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Korg Kronos 61-Key Synthesizer Workstation Reviews

4.5 stars based on 17 customer reviews

Sweetwater Advice

  • Carson McClain

    With nine synth engines, the Korg Kronos 73 takes the idea of a modern synthesizer to the next level. With this many engines, your capabilites are going to be endless. The Kronos' classic '80s design mixed with cutting-edge technology are going to change the voice of modern music.

  • from United States February 13, 2013Music Background:
    Recording, Musician, Producer, Etc.

    Kronos really is the father of Zeus!

    The KARMA engine reads your mind. I have never played a more powerful keyboard. It's a musician's, producer's, song writer's, hobbyist's , pancake flipper's dream!

    Buy one and feel like you are cheating in your inspiration.

    I like it.

  • from Los Angeles, CA January 1, 2013Music Background:
    Touring Musician/Keyboard Programmer

    Best synth I've ever owned

    This is a GREAT workstation.

    My first synthesizer was the Korg trinity, but I never bought another Korg since I fell in love with the Motif line. So much that I bought every board until the Motif XF.

    Then I tried this thing... OMG this thing sounds incredible and I'm blown away by the technology on this board. The transition feature is amazing for live shows, the Sample engine is great for taking my custom sounds from Kontakt and storing them on the Kronos. Not to mention the programming power of this board.

    I also recommended this keyboard to a few keyboard buddies (Nord, Motif, Roland users) and they are loving this too.

    Great buy, Korg has made me a very happy customer!

  • from Washington, DC November 11, 2012Music Background:
    Producer, Studio Owner

    From Motif to Kronos

    This is a beast keyboard workstation. I'm coming from the Motif XS rack & still have it but the Kronos is the best to me. I Love it, this is my go to board & I'm not going back; as a matter of fact I'm going to purchase the Krome for gigging & use it as another addition for my studio, I figure I might as well have the best of not just both but have the best of all 3 worlds which is the Kronos, Motif Rack XS & Krome!!!

  • from Chippewa Falls, WI. October 31, 2012Music Background:
    Hammond since 1958

    Kronos Korg's "ULTIMATE" synth

    I have played many keyboards and synths over the years but Kronos is ahead of the field in my opinion. Kronos is the most solid keyboard I have seen in a long time. The key bed is stout and has a fantastic touch. The velocity is very sensitive and apparent. There are so many presets and sounds that I will be catching up on this one for a long time. Nine sound engines, Unbelievable!! The ability to patch into the sequencer is a nice touch. It looks like it could be used in unison with the sequencer from the Korg M50. And it includes a mic in with a vocorder function as well. It is nice to see more instruments with Midi in out and through. Nothing was overlooked on this board. Korg has outdone themselves with the authentic beautiful pianos. The organs sounded very good as well with a good rotary simulation. All the instrument sounds and the synths are excellent. I have never heard such a beautiful full sounding synthesizer before. I am sure I will get many years of use out of my new Kronos. This would be a good board for live performance as well as studio use. Thanks Korg!! I think it will be a long time before you top Kronos. I speak from experience when I say "this is an expensive board but I also know that Sweetwater will be there if we need them".

  • from Tucson Az September 22, 2012Music Background:
    recording using pro tools 10 fully loaded with musical instruments

    Korg Kronos 61

    I receive my new Kronos and I could not belive the rich sound and the speedy delivery as well as the excellent service Sweetwater tech representive give you. I truly recommend Sweetwater for any of your music needs.
    Thanks Sweetwater
    Ed

  • from Indianapolis, Indiana July 26, 2012Music Background:
    Hobbyist, Composer

    KORG KRONOS 61

    This is quite an impressive board. It has everything and more! The Key bed feels great. All knobs, buttons and sliders are solid. It has an SSD drive that is super fast. The sounds will blow you away. The Piano is very authentic. Synth Sounds are so nice. Drum sounds are clean and punchy. It also has a great one button drum track with different grooves for each patch ( also totally programable) Good check it out for yourself. You will not be disappointed .

  • from Palos Hills, IL June 26, 2012Music Background:
    Composing, writing, mixing, producing

    Finally, a real workstation!!!

