REVIEW by audiofanzine Synthwalker.
Korg Krome test
By the synthwalker 18/10/2012
Details of ergonomics
Son of Kronos
Programs 8 layers
Drum track and arpeggios
Combinations by 16
A year after releasing the most powerful workstation market, Korg presents the series Krome, determined to make it the new standard for entry level.
In 2011, Korg puts the record straight with Kronos, a workstation embedding its share of innovations and unrivaled power. Since the manufacturer has not been idle: banks additional high-quality sound, a set X carrying a whole new motherboard / processor and power, an OS2 for streaming audio samples for user management and extended memory Kronos users ... therefore, as their instrument, a beautiful musical future! Picking up the torch of M50 at dawn 50 years of Korg is now Krome is announced this summer, pending a 2013 guess that already apotheosis! Program, a huge memory PCM, a thorough synthesis engine, effects overpowering, a sequencer and a beautiful ... ah outstanding ergonomics, and a price that really forget everything you just said. Let us see how the Krome establishes the new reference input range.
We tested a Krome 61, with a semi-weighted keyboard light dynamic 61 keys. This is higher than the M50, with a more frank and firmer. However, it is below the superb Kronos keyboard, offering a more subtle and far superior cushioning key. Similarly, there is no response to the pressure in the family Krome, what we understand in this price range. This choice is also better than some low-end keyboards that trigger pressure and you end up unexpectedly cut ... The facade is very neat, built in aluminum with two finishes, the upper part, brushed, is the most beautiful effect. The rest of the unit (rear, sides, bottom), however, molded plastic light, which allows a very good portability (7 kg for the 61-key model, 8 for the model 73 semi-weighted keys light and 15 kg 88-key model for heavy type NH) without excessive fragility. The sublime pianos, schools keypad and the weight of the pen almost Krome position de facto model with 88 keys heavy as a direct competitor of the big piano / keyboards scene.
There are few knobs, only 6 small but firm enough, they can control the volume for the area at the left, the synthesis parameters / arpeggios for 4 to the left of the screen and the tempo for the to the right (in conjunction with a dedicated Tap). Switches are much more numerous, quite correct, some are equipped with blue LEDs. We found for the activation of the arpeggiator and drum part, the choice of game or editing (global, combis, programs, movies, media), publishing (including a numeric keypad and a welcome encodeuse wheel), the choice of banks / programs, backup / comparison sounds and the sequencer transport. It would have been nice just to differentiate the transport controls, because there are embedded in a pad and difficult to distinguish.
To the left of the keyboard, there is a 2-axis joystick (pitch bend / modulation) circled four blue LEDs, identical to that of Kronos, and is dominated by two switches modulation assignable to various functions via menus: joint sounds, variants programs, octave transposition ... The headphone jack, mini jack 3.5 mm format, is located at the front left, well done!
The back is kind of simple: Terminal for external power (fortunately block in the middle with 3-pin IEC connector), on / off switch, 2 audio jack 6.35 TS, 3 pedals taken (maintenance, switch and continuous controller ), a duo Midi (In / Out), an SD card interface (backup sounds and movies on SD card up to 2GB and SDHC up to 32GB) and a USB port for connection to a PC (Midi but not audio over USB). Note that the on / off switch is push type spring, which seems strange at first, even if risky triturated blind the connection to the rear is better understood when we discover the function of self-extinguishing, configurable from a certain time without use. Ecolo, the Krome!
Details of ergonomics
The Krome is a model of ergonomics. The concern of the manufacturer in this field is reflected in a number of details: First, the machine comes with a DVD including a video of grip in French and manuals in PDF (full manual, taken Quick, name programs - only parameter guide is in English). Then, the user interface is very neat, especially through the beautiful color touch screen 7-inch 800 x 480 points adjustable contrast, very bright, hyper-reactive, much nicer than the Kronos for several reasons: the sharpness is better characters are bigger, larger orders and you can edit the settings by drag-and-drop, for example, turn a knob, moving a cursor, grab an envelope point and walk in 2D ... or activate a pad virtual numeric or alphanumeric depending on the case, to enter a name or value, well done!
Further details of the OS we loved: for example, when editing a program using a drum kit, the Krome opens a dialog box to jump into the editor kits located in Global mode, thus ending heaviness house resisted since the M1 (fourth century) ... Another example is when you want to record from a sequence program or combi mode, pressing the [REC] creates the sequence corresponding with sounds, effects and mixing directly imported, ready to be captured. Last example does not reveal everything, the sequencer with direct touch edition piano-roll, as did also not the Kronos!
More traditional way, there is the selection of programs and combis by category / subcategory pages navigation menu with selectable screen area or a dedicated physical switch and tabs when necessary. Compared to Kronos, there is no time overwhelmed by the plethora of settings, this is much more straightforward (but less powerful). We say that Krome has the perfect balance between complexity and intuitiveness. And as it boots in 30 seconds, you are ready to send faster!
