The other day I took an excursion to the local music store. I was actually there to feed my stage piano obsession on my perpetual research journey to measure everything else up to the Korg Sv1 (Long story… we’ll talk about it later). Anyway, while there I found myself face to face with the new Korg Krome workstation. No SV1’s in sight.
The sales guy gave the full sales pitch. Priced at about $1000 it includes incredible new unlooped pianos ported from the Kronos, even nicer EPs, touch screen, usb connectivity, hundreds of presets, loads of effects and all the bells and whistles expected from a modern workstation. “Okay”, I thought, “lets give it a run.”
Korg Krome Touch Screen
The first thing I noticed was the nice color touch screen. It seems really responsive but it was almost a bit jumpy when I tweaked a couple of parameters on instruments. To be fair I was obviously not familiar with the the touchscreen gestures. Still it was nice to have that relatively large color touch screen for easy navigation and tweak-ability.
Here’s a video that will give you an idea of how the touch screen works so easily to tweak things on Krome.
The look and feel is clean. It puts me in the mind of the M1 but with a refreshed, new and updated body style. When I picked it up it was really light weight. At a little more than 15lbs, it seems perfect for the gigging musician in that respect. The build was ok. It’s not built like a tank, but then again not many synths are now a days. It feels nicer and better built than something like the Roland Juno Gi.
Korg Krome Keybed
One of the things that I am hyper sensitive about lately is the feel of the keys. Having used many affordably priced controllers over the years, I can not take any more of that cheesy light weight super fragile keybed business. Fortunately, the Krome 61 has a semi-weighted keyboard. It felt nicer than most controllers by far but not nearly as nice as the SV1’s RH3 keybed a.k.a. the velocity sensitive Korg RH3 (Real Weighted Hammer Action 3) keyboard. However, with a bit more poking around, I found that the Krome 88 has the NH keyboard (Natural Weighted Hammer Action keyboard) which recreates the feel of playing an old vintage EP. According to Korg, “The NH keyboard reproduces the touch of an acoustic piano, with a heavier feel in the low register and a lighter feel in the upper register.” That’s the magic in the SV1’s RH3 keybed. Hopefully the NH keyboard have less issues than SV1 users have reported on the RH3. All in All the 88 key version of Krome costs about as much as the 73 key version of the SV1, so there may be a bit of a consideration there depending on what features are more important to you as a player.
Korg Krome Sound
As for the sound, I was honestly blown away by how I was pulled in for so long marveling over the rich sounds of the pianos and EPs. I’ve tried many stage pianos and the SV1 gets my goat but Krome sounds pretty damn good as well. Mind you I dont know if the EPs are the same sound set from the SV1. But I do know I was very impressed with the sound. It was crazy easy to navigate, tweak and add effects. The resulting sounds made me feel as if I could stay there and play all day long.
Korg Krome Drum Track
The “Drum Track” feature, however, is I believe where there are splits and stacks of sounds along with drums that play along as you’re playing in perfect time. Hated that! (The drum accompaniment, that is.) Obviously, with such a quick hands on I didn’t have time to figure out how to kill that so I just steered clear of it and focused on perusing the presets and diving into a little light tweaking.
Something I’m not particularly on the hunt for are synth sounds such as virtual analog sounds and the like because I have tons of those things but when scrolling through the presets I came across such super lively, heavy and warm bass sounds that I couldn’t help myself. I was immediately drawn to the filter cut off and resonance knobs as I riffed (as well as I am able to anyway) across the keys. Again I lost track of time as i enjoyed the playability of the sound set of the Krome.
It’s worth mentioning that I was inspired with every patch that I came across on the Krome. It’s a modern day workstation with some exceptional sounds included but the magic is really under the hood which is where you get to tweak, effect and adjust sounds.
Korg Krome: Baby Brother Of The Kronos
For those that are familiar with Korg synths there is the lure of how Krome seems to be touted as the baby brother of the Kronos. But from what I understand Krome is actually a repackaging and expanded version of the m50’s EDS synth engine aptly entitled the EDS-X engine.
Overall, Krome is a nice workstation. Would I take it if gifted to me? Certainly and quickly. Would I buy it? Maybe not. But that’s because I am in the market for a strictly dedicated stage piano with a little kick ass inside. The SV1 fits the bill for me. However, I can see Krome being a huge seller for reasons I’ve outlined above. Some may disagree, but I truly see Krome as the modern day M1. Krome gives you an all bread and butter workstation with a little something extra (seamless DAW integration via USB comes to mind). I totally enjoyed my brief time noodling around with Krome.
One last note… Although I am hesitant to call this an official review due to my short time with Krome I hope this will give some of you a good idea of what Krome is from an overview sort of perspective. The best test is always to go into your local store and put your hands on it but for those that are no where near a demo unit of Krome I hope this helps.
Krome 61 semi-weighted keys – $999
Krome 73 semi-weighted keys – $1199
Krome 88 NH keys (Natural Weighted Hammer Action keyboard) – $1599
For full specs and details head over to Korg’s site http://www.korg.com/Krome.