    Korg has always impressed me, but its not with every workstation. The Kronos is what every company should be emulating. I saw and liked the Motif XF but was turned off by the limited space on the expandable ram cards. Other WS's from Korg used power adaptors, which can be a nightmare if the only one you have breaks, so I didnt buy the M50. The Kronos has everything plus some, giving you every tool needed for composing, at the same time competing with the large array of softsynths on the market. Thumbs up!!

  • from Wichita, KS January 18, 2012Music Background:
    Pro musician, composer

    Fantastic workstation

    I have wanted this keyboard ever since it was announced at last winter's NAMM show. I finally was able to purchase and have not been disappointed. I have owned it for about a month and so far it has lived up to all of my expectations. Excellent range of sounds and great controls for live performance.

  • from Denver metro December 21, 2011Music Background:
    pro musician/live production for broadcast and the web

    In-depth user review: IN A CLASS ALL ITS OWN!!!

    As a KORG user since 1982, and one among hundreds of synthesists who contributed to the development of the original MIDI standard in the early 80s, I have had the pleasure of watching the evolution of music workstations in general, and KORG’s contributions to this class of instrument in particular, from its infancy. Over the years, I have produced music on many legendary KORG models, including T-1, O1w/fd, i-3, Triton ProX, KARMA, PA2xPro and now Kronos, as well as on numerous software platforms from many different manufacturers.

    That said, I prefer working with dedicated music workstations, hands engaged with a piano keyboard rather than a QWERTY keyboard.

    When KORG introduced Kronos as the “game changer,” I was highly skeptical. After working with this instrument for the past month, I have no doubt that the dedicated music workstation game has, indeed, been changed...and, for me at least, much for the better!

    There are many considerations inherent in the choice of the ideal tool for personal music production. Everyone has their own unique preferences but, by and large, sound generally tops the list, with quality, authenticity (primarily in the case of physical instrument emulations), playability and range of available sounds that suit their individual needs (the “bread and butter” sounds) the defining criteria, with sound design and development capability (i.e. “programmability”) close behind.

    Feature-rich onboard sequencing/sampling capacity is great, but without a formidable arsenal of high-quality sound-generation engines (Kronos has 9), one would be better off working with the GM “rompler” module resident in computer sound cards.

    For me, Kronos delivers in the sound category like no other, with the best (for the most part), highest-quality, most performable (controllable) sounds of any workstation in its class (with no fewer than 50 buttons, switches, knobs, sliders, joysticks, ribbons etc. that may be used to impact performance)...which is really an easier feat to accomplish than it may seem, as I am unaware of any other existent workstation in this class, other than perhaps Oasys.

    To clarify the parenthetical “for the most part” comment above, there seem to be some general categories of Kronos sounds that could benefit from improved manufacturer’s programming, primarily in the areas of electric guitar emulation, orchestral ensemble performances and small horn section performances, but most of these are really non-issues, as anyone experienced with sound design can easily tweak the on-board sounds to meet their own requirements. I’m just sometimes a bit lazy and prefer to have everything I want, right out of the box...and with Kronos, I do...again, for the most part. Korg’s primary weakness for me has always been implementation of electric guitar emulations.

    In all fairness, I’ve not found a better acoustic guitar in any other workstation and, with KARMA implementation available in every patch, Kronos is capable of producing some of the most authentic acoustic rhythmic guitar emulations I have ever heard, and with great ease. The STR-1 engine on this unit is unsurpassed.

    I would like to take a moment to address some information about this instrument that I've found in reviews here, and online in some of the forums that, in my experience, seems misleading, misinformed, somewhat pejorative and, in some cases, just plain wrong.

    1) Quality of hardware: As a former touring musician, I can testify that there is nothing about this machine that would suffer any more from a grueling road regimen than any other computer-based keyboard I have used. Obviously, when hard drives are involved, there is much potential for failure if a unit is dropped, but the Kronos hard drive is solid state and, as such, should be much more robust and likely to survive shock than a conventional mechanical hard drive. I would definitely tour with this machine and expect it to perform every time I turned it on.

