Korg have released the Pa5X, the new flagship model in the Professional Arranger product range which is available in 61, 76 (semi-weighted) and 88-key (weighted piano-style action) versions. This successor to the Pa4X has been completely redesigned and features Korg’s new EDS-XP sound engine along with a powerful new operating system.
Each model’s front panel is built around a large central touchscreen that displays a newly designed GUI, and plenty of hands-on control is provided via assignable Pad Matrix and Mixer sections. Mixer volume, drawbar settings, microphone mutes, lyrics scroll commands and more can all be controlled directly from the front panel. Assigned control functions are shown by an auxiliary strip display, allowing users to keep track of the hardware controls even when the main display is set to a different page. Programmable LED buttons on the control panel have all been careful matched to the colours used in the GUI in order to ease navigation and ensure intuitive operation.
New Sound Engine
The Pa5X is the first device to be utilise Korg’s new EDS-XP (Enhanced Definition Synthesis - Expanded) sound engine, with 24 stereo oscillators and 160 voices of polyphony powering thousands of sounds that cover a wide range of musical instruments and genres. Combined with new features such as Round-Robin drum and percussion performance, Smooth Sound Transition and Sound-Controller 3 functionality, Korg say that the Pa5X provides an unprecedented level of sonic realism and expression. On-board sounds also benefit from the assignable controls, with faders, switches, joystick and ribbon controllers all able to be configured to modulate any adjustable parameter.
The built-in sounds range from realistic acoustic instruments to electric vintage keyboards and synths, as well as fantasy sounds and special effects designed for game, media, video and cinema production. Sounds from Korg’s SV-2 Stage Vintage Piano are included, as well as a selection of sounds from the Kronos and Nautilus synth workstations. A new Drawbar Organ that utilises the physical controls is included, and new effects derived from the CX-3 Combo Organ also make an appearance. The device’s new Drum Kits feature increased realism thanks to the use of technology based on round robins, and users are able to record their own samples or import sounds in standard file formats such as AIFF, WAV and SF2 for use with the built-in sampler.
Dual XDS Crossfade Dual Sequencer/Players capable of playing MIDI or MP3 files are built in, with users able to play two files simultaneously and crossfade between them, or to play one song whilst another is lined up ready to start. Lyrics, chords, scores or markers can be displayed on the built-in screen, or even sent out to an external monitor via a HDMI output. A wide variety of lyric file formats are supported, and scores are able to be automatically generated from a MIDI Song. Markers allow quick navigation around a song, with users able to easily jump back to sections they wish to repeat whilst studying, rehearsing or performing live.
Inputs, Mixer and Effects
A microphone and guitar can be connected simultaneously to two independent audio inputs, and are able to utilise dedicated on-board effects courtesy of a collaboration between Korg and Shift Audio. Vocals captured by the microphone input can be used to generate four-voice harmonies, and an Auto-Pitch feature provides access to modern pitch-corrected vocal sounds. Guitars have not been left out, with the Pa5X including vintage pedal and amplifier simulators, with the ability to save chains of up to four effects as presets. The on-board mixer is equipped with studio quality effects, with up top 10 insert effects and three master effects available.
A range of audio, control and storage connections populate the devices rear panel. Microphone connectivity is provided on an XLR/TRS combo socket with a dedicated gain control, whilst a quarter-inch jack is available for the guitar input, also equipped with its own gain. A pair of quarter-inch TRS sockets and a 3.5mm mini-jack provide two stereo line-level inputs, whilst main left/right outputs and an additional four audio outputs are presented on a further row of six TRS sockets. MIDI In, Out, and Thru connections are available on DIN sockets, and three USB connections are provided for a host computer and external devices. A video output on a HDMI connector allows the use of an external screen, and an IEC power inlet feeds the device's internal supply.
The Korg Pa5X is available to order now, with pricing as follows:
61-key version - £3699 including VAT$4699.99
76-key version - £3999 including VAT$4899.99
88-key version - £4299 including VAT$5299.99