, etc.

The practical upshot of all these technologies is that there’s no disconnect between you and your music. You never have to think about polyphony, you don’t waste lots of time loading samples, you never have to worry about CPU overs. It’s just an immediate connection between you and your music. It’s what makes it an “instrument” rather than a “system.”

If we need to draw a comparison to the DAW world, think of it this way- When you’re changing from Combi to Combi, you could equate it to loading a DAW template with 16 CPU-gobbling softsynths and 16 effect plug-ins already assigned to tracks. Depending on your system, that template could take a little while to load. On KRONOS, you can dial through about six Combis per second, and start playing them immediately.

Speaking of DAWs, another great aspect of KRONOS is that it runs as a VST/AU plugin via a software editor. This opens up a whole series of doors for a studio musician… You can run all nine engines at once, 16 timbres total, controlled via the plug-in editor, without using your computer’s resources. Whenever you revisit a project within the DAW, the editor software will recall the appropriate settings, so it’s just the way you left it. It also has class-compliant USB MIDI and audio I/O capabilities. I’m actually listening to Pandora right now, being piped through via USB to KRONOS’s headphone jack.

Artist feedback was a part of this, I know — who did you work with (of those you could name) and what kind of feedback did they give?

We worked very closely with Herbie Hancock, George Duke, Lyle Mays, Jae Deal, Adam Blackstone, Tom Coster, Jordan Rudess, Frank McComb, Jeff Lorber John Novello, Eldar, David Haynes, and Russ Ferrante… Plus a few others. I don’t want to (mis)quote them directly, but we got plenty of positive feedback from all of them.

Most of these artists are mission-specific… Some wanted to focus on the EPs, some focused on organs, etc. As a result, KRONOS has lots of signature sounds, representing customizations we made with these artists to tailor the instrument to their needs. This includes key response, tonal changes, effect choices, EQ, etc. We encouraged them to be very specific about their tweaks, because we wanted the resulting sounds to feel like you’re borrowing the artist’s instrument, rather than just calling up a new Program.

I will say that all of these sound design sessions ended with some variation of “So, when can I get one?”

As you can see, it’s easy for me to start ranting… I’m genuinely thrilled to be a part of KRONOS’s development, and I can’t wait until the rest of the world gets to try it.

More information…

Like I said, this isn’t a review – so if you’ve got questions, fire away.

In the meantime:
http://www.korg.com/kronos

And for some history, here’s me writing about the making of the OASYS, way back in 2005 for O’Reilly:

Inside a Luxury Synth: Creating the Linux-Powered Korg OASYS

  • Jamsire

    I Put my order in at NAMM for an April delivery – and I'm a GUITAR PLAYER! You have to hear this thing.

  • Dan Pat

    Good to see an interview with Richard. He's a top notch guy. I'm excited to see what products trickle down from the Kronos. I sure hope its a new groovebox….

  • http://noisepages.com/members/jamesmcn/ jamesmcn

    I hope that dual-core Atom is just scheduling DSP jobs. The Atom struggles to run a moderately complex Pd patch.

  • mono

    to me this really seems like they mistook the worst parts about hardware and software for the best parts. i mean dont we use computers because it beats splicing tapes and dont we use synthesizers because they dont hamper creativity by being endless? this seems like a nightmare for a reasonable producer or songwriter. people dont need bigger better and more glamorous when they cant use what they already have.

  • XecretCode

    I love this synth. My only problem is the lack of *semi weighted* 76 or 73 key bed. The Trinity, Triton, M3 and Oasys all had one.

    Their 73 is fully weighted that won't spring back fast enough for fast organ-like playing or real-time drum performance. 

  • bliss

    "People don't need bigger and better…" That's a new one. Just saying that it is. But, of course, they do. It's just that these days, bigger and better actually comes in smaller packages – as with the case of Kronos. Clearly.

  • Random Chance

    I was somewhat excited about the release of Kronos since the first announcements. Now I feel that this excitement was justified in some ways. Thanks for the interview!

