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Korg KAOSSILATOR Reviews

4.5 stars based on 11 customer reviews

Sweetwater Advice

  • Charlie Davis

    It is hard to believe that something as small as the Korg Kaossilator could do much more than your average effects box, but it will go way beyond your expectations. There are so many different sounds, all of which are easy to access and record, that it is a simple and affordable solution for anyone looking for a new synth/sampler.

  • Matt Emick

    If you're looking for a zen musical experience look no further! The Kaossilator is an amazing synth full of tons of great patches, all with a very intuitive and unique interface. Hours of enjoyment in a tiny yellow box.

  • from Logan, UT May 11, 2012Music Background:
    Hobbyist

    Awesome Product

    I'm primarily a guitarist. But I dabble in electronic music. I mainly stick with Korg products because they impress me so much and are usually a lot of fun to use. This little guy is a power house. I'm interested in mixing synth lines with guitar. While you may not have note accuracy on this, you can select keys and scales. This keeps it useable while jamming. In addition, this keeps you open to creative freedom rather than fidgiting with exactly what note your playing. It also includes ARP patterns which the pro version lacks. If they ever do another version of the PRO I'd like to see them add that feature. It adds a lot more variety to your ARP playing, and you can do it quickly. Even if you aren't a musician and just want a little unit to dink around with and create beats, you wont regret the purchase. Pick it up!

  • from St. Charles, Missouri July 31, 2008Music Background:
    Hobbyist

    Great sounds, VERY easy to use.

    Although it’s small and yellow, this is a serious-sounding synthesizer. The sound is noise-free and very high quality. I agree with other reviewers that the “acoustic” sound group (piano, guitar, sax, etc.) aren’t very good, but who cares? You have 90 other great fun sounds to use. If you want a band-in-a-box, get an inexpensive Yamaha keyboard, which have terrific acoustic sounds.

    Kaossilator is clearly optimized for either live performing or fun noodling, since it has no way to save the loops you create. It’s also geared towards dance and groove music. Some of the thick patches get so wild and nasty you think your speaker coils might melt. Patch 60, Kaoss Drone, almost made my head explode with its blackboard-scraping distortion.

    The record and overdub feature quickly becomes addictive. You will soon find yourself layering six or more loops on top of each other, by which time you learn that this kind of turns to mush. Four or five layers seems like a good target for ad-hoc noodling; if you really plan ahead, you could possibly get eight layers to sound clean, but you will have to plan your sounds carefully.

    As one review suggested, you should definitely download the Easy Start Guide from the Kaossilator support page on the Korg website. It’s written in a fun style – 30 minutes later, you will know how to do EVERYTHING with this amazing little machine. The instructions that actually come with the Kaossilator are most useful for the patch list.

  • from New Mexico June 20, 2008Music Background:
    Hobbyist

    This thing is freakin AWESOME.

    Picked this little gadget up, hooked it up to an amp, and was jamming out with a band in seconds. This thing is addictively fun, and very easy to use. Anyone can make some cool sounds to go along with any type of music.

  • from louisville May 8, 2008

    Fun!

    I had no idea so much fun could be packed in such a little portable box. This thing is great, especially for those that are keyboard challenged. Simple design, and a surprising amount of options for so few buttons.

  • from San Francisco March 28, 2008Music Background:
    Electronic Musician, Visualist

    Wonderous

    If I had one of these as a teenager, I wouldn't have been able to sleep. As a musician, I found the recording options limited. You can't save your work, control individual track levels or delete tracks. Having said that, it hardly matters because it sounds great, it's intuitive and it's a blast. When I think I'm finally over it, I'll find myself picking it up again. The price is pretty damn good compared to a Tenori-On.

  • from Seattle, WA March 21, 2008Music Background:
    Recording Hobbyist

    Kaoss in the hand.

