New Electribes, a Volca sampler and a fresh Kaoss Pad among the latest offerings from Korg.
September often sees new product announcements from the larger manufacturers, but this year we’ve really been spoiled. Hot on the heels of Roland’s SBX-1 announcement and NI’s Komplete update and Komplete Kontrol keyboards, Korg has announced a host of new additions to its product range.
The highlights include long-awaited updates to the Electribe series, a new Volca unit and an addition to the Kaoss Pad line-up.
All attention has been on Korg’s analogue range since the introduction of the Monotron, Monotribe, MS-20 Mini and Volca series, but Korg are also masters of digital tech, with a history of digital innovation stretching back to the early 80s.
The highest-profile new arrivals are the all-new Electribes. The last generation of the series (the ESX-1 and EMX-1) were still on the market until recently, but looked increasingly outdated. A minor 2010 update with new presets and SD card storage couldn’t really hide the fact that they were still fundamentally the same as the original 2003 models.
The two new Electribes follow the tried-and-tested formula, with one model focused on sampling and one on synthesis. The Electribe Sampler takes over from the ESX-1 on sample duties. The synth-focused version, known simply as the Electribe, features a new virtual analogue synth engine and introduces polyphonic playback. Both models feature an all-new look, with a 2×8 bank of Taktile-style touch-sensitive trigger pads and a Kaoss Pad-style X-Y pad replacing the old ribbon controller.
A number of features will be familiar to users of other current Korg products: the pad controller adopts Kaossilator-style ‘touch scale’ options, the filters on the Electribe are based on those used in the KingKorg and the effects include algorithms taken from Kaoss Pads. Both units can also sync with Volcas and Monotribes.
One of the most interesting features is the inclusion of Ableton Live compatibility, allowing projects to be exported to Live as individual clips and scenes, which bridges the gap nicely between the Electribe’s all-in-one-box workflow and a conventional DAW approach.
The Electribes will be priced at £395 and available from November (Electribe) and December (Electribe Sampler).
Although the Electribes should be the biggest draw here, we’re just as excited by the introduction of a fourth model in the more affordable Volca range. The original three Volcas were all based around analogue tech, but the Volca Sample shifts the focus onto digital, promising to “recapture the excitement of the first generation of samplers”. This is clearly quite a basic, lo-fi unit in comparison to the Electribe Sampler, but the creative potential looks huge. There’s also an analogue isolator and a simple digital reverb built in. The one notable downside appears to be that sampling into the unit will only be possible using an iPad app. The Volca Sample will be available next month, priced at £143.
The sampling theme continues with the new Kaoss Pad Mini 2S. It’s a much more basic unit than the Electribes or Volca, but there’s still plenty of life in the Kaoss Pad concept. Priced at £120, it introduces sampling and looping options with a range of new effects.
Elsewhere, there are updates to the Gadget app and the introduction of the intriguing Cliphit (a budget electronic drum system). We’re also intrigued by the Miku Stomp, a vocal synthesiser stompbox. The only bit of bad news from Korg among all these announcements is that the company’s reissue of the ARP Odyssey will be delayed until next year.
Scroll down to watch Korg’s videos of the new units in action.