MGR/Henry Harrison of Slant 12/07/2001

Korg Karma : MGR/Henry Harrison of Slant's user review

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5

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I bought my Korg Karma at the local Guitar Center for about $1800, in June 2001, after deciding I wanted a keyboard with a built-in sequencer.

So far I have yet to explore some of the more complex options, but all of the presets sound amazing!! I know some people just use for example ACID and ACID's included loops to make songs, but they will eventually run out of loops without repeating themselves too much. Using the built-in adjustable phrases of the KARMA function, it would be possible to create at least five albums sequencing these phrases using a computer.
The Karma also boasts over 100 effects included ampsims, delays, reverbs, distortion, and many more I can't think of now. Though these effects don't support automation (as far as I can figure out) in the built-in sequencer, they still are well adjustable and sound good.
The Korg Karma includes over 1000 sounds which can be mix and matched to replicate real instruments. It also include effects from a car crash to applause to a telephone ringing.
Additionally, while all these presets are good, the Karma is fully customizable. You could change all the Programs and Combinations and then a year later load the original ones back using the included floppy and floppy drive. Pretty nifty.

Well, its damn complicated! Anyone looking to spend that much money should probably be well experienced, though.
Since I'm used to working with Cubase on a PC, I found the Karma sequencer a little hard to use. The LCD screen makes modifying things difficult but what would you expect. Also the large manuals don't really help until you figure out the whole general format of the thing. But pretty soon for me the Karma became no longer the enemy and instead a friend in music-making.

The color is kind of iffy, its a reddish-purple maroon color. There are plenty of assignable buttons and knobs, for certain chords, parameters like cutoff and resonance, and adjusting the KARMA function. These I have found good for live performing and recording (although you may need a helper as you only have two hands). The keys are fragile, but that goes for any keyboard. Its pretty heavy but portable enough for live performances. On the back it has a power in, a MIDI in, MIDI out, Left out, Right out, individual out 1, induvidual out 2, and jacks for pedals. On the front there is a stero headphone out jack.

Overall, the KARMA is a good keyboard. Pricey, but it contains all of the sounds of the Triton minus the Triton's sampler. Additionally it included the KARMA function, ideal for those of you not too good at making up your own melodies :) The sequencer isn't great, but hooked up to a Cubase-equipped PC, recording and sequencing is simple.
Also, the Karma is a little complicated, but it is extremely flexible, and once you get to know it, it becomes second nature. If you have the money and patience, try it out.

This review was originally published on http://www.musicgearreview.com