    As far as the control hardware (i.e. top mounted buttons, sliders, knobs, joysticks, ribbon controller), none of these feel at all “cheap” or substandard to me in any way. The knobs provide adequate resistance for playability (they feel a lot like the fluid-action motion-damped knobs on a high-end studio console) helping prevent one from overshooting intended continuous controller adjustments on the fly, etc.

    The sliders (there are 10) on the control surface portion of the top panel have been under fire by a couple of people and, yes, there is a bit more sideways play inherent in these than I would prefer, but no more than on any of the other 5 keyboards I just checked in my studio (4 Korg former flagship models and a Yamaha EX5), nor is there more sideways play than is exhibited by the 100mm throw faders on the Mackie mixers in my road rig, which are generally considered “bullet proof.” There is nothing from tactile examination to suggest that there should be any concern of causing weakness of solder joints on underlying pc boards or that the flexibility in the fader shafts could cause connectivity or other problems in the future. As previously stated, I would not hesitate for a moment to tour with this unit and expect that, with proper handling and care (i.e. use an ATA approved road case...not a gig bag), it should be reliable for the next decade, even with roadies throwing the properly-cased instrument into the backs of semi tractor-trailer rigs or airline baggage handlers tossing it into cargo holds nightly.

    About speculation on potential fragility of the endcaps and other high-gloss trim parts, I see no basis for the concern. These pieces feel like they are probably constructed of high-impact ABS plastic to me. They are attached to the instrument’s steel chassis, as observed firsthand by a contributor to a forum I belong to, who disassembled his Kronos, wanting to replace them with wood trim parts. He abandoned the effort when he encountered too much difficulty in trying to remove the stock pieces, even by trying to break them off forcibly.

    As an aside, professional touring musicians tend to care for their instruments, as reliability and proper performance is essential to their livelihood. They are not, for the most part, reenacting Keith Emerson performance art antics of the 70’s, in which he would on occasion destroy a Hammond console organ on stage just for show. Today’s professional touring keyboardists, particularly those working in back-up capacities for name acts, tend to take great care to handle and transport their instruments properly. These machines, after all, are their life’s blood, so to speak. No play, no pay!

    2) Released prematurely? Some people seem to think that Kronos was “rushed to the market.” Kronos is, as are most sophisticated keyboard-based music-production tools, a software-based open-architecture system which is infinitely refinable as the manufacturer (and in some cases, the user) sees fit. As with most software-based products, bugs can be inherent and, as such, planned enhancements (such as the long-awaited editor application) can be delayed until they are addressed, often out of a manufacturer’s desire to get it right the first time (in as much as they can) and avoid quite a few of the inevitable consumer complaints.

    It should be noted that KORG addressed the noisy cooling fan issue early on and it is no longer a problem. There is continuing frustration among the user community (including myself) over the absence of the long-awaited editor software, which we're now told should be making an appearance in early 2012, although we expected it in July 2011. Despite that, there are no fewer than two pieces of user-developed editing software available for the Kronos for FREE, available online through the Kronos group at KorgForums, so the absence of KORG’s own editor to date hasn’t slowed us down much.

    It is an unfortunate fact of life that the end-users of virtually all electronic music products have become over the years the final Quality Control inspector or, essentially, unintended “beta testers.” Despite all of the wonderful capabilities of these sophisticated machines, no manufacturer can fully foresee everything we are all going to be doing with them and, frequently, we discover unintended operational glitches that may occur from executing commands in some particular order or by inadvertently implementing some process that reveals an unexpected pattern of code-execution. In reality, no matter how well-tested a new product is, it is virtually impossible for a manufacturer to discover all of these bugs and uncover all of the “what if’s” of any product prior to release in an os controlled world. This is true of every brand of electronic musical instrument on the planet. Still, manufacturers have to give themselves deadlines for new product releases, and meet those deadlines to the best of their ability if they want to remain in business. They also have an obligation to address user concerns, issuing bug fixes and repairing hardware issues by issuing updates, recalls, etc. as the situation demands.

    Over nearly 30 years as a KORG user, I have never known them to do anything other than the next right thing when it comes to support of their products and consumers. I have never had a major issue with any of their products, although I know colleagues who have. In each case, KORG has addressed all concerns to the customer’s satisfaction. In reality, it doesn’t get much better than that!

