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How does it compare?

 
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Paranoid Android



Joined: 17 Mar 2017
Posts: 8
Location: Edinburgh

PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:39 pm    Post subject: How does it compare? Reply with quote

How much better is the Krome than the Cross, please?
Thanks! Smile
PA
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voip
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Joined: 27 Nov 2014
Posts: 1025

PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It depends on the user's perspective and pocket. Both are very capable boards. What do you wish for in a keyboard?

.
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Paranoid Android



Joined: 17 Mar 2017
Posts: 8
Location: Edinburgh

PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

voip wrote:
It depends on the user's perspective and pocket. Both are very capable boards. What do you wish for in a keyboard?
.


For live and for recording/sequencing - I'm not sure the Kross is that powerful, and I'm not sure that Kross sequencer is that user-friendly.
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Koekepan
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Joined: 27 Sep 2016
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, here's my pocket review:

First, credentials. I own one of each (both 61 key models, synth action suits my needs well), and I have used them both for serious composing. If you listen to my new album (composition done, publication Real Soon Now) you will hear some sounds from each of them. I have used the Kross for live performance (no plans to take the Krome gigging). I have also used preset combis and so on to quickly bang out some sounds on each of them. I am no superstar keyboardist; my needs are very much on the composition end.

Overview: The Kross is a lightweight, optionally battery powered, low end keyboard workstation. It gives up some features and capabilities to the point that it's easy to call it limited - and it is. But with a few friendly products in the same rig, its limitations fall away rapidly.

The Krome is moderately lightweight, does not have a battery power option, has a touchscreen interface and solid (for a rompler) sound design options.

Each of them has weak points, but the weak points are different.

The Kross has a keybed that will make a pianist cry. (Reminder: talking about the 61-key keyboard here.) However, I mostly don't care. I'm not trying to play Stravinsky, nor even Bach. I'm not trying to impress girls with my Fatar keybed. I'm hitting notes and tweaking them later.

The Kross also has very limited live controls. You get the usual pedal sockets, and pitch/mod wheels - and that's about it. If you want any other live options, you need a MIDI controller that you connect to the MIDI in port. This is not theoretical for me; it's exactly what I did. BCR2000 is cheap and works fine.

The Kross also has one particularly saddening limitation: you only get one DSP effects block that can do reverb/echo type stuff. There are five virtual insert effects, and two master effects, and only one of those master effects can have your reverb. If you only ever need one, that's not a problem, but for my kind of music, it's a serious limitation. I guess they traded off DSP limitations against battery life when running off 6 AA batteries. I get around this in my live rig by using a series of different sound sources, that I wire up physically. (More about this later.) Alternatively, if you're using the Kross in a low-rent studio, you can overdub different tracks with different reverb options so as to get your multi-layered sounds.

Also, the Kross has a simple, backlit LCD sort of display. It's not fancy, but it is functional and once you get used to it, it's possible to be quite fast and productive with it.

The Krome's weaknesses are different.

The Krome speaks not the language of batteries. If you need a battery for your gig with the Krome, bring an external battery pack of some sort, because the Krome has no battery bay.

The Krome has four knobs for live control, in a sort of parameter matrix setup. No pads, touch sensitive strips or anything like that, so its live control options are a little limited, but at least there's something there.

The Krome has no external audio capabilities. It's very much an in-the-box sequence or play sort of deal. This also means that it will not render its own tracks, the way that the Kross will. On the Kross you can render and mix a track down in the pure digital world, recording it to your SD card. On the Krome, you plug in your audio recorder and take what you get. This is not a hideous showstopper, but it is a bit of a pain in a complex arrangement.

Both systems have a 3.5mm headphone jack on the front, and a pair of quarter inch jacks out the back. Both systems save on SD card. Both systems can act as class compliant USB controllers, if that's what you want.

If you want a lightweight gigging keyboard with reasonable combi options, the Kross is the way to go. Add a couple of pedals and a gooseneck mic for its vocoder, and you have an astonishingly self-contained gigging workstation, or first workstation for a young or broke kid. Once your budding musician has earned enough and learned enough to need something bigger, the Kross will have helped them understand what those limitations mean.

If you want a cheap but functional studio master keyboard, the Krome is the better option. The keybed is better, it already has integrated live controls on a somewhat greater level than the Kross, and it's just an all-around friendlier experience.

Where both these keyboards shine, and where KORG still stands head and shoulders over the competition, is the sequencer.

The Kross has what you can think of as the poor man's equivalent of the Kronos sequencer. 16 tracks of internal or external MIDI, as well as the XOX drum track, and arpeggiators.