Son of Kronos
We spotted on the web a video of a demonstrator in Brazil, which in addition to wearing a nice t-shirt Korg, manipulating samples with his own "Awave" then exported in a soft Korg copyrighted 2012 "MakeOptionPCM" files multisamples KSC thus generated were then placed on SD card and loaded into memory "Option PCM Bank" of Krome at boot, they could then be used in the programs, as well as the original PCM. Korg did not release at this stage what applications were considered, but apparently not completely open to the user as this video might suggest. To be continued ...
Moreover this is to send the Krome excels. First by the high audio levels coming out of the synth-workstation polyphonic 120 voices and 16 multitimbral channels. It operates in three main modes: simple programs, 16 programs combinations and sequences of 16 tracks. The sound engine is based on the reading of samples with an internal memory of 3.8 GB (compressed, equivalent to 16 bit/48 kHz) across 583 multisamples (including 12 stereo) and 2080 drum sounds (including 474 stereo ). This is the largest ever built in Rom static synth, since Krome does not use streaming audio 15 times that of M50!
All the sounds we heard from the vast majority of Kronos (SGX-1 engine and HD-1). The Krome is not one which we have grafted M50 new sounds of piano and drums. PCM memory includes a 2.8 GB Rom for the main acoustic piano, a Steinway-D directly from the bank of Kronos, stereo samples with 88 layers of 8 and a dynamic layer to the sympathetic resonance. To save memory compared to Kronos, only the main layers are not fastened. Needless to say, the results are very high and it adapts to all piano playing styles working the EQ and effects.
The rest of the memory is about 1 GB is stored on a rewritable Flash RAM: 600 MB ago for electric pianos, 3 captured with precision of 8 dynamic levels, although we do not find the level of reproduction exceptional modeled electric pianos EP-1 of Kronos (especially details such as noise and micro buttons are released, the perfect transition dynamic layers), but what we have in the fingers is quite convincing. The Rhodes Mark I / II (8 dynamic levels) are declined in different versions to suit all tastes: direct, preamp, chorus, flanger, phaser, panner, tremolo, wah wah. Ditto for the Wurlitzer 200A (8 dynamic levels), which knows how expressive slamming and wide. For its part the Clavinet is biting at will, even if does not have the same expressive than other pianos.
The other big piece of Krome is undoubtedly the batteries section, which occupies a large part of the remaining 370 MB. On the menu, acoustic kits rock, jazz (including sumptuous Jazz Ambience Drums of 8 stereo dynamic levels), pop, electro, hip-hop. Particular attention was paid to the treatment of percussion effects section via the direct capture balance / ambient sound, the compression sidechain pumping with big guaranteed ... A beautiful work of sound design. We found some beautiful organ (B3, Vox, Farfisa ...) taking advantage of the effects section packed with amp simulators, distortions, rotary speaker. Sets of strings are large and available in several sizes section. The choirs will not win a special prize but do the job, whether classical or pop. The guitars are not the best on the market, even if the effects can raise the level. Low we loved, with full details on the attacks, joint dynamic damn well, potato, served again by the effects. The brass sections are pungent, but there is however compelling solo instruments. Woods ring correctly, as solo section. Finally, the synthesized sounds are very neat, as always with Korg: big bass punch some outrageously past the limiter for those who get bored when the meters drop too low below 0 dB, tablecloths ranging from vintage to contemporary, evolving textures, leads ... without forgetting the various stacks complex taking advantage of dual oscillator 8 layers, allowing to appear here pad ethereal bells there, where transients within a single program (s' missing layers, 16 channel multitimbral modes are there for).
In short, we do not get bored, either on the attack and decay sounds fast, slow changes, assemblies and solos. In total, Krome contains 6 banks of 128 programs (ie 5 already filled), 4 banks of 128 combinations (3 already filled), 48 drum kits (32 already assembled), not to mention the 256 programs and 9 GM2 kits.
Programs 8 layers
The sound engine is the same engine Krome HD-1 Kronos. In normal mode, it uses 1 or 2 oscillators 8 dynamic layers, each of which can accommodate a multisample or drum kit mono or stereo. To edit the kits touch by touch, you can jump in Global mode from program mode. For each note of a kit, we assign the desired samples (up to 8 layers with mono or stereo switch or crossfade the adjacent layers), then layer defines the volume, playback direction, the starting point of playback (up to 8 indexes per sample), then the offsets of a number of synthesis parameters: tuning, filter cutoff, resonance, envelope AD volume, pitch, drive, Low boost and routing to the effects insertion.
The Krome comes with two editors, a standalone and a plug-in to insert in a DAW. SP2/Seven Vista Compatible PC and Mac OSX (10.4.11). The plug-in is compatible VST / RTAS PC in e VST / Audio Unit / RTAS Mac (untested).
