The Kross 2 enjoys the twin benefits of Korg’s workstation pedigree and an attractive price tag.
Technology tends to follow a path from expensive to affordable. Computing power that would have required a government research grant a decade or two ago can now be obtained in your local supermarket, while the latest version of the flat-screen television that cost you more than £$2000 a few Christmases back is now on sale for £$399. The same is true in the world of keyboard workstations. Technologies first encountered in flagship instruments drift down until they appear in models that their manufacturers hope will be widely affordable. Take, for example, the Korg OASYS-88, which introduced the HD1 sample+synthesis engine to the world. This cost £5400$5000, but soon begat the M3-88, which was based on a cut-down version of HD1 called EDS and cost just £2600$2500. This in turn begat the M50-88 at £1500, followed by the Krome 88 (EDS-X) and then the Kross (EDS-i), which took the price of an 88-note Korg workstation to below £1000$1000.
This doesn’t mean that the Kross was an OASYS or that it provided the full HD1 engine for less than 20 percent of the original price, but much of the underlying synthesis had survived. Korg must therefore have been rather disappointed when the Kross attracted a degree of criticism, not because of its voicing, but in the way that it was implemented. On the other hand, the company must have agreed with at least some of the comments, because I now have in front of me the Kross 2, which appears to have addressed many of the questions raised about the original.
Like many of Korg’s earlier releases, the Kross 2 offers four primary modes of operation. The first is a Program (patch) mode, the second is a multi-timbral Combination mode, the third is Sequencer mode and, finally, there’s a Global mode that takes care of the internal drum kits and housekeeping duties.
Programs are based upon a pair of four-part, velocity-cross-faded, multi-sample oscillators that draw from approximately 112MB of ROM. This is considerably smaller than the...
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