January 21, 2012

Korg Booth at Namm 2012

Korg just seems to chug along at a very pleasant pace these days. So many announcements fill the year for them and it is easy to overlook the quiet additions to their many lines of staple products. This year, however, it looks like Korg used NAMM as an opportunity to show off updates for many of these.

Notably, on display were the recently released Monotron Delay and Monotron Duo. If you haven’t considered the devices in the Monotron family of pocket-size, analog ribbon synthesizers; they really are worth picking up. They are built with the same VCF circuits as the MS series of analog/ semi-modular synths Korg released in the late 70′s/early 80′s and sound great. The DUO offers a second oscillator for wide detuned and chorused sounds. This makes the DUO fantastic for generating synth solos and dissonant effects. The DUO also borrows the cross modulation, “X-MOD,” from the classic Mono/Poly. The X-MOD generates vibratos and FM tones that will please the snootiest of synth geeks. With the scale control options for the ribbon styled controller, the DUO becomes a surprisingly practical little piece.

The Monotron Delay expands upon the MS based circuitry of the original Monotron and adds a space delay with time and feedback controls. An added knob on the rear provides LFO wave shaping options that allow this to be an altogether different modulation oriented synth to it’s sister product. Echoing, rhythmic patterns and melodies made with this little guy can be the inspiration for a long night of Ableton shenanigans.

I am most excited about the Mini Kaoss Pad 2 Dynamic Effect Processor. The changes made to the new release make it a very interesting little oddity. The new additions of an MP3 player, FX release and SD storage offer some interesting possibilities. The design has been made so that it is more reminiscent of a field recorder. Well, it either looks like a field recorder or some kind of Star trek communicator. That perception is only enhanced with the presence of the included onboard mic. The 1/8″ I/O allows for any number of other sources to patch through the new Mini Kaoss Pad 2.

Naturally, the actual interface of the Mini Kaoss Pad 2 is slick, with touchstrip and X-Y pad controls, a high contrast OEL display, and LED play and Tap BPM buttons for fast access in weird conditions.  With all the classic chaos control and effects functionality of the previous model, it seems like this unit could easily drop into any number of roles for any number of instrument, DJ or field recording setups.

The Mini Kaoss Pad 2 is slated for a May street date.