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Karma Music Workstation
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Korg is premiering its newest keyboard, the KARMA Music Workstation. It combines the sounds, effects and sequencing capabilities of Korg's award-winning Triton with a powerful new technology called KARMA (which Korg describes as a Variable Performance Modeler). The result is a music workstation that provides an unprecedented amount of interaction with the user's playing style and performance, enabling a new level of musical expression. KARMA is the invention of musician/programmer Stephen Kay, who has worked closely with Korg for the past seven years to integrate and further enhance KARMA's functionality in this new instrument.

Based on the notes and chords that are played, KARMA will automatically generate and manipulate phrases and patterns that are impossible to produce with conventional arpeggiators or static pattern playback functions. For example, KARMA can produce complex interweaving cascades of notes, techno arpeggios and effects, dense rhythmic and melodic textures, natural sounding glissandos, intricate finger-picking and guitar strumming, random effects, sweeping portamento and pitch bend moves.

Because KARMA provides control over almost 400 musical elements, it allows the player to interact with the phrases intuitively, and to change them in ways that can range from subtle to extreme. This degree of control enables a musician to be creative at a level previously achieved only by players possessing the most advanced performance and editing prowess.

The Intelligence Behind KARMA

One KARMA pattern can be used in Program mode. Four KARMA patterns can be used in Combination/Sequencer/Song Play modes, so that separate patterns can generate independent phrases to play different sounds such as drums, bass, guitar, and piano to create a full ensemble.

The basis of the phrase or pattern is called a Generated Effect (GE), and it controls how note data from the keyboard is developed. With approximately 400 parameters in a single GE, the KARMA function can control virtually any type of tonal or phrase change. These parameters include elements like harmony, scale, ad-lib/humanize, rhythm randomization and complexity, phrase variation, tone, pan, effects, pitch bend, volume, velocity, duration, MIDI control changes, chord control, MIDI delay/repeat (Melodic Repeat™), and pitch change.

Up to 16 of these parameters are available for real-time control over a GE, and can be adjusted by operating the eight Real-time Control knobs and two switches. Two available scenes allow controller settings to be saved for instant recall. Four Chord Buttons are also provided to allow the user to easily create and trigger complex voicings. The KARMA Music Workstation provides over 1,000 different GEs organized into 17 categories, and new GEs can be loaded as they are made available.

A Powerful Synthesizer

The 62-voice Karma Music Workstation features the same world-renowned HI (Hyper Integrated) synthesis system as the TRITON Music Workstation/Sampler. It includes 32 MB of PCM samples covering a wide range of musical styles. A rich assortment of sounds created by KORG's legendary voicing team is offered, including 640 user programs (384 preloaded), plus 256 programs and 9 drum programs compatible with GM level 2 in ROM. Access to as many as 768 user combinations (up to eight programs set up as splits and layers - 384 preloaded) is provided.

The effects section provides 102 effect algorithms, and you can use 5 insert effects, 2 master effects and a three-band equalizer simultaneously. Effect routing is very flexible, enabling you to send sound through any combination of effects and on to any of the four outputs.

Sophisticated Sequencer

The KARMA Music Workstation contains a 16-track sequencer with a capacity of up to 200,000 notes and 200 songs (up to 999 measures per song). Phrases generated by the KARMA function can be recorded directly. Manually-played and step-recorded phrases can be added to create a song quickly and easily.

The RPPR (Real-time Pattern Play/Recording) function enables playback of a phrase by pressing a single key. Other song production features include Template songs, 150 drum and percussion patterns, a Track Play Loop function for specifying looped measures independently for each track, and a Cue List function for assembling a final song from up to 99 different sequences for easy arranging.

Songs you create can be saved in SMF (Standard MIDI File) format or in a Korg TRITON compatible format so that data can be exchanged with other devices. SMF files can be played back directly from floppy disk. You can perform on the keyboard along with the playback, or use the KARMA function in sync with the playback tempo.

Expansion Possibilities

In addition to the internal PCM sounds, the KARMA Music Workstation can accommodate up to two of the optional EXB-PCM series PCM Expansion Boards available for the TRITON. Each board adds 16 MB of PCM data plus programs and combinations that use this data, further broadening your sound palette.

You can also install an EXB-MOSS DSP Synthesizer Board to add Korg's popular MOSS (Multi-Oscillator Synthesis System) DSP synth engine. Its 13 types of oscillators make it possible to use virtually any type of synthesis method with KARMA.

The KARMA Music Workstation has a suggested retail price of $2,250 and will be available in early March, 2001.

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