    But I can't help wondering how they deal with licensing issues? The embedded Linux world has been known for some dubious or downright illegal uses of GPL licensed software (like the Linux kernel). They've probably been very clever about it, not touching the kernel itself so they can essentially point anyone who makes use of their rights granted by the GPL (so to speak, a lawyer would probably object to my usage here) and request a copy of the source code to the nearest Linux kernel mirror site. 

    And just to be a bitch about it because it's a topic that's frequently overlooked (and not in a good way!): When will we enter the age when high-resolution screens and big processors inside of keyboards and the like will give us decent fonts in the GUI? If the pictures in this article reflect what is shipping then I truely feel sorry for the people who designed the UI. Maybe they did not have access to any quality fonts (then the higher ups would be to blame) or they did not care (can't imagine that in GUI designers for a big and respectable company, but strange things happen, especially regarding fonts and typography which is seen as a commodity item at least since the advent of computers and DTP). Ok, rant over, back to business. ;-)

  • http://noisepages.com/members/jamesmcn/ jamesmcn

    @RandomChance – solving the GPL problem isn't difficult at all. Linux has had a very modular kernel since the early 1990s. All you need to do is build proprietary extensions as loadable modules. Lots of companies have successfully done this.

  • Random Chance

    @jamesmcn — I think they did just that (it's mentioned in my post), but what good is my or your speculation compared to a definitive answer by someone who worked on the thing? What strikes me as odd about the interview is simply that Peter being a person who has been known to talk about various license issues has not asked this one question. Or a question about the architecture of the software for that matter. I think the engineer might have been in a position to at least give a bird's eye view of which kind of component live in kernel space or user land. Ultimately it does not matter as long as the Kronos performs well under all sorts of circumstances, but it'd be still nice to know a little more about the technical side of things instead of just the marketing relevant information. Again, blame Peter for raising my expectations about the level of detail in CDM posts by being quite thorough and healthily sceptical in the past. 

  • http://www.grillobeats.com grillo

    This certainly looks great. I started out with computers and hardware samplers, so i don't really love the big arranger keyboard paradigm, but i know people that would happily ditch their computer setup to work and sketch on something like this.

  • Peter Kirn

    It's possible to incorporate the Linux kernel and GNU without necessarily releasing everything under a GPL. And obviously, Korg is not an open source hardware maker.

    I didn't ask about it because there's no indication this is any different from what Korg has been doing since 2005 with the OASYS. That product got some attention in the Linux world, so you can bet if anyone thought Korg was violating the license, they would have brought it up.

    In 2005, Korg confirmed to me that they do actually ship necessary source code for this device.

    "Under the hood, the OASYS is running genuine Linux as its OS, and Phillips says the GPL—the General Public License, the legal license that governs open source software and keeps it free—still covers the Linux kernel and some GNU utilities. (Naturally, the GPL doesn't cover Korg's proprietary OASYS software, but you will find applicable source code and licenses on the bundled CD-ROMs for the open-source Linux components.)"
    http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/digitalme

    The other reason not to worry about this too much is that in 2005, running Linux on a computer was pretty limited for music, beyond a little Csound and Pd. Today, that's very different, thanks to an experience that itself has been vastly improved and things like Pianoteq.

  • Random Chance

    So, the bottom line is: We don't know for sure what's going on and we are not supposed to care. I'm not saying that Korg is violating any licenses because (as has been pointed out), it's quite trivial to tiptoe around even coming close to anything like violating the GPL and many businesses have done it successfully or else Linux (actually, this is one of the situations where prefixing GNU would probably be incorrect for most situations as the embedded folk tend to use other C libraries and userland utilities in many cases if at all) would not be on routers, phones, and a lot of other stuff. Anyway, I get the point: If I really want solid information about the technical side of things I should be looking elsewhere.