The Krome doesn't have the XOX sequencer, but does have an actual touchscreen piano roll interface for tweaking your sequence. I use a Nintendo 3DS stylus on it (and it works great) but my fingernail works well too - or for big touch points, my finger. There is, at the time of writing, no other standalone piano roll sequencer on the market of which I'm aware. Roland doesn't offer one; Yamaha doesn't offer one. The new MPCs might - but they haven't started selling yet, and they're staying very tight-lipped on what they offer. The KDJ-ONE might - but it hasn't come out yet. Right now the Krome is the only game in town.

It might sound kind of stupid, but you can also reach the automation track for any MIDI CC on any channel on the Krome, and this is easy to draw in with a stylus. Sounds stupid - but is very powerful.

However, if you just want to play in your performances, and you want to use a software DAW elsewhere to do composition, this is quite beside the point.

One of the strongest factors for both of these keyboards is that they can drive 16 MIDI voices externally. Do you have a MIDI-driven studio? Then these keyboards are both great. Rock solid timing, massively long linear sequence, I love and use them both for this reason.

In the end, it comes down to why you want it. The Krome has a wider range of sound capabilities, and more DSP options, and more built-in controls, but won't record your song (or any audio, for that matter). The Kross is lighter, easier, and cheaper to pack around, but has less power.

Other than that, their sequencers are very, very similar in power. The Kross just doesn't have a pianoroll, but you can of course play repeatedly until you capture what you want.

Hope this helps, ask me anything!
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Paranoid Android



Joined: 17 Mar 2017
Posts: 8
Location: Edinburgh

PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks very much, Koekepan - that reads like a very good compare/contrast on both - very helpful.
One of your points which I think might be important is where you say that the Kross has less power - I had suspected as much, but it's good to have you confirm my that.
Thanks again, and best of luck with the album - feel free to tell me about it.
Cheers!
PA.
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Koekepan
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Joined: 27 Sep 2016
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Kross having less power:

you need to decide whether or not this matters to you, and how much it matters. The only way to answer that is to examine your workflow.

Let's say that you want to work in a studio where the primary point of the keyboard is to drive other MIDI tools, and act as a serious sequencer. You may find that the Kross is great (with an additional MIDI controller such as the BCR2000 that I mentioned) because its DSP really isn't the relevant concern. Your cloud of MIDI is doing all the synthesis and effects that you could wish for, and the sequencer means that you can hit PLAY and get the same performance, accurately repeated, every time. I have done this, and it's particularly good to have a MIDI ring, with the Kross's MIDI Out going to the BCR2000's MIDI In, and the BCR2000's MIDI Out B going back to the Kross so that the Kross can record any parameter tweaks that you did with the Behringer. The Behringer's MIDI Out A then sends all your signals on to the rest of your gear, and you have your electronic symphony.

If you want one box that makes all the noises the Krome is the better option. For me the Krome is a studio queen, perfectly capable of sequencing lots of external MIDI gear, but (somewhat) better at internally generating all the sounds that I want, with the effects that I want, and using the pianoroll to tweak the outcome that I want. But I gig with the Kross.

For what it's worth, my music is ambient electronica (or electronic ambient) - something like that. My previous album is on my Bandcamp: https://jankoekepan.bandcamp.com/ and one of the better tracks is available for free preview. The album is called Colony Flight. However, I did that album all with software. It's my new album (called Depths) that integrates more of the hardware side of my studio.

*end shameless plug here*
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voip
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Joined: 27 Nov 2014
Posts: 1025

PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The review has covered all of the bases extremely well. Thank you Koekepan.

Korg's Luke Edwards give a good demo of the Kross' capabilities:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aarLaxuk6-o

There are plenty of Krome demos, too. The demos are best listened to with a good pair of headphones, and choosing demos that use the line-outs directly to the video recording device. The "loudspeakers to a microphone" approach usually adds quite a lot of room and speaker colouration to the sound, which doesn't do the boards justice. Luke's approach is to mix his voice with line outputs from the keyboard, and that works well.

.
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CowboyNQ
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Joined: 28 Sep 2014
Posts: 87
Location: Adelaide, Australia

PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Koekepan wrote:
I'm not trying to impress girls with my Fatar keybed.


Just as well - that would be a hard road to hoe.
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Koekepan
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Joined: 27 Sep 2016
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just changed to the PHATar keybed, and now I have to fight the groupies off with a stick!
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Paranoid Android



Joined: 17 Mar 2017
Posts: 8
Location: Edinburgh

PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tried the Kross, but have swiftly upgraded to the Krome, which I think is much better.
Cheers.
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