    I played extensively with this thing when a Korg representative demonstrated it at the local big guitar store in ProAudio. Evidently they are having worldwide problems keeping this thing in stock, as it was released a few months earlier in Europe. It's really amazing especially for its reasonable pricetag. I'm primarily a guitar and bass player but do experimental music, my Kaossilator is on order and I can't wait for it. The outs are stereo RCA only and the guy admitted it flies through batteries pretty quickly. Another negative is it's lack of memory or programability, they could have seemingly easily put an SD card slot in or compact flash, they probably will wait until later models though. Like most Korg stuff, even though the body is plastic it seems well made enough and the touchpad is sensitive and accurate. It boasts an array of sounds an even an amateur electro-musician like me can make impressive noise quickly. I can't wait to get mine, this thing is taking over the world of electronic music! Another great job by Korg.

  • from Riverton, WY USA February 5, 2008Music Background:
    Pro Keyboardist, Educator, Synth Enthusiast

    Ka-awesome-lator

    The much anticipated Kaossilator is so very cool. It is basically a handheld monophonic analog modelling synth that allows you to loop and layer up to 8 beats of the internal sounds. It is non-programmable, but the presets are excellent. The sounds are fat and warm and there is a huge variety on board. (The saxaphone and the conga patches are terrible...) There are perhaps a few too many sound effects (20 of the 100 sounds). The arpeggiator patterns and preset drum beats offer huge variety. The effects that are layered with each patch are synced to the tempo and are very much a part of the character of the Kaossilator's sound.

    As an accomplished keyboard player, I wasn't sure if I would like 'playing' a touch pad. It IS instantly very easy to make cool noise and electronic mayhem. But is it musical or playable as an instrument? Yes. The pad is programmable into the overall key and scale - which, with some practice, makes the pad very playable (melodies, chord changes...).

    The looping is limited with only 8 beats available -but it is good for a sketch pad and for playing along with. I wanted something portable to take on overseas travel and long road trips and I will use my Kaossilator with a Zoom H4 multitrack and a Boss RC-2 looper pedal (both portable and battery powered) for recording entire songs.

    The 'quick guide'(available on the Korg web site) is probably better that the actual manual that comes with it. This is a simple unit which is layed out very logically (Korg is good at this). However, you have to hold down the buttons (which are all on the right) while you record layers, which makes it a bit awkward for right handers.

  • from NY state January 31, 2008Music Background:
    hobbyist

    It's already sweeping the world on Youtube by storm!

    Definitely NOT a cheap sounding toy!
    Many true analog classic synth sounds..such as authentic minimoog/taurus basses, leads and sweeps.
    Even all the amazing actual Korg Triton pcm sounds
    have via great korg analog modeling, analog richness!
    Yes you can reliably hit the desired notes via easily
    set dozens of scales in any key..Dial up the major blues or minor blues scale, set the key of choice and wow! Nice brushed aluminum faceplate, quality build! go to reverbnation.com (free legal music site)
    look up 'The Yellow Album' by award winning film composer David Kibler..all tracks just Kaossilator recorded dry and be blown away! Listening to him and watching the over a dozen (more every day) youtube videos will convince you just how powerfull and usefull this wonder is! Some youtube vids show it in action coupled with a Korg Kaoss pad 3 or minipad.
    Don't be put off by the only 2 measure loop memory..as you can easily build/edit full length songs by simply plugging it into your pc/mac and record with whatever software you already use..
    Once again all the sounds are so fat and useable you won't be embarrased to use live on stage..Again the basses are so good you could easily fill in for one, ect..Finall tip..Manual states battery ( 4 AA) as 5
    hours..Buy at walmart ect..the latest generation of rechargable nickel hydride batteries the Rayovac Hybrid AA's..rugged high capacity with the big advantage they hold full charge for months when not being used.(other brands will go dead in a couple weeks)..so you won't be caught with a dead Kaossilator when in a rush for a impromptu jam.
    BTW if you have very thick fingers and have trouble hitting just one note..simply tap with your finger nail..in some youtube vids owners are using those fingernail style guitar/banjo picks..
    I forgot to mention all the sounds have great Y axis
    performance modulation of some sort..great LP filter cutoff sweep and or great analog delay/echo or phasing!! Best $200 ever spent! Well worth the price..
    these are destined to be as beloved as vintage Minimoogs! and are far more powerfull and musical!
    I am not making this up!