    Part of what you’re buying with Kronos is KORG’s legendary, world-class reputation, which is well-earned through decades of manufacturing some of the best products on the market and standing behind those products with unsurpassed service and support.

    Is Kronos for everyone? Of course not.

    Some folks will have issues with the sequencer, which does not reflect significant evolution over M3 or even Triton...others will love it because of the similarities, which will reduce their learning curve. Many serious composers and musicians who regularly work with sequencers will most likely prefer a DAW-based solution for sequencing and audio recording, which provides more flexibility coupled with a computer workstation’s larger-scale interface. While the Kronos’ touch-screen interface is very good, it is still an 8” touch-screen, whose relative lack of size may not be optimal for some. Still, for a workstation sequencer, it is robust, feature-rich and will allow most people to do much more than what they need.

    Other people may have issues with the RH3 keybed on Kronos 73 and 88 key models. I have not personally encountered issues with the RH3 action that have been reported in the forums, but my Kronos is a 61, which I control with an SV-1 88 (via MIDI), using this same keybed. Not everyone with the 73 or 88 RH3 has these issues, and Korg is working to address them, ceasing Chinese manufacture of the RH3 keybed in favor of producing this action in their own Japanese plant, and I have not heard of any complaints from those who have the Japanese RH3 action.

    I do have to say, I absolutely LOVE the RH3 keybed and consider it a vast improvement over the 88-note keybeds in my Triton ProX, SG ProEx and, obviously, my old T-1. It is a wonderful (and tactilely natural) interface for playing acoustic and electric piano sounds, although not exactly authentic for the latter.

    I suppose it should be noted that piano-weighted keyboard interfaces may not be optimal for performance of non-piano sounds. I bought the 61 because the Natural Touch semi-weighted keyboard works better for me in emulating most orchestral sounds, guitars, tonewheel organs, combo organs, etc. I already had an 88-note piano-weighted keyboard for pianos and frequently use a Yamaha WX5 wind controller for inputting wind instrument emulations, a technique I highly recommend to anyone who has some degree of proficiency on a reed instrument.

    I suppose you could characterize Kronos as a bit of a “Swiss Army Knife,” allowing you to do just about anything you need in the realm of music production...right down to producing a mastered final product to be burned to CD. It is quite simply the best “most-in-one” solution I have encountered to date. Still, if you don’t need all of the tools, this is a board that you will want to buy for the SOUNDS! I’ve found nothing that can match it, although consensus seems to be that Roland’s new Jupiter 80 is capable of giving Kronos a good run for its money in this department. Key differences: the new Roland unit is NOT a workstation. It also does not offer Korg’s 9 synthesis types for sound development.

    Most folks would probably consider me to be a music workstation “power user,” although in reality I’m pretty much in the middle of the range when it comes to exploiting their capabilities. Kronos is much more keyboard than most folks will ever need...but I’ve always been of the persuasion that I’d rather have capabilities I don't need than need capabilities I don't have...and, sooner or later, I generally find myself needing some of the more esoteric editing functions offered by my workstations.

    Bottom line: I LOVE my Kronos, highly recommend it without reservation to anyone looking for a world-class music workstation and would not hesitate to buy Kronos again!

    As always, Your Mileage May Vary...

  • from Como - Italy October 25, 2011Music Background:
    Hobbyst keyboardist

    Great ws!

    Stunning sounds, incredible and realistic pianos, great analogue sounds.
    With 9 different sound engines, it's the best ws! Brava Korg!!

  • from New Orleans, Louisiana June 18, 2012Music Background:
    Professional musician 40 years

    Korg Kronos

    I've had a Kronos 61 for about 6 months. I am a Korg workstation user since the M-1. I got the Kronos 61 and kept my Triton Studio 88 primarily because I prefere the Triton's weighted action over the RH3 and because of the reported RH3 problems on the Korg forums. In retrospect, I am glad I did because I now have both unweighted and weighted actions and the many very useful Triton sounds.

    The Kronos was for me the next significant step in the evolution of mainstream workstations (excluding the Oasys) because it is the most complete workstation available at the customary flagship workstation price point. It is actually hard to find something that it can't do, although improvements in certain areas (like guitars and orchestrial sounds) would be welcomed.

