Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Korg TR: Third Opinions

I wanted to post some more on the Korg TR. You will always have a first impression of a keyboard which will be how it sounds and feels. Your second opinion will be based on how easily you can use the piece of gear. The Third opinion tells you if it will function for you or not. So I'd like to talk more about its sequencing as integrated with its sound creation, and also the big mistake I made mentioning that it only uses one insert effect.

The Korg TR's sound creation and knob settings have similar problems related to the Alesis Fusion! (they don't stay). It has a work around, but Its not 100% To keep voice parameters set you have to switch into Program mode, call up the program, and set its knob voice functions, then switch into song mode to see the changes take place. Or you can record voice parameters using the knobs with sequence mode using over dub. Thats not a good way to just "grab n go" when playing a sequence and creating your sound. If you don't save it that way, all the knobs get reset every time you start / stop the song. Note: YOU CANNOT save the entire B bank of knob settings in program mode. There is just no explanation for this! The A and C banks due however. So basically you will have your sound adjusted and it will reset back, at least on all the B settings with absolutely no way to save them in program mode or sequence mode (unless your recording the voice w/overdub). So the B-bank, and all your programming for it is worthless in program mode, and mostly in sequence mode. Thats kind of insane. So you just have to ignore the B bank of knob settings entirely on this the Alesis fusion.

More on the Korg TR Effects:

The effects setup is complicated. But it suprised pleasantly when I found out I had more routing effect capabilities than I thought possible: You can use the mastering effects like instert effects. Korg has their terminology wrong, or at least not the way I would describe it. SO it has 3 distinct insert(y) type effects channels that you can put on any track, and you can have the bonus of routing one of the effects through the masters if you want. So if you want your drums to have alot of reverb, your synth to be chorused, and your piano to have a little bit of reverb and maybe full stereo can. You don't have to rely on a single effect for every track. You can have combinations and adjust the amount on each track, as long as you don't think of the mastering effects as actually mastering the final output of your mix (it sort of doesnt anyway). The Korg TR has tons more effects potential than you'd need!!! Its just hard to understand the way its set up in the menus, and not very fun to use when your sequencing something. You can't turn a knob and change your sound. Its alot of menu based hunting.

The effects menus and setup is probably the worst thing about this board. The second being that it will not save any B bank knob settings unless you sequence them. Another note: There is no way to stop it from sending program changes to your gear in sequence mode. You must save your sound settings on the piece of gear itself, because it will always reset to the specified program (and thank god you can specify it).

One last Gripe: I couldnt get it to save my global settings for the Velocity curve. It shouldnt be complicated but I gave up trying.

Overall, there are workarounds for this keyboard. The effects are more powerful than you've heard (think 3 effects on any channel), but its hard to use. The knob settings can be saved (only A and C banks), but with some work.

Its still a solid board, but there will be some frustration when setting up the rom's overall sound, when mixing a track created solely on the board itself....which sucks. I feel kind of tricked, because it seemed easy to adjust everything when I first got my hands on it. I am looking for a single piece of equipment that I can make complete mixes on. This isnt quite there.

If you sequence alot of gear, or just like to play very inspirational Combis its still worth checking out. Its solid and won't crash on you.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Korg TR Quick Review

 Product Synthesizer Tr Images Pro

After having the mixed feelings and ultimate sell off an Alesis Fusion HD6, I acquired the Korg TR to see how it stacks up in controlling my studio.
Its alot nicer than it looks in the pictures. People may complain of plastic construction, but thats only the end caps!!!! The front face is black metal & high quality knobs and buttons.

The Korg TR is very solid, but it's sounds won't inspire you by itself. You will probably want to connect it to a PC with a larger sound library, or some external gear. This board will serve as the basis for music creation & composition, however. Out of the box the knobs are set to control basic external gear parameters very well, like RES, CUTOFF. These control knobs even worked with Reason without any setup. Any time saved not setting up obscure midi parameters is a good thing. Once you get your channels, and programs set, you can save it as a song template and use it every time you start a new song.

