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Vox Continental

Keyboard
Published August 2018
By Gordon Reid

The 73‑note version of the Continental measures 110 x 35cm and weighs 8.4kg. Good news for your road crew. The 73‑note version of the Continental measures 110 x 35cm and weighs 8.4kg. Good news for your road crew.

Korg have resurrected a ’60s classic — and completely reinvented it in the process.

We’ve come a long way since analogue multi‑keyboards such as the Siel Orchestra offered piano sections that sounded nothing like pianos, organ sections that sounded almost nothing like organs, and strings and brass sections that, even if you were out of your tree, sounded only vaguely like strings and brass. Today, you can barely go to a gig (well, a gig during which the keyboard player actually plays the keyboards) without espying a red slab of Scandinavian technology that produces pianos, organs, and orchestral imitations of such realism that few would notice that the band is no longer touring with half a ton of vintage keyboards, nor a minibus full of stroppy MU members.

It’s into this arena that Korg, who have owned the Vox brand since the 1990s, have chosen to resurrect the Vox Continental name, attaching it to a digital multi‑keyboard that also produces the sounds of pianos, organs and a range of other instruments. But is there a place for another red (or, to be more accurate, deep orange) keyboard in a market that has been dominated by a single Swedish manufacturer for nearly two decades?

The Technology

Korg’s Vox Continental (which, henceforth, I’ll call the Konti) contains four sound generators: organs (a Hammond courtesy of the CX‑3 engine, plus Vox and Farfisa models), acoustic and electric pianos courtesy of the EP‑1 and SGX‑2 sound engines from the Kronos, and a simple synth derived from the AL‑1 and HD‑1 engines introduced on the OASYS. The outputs from these are then passed (or not, as you choose) through five effects sections before reaching the outside world.

It’s available in both 61‑ and 73‑key versions. Their waterfall keybeds are velocity‑sensitive, but they don’t generate aftertouch, nor does the sound engine receive it. This is a shame because the instrument is devoid of performance controls apart from a recessed lever within the left‑hand cheek and the provision of sockets for damper and expression pedals as well as a rotary speaker fast/slow footswitch. Nine...

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Published August 2018