Korg iKaossilator

November 21, 2012


BACK IN 2008, I REVIEWED KORG’S ORIGINAL KAOSSILATOR AND LOVED IT. In 2010, I reviewed the Kaossilator Pro and really dug that. Both products were far ahead of the curve in their use of an X/Y touchpad that could be constrained to specific keys, tunings, and modes. Today, this is the de facto standard for many iOS synths and music creation apps. Korg is a leader of the iOS synth pack with their iMS-20 and iElectribe apps, both of which sound fantastic and make creative use of the touchscreen. So I knew that I was in for a treat as I explored the iKaossilator.

In the original Kaossilators, overdubbing your parts was a destructive affair, adding new parts by rewriting over a looping audio file. In iKaossilator, that’s a thing of the past, since you’re now working with five discrete tracks, each with its own instrument.

Instrument types include lead, acoustic, bass, chord, sound effects, drums, and user fi les (which can be imported from your computer). The presets that come with the app cover a wide range of musical ground, all of it leaning toward the most popular styles in music people shake a booty to, such as house, electro, dubstep, and hip-hop, to name a few.

There are 50 loop sets, containing drums and a few synth loops in various styles, to use as starting points for your musical experiments. Getting started is easy: Pick a loop set that has the sonic character you’re looking for, keep the parts you like, and erase/overdub the parts you want to change. The interface lets you easily select different parts from multiple presets, so you can grab an electro bass, house drums, and a chillout lead, then start from there.

As with the hardware Kaossilators, each of the instruments makes intelligent use of the X/Y interface. Left/right is pitch, while up/down modifies one or more timbral features—usually filter cutoff , but often in conjunction with sync sweeps, LFO tricks, and/or delay-reverb effects.

What’s more, iKaossilator makes full use of modern iOS amenities, like the ability to save your creations, export the audio as wave data or upload it to SoundCloud, import your own audio loops, and even sync with WIST-capable apps for quantized jam sessions.

Frankly, I’m blown away by how much Korg’s Kaossilator tech has evolved in the past four years. As an iOS app, this instrument has truly come into its own, either as a synth tool in a DJ rig, a groove-oriented tool in a keyboard rig, or a way to kill time in airports and coffee houses. Two thumbs way up on the iKaossilator.

Snap Judgment
Five discrete drum/ synth tracks, each of which can be up to 16 measures long. Exports to WAV or SoundCloud. Can save your groove creations as presets. WIST iOS sync.

CONS Animation borders on cheesy, as do a few of the presets.

The Kaossilator concept on Apple-flavored steroids.

$19.99 korg.com/ikaossilator

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