[NAMM] Korg Kronos - Full Details
Korg introduces the Kronos Music Workstation.
KRONOS is described as "a milestone in synthesis and workstation evolution; one that embodies fresh ideas and breakthrough technologies." KRONOS brings together multiple sound engines and new interactive performance features.
Check out the video demo here.
KRONOS unites nine individual synthesis engines in a single instrument. Together, they represent the legacy of Korg, and the history of the electronic keyboard industry itself, Korg says.
The following comes straight from their press release - expect other details soon:
- Next-generation workstation with enhanced performance features
- 9 Sound engines, each offering a unique sound-creation technology (see list below)
- 16-part Combis allow all engines to function together in perfect harmony; Dynamic Voice Allocation keeps the polyphony high.
- Available with 61, 73 or 88 keys73 and 88 key models feature Korg's finest RH3 Graded Hammer Action 61 key model borrows the responsive synth action from the Korg M3-61
- Comprehensive interface, based around a new large 8" TFT TouchView™ display
- Virtual Memory Technology (VMT), aided by a fast SSD (Solid State Disk) provides high polyphony and massive, ultra-long, and unlooped samples; offering unheard of performance from a hardware instrument
- Smooth Sound Transition: this often-requested feature allows held or sustained notes to keep sounding when changing sounds or modes.
- Set List mode: Organize the Programs, Combis, and Songs you need to perform your set in a single, easy-to-select screen – including performance notes!
- Use up to 16 premium-quality effects at once; individual effects rival dedicated units
- 12 Insert effects
- 2 Master effects
- 2 Total effects
- On-board sequencer offers 16 MIDI tracks + 16 audio tracks (24-bit, 48kHz recording quality)
- Sampling System – Instant sampling and resampling from any mode:
- Program, Combination or Sequencer.
- Sophisticated KARMA® technology generates infinitely variable performance-driven phrases, musical effects, and backing tracks to catalyze your creativity
- Expanded Drum Track for play-along grooves and inspiration
- Signature sounds created with guidance from world class musicians
"The Next-Generation Instrument for Live, Production, and Sound Design"
The KRONOS Music Workstation is the single instrument designed for live performing musicians; for artists creating in a studio or computer-based production environment; and for musicians and sound designers seeking the ultimate synthesizer. In creating KRONOS, we have listened to many musicians and have heard their requests. And KRONOS delivers.
LIVE – for the performing keyboard player
KRONOS provides the absolute finest in keyboard sounds; accurate and responsive to the player's technique. The expansive control surface offers joysticks, sliders, knobs, switches, a ribbon controller, assignable pedal inputs, and of course our improved resolution color TouchView™ display. New additions include our easy-to-use Set List mode for song-specific and gig-ready sound selection, and our Smooth Sound Transition feature. Plus, we’ve included our finest RH3 keybed on both the 73 and 88 key models for a solid performance; the 61 key enjoys the responsive action shared with the Korg M3-61.
PRODUCTION – satisfying the producer, music director, and musician
For many, the studio is where the work gets done; from laying down tracks, to building up grooves for an on-stage extravaganza, to delivering the soundtrack for today’s media rich world. For these creative leaders, Korg has equipped the KRONOS Music Workstation’s sequencer with 16-track MIDI tracks plus 16 audio tracks, our Open Sampling System, dazzling hi-fidelity effects, as well as flawless plug-in integration with many popular DAW platforms. Of course, KRONOS is equipped with phenomenal sound, dynamic drums, and an impressive array of premium sound effects. Add to that the ability to use KARMA, the Drum Track, and the sequencer’s RPPR to greatly speed up and enrich the music creation process.
SYNTHESIS – programming joy for the enthusiast and sound designer
In addition to being Korg’ premier workstation, KRONOS has it in its blood to satisfy the programmer, sound designer, and synthesizer enthusiast; the musician who dreams of turning visions of the cosmos into sound, of tweaking parameters to conjure invisible sounds from the ether. KRONOS rekindles Korg’s founding dream that is at the core of synthesis: the exhilaration and enjoyment of creating new sounds, sounds never before heard! A variety of exclusive Korg technologies drive the synth engines to provide astounding results – VMT (Virtual Memory Technology); CMT (Component Modeling Technology); Physical Modeling, Digital Synthesis, Wave Sequencing, MDS (Multi-Dimensional Synthesis); KARMA® and more!
