Review of Korg Kaossilator 2 Portable Synthesizer

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Specifications and Features

Kaossilator 2

Kaossilator 2 is the palm-size phrase synthesizer that can be played by anyone, at any place, and at any time.

Product Highlights:

  • Simply tap or slide your finger across the X-Y touchpad
  • 150 built-in sounds cover every style of dance music
  • PCM sound engine serves up realistic drums
  • Scale Key and Note Range eliminates “wrong” notes
  • Built-in Gate Arpeggiator with adjustable gate time and swing settings
  • Loop Recording allows the creation of layered phrases with unlimited overdubs
  • Dual Loop Recording banks allow DJ-Style mutes and cross-fades
  • Record using the built-in mic; or use the mic input for recording of external input
  • microSD/SDHC card slot for saving loops and recorded performances

Boasting a supercharged sound generator, Kaossilator 2 delivers excellent synth and drum sounds spanning a wide range of genres, plus dramatically expanded loop recording. Use the internal mic to record guitar, vocal, or other audio source – just as with a looper effect. The Organic Electroluminescent (OEL) display provides superb visibility. Add to that a touch slider for ease of use, microSD card data saving, plus a built-in speaker and battery power. All of these features reflect the enhancements incorporated into the sleek and exciting Kaossilator 2.

Korg synthesis at your fingertips
The unique interface allows melodies and phrases to be played by simply tapping or sliding a finger across the Kaoss touchpad. Horizontal motions control the pitch; vertical motions control aspects of the tone such as filter cutoff, feedback, or modulation depth. When using a drum kit program, multiple sounds can be played simultaneously, and you can even play the touchpad as if it were a drum pad. The intuitive design and amazing flexibility of the touchpad allows users who are not keyboard players to perform easily, as well as creating performances rich with tonal changes that could not be produced on a keyboard instrument.

150 built-in sounds covering a full range of musical styles
Korg’s acclaimed synthesizer technology has been meticulously packed into this sleek, compact format. The 150 ready-to-play sounds cover a broad range of styles including hip-hop, house, dubstep, new disco, and electro. In addition, the Kaossilator 2 provides a solid set of synth sounds such as synth lead, synth bass, acoustic sounds such as piano or guitar, and even sound effects for DJ use.

Accurate PCM drum sounds
PCM sound generation provides drum sounds and drum performances that are more realistic than ever. There are 15 Drum Kits in the Kaossilator 2. Each Drum Kit consists of instruments such as kick, snare, and hi-hat. In addition, there are 25 Rhythm Loop patterns that let you create drum phrases simply by moving your finger. The lineup of sounds covers numerous genres, so you’ll be sure to find the drum sounds you need.

Musical Scale, Key, and Note Range help create musical performances
Even if you’ve never played a musical instrument, the Kaossilator 2’s Key and Scale features ensure that the notes being played will match the song being performed. Use the Key setting to specify the musical key or “root.” Choose any of 35 scales, ranging from popular scales such as chromatic, major pentatonic, and minor blues, as well as unusual scales such as Spanish, Ryukyu, and Raga. By using both the Key and Scale settings to match the song, you can play perfect solos without a single wrong note. In addition, the Note Range allows you to specify the range of playable pitches. You can set this to a narrow range to ensure that melodies will be played accurately as you intend, or to an extremely wide range to allow unexpectedly dynamic and unconventional phrases to emerge.

Gate Arpeggiator expands your performance power
The fifty built-in gate arpeggiator patterns can automatically generate phrases and beats by simply moving a finger across the touchpad. As a new capability of the Kaossilator 2, you can now edit the arpeggiator’s gate time and swing settings so that musical phrases are created exactly as you intended.

microSD card slot for data storage
A microSD card can be used to save loop recorder data. In addition, performances played on the Kaossilator 2 be recorded using the master recorder, and stored on a card. Whenever an important musical idea begins to take shape, it can easily be saved, and can even be used later as part of a studio production. This is also a convenient way to share Kaossilator 2 performances on the Internet. The Kaossilator 2 also acts as an audio player, and can play back performances created using the master recorder. Listen to your best performances for comparison, or share them with your friends.
* SDXC cards cannot be used.
* Supported file formats: WAV files (16-bit, 44.1 kHz/48 kHz, stereo)
Operation linked with KORG iKaossilator for iPhone
You can use the kaossilator 2 together with Korg’s iKaossilator for the iPhone/iPad. This allows audio data to be transferred between the kaossilator 2 and iKaossilator, and lets you use the two devices in a BPM-synchronized performance.
Although iKaossilator and the kaossilator 2 share the Kaossilator name, their sound generator and recording style are completely different. While the iKaossilator uses a PCM sound source, the kaossilator 2 uses a modeling synth. And while the iKaossilator provides a five part sequencer that lets you freely insert or remove notes as you perform, the kaossilator 2 allows unlimited overdubbing as well as recording of external audio input. By combining these two with audio data that utilizes the advantages of each, you can vastly expand your performance possibilities.
* Linked operation will be enabled by an update for KORG iKaossilator for iPhone.
The update is expected to be released in March 2012.

Ergonomic design
The Kaossilator 2 features a comfortably curved body that makes it both stylish and extremely easy to play. The high-contrast OEL (Organic Electroluminescent) display clearly shows the names of the sounds, features, and parameters, and ensures excellent visibility, even in a dimly lit DJ booth or stage. As with the touchpad, the VALUE slider is also touch-sensitive. By sliding or tapping your finger (as appropriate for each function), parameters and functions may be controlled smoothly. Lightweight and compact, the Kaossilator 2 is slim enough to fit easily in your hand or pocket. The energy-efficient design allows it to operate everywhere on just two AA batteries. Equipped with a built-in speaker, the Kaossilator 2 is ready to share your exciting sonic creations wherever your music takes you. The headphone output provides privacy for playing and experimenting alone, and can also be used to connect the Kaossilator 2 to another audio device.

Specifications

Programs: 150
Program Categories: Lead (25), Acoustic (10), Bass (30), Chord (25), SE (20), Drum (15), Drum Patterns (25)
Scales: 35
Key Range: ±12
Gate Arpeggiator: 50 patterns
Sampling Frequency: 48 kHz
AD/DA Conversion: 24-bit linear
Input connectors: Mic Input (stereo mini jack type)
Output connectors: Headphone Output (stereo mini jack type)
Data Storage: microSD card (512MB – 2GB) microSDHC card (2GB – 16GB) *SDXC card cannot be used.
Power Supply:  AA batteries (alkaline battery or Nickel-Metal Hydride battery) x 2 / Optional AC adapter-ready (DC4.5V – available from Korg)
Battery Life:  Approx. 5 hours (Power Saving : On, with Nickel-Metal Hydride battery)
Dimensions (W x D x H): 76 mm x 128 mm x 25 mm / 2.99” x 5.04” x 0.98”
Weight: 105 g / 3.75 oz. (without batteries)
Options: AC adapter-ready (DC4.5V – available from Korg)
Accessories: Owner’s Manual, AA batteries x2 (for verifying operation)
* Specifications and appearance are subject to change without notice for improvement.

 

Price: $118.92 (from Amazon at time of review)

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