KORG Kaossilator Pro review
Korg’s new souped up Kaossilator Pro is the elder sibling to their Kaossilator, bringing lots of new and exciting features to the table, but can it live up to the legacy of it’s younger brother? Juno Plus investigates.
The Kaossilator Pro is a Dynamic Phrase Synthesizer/Loop Recorder that Korg are billing as “a powered-up version of the palm-sized KAOSSILATOR, reborn as a powerful track-making tool and loaded with live performance power”.
The styling on the Kaossilator Pro is virtually identical to the Kaoss Pad KP3, with the layout of the controls exactly the same. In fact, the only differences are the colour of the backlit buttons and the X/Y pad, and also the text on the faceplate is different. Ultimately, it shares the same sturdy build quality, has the same well-finished all-metal casing, the same responsive X/Y pad and of course the same robust buttons, knobs and fader.
The Kaossilator Pro has 20 buttons in total, all rubberized and backlit as well as a slider (gate arp time/speed adjust), 3 large knobs (2 volume knobs that only turn and 1 program/BPM knob that turns and presses), 2 small knobs (headphone volume knob and microphone trim knob), a switch on the fascia (to switch the input between mic and line), a small switch on the back panel (to switch the gate arp between speed and time) , a touch sensitive X/Y pad that’s backlit in green, a headphone socket (1/4 inch jack), a microphone socket (1/4 inch jack), an SD card slot, a USB socket, MIDI input/output sockets and stereo phono (RCA) inputs and outputs.
The buttons on the Kaossilator Pro feel very nice to the touch and don’t feel stiff and sticky or cheap and flimsy in any way. The 4 loop buttons at the front (labelled A, B, C and D) light up in red (to indicate recording), amber (to indicate playback) or green (to indicate that a loop is stored on the button). All the other buttons are either backlit in green or red.
The layout of the Kaossilator Pro is simple and logical which makes navigating around and learning how to use it quick and straightforward. The X/Y pad is slightly raised above all the other controls, which is great as it means it’s difficult to accidentally lean on the buttons and press them accidentally.
The layout of the Kaossilator Pro is simple and logical which makes navigating around and learning how to use it quick and straightforward.
Size-wise, the Kaossilator Pro isn’t too small that using it is fiddly or too bulky to take to gigs. In fact, it’s so well-constructed that it’d be perfect for taking along to DJ gigs or live performances. The high quality components used to make the Kaossilator Pro seem robust enough to withstand day-to-day gigging with even the most graceless of users.
The Kaossilator Pro comes loaded with 200 sounds, which is a staggering 100 more than it’s predecessor, as well as having 4 loop recording banks that can layer both internal program sounds and external audio overdubs, a mic input jack and 15 types of vocoder programs making it easy to achieve unique sound effects, create robot voices and other vocalized sounds. The Kaossilator Pro’s 200 sounds have all angles covered including synths (pads, leads, bass etc.), drums, percussion, acoustic instruments, arpeggiated sounds, chords, SFX and hits.
Using the Kaossilator Pro is intuitive and incredibly addictive. In fact, it can do so much and it’s so simple and creative to use that it’s very easy to get carried away. It’s perfect for creating loops on the fly, adding interesting sounds and effects to your performances or playing instruments and percussive patterns along to your music. It also doubles up as a MIDI controller for external equipment or software applications so it really is a versatile beast.
Using the Kaossilator Pro is intuitive and incredibly addictive. In fact, it can do so much and it’s so simple and creative to use that it’s very easy to get carried away.
Once you’ve created your own Loop data, user settings and Program Memories, these needn’t be lost, and can be recalled in the future by saving to an SD card in the slot on the front. If that doesn’t impress, the Kaossilator Pro has editor software that lets you manage loop data, MIDI assignments, and user settings from your computer and can be downloaded free of charge from the Korg website. The editor software also lets you configure the Kaossilator Pro’s MIDI controller functionality and communicates with the Kaossilator Pro via the USB socket on the back.
The Kaossilator Pro is perfect for DJ’s, musicians or performers wanting to add an individual, exciting slant to their gigs, or for vocalists wanting an easy-to-use device for adding vocoded effects to their voice, or even for musicians and producers to get creative with in the studio.
The Kaossilator Pro is an exceptional product that has such a wide range of uses, therefore has a huge potential user base. Korg have definitely done themselves proud and improved on an already remarkable bit of kit. One can only patiently wait and see what they have up their sleeves for the future.
Review: Ben Daly