Sep 4

There seems to be a new product around every corner at the moment. Whilst Korg who recently surprised us with the release of the Kronos X, they have surprised us yet further with the release of the Korg Krome Workstation.

It looks a bit like a Kronos with some costly ommissions but with some features that look interesting to me. The first thing I noticed was how the screen looked. It is a huge 800 x 480 pixel TouchView Color display can show numerous parameters at once, ensuring great visibility. Although I have not seen it in the flesh the text on screen looks much larger and clearer than the Kronos. The other facination that I am always talking about is the weight. The weight of these keyboards are extremely portable 61 note is just 7.2kg (15.87lbs) , the 73 key is 10.2 kg (22.49 lbs) , and the 88 note is only 15.2 kg (33.51 lbs).

Obviously the cost is a big deciding factor when buying a new keyboard, but the prices look too good to be true. The 88 note is only £1249.00, the 73 note £ 949.00 and the 61 note £749. I was not too impressed with M50 or the Kronos 61 note keybed, so I am wondering how good these keybeds are or are they the same as existing Korg keybeds? The 88-key has a Touch sensitive Natural Weighted Hammer Action keyboard but there is no aftertouch on any of the models. Also the polophony is not too great – 120 note in single mode, 60 in dual mode but it does include a German D Grand acoustic piano.

I am sure you will read all the other info at Korg’s website and it really looks fantastic value for the money, but for now, I am not going to pass judgement until I have tried one.

Aug 30

Well it looks like Germany has leaked some information on a new Synth module – the Roland Integra-7 Rack Synth Module. Roland are about to disclose their new products tomorrow the 31 August 2012 but we now have some details on this new rack the Integra-7.

I am of the opinion like many others who believe that we haven’t been provided with the options of Synth racks for the ones we love in recent years. I feel that it would have been nice if Roland had upgraded the Fantom X rack and let us have Fantom G rack. A Korg Kronos rack would have been ideal to many players who really wanted a Kronos but did not want yet another keyboard, especially when the keyboard itself was not that great. Yamaha too have sadly not looked into the possibility of a Motif XF Rack. So it is nice to see that Roland, who have moved on still further since the release of the Fantom G and who are now about to release a Rack for 2012.

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Aug 11

I just had a quick go of the new Roland Jupiter 50 at Andertons Music in Guildford. Kevin Jubb the Product Specialist for Roland took me through the benefits of this keyboard and some of the deeper editing screens. Kevin owns a Jupiter 80 and was therefore extremely familiar with the Jupiters. For me, I wanted to ascertain some of the advantages to the ‘Live’ player. Number one has got to be the weight. I picked it up off the stand and it is just so light to carry, yet playing it feels very stable indeed as if you are playing a much sturdier product. The keys felt great to play and this was the one thing that I was concerned the most about. There may be a difference between the key beds of the Jupiter 80 and the 50 but I could not detect it. The Jupiter 80 was on a stand under the Jupiter 50 so I could compare them nicely. Yes I would love to own an 80, but with the increased weight and the fact that it costs a £1000 more, the 50 looks a much more attractive proposition.

The next point is obviously the fact that it has no after touch. Kevin explained that this can still be achieved by assigning it to a pedal. I played quite a few of the sounds and the lack of after touch did not seem to bother me. OK now to the screen which is not the touch screen found on the 80. The screen seemed a lot better and bigger than I imagined it to be and Kevin reminded me about the iPad App for it, which is a great bonus. All the information is clearly laid out and editing can be done but the iPad App is going to make the process so much easier.

Soundwise, I fould this Synth really does have some oomph. The bass sounds were really giving Roland speakers some aggravation. You have only got to start to play a lead or a bass sound and you realise just how powerful the Jupiters are. The weakest sounds to me were the Brass but they were still very good and I felt that I could do something with them. Kevin explained how he uses a pedal with his Jupiter 80 to bring in other layers. For example you could be using a brass sound for the verse and then bring in a layer of another Brass sound or the same sound but an octave higher for the Chorus. This is ideal for ‘Live’ players as you don’t have to change to another patch and your existing sound becomes ‘thicker’ just at a tap of the footswitch – great stuff.

My time was running out so I asked Kevin about playing Wav files as backing and whether you could adjust the levels between your own playing and the backing. Kevin quickly showed me the editing screen that not only adjusted the levels but also the pitch and the speed making ideal to reheaese with singers and slow it down to practice.

Well it is looking very impressive to me. Thank you Kevin for your help and advice today.

Aug 2

Well here is some info hot off the press – Dave Smith has a new Mopho. This time it is a 44 note semi-weighted keyboard analogue subtractive Synth and it is Polyphonic – four voices hence the name X4. Just imagine what you could achieve with four Mophos playing all at once. It has two fantastic analog oscillators and two sub octave generators. You then get selectable two or four pole Curtis low-pass filter, three 5-stage envelope generators, four LFOs, a re-latchable arpeggiator, and a 16 x 4 step sequencer. Its voice also comes packed with 20 modulation sources and almost 50 destinations.

