Absolutely everything you need to know about the KORG KRONOS
OK folks here’s all you need to know about the KRONOS, grabbed from various spots around the net, enjoy
A very special presentation from NAMM 2011 announcing the new Korg Kronos music workstation. Technology product manager Rich Formidoni, along with special guests Eldar, David Haynes, Jack Hotop and Jordan Rudess, gives an overview on the features of this game changing workstation.
Prepare to be Amazed
For nearly half a century, Korg has set the standard for technical innovation, leadership, and superior sound. Korg has created entire categories of musical products, and has produced some of the top-selling synthesizers and keyboard instruments ever; the instruments favored by musicians around the globe. In 1988, Korg defined the workstation category with the revolutionary M1. Today, in 2011, Korg redefines and reimagines the music workstation, revolutionizing the capabilities of the hardware instrument and exceeding the demands of the modern player: introducing the KRONOS Music Workstation.
* 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 keys. The 73 and 88 key models feature Korg’s finest RH3 Graded Hammer Action. The 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
o 12 Insert effects
o 2 Master effects
o 2 Total effects
* On-board sequencer offers 16 MIDI tracks + 16 audio tracks (24-bit, 48kHz recording quality)
* Open 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 Game Has Been Changed
KRONOS is more than a new instrument. It is a milestone in synthesis and workstation evolution; one that embodies fresh ideas and breakthrough technologies. KRONOS brings together multiple sound engines working in harmony and new interactive performance features that reflect the way musicians play. Most importantly, KRONOS provides a seemingly inexhaustible supply of breathtaking, spectacular sounds. Prepare to be amazed.
Nine Engines; a Universe of Sound
KRONOS unites nine individual synthesis engines in a single instrument, each providing the finest sound creation techniques available. Together, they represent not only the rich legacy of Korg, but the history of the electronic keyboard industry itself. Dig into the classic sounds of timeless instruments that are still loved to this day. Enjoy unique sounds that once startled the world. Venture into new sonic territory with sounds that have become possible now.
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!
Nine Synthesizer Engines, United in One Instrument
KRONOS contains nine distinct synthesizer/sound engines. While each is worthy of a separate product in its own right, KRONOS brings them all together into a single, integrated musical instrument. Dynamic voice allocation and new technologies allow all sound engines to smoothly share a stable, enhanced hardware platform. The results are nothing less than spectacular.
SGX-1 Premium Piano
Piano sound engine
You’ve never heard pianos like this on any workstation. To accurately capture the rich character of a concert piano, Korg abandoned working within the limitations of existing sampling methods and took advantage Virtual Memory Technology (VMT), able to play large samples directly from the internal high-capacity Solid State Disk (SSD). The SGX-1 Premium Piano sound engine offers two distinctive grand pianos; a rich German D piano, and a robust Japanese C model. Each uses superb, un-looped stereo samples sampled at eight velocity levels for each and every key. Thoughtful attention to detail preserves the realism and warmth of the piano sound; this extends even to sampling and reproducing the body resonances of the grand piano, as well as the mechanical noise that occurs when the keys are played, or the damper pedal is pressed and released. The foundation of any keyboard instrument is the piano; the SGX-1 engine allows KRONOS to confidently deliver on this sonic ideal.
EP-1 MDS Electric Piano
Electric piano sound engine
Our new EP-1 sound engine is dedicated to faithfully recreating six of the most popular classic electric pianos. The MDS (Multi-Dimensional Synthesis) technology eliminates the transitions between velocity-switched samples, and does away with the unnatural behavior of looped samples. It also provides the user with unique control over the tines, reeds, and noise elements that make up the essential character of these timeless and coveted electromechanical instruments. The MDS sounds respond smoothly to the subtleties of the player’s keyboard touch. This technology also delivers an astounding dynamic range – far superior to what one might expect from digital technology – so that the energy of climactic passages is accurately preserved. Each of the six electric piano models provides realistic simulations of the period amp, cabinet, speaker, and even the hard-to-find vintage effects that gave the original instruments their distinctive sound. From the sounds, to the touch, to the effects; every element has been coordinated in a single package to create the ultimate electric piano experience.
CX-3 Tonewheel Organ
Tonewheel organ sound engine
The original Korg CX-3 combo organ went on sale in 1980. Loved by musicians around the world, this classic organ reappeared in 2000 as a new product with the same name, but using the latest technology of the time to faithfully model the tonewheel organ sound. In KRONOS, the CX-3 engine precisely models this classic tonewheel instrument. Proprietary Korg technology has been used to perfectly reproduce the vacuum tube amp, and effects such as Vibrato/Chorus and the “must-have” rotary speaker. Even the instability, fold-back, leakage, and noise of the tonewheels have been obsessively analyzed and recreated. Take full advantage of Korg’s exclusive EX mode and switch from 9 to 18 drawbars (13 footages plus 5 to define the percussion) and generate even richer and more detailed sounds. The organ sounds heard in legendary performances – some recreated here by the original artists – are now yours for the playing. Go ahead and experience these classic organ sounds, reborn for the present day.
