New at Summer NAMM: Push Forward with the Korg KronosX Music Workstation

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Just last year the original Korg Kronos was unveiled, and its intensely spacious sounds, array of nine tone creation engines and SSD architecture delighted the music world, and took it by complete surprise. Korg had offered a similar system in the past (the OASYS), and Kronos came in at half the price. At Summer NAMM 2012, Korg had another jaw-dropper lined up. It debuted a new version of its flagship workstation synthesizer: the KronosX (available in 61-, 73- and 88-key configurations). Featuring the same unparalleled speed and power of its toddler-aged sibling, the new KronosX doubles the size of the internal SSD drive (62GB), adds the ability to address more sample data in its PCM RAM, and it introduces OS v2.0 (which will be available to the original Kronos owners free of charge when it becomes available later this year).

All electronics seem like well-disguised computers these days (smart toaster, anyone?), but the KronosX is a little less shy about its binary upbringing. Featuring an eight-inch color TouchView touch-screen display, a fast processor, RAM, a solid state hard drive, and in the place of a conventional OS—a custom operating system based on the Linux kernel. The end result is an unshakably stable music-creation instrument that offers a world of deeply customizable lush tones, a fully-realized sequencer (16 MIDI tracks and 16 audio tracks at 24-bit, 48 kHz recording quality), the ability for all nine of its tone-generating engines to function together and myriad effects.

The KronosX also features KARMA technology for generating limitless phrases, musical effects and backing tracks to spark your creativity. There’s also an expanded drum track feature, as well as direct support for playing drums and chords from Korg pad-equipped USB controllers like the nanoPAD, nanoPAD2 and padKONTROL. The KronosX supports all other class-compliant USB controllers as well. If you’re looking to connect the KronosX to your computer, the USB Ethernet adapter facilitates high-speed data communication between the two. 

Its SGX-1 Premium Acoustic Piano engine offers an unheard realism for a stand-alone synthesizer. Its hefty sounds are lifted directly from the SSD, putting the KronosX in a field all its own in keyboard design. The EP-1 supplies you with six bread-and-butter electric pianos, with control over tines, reeds, mechanical noises, as well as period amplifier and cabinet/speaker emulations. You can even dial in your preferred level of amplifier hum. Along with other staples such as strings (the STR-1 physical modeling sound engine) and a tone-wheel organ (the CX-3), KronosX is equipped with an impressive amount of analog modeled and wavetable synthesizers, such as the PolysixEX, the MS-20EX and the MOD-7 wave-shaping synthesizer. In a word, this isn’t just another workstation keyboard for the person making karaoke tracks for the Holiday Inn lounge; this is an instrument for creative individuals who demand no less than the greatest sounds possible.

The KronosX is slated for release in the third quarter of 2012.