KORG KP3 KAOSS PAD
Ever since my eyes and ears witnessed Radiohead’s guitarist, Jonny Greenwood, violently messing with Thom Yorke’s voice on stage, a penchant quickly developed for my own manipulative chaos. So when the chance arose to test Korg’s latest addition to the Kaoss Pad range, the KP3, I immediately put Thom through his paces (well, a few tracks of Kid A at least) and it soon became clear that extreme audio manipulation is a doddle with this device.
If you haven’t messed with a Kaoss pad before, it’s basically an X/Y touchpad that can control a number of built-in effects to manipulate throughput audio, a sampler as well as a Midi controller. But ‘basic’ is inappropriate when describing the third-generation Kaoss Pad.
The first noticeable difference between this machine and its forefathers is the way the touchpad lights up in a grid fashion (giving it a Battleships-like appearance). This is no minor tweak, but rather, a total enhancement of both the accuracy and visual feedback of the interface. Each time you select a new program, a description scrolls across the touchpad. Wherever your finger goes, a target of four surrounding squares follows. With EQ effects, the touchpad shows dynamic representations of your curves as you draw them; the hold function retains that curve until you scrawl your finger across the touchpad again. Adding to the interface adjustments, the Mute switch has been replaced by a button, making it more drum-pad-like for rhythmic effects.
Korg has also added more effects to the KP3, taking the total to 128. The number of sampling keys has also risen from two to four, allowing up to 16 beats of sampling on each key. If more samples are needed, the SD slot has got it covered. The KP3 is now more powerful then ever, with the ability to hot-swap up to 2GB of samples, sounds and setting data.
The Kaoss pad is targeted primarily at DJs and producers, but if automating your effects in a more musical and intuitive way is what you’ve been looking for, maybe you should check out this pad. With Midi ins and outs, you can automate just about anything using the X/Y interface. Here’s to feeding your slightly narcissistic desires. – Mark Davie
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