HD-1 High Definition Synthesizer
Flagship PCM, sampling and Wave Sequencing sound engine
We named the HD-1“High Definition” because of its superior sound, starting with Korg’s proprietary low-aliasing sample playback oscillators, full-bandwidth multimode resonant filters, and extraordinarily fast & smooth envelopes and LFOs. Once again, our SSD and Virtual Memory Technology (VMT) gives the HD-1 access to a larger sample set – gigabytes in size – than could be normally stored using internal memory. The HD-1 covers all of the essential sounds in exquisite detail, from orchestral to classic rock to hip-hop, all instantly available. The extensive array of samples provided by KRONOS is unparalleled by previous hardware synthesizers or samplers, and is a superb fit for film, video and sound effect work.
First introduced on the Korg WAVESTATION, and used here as part of the HD-1, Wave Sequences play a series of samples over time, creating distinctive rhythmic timbres or smooth, complex evolving sounds. Additionally, step-sequencer modulation outputs allow Wave Sequences to control any modulate-able Program parameter.
The HD-1 sound engine also includes our “Ambient Drums.” Take advantage of this rich sample content to create incredibly realistic drum parts. The Ambient Drums feature two kits. Each provides three different mic’ing positions, capturing the whole kit, (with the snare on and off), plus the individual hits. The HD-1 voice architecture allows the custom blending of the drum’s direct sound and ambient sound layer, adding a finished quality to the track.
AL-1 Analog Synthesizer
High-fidelity analog modeling sound engine
Feature-packed, the AL-1 is the same premium analog modeling sound engine that was first featured on the Korg OASYS, the Open Architecture Synthesis Studio back in 2005. Its patented ultra-low-aliasing oscillators (using completely different technology than the HD-1) recreate all the power and glory of true analog synthesis— without the artifacts that can plague lesser instruments. Morphing waveforms allow you to change the oscillator shapes in real-time. Resonance modeling lets you choose between classic filter sounds, and the extraordinarily flexible MultiFilter lets you create your own hybrid filter shapes. Hard sync, analog-style FM, drive, low-boost, and ring modulation offer plenty of tone-twisting power.
MS-20EX Legacy Analog Collection
Analog modeling sound engine
Debuting in 1978, the MS-20 unified a 37-note keyboard with a vertically oriented control panel, and was easily obtainable by those smitten by expensive and gigantic furniture-sized synthesizers. With a thick and solid sound, aggressive filters, and patching that opened up limitless potential for creating sounds, the MS-20’s rich personality captivated countless synth freaks. Using Korg’s CMT (Component Modeling Technology) the MS-20EX faithfully reproduces the MS-20 while dramatically expanding its patch panel functionality. Modulate filters with audio-rate oscillators; turn audio inputs into control signals; control all of the original knobs with mod sources including additional envelopes, LFOs, and real-time controllers. It’s a tweaker’s dream, but even without the patch panel, the MS-20EX would make waves with its unique, aggressive tone—due in large part to its signature filters, which are completely different from those in either the AL-1 or the PolysixEX. And of course the KRONOS version is now majorly polyphonic.
PolysixEX Legacy Analog Collection
Analog modeling sound engine
The Polysix first appeared in 1981, offering six-voice polyphony, program memory, and a surprisingly competitive price tag. With its self-oscillating four-pole filter, smooth analog oscillator and sub-oscillator, plus a lush Chorus/Ensemble effect, the PolysixEX extends the abilities of the original in many creative ways. The strings and pads that were such a major feature of the Polysix will be invaluable when you need the sounds of the early ’80s. The classic arpeggiator built into the original Polysix is also provided. We’ve added modulation of every control on the front panel, for a world of sounds impossible on the original. It’s also very well-suited to hands-on control via the KRONOS’ Tone Adjust; with a knob, slider, or switch for almost all of the original Polysix controls. As a bonus, it’s also capable of extremely high polyphony.
MOD-7 Waveshaping VPM Synthesizer
VPM/Waveshaping/PCM processing sound engine
Combine Variable Phase Modulation (VPM), wave-shaping, ring modulation, samples, and subtractive synthesis, plus a modular patch-panel system, and you have the MOD-7. Exceptionally versatile, it offers everything from classic FM keyboards, bells and basses (including the ability to import sounds from vintage DX synths) to rhythmic soundscapes and sparkling, epic pads. “Vast” sample-mangling capabilities, with incredible flexibility and power, let you create intensely rich processing environments: combine multiple stages of filtering, waveshaping, and ring modulation – even use samples as FM modulators – all patched together however you like.
STR-1 Plucked String Synthesizer
Physical modeling sound engine
Based on the physical modeling know-how Korg developed over the course of many years, this struck/plucked-string physical modeling sound engine takes advantage of cutting-edge technology. The STR-1 begins with highly playable sounds whose tone responds to your touch in ways that are difficult for a PCM sound engine to replicate. These include acoustic guitar, electric guitar, harpsichord, clavinet, harps, bells, and ethnic instruments. Then the STR-1 goes beyond, allowing the creation of sounds that obey physical laws, but that don’t exist in reality. Play harmonics on a metal bar “plucked” by a piano or sing into a guitar string; with the STR-1, it’s all possible. You can also process samples and live audio input through the physical model—including audio feedback from any of the KRONOS effects! While some of the KRONOS engines look back in time, this a sound engine of the future, one that allows the synthesizer programmer to construct truly new sounds.
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.
Korg’s Rock-Solid 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®(Kay Algorithmic Real-time Music Architecture) 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!
Premium-quality 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 Finest 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.
Versatile 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.”