  • from Connecticut May 4, 2012Music Background:
    Pro musician,

    The Korg Kaossilator

    I did'nt know what to expect when it arrived at the house.But after just a few secounds after starting it up it was a lot of fun.I have plugged it into my M-Audio Venom and use it at the same time.Set up some cool beats with it and I'm off.

  • from Brazil June 23, 2010Music Background:
    Hobbyist

    Great toy

    It's a real fun gadget, especially for when you're traveling and want to have some kind of creative musical output. It's also nice for nice musical details in songs, but honestly, I don't see how this could be seen as a real musical instrument, anywhere out of electronic music;

  • from California July 8, 2010Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    OK I guess

    it's ok but not what i expected

Reviews

  • Jim McGowan
    10-07-2008

    Korg has fulfilled an untouched niche with the Kaossilator. There are a lot of funny-looking little boxes on the market that perform all sorts of weird little tricks, but none are as fun as the Kaossilator. From playing awesome synth leads, to making entire songs, to triggering weird Star Wars-type sound effects, it will keep you entertained for hours.

    When I got the Kaossilator, I unpacked it, popped the included batteries in, and looked around my house for something to plug the phono stereo outputs in to. Not wanting to fire up my mixing board, I started halfway taking apart my stereo in order to get to the phono jacks on the back. My wife caught me and said "Don't do that ... plug it into the front of the TV." So that's exactly what we did. Immediately we had synth lead sounds coming out of our blank-screened TV set. Already the usability of this unit was apparent to me: from opening the box to jamming out took about 3 or 4 minutes! All that's needed to play the Kaossilator is a finger. The basis for sound creation is an X-Y pad: moving left to right controls the pitch of the sound, and moving up and down controls a modulation (different on every patch).

    After reading the short manual, my wife and I started creating looped sounds, and passing the unit back and forth adding one part per turn. We ended up creating funky little songs and having a blast. The loop function actually varies in length depending on the tempo of the song - one measure at slower BPMs and two measures at higher BPMs. The record function is enabled by holding one button while you play a part, and once looping, a part can be "fixed". After a part has been fixed it cannot be destroyed, which lets you record new parts and then delete them without harming the rest of the song. I found that particular feature to be incredibly useful. If you don't like your new part, you can get rid of it! In order to fix a part, you have to hold the loop/record button and scroll through the menu until you find "fix". Also in this menu is the "clr" option, letting you clear your entire loop and start over from scratch.

    When I really dug into this box for few more days, I found a couple of other neat features. One of the first to strike me was the library of sounds available. There are 100 total, divided into seven major groups: leads, acoustic instruments, basses, chords, sound effects, drum hits, and drum patterns (press and hold for a drum loop). The sounds are pretty good in general, and there are a wide variety of them, though the acoustic instruments are certainly not meant to sound exactly like the real thing. The best use of these sounds would be for the electronic music and DJ fields - there are lots of classic synth sounds that would fit right into the middle of a DJ set at the club - though they really can work for rock, singer-songwriter, experimental, and other types of music as well.

    Another feature I found was the gate arpeggiator. It could be a great addition to hip hop or electronic music as leads or background tracks. I like where Korg is going, offering another modulation factor so that you can create more unique sounds. Essentially what this does is cut out the sound based on one of 50 patterns. If you are looping, be warned that this effect is applied globally, and cannot be used for just one layer of your loop!

    All told, Korg did a great job with the Kaossilator. It's certainly a niche product - DJs looking to add some cool leads or sound effects to their set, somebody using it a songwriting sketchpad, or even somebody in a rock band playing a melody on it right next to guitars and drums. I could even envision recording with it if one of the particular sounds fit a song well. Good job, Korg, on making sure any of us out here with spare time finally have the perfect way to get rid of it!

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