    I work in a group that sequences everything and have over 200 sequences to transfer from the Triton to the Kronos. The learning curve was short, but the task is very time comsuming; I am about 33% complete. That said, I have had the chance to A-B the Kronos and the Triton. There is a significant improvement in evey aspect of the Kronos as compared to the Triton. The sonic quality, diversity and archeticture of the Kronos is remarkable.

  • from Newark N.J June 15, 2011Music Background:
    Beat maker

    5 STARS

    The Korg Kronos is an amazing keyboard workstaion you can run your audio threw a usb cable and it sounds amazing! I really love the Grand Pianos section and also the combi's overall this is a really great workstation! You can hook it up to your favorite DAW and come up with some amazing new ideas. The kronos is durable and stable, operating system is fast aswell, The toch screen sometimes you have to double click but that can be calibrated and fixed to your needs. The ambient drums are amazing they sound like live drums, Korg did a great job with this one!

  • from December 29, 2013Music Background:
    recordist

    I have the Kronos 73

    I like it except for the fan noise. It wears on you in a quiet room.

    I'm going to try and replace the fan with a 'silent' one with the same specs and if it works, I'll keep it. if not, it'll join the many 2nd hand Kronos's popping up on the market and I'll concentrate on getting more out of my old Korg M3.

    If it weren't for the fan noise, I'd give it a 4.5 maybe even a five.

    As far as Korg addressing this problem, I have yet to see direct confirmation from the Korg site on this. I have however seen a lot of discussion about this on other forums.

    For the record, I had a few sustain issues (seems to be addressed by an OS update) and no keyed issues that some people complained about on the 73s and 88s (I have the 73 key version).

  • from Norfolk, Va December 22, 2012Music Background:
    Composer, Hobbyist

    Kronos not Perfect

    I had thought that by now Korg would have straightened out the cooling fan noise problem but they have not. I have a MAC, and four other synths going and the Korg fan can be heard above it all. Also, it is not only the weighted action keyboard that is problematic. This 61 key model's keys have an annoying clicking sound when depressed. It is only on the C# keys and it doesn't happen all the time. You can temporarily stop this clicking by heavily depressing the key all the way up where the key comes out of the synth but it returns sooner or later. A nice machine but it has some very annoying traits.

  • from NC, USA October 20, 2011Music Background:
    Amateur Musician.

    Hardware Lacking

    I played this hoping to love it and buy it from Sweetwater the next day.. but I was VERY disappointed in the hardware. Honestly, the sounds are the best I've ever heard in a workstation of any brand or price, but I doubt a touring musician would get a year out of this thing before breaking knobs, sliders, joysticks, and ESPECIALLY the end caps and piece under the key bed.

    I wanted to love this machine, because I was looking to upgrade from my Triton Studio.. but I can't suggest this to anyone since the hardware is totally crap.

    I will be purchasing the Nord Stage 88 I think.

  • from August 3, 2011Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    Rushed to the market

    The sounds are typical high end Korg. However, workmanship is mediocre at best and due to the crammed screen the user interface can be frustrating. The cooling fan is loud and Korg hasn't released the plug-in editor yet, making the Kronos difficult to use with a DAW compared with other synths/workstations.

  • from United States May 6, 2016Music Background:
    Studio recording, playing live. Using Korg products since 1992.

    Good workstation with extremely bad keybed

    I have been playing on Korg since 1992. I still own Korg Triton and play it everyday.
    I recently bought Korg Kronos 2 61. It is an incredible machine and I love everything
    but the keybed. Baaaaaad, like Casio from Wallmart. Since I have experience replacing keys in my Korg Extreme, I figured
    out the problem. It is construction of the keys. The keys of all Korgs from Korg M1 to Korg Exreme have long end inside of the instrument.
    It lets you press any part of the key (upper and lower part to the key) and get good touch. Those keys are made by
    Yamaha. Korg invented their own keys, I guess. They have short end inside the keyboard. This is why
    it is so hard to pres upper portion of the key and get decent sound. It is time for Korg to
    reevaluate their invention and maybe go back to their old keys which proved to be good for 2 decades.
    I am giving only 2 stars.

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