Korg’s original Kaoss Pad effects processor landed in 1999 to a long and loud applause, triggering a trio of descendents. To add to the family, Korg’s Kaossilator took the sound-making functions of the KP1 and 2 and put it in a quaint yellow box and next it’s the turn of the Quad, with quadruple the Kaoss.
For those who are new to the range, it’s a straightforward affair: the X-axis offers one effect parameter while the Y offers another. For example, for the Filter, left-to-right controls cutoff while top-to-bottom affects resonance.
Unlike the original Kaoss range, the Quad allows four simultaneous effects – simply press the effect’s button to turn it on or off. There’s also a Freeze button to lock any effect at its current setting so you can, for example, play around with the filter cutoff without affecting the delay time.
Speaking of delay, the Quad features both Auto BPM and Tap functions – they’re not sample accurate by any means, so make sure you keep an eye on the display before you launch into a quadraphonic masterpiece with a full dancefloor. MIDI sync would have been ideal but perhaps Korg was worried about treading on the toes of the flagship KP3, which is a shame as the price really isn’t all that different to justify such important omissions.
Korg Kaoss Pad Quad: Controllers
Aside from the effects buttons and pad itself, there’s FX Depth control, Input Volume, BPM control and a Tap Tempo button. Round back it’s slim pickings too, with both the input and output handled by unbalanced phono connections. Sadly, the Quad has ditched the battery-powered option making it less portable, which is a shame.
Another flaw is that, while two or more effects are active, you can’t affect one without affecting the other. While this may seem like the whole point, it can get annoying when you’re trying to do a filter sweep while looping or delaying. This is where Freeze comes in but as soon as you need to start locking effects, it instantly takes away from the fluidity that made the Kaoss range so appealing in the first place.
With the KP3 retailing at a very similar price (around £299 online), it’s hard to recommend the Quad over it. The SD card slot, MIDI sync and vocoder far outweigh the ability to delay a filtered, flanged loop. Less is more people, especially in the DJ booth.
Korg KAOSS Pad Quad launch date: February 2011, link Korg
Korg KAOSS Pad Quad price: £229