For each oscillator, or multisamples kits (integers) then go into the main sections of synthesis of the program oscillator pitch, filter, driver, amp ... The pitch of each oscillator is widely adaptable: temperament, keyboard tracking, envelope crossover time levels themselves modular, 2 LFO, portamento, or matrix AMS sources (physical controllers, internal parameters or Midi CC).
As on previous Korg workstations from Trinity modulation sources are themselves a source modulated by AMS (sidechain). This is true at all levels of the audio system. This is followed by the filter section, with 2 resonant multimode filters. They can operate in 4 modes: low pass 12 dB, 12 dB high-pass, band-pass and 6 dB 6 dB rejection band. They can be arranged in different ways: simple (one single filter), in series, in parallel or dual slope (24 dB). In this way, we obtain a 24 dB low pass, high pass 24 dB, 12 dB bandpass or rejection 12 dB slope mode double the frequency response curve steepened right cutoff frequency, which allows a more pronounced resonance as a analog. The cutoff frequencies have many modulations possibilities: a dedicated envelope (with modulation amount assayed by filter when using filters doubles), 2 LFO, the LFO overall, a tracking generator 4 segments modular real-time and AMS sources. Same resonances are flexible with AMS sources, bravo!
Then comes the section amp / drive with the overdrive nonlinear program, a Low boost, level and pan. All these parameters are adjustable via the volume envelope dedicated LFO 2, a tracking generator 4 segments and AMS sources. To modulate the overall program (ie the simultaneous or 2 oscillators), it remains a global tracking generator 4 segments, a global LFO and 2 AMS mixers (mixture of 2 modulations addition, multiplication, shift, fade, morphing complex , quantization, door). In other words, this unit dry!
Korg has accustomed us to muscular effects sections. That of Krome no exception to the rule, with 8 multi-effects available regardless of the game mode (program / combination / sequence). It is certainly less powerful than twice the Kronos, but comparable to the M3 and M50. 8 multieffects decompose effects of IFX 5, 2 master effects, and one total effect MFX TFX. There are 193 complex algorithms for each multi-effect, or a bit more than the Kronos! In fact, the integrated effects engine in the Kronos EP-1 (modeling of electric pianos) were incorporated into the algorithms Krome: our phasers / flangers / chorus / wah / compressor vintage Vox, Small Stone, Black, Orange, Red ... more dynamic processors "standard", vocoders, EQ, filters, distortions, ensembles, delays, reverbs, effects chains in series and in parallel.
Among these algorithms are particularly hefty and 22 count double, so they consume two effects slots in the MFX and IFX or can be used TFX. Each algorithm is carefully planned and widely adjustable in real time (D-mod) on certain predefined parameters. Some other time settings can be synchronized to the internal clock / Midi, whereas others are modulated by LFO 2 effects. To facilitate the task of the musician and his save time, Korg offers a number of presets (up to 32) for each algorithm. The quality is undeniably the appointment, we feel the accumulation of years of experience, including the modeling of vintage pedals.
To top it all and refine the mix, there is a 3-band EQ (with semi-parametric midrange) by program or track multitimbral modes in combis / sequences. The editing and routing have fortunately a graphical display. Can link the IFX or parallel to 2-2. Multitimbral mode, each channel can be routed to one of the 5 IFX, which allows different cascades linking and routing. The MFX are placed on global bus, every part of a multiplayer mode with its two departures to 2 bus, each bus with its mix of stereo return. The chain end, the TFX adds the finishing touch that supplements the signal. A beautiful section!
Drum track and arpeggios
Each program, combination or sequence can be decorated with a Drum Track. It is a drum pattern looped, user patterns drawn from 1000 (of which 637 are preprogrammed) manufactured in sequencer mode. In program mode, the Drum Track plays a drum kit (to choose among 48 kits in memory) and can be mixed / routed to the effects section, as well as the two main oscillators. Combi mode / sequence, the Drum Track pilot one or more of the 16 MIDI channels available following programs affected parties. The Drum Track trips from a note or front panel switches and synchronizes to the internal clock, therefore everything that moves in the Krome tempo, LFO, delay or arpeggios for example.
Developed for the Triton and taken on the M50, the Krome arpeggiators are polyphonic. It has an arpeggiator in Program Mode and 2 multitimbral modes. There are five elementary patterns in Rom (up, down, x2 alternating, random) and 1028 fully programmable user patterns (900 ready). Arpeggios are produced in different levels of play, alone or with notes played on 1-4 octaves, synchronized to the internal clock (and thus all that is attached). In modes multitimbral arpeggiator each has a range and velocity of an area. You can work up to 12 voice polyphony of 48 no. Editing is graphic and tactile, with a grid where you enter notes fingertips, great! For each step, we define the height, velocity, gate time and Flam (simulation Strumming guitar). We can fix some notes to avoid transposition whatever chords, very useful for creating drum patterns. Arpeggios user can be saved in internal memory non-volatile, so much the better!
