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Korg Kronos advanced questions

 
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xilli



Joined: 19 Apr 2014
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 3:31 pm    Post subject: Korg Kronos advanced questions Reply with quote

Hello Friends!

I'm glad that this forum exists and i'm a happy Korg Kronos user. I'm using my Kronos for 1 year now and I can't imagine a more powerful keyboard than this.
I love the feeling of this keyboard, I love the design, I love everyhing at it....tough I'm having trouble with the sounds what I will describe to you after this short
introduction and I will ask for your detailed help. Thank you in advance for reading this and to help me.

So, as I mentioned I have some issues figuring out the following things:

1. Firstly I will have some questions about program mode and program sounds.
a. Do you guys use the stock program sounds and then combine them in combi mode or first u edit the program and after that use the edited sound in the combination you wanna create?
b. Are the Kronos stock sounds good or you recommend to buy and expand the sound library for better quality?
c. When you edit a program stock sound, do you guys use effects or you turn on the effects only after you copy thhe sound to combi mode?
2. Combi mode:
a. After u figure out how to layer the sounds and split them, what technique do you use? You user karma switches to swich between sounds in the same combi for 1 specific song, or do you create 1 combination for each part of that particular song?
b. When do you use IFX (there are specific situations when u don’t use them), what effect type do you use for MFX and what kind for TFX?
i. **hopefully you understand my request.
c. For instance, if you play a song that has a keyboard solo, do you use an expression/volume pedal to bring up the volume for a specific zone on the keyboard or do you have another method, like knobs, faders, vector…?
3. Mixing and mastering the sounds: My biggest issue is mixing and mastering the sounds on my keyboard.
a. One day, working on my sounds, I had a curiosity to hear how my keyboard sounds when I plug my earphones in the L/R output instead of my headphone output. To actually hear the real sound what the crowd hears when I play live. I’ve chosed a stock combination on the keyboard (didn’t modified it at all), plugged my earphones in the L/R output from the backpannel of the keyboard and….surprise:
i. The sound had an awful quality, not clear at all, I couldn’t believe that it was a sound from a Korg Kronos. Then switched back to the headphone output from the front panel and the sound was clear as possible,High quality sound. Why is this happening? This means that every time I play live my sounds have this awfull quality?
b. How do you mix the sounds inside a combination to have a good mix for the song and also to have an even volume level between the sounds? This is the most important from all the above!
c. Do you create and edit the combination in headphones, studio monitors or live PA? Which one is the best solution?
d. Does somebody use a combination template that maybe can share and share some information about it?

This are some situations that I have and I would really apreciate your answers. Every answer is usefull for me. If somebody has a step by step guide, or video for advanced users maybe you can share it.

Best regards,
Szili

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GregC
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Joined: 15 May 2002
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Location: Discovery Bay (San Francisco Bay Area)

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Korg Kronos advanced questions Reply with quote

xilli wrote:
Hello Friends!


So, as I mentioned I have some issues figuring out the following things:

1. Firstly I will have some questions about program mode and program sounds.

a. Do you guys use the stock program sounds and then combine them in combi mode or first u edit the program and after that use the edited sound in the combination you wanna create?
b. Are the Kronos stock sounds good or you recommend to buy and expand the sound library for better quality?
c. When you edit a program stock sound, do you guys use effects or you turn on the effects only after you copy thhe sound to combi mode?

:


1 A] I use the Korg factory programs 90% of the time but I am slowly integrating the excellent 3rd party sample libs into the mix.
I work in SEQ mode. multitrack up to 16 tracks/midi instruments. So any Program I select has to 'work well' with my multi track song in SEQ mode.
So , yes. I frequently edit the factory programs. I back off heavy EQ and excess FX , for example.

1 B] For the most part, Kronos factory programs are adequate. However, as you use them over and over, your taste/preference will evolve. There are limitations on some Kronos instruments. Saxes have little articulation. Guitars are limited.
At some point, as you evolve, you might have your own list like this- where you need to search for a better 3rd party sample lib.

1 C] Keeping FX usage organized is a task. When I start a new song in SEQ, I size up what instruments needed. Many E guitars rely on heavy and unique FX and unique FX programming. Same with Hammonds/drawbars, FX are crucial.
Thus, with some edits, those instruments are copied in with FX.
Drum kits typically don't have much FX. Its easy to add FX to drums later.
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dfahrner
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Joined: 21 Jun 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sure lots of people here will give you more specific answers to each of your questions, but:

1: Program mode / sounds: I've used all of those techniques, with the caveat that almost all preset/stock sounds (and library sounds, too) have too much reverb for my taste...I generally start with program mode, with reverb and other effects turned way down or off, unless the effects are a critical part of the sound...

2. Combi mode: for live playing, I don't use splits (I can never remember where the split point is), and I use an external controller (Roland A-300PRO) for right-hand/solo parts...then use the Kronos expression/volume pedal to bring in layers; the A-300 has its own exp/vol pedal...

