Sometimes you wish you could just take something off the NAMM show floor and put it in your suitcase. Such was the case with the padKONTROL, 4×4 triggering hardware from Korg complete with an X/Y touchpad and incredible customizability. Why am I thinking about this now? Because I sure could use it on some tracks I’m working on at the moment.

I was skeptical at first about the Korg padKONTROL pad trigger. Korg’s MicroKONTROL and KONTROL 49 keyboards, while they’re fantastic controllers with some great features, have fairly useless built-in 4×4 pad grids. They’re fun for triggering clips in Live or while VJing, but the pads aren’t sensitive enough to velocity to play musically.

The padKONTROL is different. The pads are the most reliable I’ve played yet: they’re extremely solid, responsive across their entire area (so if you don’t hit them dead-on, they still work perfectly), and extremely touch-sensitive. I’m even more aware of this as I come home to my M-Audio Trigger Finger, which, while a very good set of pads, isn’t nearly as reliably responsive by comparison.

Also in the padKONTROL’s favor:

  • Extreme programmability: Think different velocity curves on different pads, multiple messages for a single pad, and an easy editing interface (like M-Audio’s ENIGMA, but much more powerful).
  • KAOSS Pad: A small X/Y touchpad is handy for effects.
  • Bundled Software: I’m happy with my copy of NI Battery, thank you, but if you’re getting started out, there’s plenty of included software and sounds to get you started; competing units have next to nothing in the box.
  • Gorgeous, compact: This thing simply looks lovely, and it’s really light and portable.

  • Now, I’m not throwing away my Trigger Finger yet: I want to put the padKONTROL through its paces first. I was too dumb to check if it had the mounting hole on the bottom like the M-Audio hardware does, too. And one major advantage of the M-Audio is the Trigger Finger’s faders and knobs.


    NAMM Insider Analysis: New Music Product Trends, Toys, Under the Radar (CDM contributor James Grahame also singled out the padKONTROL)

    • Jim Aikin

      I hope I have a chance to try this one out. As much as I liked the Korg Kontrol49 (light, USB-powered, programmable), its pads sucked in the velocity department. The lowest velocity they could send out was 24, and the response above that time was quite stairstepped, not smooth. The PadKontrol looks way cool, but I'll wait and see.


    • I just pickedone of these up from Guitar center lastnight and got it all hooked up.. its great. I have it being used in Ableton Live 5 to trigger loops and I use the X/Y pad for filter FX. The pads are very sensitive and do not require a hard hit. There is a cool button on the unit so you can disable the velocity quickly.. I recomend this unit.

    • Indeed, I love mine. Occasionally the pads seem to "stick" a little and not register recurring hits. It works well with the included stripped down version of DFH Superior and I'm now using it with ToonTrack's ezDrummer which I recommend to anyone who wants to just plug in and play and have everything sound great out of the box.

    • illron

      Has anybody tried hooking this up with MaxMSP? I took a peek at the midi implementation guide and it looks like it does midi note on but not off velocities?

    • This thing is great out of the box – I just plugged it in and was instantly controlling UltraBeat in Logic. The X-Y pad is also a lot more useful than I thought it would be. Thanks to this site for getting me to buy one.

    • ghost

      I've been using one for about three months now. Initially I was all "Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!". Then reality set in. I needed to do some non-loop based power drumming. It is SO NOT HAPPENING. I think the podKontrol has a good place in loop-based triggering, but fails miserably at USB triggering when I have to do some serious finger work. I'm going to give it a try through a real midi interface to see if I get any speed increases. It should be noted that I can see the triggers happening on the pad but they don't make it to the PC. I'm on a hopped up laptop, but I'm wondering how much better it will be on my dual-Xeon workstation.

    • dozr

      ghost – power your pK with an AC adapter (purchase separately), and hook it up to your MIDI interface using a MIDI cable. You'll probably come down to 20-25 ms latency this way – good enough for drumming.

    • Mr. Angel L. Guzman

      I'm in the market of purchasing this unit. Have not tried out any cotrollers other than my midi Casio WK-1300 keyboard. My question is..Can I connect this to my Yamaha Motif ES Rack, and create grooves of my own? will it be responsive enough for real time drumming ?



    • Vir Monte

      I' m on the same boat as Dwightlarks.I could not even

      hear a sound the padKontrol on my computer.

      I installed the driver, configured the midi.

      checked the USB connection. Still does not work.

      The unit is brand new.

      Can someone help?

    • Count Rockula

      In response to getting the padKontrol to work with Redrum:

      If you manually added the Korg padKontrol as a device inside of Reason's Pref's, then delete it and start over just in case.

      Manually add a MIDI Keyboard (MIDI Control Keyboard), select Korg from the list, then name it padKontrol or whatever. Then choose the padKontrol port you are using (which is probably port 2). This basically tells Reason that your padkontrol is a keyboard, not a control surface, thus allowing the pads to be recognized as midi note value's not cc's. You can also choose to set the Korg as the master device if you plan on using it a lot instead of a keyboard controller.

      Then go up to the top of the Reason rack where the Audio router is, select Advanced Midi Device (if using Reason 4 at least), then go to Channel 10 and select "Redrum In" from the drop down (Providing you have Redrum loaded in the rack).

      Now either manually on the padKONTROL or with the padKONTROL Editor Librarian you need to set the pads to send the right note messages to Reason, C2 is the first channel in Redrum, C#2 is the second and so on up to A2. Easiest way is to load the Reason Redrum Scene Data into the Librarian, then TRANSMIT it to the padKONTROL unit.

      Now when you load up a sound on the Redrum you can trigger it with the padKontrol and it will also record in the sequencer when record is armed.

      To make matters even more complicated, you can reassign these pad's/notes in a more efficient manner if you want. So this on the Librarian screen. Remember that you have to transmit your changes to the PadKontrol before they take effect. If you change the notes on the PadKontrol first, you have to tell the Libraian to RECIEVE the info from the unit. Either way, Just be sure to save you changes as a new scene data/set (I do both), rename it so you don't overwrite the factory default, that way YOUR custom layout is there for you always.

      If you want to use the padKontrol for any other device remember to change the midi in, port 10 drop down to whatever device you want to use it with. You'll probably need a different scene from the padKONTROL Librarian to match up midi note wise w/ the device cuz each device is different.

      This 100% works, trust me. I'm tapping out beats as we speak!

    • fuzzyhead

      Thanks for the tip and also mention the reason preferences/advanced control option in which select Bus B padkontrol 1 port A if you assigned it to this bus đŸ˜‰

    • phil4nugen

      I'm in the same boat as Dwite Larks and Vir Monte only with Abelton Live 6. I'm a beginner and the manual is useless to me. Please help! I want to make some beats on this this thing!

    • msngr415

      i came across this page to see if the trigger finger was any better than my padkontrol since i allways hear about the trigger finger and very rarely hear anything about the korg pad kontrol ( i mean the guys at guitar center never even heard of it and didn't even know they carried it)

      i have to say i love the little thing. for drum flams and rolls the touch pad works awesome. i do wish it had a few more sliders/knobs like the trigger finger.

      i use it to trigger my drums out of dfh superior/reason/logic 8 studio. i also setup a scene in chromatic order and use the pads to tweak out white noise hits and other samples.

    • Mr. Sophistication

      I guess you all heard about this?

    • iernchef

      got sound comin through reason but cant record in sequencer? anybody can help?

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    • dyl an

      do what Count Rockula says, ive become insane over the last few mounths trying to get my pk to run through any thing but garage band (after it not coming bundled with the normal software). Now im also tapping out beats as we speak, Gracia!