Combinations by 16
The Krome includes programs by 16 combi mode. The viewing screen is done in 2 sets of 8 program, which helps maintain good clarity display (same in sequencer mode), more readable than the Kronos. The 16 parts can be ordered by the Drum track or one of the two arpeggiators. 16 channels can be used interchangeably in transmission / reception with the internal sounds or external MIDI expanders, making Krome both a large and a powerful generator multitimbral keyboard master.
Each of the 16 channels, adjusting the sound source (internal / external), the midi channel, game mode, volume, panning, transpose, tuning, EQ, effects routings, the range (with fused upper and lower), the velocity window (ditto) ... this allows monumental stacks of 16 channels, knowing that the programs themselves can manage 2 x 8 dynamic layers!
At the south, the Krome to manage different parameters and filter certain commands per channel (program changes, pressure, sustain pedal, portamento ...).
Editing of programs in the context of their combination is via a dedicated "Tone Adjust" to take control of more than twenty key synthesis parameters. Some presets are directly modified with 4 knobs on the left, which you can assign commands four alternatives. All this is stored in the combis, which avoids having to clone the programs themselves (in program mode). We can not however edit all parameters of a program from combi mode, an option which only 01 / W could boast, there are more than 20 years, range from Korg. The editing is facilitated by the ability to cut / quickly isolate a portion of the fingertip, thank you touch screen!
Krome has the sequencer technical characteristics almost identical to that of M50. Program, 16 MIDI tracks and master track for changes in tempo and time signature. The capacity is 210,000 events, with a resolution of 480 beats per quarter note. Volatile memory is unfortunately, but when the manufacturer decides he to finish, throughout its range, with this annoying habit?!
As already mentioned, Auto Song Setup function lets you assign the program or combined with all current parameters to a sequence, ready to record, simply by pressing [REC]. Another usability, templates sequences by genre, with pre-assigned sounds and typical effects (16 presets and 16 user), ready to register.
The Krome is able to record in real time (overdubbing, looping punch) or step-by-step, with graphic display of key functions. It can capture several MIDI tracks simultaneously, either internally (with arpeggiators, the drum track and RPPR = assignment rhythmic patterns for each key), or from an external sequencer. You can also create 100 user patterns per song as a BAR or use one of the 605 patterns ROM. Sequences are assembled in Songs (up to 128).
Innovation with respect to material synths, a toolbox to move / copy / delete portions of tracks graphically by dragging and moved operated directly on the screen. Pressing a softkey toggles the Piano Roll editor mode that does not Kronos. In this mode, the marks appear as horizontal bars positioned with respect to a vertical keyboard. The velocity values ??are simultaneously reproduced in the form of bars. Editing is also the finger, as above, you can even enter notes, change their length or velocity of a finger swipe. Zoom factors 2D and locators can do quickly what you want, recording as editing. But the editor does not stop there, because you can switch between viewing piano (bars) or grid percussion (diamonds ad hoc), we applaud with both hands! There is also a track editing by area, with notes and controllers plotted, ready to be edited.
For playback, each track can be looped independently between 2 points to define with reading or not measures before the loop area. Identically combi mode, each track has a MIDI channel number, a sound source (internal or external), volume, pan, and a summons IFX departures Assayable to MFX. Finally, the method Cue List allows you to manage web parts Songs (20 linkings of 99 steps). Cue-List itself can be transformed into song.
Unquestionably, the Krome is the new reference among entry-level workstations. It is a specialized light Kronos PCM synthesis with high-quality sounds, especially piano and drums, much higher than that found elsewhere at prices much higher, as its strengths lie in its powerful sequencer easy to edit polyphonic arpeggiators that put its movement and effects section balaise well. Finally, it is particularly well studied ergonomics, with a balance between power and efficiency. We work quickly to Krome, much faster than Kronos. When you think there is room for a workstation intermediary between the Krome and Kronos, we wonder what we could still book Korg. To return to Krome, in terms of rate found (between 1000 and 1600 € depending on the keyboard version), we will award him the Award of price / quality ratio 2012.
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Award Quality / Price 2012
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€ 999.00 at The Home Studio
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Price / performance ratio
Overall sound quality
Pianos and drums exceptional
Engine power sound
Management of 8 stereo layers
Very flexible modulations
Combinations / master keyboard 16 parts
Wonderful effects section
Editors standalone and integrated VST
Lightweight and transportable
Wireless keyboard aftertouch
Limited Edition multitimbral mode programs
Volatile memory sequencer Korg Krome Music Workstation - Fernando Draganici - YouTube