The sounds of the Korg TR leave something to be desired. If your sound is completely electronic or sort like Jean Michael Jarre, then you will like it ALOT. It has amazing organs, and electronic strings, but you will be hard pressed to find any gritty guitars or other sounds onboard. Even through tweaking the rom it can be difficult to make it sound mean, unless you are going to be doing it with a synth program. The category button is set up nicely to find a particular sound you are looking for, although scrolling to select programs inside the sequencer mode is a mixed bag. It doesnt matter however, because you can use the category button inside Sequencer mode. This is unlike the Alesis Fusion's inability to do so, and its a good thing. The drums are pretty decent for hip hop and some electronic music. As far as rock, they come off as a little cheap. I am not sure Korg has ever been good at drums, so you will be better off loading up something in Reason again. Some of the kicks are very very nice and bassy though. Nothing faboulous, even though the sound quality is very high. The high point of the rom is its synth sounds. They sound better than older yamaha stuff, which always had a catlike meow sound to them. Overall the Korg has more of an "ahhhhh" type of quality to every sound. It is more soothing. I think this has to do with whoever was in charge of creating the rom, however long ago it was.

Sequencing is solid & very easy. You will be able to start making songs in no time. Loop features are very nice to set up. Menus are easy to navigate once you get the hang of it. It is a good compromise between touch screen, and an even smaller menu based screen. Combis are also flawlessly easy to put into sequencer mode!! You could probably create a keyboard split of all your gear, save it as a combi, then import it into sequencer mode and have easy control. With the TR88, this would be ideal!!

EFX: They sound amazing, but you only get a single effect to apply to ALL of the tracks. Not even per-track, so choose wisely. Let me specify this: You can only have one effect, and then have the ability to turn that effect off or on for each track. You also get mastering effects, but thats applied to your entire mix. SO if you want to add amp distortion to one sound, then add reverb to cant. It is hard to change the quality of the onboard sounds too much, but most of them sound acceptable, and can be tweaked with the RES, HPF, and cutoff functions to make them blend in you mix. I think judging this board based on what effects it has is not a good idea since it does have assignable outs, and you can just set up something in your computer during monitor/mixing to apply effects.

The build of the board is way higher than it looks in any picture. Its actually very nice, and the buttons are nicer than I expected. The keys are a little nicer than an Alesis fusion, but are nothing special.

Overall this is an amazing piece of equipment to use in your studio for composing and controlling all your gear!! The USB to PC also makes it a good midi controller. I would recommend this board if you found it used and the price was right. Make sure you get an SD card (it has no internal memory for songs). You can use this to trigger samples on your computer, so if you don't gig, then the lack of sampling features is no big deal....even then the sampling upgrade option could be applied later if you feel you really need it.

Conclusion: Average sounds except for Synths & Organs, easy integration into your studio, and its fun to play. Great as a controller & techno machine. Worth the money.

Sound Quality: 9
Musical Expression & Voices: 6.5
Build: 8
Key Action: 6
Sequencer / Menus: 8

Friday, June 8, 2007

Glitch Drum Effect in Reason: Tutorial Video

Haven't uploaded a tutorial video in awhile, check this one out! Reason Glitch Drums using the factory sound bank.

Download the final creation as reason song file (you must have the factory sounds cd)

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Alesis 6 HD Review

 Products Full Alesis 225599

Update: You can purchase this one from me on ebay. Completely Tested & insured w/ case. Only $564


Here is a picture of the case it comes with.

Yea its a little late! BUT the prices on ebay for these suckers are drifting sub $600 and so I got one. The full 88 key version is going for 700-800+ if your lucky.

Read my first and second impressions below. They were written at different times.