3. Mixing and mastering: I'm not surprised that the L/R outputs don't sound very good with earphones - that's not what they're designed to drive, that's what the headphone output is for...and most headphones are not very accurate anyway (too bright and/or too bassy), generally you want to use speakers for the final mix...after a lot of experimentation, I now use neutral-sounding headphones (Yamaha RH-5Ma, through a mixer with slight EQ adjustments for flat response) and then make final adjustments using studio monitors (Behringer Truth)...the result sounds good through most any PA or keyboard amp setup...

df
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ronnfigg
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The left and right outputs are not designed to drive a set of headphones. I imagine you were trying to turn up the levels too much and were distorting the output. The headphone output is basically the same balance that you will be sending to the front of house.
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ronnfigg
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as balancing timbres in a combi goes, you should get a rough idea of what you want it to sound like when you are designing your patches at home. The Kronos volume level meters will give you a good idea of where you stand. Or if you have a mixer with a level meters on it you can use that also. Then when you get to a rehearsal situation you can dial in the levels a little bit better. It's never going to be the same as when you are sitting at home practicing with a recording of a song. Just let the guys in the band know that you are going to be adjusting levels so they don't stare at you or keep stopping the song. Balancing levels is an art in itself.
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ronnfigg
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wish I had the time to answer some of your other questions, but I am too busy programming my K and learning new songs for the upcoming performing season. Suffice to say that the beauty of the Kronos is you can save everything. So go ahead and try something and if you like the results "write" the changes. You can always create new sets of PCGs and load them after boot up. Always keep the original factory sounds intact. Then go ahead and play. You can't break anything. And this is probably the best way to learn things and learn what works best for you. Make sure you always back your files up especially if you are doing sampling. And don't be afraid to reference the manuals. The operations guide is especially useful since more often than not they have procedures that you can do that help familiarize you with the capabilities of this powerful workstation.
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KK
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Joined: 13 Oct 2016
Posts: 446

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 7:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Korg Kronos advanced questions Reply with quote

xilli wrote:
1. Firstly I will have some questions about program mode and program sounds.
a. Do you guys use the stock program sounds and then combine them in combi mode or first u edit the program and after that use the edited sound in the combination you wanna create?
It's rare that I'm totally satisfied with stock programs, so I edit them then add the modified ones to combis.

xilli wrote:
b. Are the Kronos stock sounds good or you recommend to buy and expand the sound library for better quality?
Depends on your needs. Many stock sounds can end up excellent after editing them. But it's fun of course to add more. Or sample your own, which I do often. The Kronos sampler is simply excellent.

xilli wrote:
c. When you edit a program stock sound, do you guys use effects or you turn on the effects only after you copy the sound to combi mode?
Every situation can call something different.

xilli wrote:
2. Combi mode:
a. After u figure out how to layer the sounds and split them, what technique do you use? You user karma switches to switch between sounds in the same combi for 1 specific song, or do you create 1 combination for each part of that particular song?
Again, depends in every case.

xilli wrote:
b. When do you use IFX (there are specific situations when u don’t use them), what effect type do you use for MFX and what kind for TFX?
The manuals give excellent advice about this. Here too, it can very a lot depending what you are looking for. The possibilities are huge.

xilli wrote:
c. For instance, if you play a song that has a keyboard solo, do you use an expression/volume pedal to bring up the volume for a specific zone on the keyboard or do you have another method, like knobs, faders, vector…?
You can also use velocity, aftertouch, etc.

xilli wrote:
3. Mixing and mastering the sounds: My biggest issue is mixing and mastering the sounds on my keyboard.
a. One day, working on my sounds, I had a curiosity to hear how my keyboard sounds when I plug my earphones in the L/R output instead of my headphone output. To actually hear the real sound what the crowd hears when I play live. I’ve chosed a stock combination on the keyboard (didn’t modified it at all), plugged my earphones in the L/R output from the backpannel of the keyboard and….surprise: The sound had an awful quality, not clear at all, I couldn’t believe that it was a sound from a Korg Kronos. Then switched back to the headphone output from the front panel and the sound was clear as possible,High quality sound. Why is this happening? This means that every time I play live my sounds have this awfull quality?
Impedance at L/R out is different so might not match your headphones.

xilli wrote:
b. How do you mix the sounds inside a combination to have a good mix for the song and also to have an even volume level between the sounds? This is the most important from all the above!
There is no shortcut here. Work with the basic stuff first (for example, drums and bass) then continue with the more important instruments in the piece, etc.

xilli wrote:
c. Do you create and edit the combination in headphones, studio monitors or live PA? Which one is the best solution?
I always mix in my headphones.
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xilli



Joined: 19 Apr 2014
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:52 am    Post subject: Korg Kronos advanced questions Reply with quote

Thank you guys for the answers, it really helps me to have a clearer view about my issues. ' Very Happy
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Gunnar
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Joined: 27 Jan 2016
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:16 am    Post subject: Re: Korg Kronos advanced questions Reply with quote

I think you'll find that with such a versatile beast, you'll get plenty of different use cases. Here's my take:

xilli wrote:
Hello Friends!
1. Firstly I will have some questions about program mode and program sounds.
a. Do you guys use the stock program sounds and then combine them in combi mode or first u edit the program and after that use the edited sound in the combination you wanna create?