    But I don't understand what the situation of the GNU/Linux desktop with regards to music making in 2005 has to do with any of this. Embedded software is a playground of its own so to speak: The requirements, choice of software and tools, development processes, quality control, etc. differ from desktop or server side software development. Well, I guess we now have exchanged enough inconsequential and common knowledge to call it a day as far as this "discussion" is concerned. 

  • Peter Kirn

    @Random Chance: No. That's not accurate. Regardless of what other companies have done, Korg to the best of my knowledge is fully GPL-compliant with what they did with a bare-bones Linux installation on the OASYS. The OASYS shipped with source code on the discs, which isn't really even a requirement of the GPL. (Distribution is, but that isn't to say it needs to be in the box!) I have heard no evidence that Kronos will be any different.

    I didn't bring it up in this above interview which is a preview of just-released hardware because it's old news – literally, six-year-old news in the case of Korg alone. So give me a break.

    I'm not actually even sure what the argument here is about. I was asking about the Korg hardware, and I believe we went into more than enough detail.

  • Mr LongWind

    You and others may not agree, and maybe I sound irrelevant at the least. I do not work for Korg but have invested over a lifetime in their instruments and have always been somewhat fascinated by their history. I would venture to say that Korg is a top notch do "everything by the book" company and would never jeopardize themselves in such a way. In particular their Japanese heritage would demand so. But business is business and I can't say they might be above shrewdness in a dog eat dog World. Them being huge in the World Market they may be able to withstand a hit but withstand a little hoodwinking but I would bet they would not chance it. They took a lot of heat about saying the OASYS was "Open Architecture" when in fact it was open to their own EXi instruments and the public generally took it as eventually being able to load their own plugins such as VST etc. which was not the case and they never relase their source code for their instrument's OS. I remember way back with the Trinity people were requesting and demanding that they release it's source code.

  • tokyojoe

    Nevermind all this Linux nonsene, why isn't the angle of screen adjustable? For something that potentially you'll be staring at for hours if you're a tweaker, it seems an odd omission.

  • Peter Kirn

    Okay. It's a non-argument, spurred entirely by wild speculation in comments.

    Yes, let's talk about the actual instrument. I'm curious to hear what people think of it. I'm certainly not tossing my computer(s) yet, but I find what they've done fascinating, as before.

  • GovernorSilver

    As a Korg M3 owner, I am glad Korg continues to push the envelope with their workstation concept.  I continue to dig deeper into its Karma functionality.  I'm not sure Karma is itself a sequencer, though, as posted in the article, unless Karma is being compared to generative sequencers such as Five12 Numerology or Klee.  But I suppose calling Karma a generative sequencer is more accurate than calling it an "arpeggiator".  It doesn't seem like much exploration with Karma has been done, other than to create formulaic grooves.  So far, I've built up a Karma-fied Combi that plays a standard house groove, but can easily be messed up in fun ways by slider manipulation.  I have sliders that can change swing amount, bass line complexity, arpeggio patterns, etc.  I believe any/all of those sliders could be replaced with incoming MIDI CCs.  Or I could assign any of the parameters controlled by a slider to another controller such as MIDI Velocity.

    I'm not replacing my M3 with a Kronos anytime soon, but its good to know that if anything catastrophic should happen to it, I can replace it with a Kronos and be productive with it in just a short amount of time, having acquired previous experience with Karma and other aspects of the M3 workstation architecture.  The bigger touchscreen is nice for the virtual patch panel and other operations.

  • http://noisepages.com/members/neilbufkin/ Neil Bufkin

    I would like to know the resolution of the knobs and sliders on the KRONOS. 128 as usual?

  • Peter

    @GovernorSilver, I think the comma after KARMA was to denote a separate topic, not to describe what KARMA is. I have the original Karma synth and love it to pieces. It still gets used in my studio on a regular basis. I may just have to pony up and get this beast though. I'm just wondering, would Kronos be able to be used as a sampling front end to a DAW?

