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.

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