I'll use about 50/50 home grown sounds and stock sounds. Most of my synth sounds will be my own and most of the sample based ones, like strings, horns, piano, will be stock ones that I put into a COMBI and then apply some minor Tone Adjs.

xilli wrote:

b. Are the Kronos stock sounds good or you recommend to buy and expand the sound library for better quality?


I like to tweak and build sounds, so I've gone with that rather than buying packs. I'm considering getting one of the symphonic / orchestral ones though..

xilli wrote:

c. When you edit a program stock sound, do you guys use effects or you turn on the effects only after you copy thhe sound to combi mode?


When I first started programming synths, a recommendation that I picked up which kinda stuck, a bit was to make it sound good, THEN add effects. I tend to stick by that still.. Of course, some effects like distortion can be part an integral part of the sound design, but I'll aim to make it sound interesting first, then add things like delay, chorus, etc..

xilli wrote:

2. Combi mode:
a. After u figure out how to layer the sounds and split them, what technique do you use? You user karma switches to swich between sounds in the same combi for 1 specific song, or do you create 1 combination for each part of that particular song?

I'll make a setlist out of PROGs and COMBIs. One song usually takes up one page in the setlist. As I'm tracking a song on the computer, it is easy to switch between the different parts of the song as they are all on the same page, and when I play through the song, I'll use a foot pedal to advance to the next song, keeping my hands free to play.

xilli wrote:

b. When do you use IFX (there are specific situations when u don’t use them), what effect type do you use for MFX and what kind for TFX?
i. **hopefully you understand my request.


You can generally look at the stock programs for ideas here. TFX is for master limiter and overall EQ and/or compression. I tend to do that in the DAW rather than on the Kronos (I don't gig live, only play at home), so often those will stay empty. MFX is for effects that are shared between tracks, and I'll almost always run a reverb on MFX2 and usually a delay on MFX1, or some times a chorus. Effects that get used a lot. IFX is for effects on subgroups of tracks or individual tracks. That's how I use them anyway Smile

xilli wrote:

c. For instance, if you play a song that has a keyboard solo, do you use an expression/volume pedal to bring up the volume for a specific zone on the keyboard or do you have another method, like knobs, faders, vector…?


Setlist again. I adjust the setlist volume of each patch so they sound good next to each other, and then the foot-pedal to switch again. I've also used vector for that, mute/unmute and faders either way will work..

xilli wrote:

3. Mixing and mastering the sounds: My biggest issue is mixing and mastering the sounds on my keyboard.
a. One day, working on my sounds, I had a curiosity to hear how my keyboard sounds when I plug my earphones in the L/R output instead of my headphone output. To actually hear the real sound what the crowd hears when I play live. I’ve chosed a stock combination on the keyboard (didn’t modified it at all), plugged my earphones in the L/R output from the backpannel of the keyboard and….surprise:
i. The sound had an awful quality, not clear at all, I couldn’t believe that it was a sound from a Korg Kronos. Then switched back to the headphone output from the front panel and the sound was clear as possible,High quality sound. Why is this happening? This means that every time I play live my sounds have this awfull quality?


Yeah, as others have said.. Don't compare line out with headphone out. Signal levels aren't the same so it'll come out wrong.

xilli wrote:

b. How do you mix the sounds inside a combination to have a good mix for the song and also to have an even volume level between the sounds? This is the most important from all the above!


Use the faders until it feels right. And then go through the EQ of each of them and see if some of them need some sculpting. Like.. There is a lot of bass in the deep end of pianos, that'll conflict with your lush pad, so the piano needs some reduction of the low-end.

xilli wrote:

c. Do you create and edit the combination in headphones, studio monitors or live PA? Which one is the best solution?


Do a google search on headphones vs monitors and you'll see a debated topic. Live PA I wouldn't use. You need flat response monitors or flat response headphones and PAs are rarely meant for that. I'll use a combination of Headphones and monitors, but it is useful to be aware that headphones obfuscate room acoustics. This is good in the sense that you don't need to acoustically treat your room to do work, but it also means that sounds that rely on room acoustics sound very different in headphones. I always add too much reverb when I mix with headphones for instance. Always.. Like, even when I'm aware that I always do it, I still add too much.. Smile

xilli wrote:

d. Does somebody use a combination template that maybe can share and share some information about it?


Nah, I'll either copy the basis from a PROG or start fresh.
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ronnfigg
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a couple of different combi templates that I use on a regular basis. But they are very specific to what I do. They probably wouldn't do you any good at all. But then again, here's the thing, you can make up your own templates also and find out which one you seem to be using the most. But here's a couple of ideas to get you started. First of all turn off all the timbres except the 1st one. And set the faders to zero. Write this to a location that you won't accidentally overwrite. And of course give it a unique name.
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