  • http://www.ghmetcalfe.com Graham

    Looks interesting, but not planning to move from my M3-88 soon. I think there is definite relevancy to something you can just turn on and play without worrying about system configuration, memory etc. I find that sitting with the M3 and playing is very musical and inspiring and the ability to simply record on-the-fly is liberating (http://soundcloud.com/ghmetcalfe/whorls-of-barsoom).

    Also you can just sit down and play and the screen will not be popping up with IM requests and facebook chats.

    Thanks for the great overview PK. Nice to see some non-hype discussion.

  • GovernorSilver

    @Peter, you're right, I totally missed the comma.  BTW, it says here that Kronos can function as a 2-channel audio interface for a DAW : &nbsp ;http://www.korg.co.uk/products/workstations/kronos/ws_kronos.php

  • http://noisepages.com/members/jamesmcn/ jamesmcn

    I'm having a hard time getting excited about the Kronos.

    I can spend hours nerding out on subtractive synthesis, FM, and physical modeling but the review doesn't really give me any reason to get excited about the AL-1, MOD-7, and STR-1 synthesizers.

    Five envelopes and LFOs on the AL-1 sounds cool, particularly if the envelopes are loopable. Everything else the AL-1 offers seems pretty standard for a high end VA polysynth or your average soft-subtractive-synth. Ultra Low-Aliasing Oscillators might be nice, but I would definitely want the option to turn aliasing back on for some extra digital grit.

    "MOD-7 offers the most programming depth" – that sounds great, but I'd love to have more detail. Is MOD-7 just better than the extremely limited FM on synths like the Virus and MS2000, or does can MOD-7 take on the Yamaha FS1R and Native Instruments' FM8? If so, how?

    STR-1 sounds a lot like Logic's Sculpture. How does it compare? What about the Yamah VL series? Or the Korg Prophecy and Z1?

    I really like Korg products, they usually provide a lot of bang for my buck and plenty of creative options. I've got a Monotron and a KP3 on my desk at home. I've got a Zombie Poly800 MkII on the rack above my virus (message me if interested in the Poly800). My favorite synth of all time may be the Korg MS2000. I'd really like to like the Kronos, but I'm having trouble finding something to get excited about. Maybe there is too much in the box?

  • http://mindwarpmedia.com LordBeaker

    I agree with XecretCode about the 73 weighted version of this workstation.

    What Korg says, is that they had such wonderful response to the weighted 73 note Sv1, that they found that people were looking for the weighted keys rather than the prtability factor of the Electric Piano…. however… It is an ELECTRIC PIANO. It's supposed to have weighted keys. You are dealing with more of a synth here, So you have to treat it more or less people who want to do acoustic and dare I say more analog sounds. 

    The keybed on the M3 61 and 73 note version are what I consider the best synth action keybeds ever developed. And I for one can not perform live with just the 61 note version with my complex splits. So that said… the Kronos would most likely only fit into my home studio rig… and if so, it will be the 88 anyway. Why 73 weighted? In my opinion this will be for those who play piano and want a more portable version… but I guarantee you, at that price point, those who love piano will go for the 88 anyway.

    I would love to have all that tech, but not willing to replace my M3's keybed.

    Epic Fail.

  • http://identica.ca Greg

    Do *you* really need another FM, rompler, or VA synth with a keyboard? Really?

    I'm usually a Korg fanboy, but this looks like something to sell "value-conscious" 40 year olds who want to make electronic music, but are scared of computers.

  • http://noisepages.com/members/jamesmcn/ jamesmcn

    There are plenty of nice VAs out there, but very little in the way of user-friendly FM hardware. FM8 is a wonderful piece of software, but not necessarily something you'd want to take live. A DX200 is the next best thing for live performance, maybe an FS1R if you are doing something truly esoteric.

    But what I need isn't the point as much as what I *want*.

    I don't need another VA alongside my Virus, but if Novation added a SuperNova III keyboard alongside the UltraNova, I can assure you that I'd spend a fair amount of time reading the manual and talking to people about how I *almost* regret buying a TI2 late in its product cycle.

