Korg has updated their Electribe series with a new step-sequencer based music production unit and a new Sampler model, which integrates with Ableton Live. The new units replace the gimmicky vacuum tubes with solid Korg technology to bring the new units into 2014 packed with valuable features. Korg integrated the synth engine from the KingKORG, the effects from the Kaossilator, the touch-pad from the Kaoss Pad, and other action from the Volca, Taktile and others to reincarnate the Electribe with 200 preset patterns covering House, Techno, Trap, Dubstep and EDM, to name a few. Another upgrade from the previous version is support for polyphonic playback.
Using the 16 pads placed on the front of the unit, users can create patterns while actually hearing and seeing the sounds. Users can use the pads as a keyboard to realtime-record phrases, and also perform step recording by entering the pitch and rhythmic value one note at a time. The patterns created can be used in alternate forms when performing by taking advantage of the “step jump” feature inherited from the Volca series, or by changing the “last step” to vary the length of each part. There’s also a “motion sequence” function allowing record knob and button operations. In addition, drums or synths can now be assigned to each of the 16 parts (the 16 pads). Familiar from the Kaossilator is the “touch scale” function that lets anyone perform without wrong notes, just by moving a finger across the touch pad. The trigger pads that were popular on the Taktile are also provided, and can also be used for drum input.
Korg Electribe Features:
» Maximum Polyphony: 24 voices* (Pseudo-polyphonic)
» Number of parts: 16
» Sampling Frequency: 48.0 kHz
» Number of Oscillator Types: 409
» Number of Filter types: 16
» Number of Modulation types: 72
» Memory Capacity: 250 patterns
» Insert effects: 38 types
» Master effects: 32 types
—Up to 64 steps for each part
—Up to 24 modulation sequences for each pattern
—Last Step can be varied for each part
» Trigger Pads” 16 (Velocity sensitive is supported)
» Audio Connectivity
—L/Mono Output (Standard Phone jack)
—R Output (Standard Phone jack)
—Headphones (Stereo mini jack)
—Line Input (Stereo mini jack)
» MIDI: In, Out (Use an included MIDI adapter cable)
» USB: Type micro B
» Sync: In, Out (Stereo mini jack)
» External storage device: SD Card (More than 1GB), SDHC Card (Up to 32GB)
» AC Adaptor or six AA batteries (claimed battery life: 5 hours)
» Chassis: Zinc die cast
» Dimensions: (W x D x H) 339 mm x 189 mm x 45 mm / 13.35″ x 7.44″ x 1.77″
» Weight: 1.6 kg / 3.53 lbs
» Accessories: AC Adaptor (KA-350), MIDI adapter cable x 2, Ableton Live 9 Lite (License card included)
For the Electribe’s synth engine, the 409 oscillator waveforms include analog modeling and PCM. The analog modeling synth engine provides a broad variety ranging from simple basic waveforms to complex combinations such as dual, unison, sync, ring modulation, and cross modulation. The PCM sound engine provides mainly rhythm sounds, but also covers multisamples for keyboard. (Samples are contributed by Sample Magic, Loopmasters, Prime Loops) The filters are inherited directly from the KingKORG, and they use filter algorithms that simulate standard synthesizers so that you can get “the sound” which was used in famous songs, just by selecting the appropriate filter type. You can also apply filters to drums to create rhythm tracks that are rich in tonal variation. Modulation can make sound-creation more complicated, but we’ve made it easy by condensing it down to three parameters: simply select a template that specifies an effect and its target, and then adjust the speed and depth of the effect to taste.
The master effects can be controlled from the touch pad just like on the Kaoss Pad, and they include not only spatial-type effects that shape the overall acoustics but they also include effects that apply aggressively musical transformations such as the “Vinyl Break” effect inherited from the Kaoss Pad series, and the newly developed “Seq Reverse” and “Odd Stepper” that change the playback order of the sequencer. These are also fun for live performance. Insert effects can be assigned for individual parts, opening up even more complex sound-design possibilities. There’s also a “pattern set” function which lets you switch patterns by pressing trigger pads, and an “event recording” function that records that performance. In addition to MIDI IN/OUT, “Sync IN/OUT” is also provided, allowing synchronized performances with the Volca series, Monotribe, or MS-20 Mini. The unit can run on six AA batteries, so you can easily take it along with you and perform anywhere, providing on-the-go inspiration your musical ideas. Awesome!
Korg has collaborated with Ableton to offer a new music production workflow that combines the best of hardware and software. The Electribe can internally save and export patterns in Ableton Live format. Individual patterns and parts are saved as scenes and clips in an Ableton Live Set. Use Live’s powerful Session and Arrangement workflows to edit and and refine your ideas, perform or record new parts, arrange your ideas, and mix your song. The Korg Electribe comes with Live Lite.
Korg’s new Electribe Sampler was designed as a compliment to the Electribe, as well as a live performance tool. Very similar to the regular Electribe, user can utilize the 16 pads placed on the front of the unit to create patterns while actually hearing and seeing the sounds. You can use the pads as a keyboard to realtime-record phrases, and also perform step recording by entering the pitch and rhythmic value one note at a time. The patterns you create can be used in alternate forms as you perform by taking advantage of the “step jump” feature inherited from the volca series, or by changing the “last step” to vary the length of each part. The internal memory allows for 250 saved patterns.
In addition to a sampler sound engine that lets you use your own unique and original samples, there are also several types of analog modeling sound engines for creating synth basses and pad sounds. There can be up to a total of 999 preset and user samples, and a maximum of 270 seconds of sampling time (calculated as monaural) can be used. The unit is shipped with drum, rhythm/phrase loops, and hit samples included. The “Time Slice” function detects attacks within the phrase and slices it appropriately, allowing you to play the phrase at the desired tempo without significantly affecting the sound. Sounds within a sliced part can also be used separately by assigning them to steps or parts. You can even apply an effect to a sample, and then resample it while using the knobs to vary the pitch or modulation.
Korg’s new Electribe’s should be available next month.
The Future: Kudos to Korg for developing a truly useful bit of kit instead of more chicanery. The inclusion of all of Korg’s strong technical developments over the past decade, not only makes sense from a developmental standpoint, but it also provides a real value proposition for consumers. We particularly like the integration with Live. Without an Ableton Live app for developing musical ideas on the go, the Electribe can suffice as an excellent generator with its portability and solid feature set.