First impression:
I got my Alesis Fusion HD6 today. Thank god, because I'd be so bored on this saturday. Man this kicks ass! Most of preset roms are okay, and some are actually very good. The only bad thing is the drums on it are shit, and I'm not sure if you can put alot of filters on them. BONUS: The guy who I bought it from has the entire Mo Phatt Module sound collection loaded up LOL. So I have an entire hip hop module on there. Bad things: The keyboard is crap. Worse than my JX-8p if you can imagine. I should have gotten the 8 HD....although...the 6hd is majorly heavy. I can't imagine owning an 8 HD. I wouldnt be able to move it myself. As far as the known bugs about this machine: I think the technical issues won't bother me at all as long as it holds up. However, this is a players board. I just keep clicking into a new sound and get lost in playing melodies, when I forget I'm making a song. The sequencer is good for people who improvise. Like really good. It has this cool locator function so you can keep recording in the right spots. If you step sequence then you'll have a problem. The knobs on it are tall and silver smooth like a 70s hi-fi radio. Best knobs ever. The buttons are kinda calculator though. It has these awesome "tape flute" sounds, like a mellotron or something. Anyways, the sounds are good enough to make complete songs for me. Its like got alot of synthy stuff. Don't think you going to go on this board and create patches by hand. ....even though alot of guys are saying thats what the keyboard is for....It blows for that. you just gotta get presets and use those.

The keybed is kind of crappy.

Basic hard disc recording is very nice, and the quality is good enough.

Second Impression:
I think I am going to sell the keyboard I just got. Its a perfectly good board. I just can't find any darker or moody inspiration off it. Normally thats fine and I can work around it, but I can't even tweak it how I want in song mode to make it fit my mood. I can usually take bright or lifeless sounds and make them good (Like the Yamaha RM1x)....but the FX are buried, and its too slow to select voices (I probably have thousands on here). I spent like 20 minutes when I got stuck in the load screen trying find the right banks, then find a good sound that fit my mood. Its also extremely annoying that the presets are at widely varying sound levels. People are wrong about this board when they say it is for tweakers. The most important functions are buried, like track volume!!!, and half the buttons they put on there to control functions don't even get used. Its for pure playing performance and enjoyment. The voices are really fun and its fun to play. You can also record really good songs, really really fast, only if you don't care about getting the voices just right. Don't count on it for remembering ANY of your knob tweaks! I would be content if I just played it everyonce and awhile. Its not really the technical bugs that bothered me. Its just the sounds and how fast I can get to them, then modify them. Its really important to get the mix just right. So I should probably go for a MOTIF...or KORG Triton Extreme. I need something that will fit the mood I am in. I don't know if Korg has any darker sounds..... If I didnt want to make music I would keep this thing though. Its really fun, and I can't stop playing the presets. As soon as I step away from it I feel like going back on for another hour. Its addictive, but not good for unique artistic expression. I can't show anything off that I made on it, and if I really tried, really really hard, I might be able to...but I don't have enough time on the earth to go through its methodology and make myself 100% content on it.

CONCLUSION: Extremely Addictive. Sounds a great. I can play it for hours and hours. The sequencer is even a lot better than everyone is complaining about. BUT I can't get through the menus fast enough to tweak the sounds to fit my mood. You'd think it would be fun to tweak your mixes and sounds just right on this, but it can't do it. I don't have the time to mess with this board for tweaking sounds. The way they have it set up is not intuitive, and thats someone who knew the ins and outs of the yamaha RM1x sequencer.

Its a mix between being a specialty keyboard for people needing top notch sounding electronic sounds, and a super-advanced toy with more features than any board out there. You can't beat it for anything in or below its range and you can't go wrong to try it out. Electronic music producers should have one. It sounds really good.

Rating B+

Friday, June 1, 2007

Who is Bert Smorenburg?

 Images Uploads Bertsmorenburg
I understand muzikantentaal!
Main site:

Bert Smorenburg are Dutch a producer/arranger of headstock - and child music. He is also live - and studio tests. He has had for some years a complete prerecording studio, where he composes the music numbers and takes. Also he looks after the mixage for several cd's. in 1997, made Bert Smorenburg, in association with Aad van Toor, the new background music for the Bassie and Adriaan serials. These replaced the music already existing of Aad Klaris. Smorenburg among other things Lee music has already looked after Towers, French Bauer, Kees prince, Herman bread, Total Touch and Yulduz.