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KingKORG doesn't have aftertouch, but it does have another interesting feature: The keys can trigger at three different points in their travel, via a parameter called "Key Response". You can set it to Shallow, Normal, or Deep to mimic the key throw of various instruments (clav, organ, various synths).
King Korg it has 200 preset sounds, so you can split the keyboard choosing from this sounds. Also you can assign arpeggio function on your left hand (lower notes) and at the same time to play another sound with your right hand.
I play in a busy classic rock covers band here in the UK and was quite interested in the King Korg because it combined analog-style synthesis with some PCM piano samples. Sounds odd, but I shall explain.
For about 80% of my set I play my Hammond XK1, with an old analog phaser and a ring modulator for extra filth. For the rest I have my do-anything, go-anywhere Korg TR61. This does great piano, great strings, great pads, and even some decent lead synth sounds, which are almost but not quite the Real Deal for a band that plays 60s and 70s music. The King Korg looked interesting, and, because it does piano as well as synth, it would be a direct replacement for my TR61 rather than an additional keyboard. Two keyboards in a rig, I like. But three is a schlep.
Well, today I took a day off and went to try the King Korg for myself. I was impressed, but not impressed enough to buy one.
The piano sounds are great. Great EPs and clavs, too. Nice Hammond organs, which come alive with the distortion and ringmod.
The synths very flexible, dynamic and easily editable. It's great to experiment with M**g-, OB and P*****-style filters. Some of the synths are really big and punchy and analogue-y, with big reassuring knobs for filter, resonance, amp amount, ADSR and all the usual.
Some of the sounds I've heard before, too many times, on the MS2000 and such, but on the King Korg you can edit them beyond recognition within seconds.
But there were limitations.
It's only bitimbral. You can have two sounds, which you can split or layer. And that's it. I'm used to having splits AND layers - I think having the 16-sounds-at-once TR (and the generations of Korg workstations before that back to my first M1 in 1988) has spoiled me. I didn't see any facility for velocity-splits (big turn-off) though I believe that this is possible to arrange (see Steve Formidoni's post above). There is no pressure sensitivity - more of a turn-off than I imagined - I'm just so used to digging in with my TR61.
The control surface looks like it's derived from the SV1 stage piano, in that on the left there is a valve (great distortion, but looks like a great dust/beer magnet) and three independent FX banks with six fx in each bank - one bank for tone and sound shaping (including a ringmod - my favourite effect); a second for modulation (chorus, phaser, flanger, univibe, rotary); and a third for reverb/delay (including a lovely tape delay, but why no spring reverb?).
The synth section is on the right. Which is a pain, as all the knobs you want to twiddle most - cutoff, resonance etc - are over to the right, rather than on the left, where they would be easier to get at. On my TR there are 4 assignable knobs which are conventionally cutoff, resonance, something I can't remember and envelope release - but they are on the LEFT and easily reachable without obscuring what you are doing with the right hand. In my view, the synth section should have been on the left, the effects on the right.
So, on the plus side - easily tweakable, handy, accessible analogue-style sounds, together with good piano, clav and organ sounds.
On the minus side - only bitimbral, and the front-panel layout seems poor.
So for now I think I shall stick with my dear old TR61.
I guess that if I were going to get the functionality of a TR61 with sounds that are closer to analog I'll have to save up for a Kronos .... which, with its extensive recording and sampling capability is very much more than I need for a gig axe.
So for now I think I shall stick with my dear old TR61.
The TR is a rompler/workstation with some synth functionality. The KK is a VA synth with some rompler functionality.
The current version of the TR isn't the KK, it's the Krome (and the M50 completes the lineage in between).
The TR does have some nice advantages over the M50/Krome... aftertouch, sample RAM, assignable outs. So despite the new sounds and nice screens, "upgrading" from a TR to one of its replacements is not a no-brainer, there are real trade-offs.
But sonically and operationally, the KK is a whole different animal, that could complement any of them, but not nearly replace them in functionality. If the TR begat the M50 and then the Krome, I would say the KK lineage would be from the Radias, and before that, the MS-2000. And just like the workstation progression, there are many advantages to the newest generation, but also a few trade-offs.
On the minus side - only bitimbral
Most VA synths are only monotimbral or bitimbral, I don't see that as a limitation, it's not a workstation. With its performance orientation and only 24 notes of polyphony, this isn't the place to go for 16 voice sequences. It's kind of like complaining that a hammer isn't a screwdriver.