Korg Kronos 73: Synth Extraordinaire

I’ve been a Korg user since 1974; my first synth was Univox MiniKorg. It was a monosynth: no presets, a couple of waveforms, filter, envelope generator and VCA. Later on I acquired an M1, T3, S3, OW/1, OW/1Pro, X5DR, Trinity Pro, Triton Pro, ER-1, Z1, MS2000, Monotron…I think that might be it! With all the talk online about the new Kronos being a “game changer”, the demo videos posted, and having attended a local Kronos clinic, I was intrigued and anxious to get my hands on this instrument. Recently, I participated in a worship conference, Sovereign Grace Ministries Worship God 2011, teaching a synth class and performing in a live concert recording. The recording required two twelve-hour rehearsals, plus programming at home. I had the opportunity to use a Kronos 73 (thank you, Worship MD!) for the recording and class; it got quite a workout, and delivered big time.

My rig at #WG11: Kronos 73 & Nord Electro 2 73

The number one feature that made the live recording a breeze was the set list feature. Programs, combinations (Korg-speak for multi-program setups: splits and layers), and sequences can be assembled in the set list window. No more having to switch between those parts of the synth, and searching for program numbers, etc. Another feature that rocked in the performance was Korg’s “smooth sound transition”: sustaining a note while switching to another patch, without the first patch cutting off. Big thumbs up, Korg!

While these two features are really cool, the greatest thing about the Kronos is the sound. Simply amazing, it’s warm, lots of low end, sizzling highs; easily the best sounding synth in my arsenal. Analog emulations sound very analog, orchestral sounds, rich and sparkling, the EPs are dead ringers for old Rhodes and Wurlitzer pianos. The acoustic piano sound will make you want to play for hours, and the RH3 weighted action will help in that regard. The action works well with Synthogy Ivory, also. My main gig is scoring film projects, and over the last 10 years I’ve gotten away from using ROMplers; let’s say I’ve become less enchanted with them. The Kronos is changing my thinking in that regard.

I’m currently working on a news show open. I needed to beef up the sound created with my orchestral sample library; it wasn’t happening with my current sound choices. The show has a serious “breaking news tonight” kind of tone, and orchestral sounds are the main focus. I added some Kronos arco string parts, as well a couple of bass parts (the basses are detailed and rich), and the track improved noticeably. The new version got approved. I also used the Kronos on a promo for another client; I needed a horn band sound, and I only have a classical orchestral library for brass at the moment. Kronos delivered again. I recorded through the Kronos USB port into Apple Logic Pro. The recording was clean, and since it meant not using a VI, the CPU load was lessened; win/win!

More to come on the Kronos.