The keys are velocity sensitive and you get aftertouch. (Every keyboard in the world should have these as standard). What I like about Dave Smith products is their ability to chain their other products together for greater fun an awesome sound possibilities and greater polophony. Simply add a Mopho, a Tetra, or a Prophet 08 and create yourself a 16 voice monster synth.

Aug 1

Whilst existing Korg Kronos owners sit patiently on the edge of their seats waiting for O/S version 2 to be available, Korg slowly try to tempt us with the Kronos X, drip-feeding us bits of information as to how much more you can do with the extra room. They even pre-load demos of their expansion sets to lure you into buying them, demonstrating how easy the sets can be loaded and accessed. Here is one of those tempting You Tube clips to wet your appetite:-

Jul 15

Summer Namm 2012 Nashville Convention Cente and it is great to see Casio continue to develope their Privia digital piano range with the announcement of four new models, the PX-150, PX-350, PX-750 and PX-850 available in Black or White. These provide you with an enhanced keyboard and a new powerful sound engine. I was very impressed with the fact that they already have the lightest piano available with a great keyboard action on an 88 hammer action weighted keys. If they have really enhanced this further, then you really should check this out.

Casio state that these new Privia digital pianos deliver exceptional sound quality and are equipped with an abundance of new features, offering an enhanced performance.” They appear to have redesigned their 88-note Tri-sensor Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard. From a feel point of view you have what feels like ebony and ivory texture on the keys and if you couple this with a scaled weighted action, it starts to feel similar to an acoustic piano. At the same time their tri-sensors capture your performance with every detail and nuance.

Casio also have a new sound source called “AiR” which stands for Acoustic and intelligent Resonator. This uses over three times the waveform memory of the previous Privias has 128 note polyphony and gives you better dynamics, damper resonance and even compensates for the speed at which hammers strike strings at different velocities and key ranges. The PX-350 and PX-850 also provide the ability to record a 44.1kHz .wav file directly to a USB thumb drive.

I want to try one of these soon.

Jul 13

The biggest surprise for me at the Summer Namm show 2012 was announcement of the Korg Kronos X which seemed very strange to me. The Korg Kronos is probably the best synthesizer in the world, however its release revealed many problems and unhappy customers. Following on from the initial problems, there are still problems with the keybeds, stability issues, very long boot-up times and the text on screen is also very small. The updates which included the release of the editor software obviously assisted with the small text. I was wondering whether the release of the Kronos X was an admission the Kronos was not quite right.

Interestingly Korg are saying that they have reduced the load-up time on the Kronos X, but I believe the keybeds are still the same and that there have been no changes to the size of the text. For existing Kronos owners there will shortly be an update to Version 2.0 to bring in the new facilities that the X is offering. So what is new on the Kronos X?

Korg tell us that the new Kronos X has approximately 2GB of available PCM RAM which allows more sample data to be loaded at once. It also adds a boost to the internal memory and SSD size, the Kronos X indicates its expanded, and truly limitless potential. It boasts double the SSD capacity providing a staggering 62 GB to give you enough space for gigantic sound library expansions, such as the Kronos Sound Libraries and the KARO Sound Libraries. With Version 2.0 on a Kronos you will be able to add a second SSD drive so it is like the Kronos X.

The KRONOS X also contains the EXs 10 – 13 expansion sample series of KRONOS Sound Libraries pre-installed in demo mode. After you’ve tried them out, you can obtain these sounds for yourself by simply purchasing a license key.

May 14

The famous and talented Scott Tibbs performs and shows off the The New Roland Jupiter 50. He makes it look so easy and demonstrates the need to be a technician and not solely a skillfull keyboard player. The sound of the Jupiter 50 sounds very 2012 as it combines synthesis and acoustic instruments with SuperNATURAL sound and Scott uses the on-the-fly controls to show its capabilities. I am looking forward to test drive one of these 76 note keyboards with its user-friendly interface with colour-coded buttons and sliders. I think cost-wise and weight-wise it may well do better than its bigger brother the Roland Jupiter 80. Hopefully we will not have to wait long now before they start showing up in the Music Stores. Excellent demo Scott.

Apr 29


I have been anxious to get my hands on a Nord keyboard and it is very strange that at the time Nord have just announced the release of the Electro 4D at Musikmesse in Frankfurt, I am about to look into the Nord Electro 3. This maybe the right time as there is a possibility that the Electro 3 will come down a little in price, with its successor just around the corner. Obviously the Electro 3 is the third incarnation of Clavia’s virtual electromechanical range of bright red wonders. The first is now over ten years old and Clavia have slowly updated the software and hardware.
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Apr 6

Korg Kronos O/S Update 1.6 , Editor and Plug-In Editor

Korg Kronos O/S Version 1.6 and The Editor/Plug-In Editor software for the Kronos are now available with effect from the 6th April 2012 for download at . All you need to do is select  “Software” for the editor and select Operating System for O/S 1.6. You will also need to visit the “Drivers” section to download the latest USB-MIDI driver.

Korg Kronos OS v1.6, which is required to run the Editor/Plug-In Editor. In addition to various bug fixes, this update also adds an “Uninstall EXs” command, which will completely remove selected EXs data from the internal SSD.

Thank you very much for this free update


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