Premier Artist Contributions
In order to take full advantage of these nine sound engines, Korg called on respected musicians to guide our sound design team towards their individual ideals. Responding positively, numerous world-class players contributed their time, energy, and critical listening to help us zero in on making the sound respond the way they hear it! Certain artist signature sounds were tested, judged and tweaked by the likes of Jordan Rudess, Russ Ferrante, Lyle Mays, George Duke, Tom Coster, Jeff Lorber, Frank McComb, John Novello and several other artists known for their serious love of sound and for their critical, demanding ears.
Workstation Integration Puts it all Together
Packed with unlimited sound potential, KRONOS is much more than a synthesizer. KRONOS comes complete with all of the extras required of a modern workstation, plus so much more. From music production to live performance, the KRONOS Music Workstation integrates a world-class list of tools into a single, reliable instrument. Under the hood, all nine engines share the same hardware, with no separate cards to manage or polyphony barriers between them--and no "CPU overs" to worry about. KRONOS dynamically allocates power between the engines as you play, automatically and in real time, providing an integrated experience no PC can match. In addition, KRONOS smoothly functions as a plug-in with many popular DAWs, providing your studio with native, unprecedented sonic power.
First appearing on Korg's Karma Music Workstation in 2001, this revolutionary algorithmic music technology instantly produces sophisticated phrases, drum grooves and full-blown backing tracks. Based on the notes and chords you play and the intuitive operations you perform with the knobs, sliders, and switches, you'll easily produce musical effects that exceed anything you imagined. Now in its greatly-enhanced second generation and offering features like KARMA Wave-Sequencing, Note Mapping and 8 scenes per layer, KARMA is standard equipment on your new KRONOS. It will expand your conception of a song, and will be an enormous asset to your live performances.
*KARMA®ÅiKay Algorithmic Real-time Music ArchitectureÅj and the KARMA Logo are registered trademarks representing patented technology licensed from Stephen Kay, Karma Lab LLC, www.karma-lab.com
KRONOS also borrows the Drum Track feature from the M3 and M50 Music Workstations. Drum Tracks can create everything from a simple reference beat to an outline rhythm track on up to a full-blown drum track for your music productions. KRONOS now includes professional drum performances from artists such as Ricky Lawson, able to generate grooves reproducing the distinctive feel of a pro drummer. Applications and extras have been unstintingly poured into this single feature. The Drum Track can go beyond rhythm machines, and is fully capable of standing on its own.
Open Sampling System
No matter whether you're in Program, Combination, or Sequencer mode, you can always use KRONOS to sample an external audio source, or to resample the performance of the KRONOS itself. User samples can be edited using operations such as truncate, normalize, time stretch, or time slice. Edited samples can also be exported in AIFF or WAVE format. You can also load external samples in AIFF, WAVE, SoundFont 2.0, and AKAI S1000/3000 formats via USB memory. By loading samples that you've previously created on other instruments or on a PC, you can set up your music production system on the KRONOS – no additional equipment required.
16-track MIDI sequencer / 16-track audio recorder
KRONOS features a sequencer/recording section that offers both 16 MIDI tracks plus 16 audio tracks; a great resource for putting together a dazzling performance or a brilliant production. MIDI sequencing makes it easy to capture ideas, inspiration, and pro-quality phrases using the KARMA, Drum Track, or RPPR (Realtime Pattern Play/Recording) functions. The 16-track audio recorder simultaneously captures up to four tracks of 16-bit/24-bit uncompressed data at a sampling rate of 48 kHz. Play along with recorded tracks, add effects, and then resample the KRONOS itself and place the resampled WAVE files directly in a track. When polishing your tracks, feel free to use mixer automation and editing functions such as copy, paste, and normalize to get the results you want. Plug in a USB CD-burner and assemble your album right from the TouchView display!
Effects suite – use up to 16 simultaneously
KRONOS provides 16 internal effects to add impact to your sonic creations. Each of the 12 Insert effects can be applied to individual or multiple timbres in a combination, or to individual or multiple tracks of the sequencer. In addition, two Master effects can be applied to sends 1/2, and two Total effects can be applied to all tracks at the final stage of the sound. Each effect offers 185 distinct effect types, covering every possible sound-shaping need. Examples include a high-resolution reverb, chorus, delay, guitar amp and cabinet modeling, even vocoding. Each effect provides up to 72 adjustable parameters, as well as numerous realtime modulation possibilities, delivering outstanding versatility. A separate three-band EQ is provided for every timbre, for every sequencer track, and for every audio track for adjusting subtle tonal balances or for creatively modifying the overall sound.