    I don't need a Kronos, but I also don't particularly want one. That is fine with me, since I really shouldn't buy more hardware. It may be useful input to Peter and Korg, though. Korg wants to sell a lot of keyboards. Peter wants to provide us with content that will keep us excited about CDMu.

  • Uh?

    @Greg. Uh, I think maybe 50 or even 60 year olds may be more appropriate as the target for your jab. I am 38 which means I started out when things were just getting exciting; Commodore 64 to Macbook Pro and everything in between. So take that social networking, grid and stutter generation!

  • jonah

    I'm really interested in Mod 7.  Modular FM?!

    FM on samples? There still isn't a good software way to do this as far as I know.

    I'd really like to see the interface in action. Mod 7 was  in in the Oasys, but I never hear/see anything about it. 

    Any chance of  Mod 7 on Ipad or in a smaller cheaper synth? I think the Kronos seems great, but I probably can't justify the price.

    Also why didn't Korg put the MS-20/Monotron filters onboard to run sounds through. 

  • http://www.ghmetcalfe.com Graham

    @Greg and @Uh. Jeeze I'm 51 and have been creating music for electronic instruments, orchestras , wind ensembles etc etc etc since the 70s! I still have my original Micromoog, I leaned production and EM using a Moog Model III, Electrocomp 101, and VCS3 Putney. Things have ALWAYS been exciting and interesting. Personally I love my M3, the insane power of my DAW and plugins and my acoustic instruments. I certainly don't miss splicing tape by hand, so thank god for amazing workstations, computers and digital recording. It's all good.

  • http://soundcloud.com/subsens Guiltin

    Simply put, I consider Kronos to be the Z1 update I`ve been waiting for years!

  • http://soundcloud.com/puls-n pulsn

    The most interesting synth to me is the sampler player and the AL-1. Will they rip that out of the box and do a Radias MK2?

  • http://cooptrol.com cooptrol

    Just let's see if Autechre take it. They are always right.

  • http://noisepages.com/members/jamesmcn/ jamesmcn

    @jonah – I suspect you can cook up a sample-based FM synth in Reaktor pretty easily. In PureData, it should be very easy.

  • http://www.soundcloud.com/fortunedsouls james hopkins

    wow

    there really aren't many words….

    amazing. i'm shocked some of those features are NOT getting more publicity!

  • Herbert

    I noticed a naysaying "twenty-something" left a comment claiming the Kronos as some all inclusive safe keyboard for 40 year olds.  Well, maybe those 40 year olds CAN AFFORD IT!   By the way, I got a major recoed deal and a top forty billboard hit WHEN I WAS FORTY!   The Kronos is basically a completely portable PC that doesn't crash!  Kids, they're so cute?

  • http://haruhi.mulabs.org/ mcv

    "like the ability to seamlessly change sounds, which certainly is non-trivial on a computer"

    But it is trivial. ;-) I couldn't believe that OASYS actually can not smoothly switch sounds – it just cuts the previous sound when switching songs in sequencer.

    "If the pictures in this article reflect what is shipping then I truely feel sorry for the people who designed the UI."

    They do. But look at the M3. Not only the UI looks crappy, but the LCD certainly is the cheapest LCD screen available on Earth. Still haven't seen Kronos' one, but since I'm going to sell my M3 and buy Kronos some time soon, I deeply believe Korg has used something better and more readable than on M3.

  • http://bandesh.com Sadi

    Hi,

    I have a small question for you since you 

    Know the Kronos a lot than I do .

    I am wondering if we can creat styles and variations with all those drum kits ? 

    Please be kind an answer this so I can purchase on with no mistake .

    Thank you

    Sadi

  • John Manzella

    After playing my new Kronos for all of 3 days I agree with Keyboards statment that it could be the most powerful ( and musical ) keyboard on the planet. I think that is sets a new level of excellence for quality and capability in a resonably price instrument.