How to Use a Korg Kaossilator

Written by simon foden Google
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How to Use a Korg Kaossilator
Enter Shikari's Rou Reynolds plays a Kaossilator. (Jo Hale/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

The Korg Kaossilator is a hand-held micro-synthesizer. Unlike most synthesizers, you generate the notes with a touchpad rather than a keyboard. This makes the Kaossilator a particularly tactile and intuitive piece of equipment. Because you don't use a keyboard, it's suitable for users with limited musical experience. The Kaossilator is battery-powered, portable and small, but you also can incorporate it into your equipment set-up. The Kaossilator enables you to create some wild, unusual and very expressive sounds with just one finger.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Headphones or 1/4-inch jack cable
  • Mixer
  • Amplifier
  • Speakers

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  1. 1

    Connect the Kaossilator to a monitoring system. Because it is not an acoustic instrument, the Kaossillator must be connected to an audio monitor, such as headphones or speakers. If using headphones, plug the headphone cable into the headphone jack on the Kaossilator front panel. If using speakers, connect the Kaossillator to a mixer or amplifier with a balanced 1/4-inch jack cable. Then connect the mixer or amplifier to a pair of speakers with speaker cables.

  2. 2

    Turn the Kaossilator on. The power switch is on the left-hand panel, near the top. Adjust the volume to your preferred level with the volume dial, located on the bottom panel.

  3. 3

    Press the program button. This opens a menu of more than 100 synthesizer types. Each synthesizer has its own parameters, such as low frequency oscillation, high pass filter, low pass filter and gate. These are all traditional synthesizer parameters. Adjust these by moving your finger along the touch pad. Typically, swiping from low to high creates a series of notes that ascend in pitch. Swiping sideways increases the intensity of the selected sound.

  4. 4

    Scroll the value button to select a sound. To audition a sound, scroll the button then swipe your finger along the touchpad. The selected program determines what sound and response occurs when you swipe.

  5. 5

    Press "Scale." This opens a menu that permits you to assign a series of notes to the Kaossilator. If you are playing with a band, selecting scale enables you to limit the Kaossilator to only the notes that are in tune with the song the band is playing.

  6. 6

    Press "Rec" and play a phrase by moving your finger around the touchpad. Once you've finished, press and hold "Rec" to save the phrase.

  7. 7

    Press and hold "Play" and "Rec." Play a second phrase on top of the one you just recorded. This process of recording one phrase onto another is called "layering."

  8. 8

    To access previously saved recordings, press "Loop" and scroll through the menu. The recordings are stored in reverse chronological order; the last one you saved appears first.

Tips and warnings

  • Press the "Gate Arpeggiator" button to configure the touchpad to play a series of notes per touch.

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