Tag Archive: kaossilator


KP3 review

This is a first post in a loooooooong time. In mitigation I’ve just started a new job and was also got Skyrim for Christmas – that stuff is a vampiric time drain for a dweeb like me. 

I also treated myself to a kp3 last month. I’ve been really impressed by Korg’s hardware and so after seeing what a kp3 can do (see below), I parted with £230 and give it a whirl.

So what is a kp3 and how does is differ from a kaossilator? They are identical in shape and layout except the kp3 has a red trim, a 12 volt power connector and some of the buttons have slightly different functions (more about this later). It comes boxed with a manual, reference sheet and software to transfer samples back and forth. The kp3 has all the same audio, usb and midi inputs and outputs as the kaossilator pro and like the kaossilator pro it can easily be used as an external controller using the usb connection.

The kaossilator pro is phrase synthesizer and basic sampler whereas the kp3 is more of a box of fx tricks for incoming audio. There are 128 programs grouped into filters. eq, modulations, delays, reverb, granulators, sample manipulation, cross faders and vocoder effects. There are also inbuilt sound generators, some drum loops and synth noises which can be resampled and morphed to your hearts content. Favourites can be assigned and recalled from the 8 function buttons above the xy pad.

You can hook up any audio source (including a kaossilator) to the kp3’s inputs and is has an auto bpm detect that is pretty good at calculating tempo on the fly. You can also manually control the tempo if it’s baffled by it’s input.

I’ve had this bit of kit for four weeks now and I don’t think I’ve come close to discovering all the different functions and capabilities.Sweeping your finger over the xy pad alters the parameters of the particular effect – so things like filter sweeps and tap delays are child’s play. The kp3 can record and recall your finger movements and there is a hold button for freezing an effect. The actual magnitude of the effect is controlled by the fx pot (the program volume pot on the kaossilator pro) and the transition from effected output to dry output can be controlled using the effect slider. These means you can create jarring jumps or subtle fade outs to suit the music.

Like the kaossilator pro the kp3 can sample incoming audio to one of four sample banks. You can also resample the kp3’s output to a new bank and these banks can be muted on an off as well as saving your creations to an sd card (2 gig limit). It would have been nice to have the option of the sample banks playing bank unaffected by the effect that’s processing the incoming audio, e.g. a dry sampled drum loop playing to a effected synth line but it’s not a deal breaker.

You have a little more flexibility in manipulating your samples, you can control the sample start point and by clicking the eight function buttons you can slice the sample and create new variations by muting and unmuting them.

It’s a great little sound tool. The kaossilator pro was a nifty little budget synth but the kp3 seems to be a more versatile bit of kit for generating musical inspiration. You don’t get the same sort of deep control over parameters that you would get from a software vst but the ability to easily switch effects and it’s user friendliness more than compensate. It’s fun just to hook it up to your music and do live remixes, or hook it up to a kaossilator and play that with one hand whilst the other controls the kp3’s effects.

I would recommend this to anyone looking for a big boy’s sound toy, or for anyone who wants a bit more tactile control over their music.

Ear Burps

I thought I’d link a couple of tracks I’ve posted up on Soundcloud.
Dreadfruit was me and Spookyfruit faffing around ijn real time with a Kaossilator and Thumbjam. We were in our chalet at Nightmare Before Christmas, it was a sunday afternoon and we were feeling a bit fragile. We actually did three or more tracks but this was the most palatable, mainly cuz I didn’t start wigging out on the noise generators and slathering everything with feedback and harsh frequencies.

Dreadfruit

Wring is me on a kaossilator and iKaossilator, it is a pretty accurate rendition of the state of my cranium after 3 days of music, sleep deprivation and menthol chewing gum 🙂

Wring

iKaossilator Review

I spotted this on the app store and as I have been pleased with all of Korg’s music apps I felt duty bound to give it a whirl. First of all, this is not an emulation of the kaossilator, although it shares some of the features and has a few quirks of it’s own. The app works on iPod, iPhone and iPad.
When you load up the app you are confronted with a touch pad, five “slots” and info on bpm, loop length, scale and key. Even on an iPad the touch screen is smaller than on a kaossilator pro, obviously on a pocket device the touchpad is even more restricted, so bad news if you’re a fat fingered fop like me.
On an original kaossilator you had no means to save your patterns, on the kaossilator pro you had four banks to save phrases as well as the ability to save patterns to an sd card. The iVersions take advantage of their larger memory and display screens and so you have much more flexibility and capacity to save, select and recall your efforts.
As well as saving individual patterns you can also save blocks of patterns which can be recalled later of mixed with other existing loops. This is very useful, especially if you want to add variations of bass lines and drum loops to your performance.

Each slot can have a specific sound and pattern assigned to it (much like the KPro’s memory banks). You can mute and solo each slot but unlike the KPro there does not seem to be a way of altering the volume of each part. Also lacking is a means of gating patterns. An interesting difference to the hardware versions is that once you have recorded a pattern, you can change the original voice and the iKaossilator will play the same pattern with a different sound. Another useful feature is that as your patterns play, the touch pad lights up the positions you originally touched which is handy if you want to overlay a pattern to follow an existing one.
The hardware kaossilators were able to respond to the pressure of your touch whereas the iVersions don’t. Similiarly, although apple devices support multitouch, the app follows it’s hardware equivalent in only allowing to only play one note at a time (to program chords you would have to record and play the notes individually).
The iversions come into their own in actually selecting pre recorded loops. You can record your own parts into the slots and then swap these with pre existing loops on the fly. So you could add an existing dubstep drum loop and swap your bass line for a tech house loop to creates more varied performance than would be possible on a hardware version.
The app is WIST compatible which means devices running software such as Electribe, ims-20, reBirth or even another device running iKaossilator; will all sync together via bluetooth.
The app is a lot of fun and very easy to use. It not a complete music package like synth station or FLMobile but it’s more than just a sound toy. The actual sounds themselves are ok , nothing mind-blowing and there is no means of importing or sampling your own sounds. It’s currently on sale for £6.99 which is expensive in app terms but cheap when you consider a hardware kaossilator will cost you at least £100.
Definately recommended as long as you understand that it is not a hardware emulation.

Soundzen

I’ve uploaded a track up onto soundcloud, it was done by me jamming along with a Kaossilator pro and a generative music app for the iPad / iPod called soundzen.
Soundzen is similar to a lot of online flash applications and although very basic you can generate some very pleasing patterns.
It comes with 4 free soundsets and you can purchase extra sounds such as guitar by an in app purchase (69p in the UK)

Knows

Soundzen

Exxy Dental

I’ve uploaded a new track onto soundcloud, mostly made from processed audio sampled for a kaossilator. I’ve been a bit too busy to keep the blog updated but at the beginning of next week I’m hoping to post some reviews of this weekend’s ATP curated by Animal Collective.

I’m especially looking forward to catching Lee Scratch Perry again. I last saw him about 8 years ago at the Custard Factory in Digbeth. He played a long set, the sound was amazing, really low pant quaking bass. Scratch jogged around like a homeless shaman seemingly immune to the passive dope smoking. Happy times…

Anyhow, I’ll let you know how it goes.

Exxy Dental

Above and Beyond

This track was a drunken collaboration between Noimspartacus on kaossilator and fx and Spookyfruit on Garageband guitar.