New Performance Power
In creating KRONOS, we listened to many musicians from around the world. Our goal was to change the way musicians interacted with their instrument to provide a more fluid, expressive, and natural experience. At one level, this meant providing a comprehensive yet intuitive control surface. But with KRONOS, we wanted to take these ideas even further, creating an instrument ideally suited to the way musicians play.
Set List screen provides single-touch selection, regardless of mode
The new Set List screen lets you instantly recall your favorite programs, combinations, or song data with a single touch, regardless of mode. There are 128 Set List locations, and each one can have 128 slots. Sixteen of these slots appear at a time as buttons in the TouchView display, color-coded to ensure easy visibility even in dim lighting. This is a great convenience during a live performance or in the production workplace. You can also leave notes for yourself using the Set List page, to remember the key of a song, for example. The Set List also provides a stereo graphic EQ at the final stage of the main audio output, which can be used to compensate for the acoustical character of the performance venue.
Smooth Sound Transition eliminates dropouts when changing sounds
KRONOS features our new Smooth Sound Transition technology. This powerful new addition is designed to maintain any currently held, played, or sustaining notes (with their effects), helping to prevent drop-outs from occurring when you switch sounds or change from Program mode to Combi mode. A high level of technology has been applied to finally bring this sought-after ability to reality, fulfilling the requests of many musicians.
Enhanced, color TouchView display
Korg's TouchView graphical user interface is based on a new large, color 8-inch (800 x 600 pixel) touch screen. The TouchView display is the centerpiece of Korg's intuitive design, providing easy-to-view information and simple touch control. In developing KRONOS, we also incorporated numerous images of actual instruments and their respective controls into the display, to ensure that the musician enjoys the feeling of playing an instrument – rather than controlling a machine.
In addition to the parameters accessible directly from the TouchView display, KRONOS also offers a wealth of realtime controllers to enhance any performance and to aid navigation. A four-way joystick, ribbon controller, and two assignable switches are located to the left of the keyboard. An additional Vector joystick is nearby. Above the keyboard, nine sliders, eight knobs and a number of switches provide realtime interaction with features at the heart of the KRONOS' impressive sound. The damper pedal input supports half-damping, providing another level of piano realism. In addition to the damper pedal jack, there are also two assignable pedal inputs, one footpedal type and one footswitch style.
Korg's Keyboard Actions
The 61-key version features the same great-feeling, responsive semi-weighted keybed found in the M3-61 Music Workstation. Acclaimed for their solid feel and tactile response, these keys provide a seamless, expressive connection to the many forms of synthesis KRONOS provides.
The 88-key model of the KRONOS features the same RH3 real weighted hammer action keyboard used on Korg's upper-end piano models and on the SV-1. The hammer weighting is graded, providing a heavier feel in the lower register and a lighter feel in the upper register, just as on a grand piano, offering superb playability. Boldly, the 73-key model also features this same RH3 keyboard, creating a more compact and transportable instrument that still provides superior piano and electric piano sounds teamed with an authentic piano touch. KRONOS is notable for its slim design, showing an integration of function and design.
KRONOS can send MIDI signals to and from your computer via USB. Using the KRONOS Editor software (free download), sounds and settings can be edited directly from your computer. The KRONOS Plug-in Editor (free download) lets you use KRONOS from within many popular DAW systems, as if it were a plug-in instrument. KRONOS can also be used as an audio I/O for your computer, sending and receiving two channels of audio via USB. In a music production system using your KRONOS and a computer, there is no need to purchase any additional hardware, creating the simplest possible set-up.
Array of Audio Inputs and Outputs
The KRONOS provides a total of six channels of audio input: 2 analog channels, 2 digital channels (S/P DIF optical, 48 kHz/24-bit), and 2 USB channels. As audio outputs, you have the 2 main channels (L/MONO, R) as well as four independent audio outputs, 2 digital channels (S/P DIF optical, 48 kHz/24-bit), and 2 USB channels (note: the 2 digital channels and 2 USB channels output the same signal as the main L/R output). All analog inputs and outputs support TRS balanced connections. The analog inputs provide a MIC/LINE select switch and an independent level control for each channel, offering the flexibility to meet any situation. In addition to the type-B USB connector used for communicating with your computer, there are two type-A USB 2.0 ports for use with external storage media such as flash memory, hard drives, or CD-R/RW and DVD drives. The output of the KRONOS can be resampled to a USB storage device such as a hard drive, or connected to USB CD-R/RW drive to create audio CDs.
The Korg Kronos is expected in March.
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