Suddenly, a mixer without a KAOSS Pad seems so lonely.

Dedicated audio + video mixers, or all-in-one?

Jaymis examined the Numark AVM02 last month. It’s an innovative concept: one mixer for audio, video, and video FX. But it’s not without its shortcomings; most notably, there’s no MIDI, and some of the FX capabilities are lacking. And that raises a question: is it better to get one piece of gear that does everything, or mix and match?

Enter the Korg KM-202 and 402 audio mixers, previewed today on Create Digital Music. They look fantastic as audio mixers: simple mixing functions, plus lots of audio effects via an integrated KAOSS Pad — even vocoding, a little synthesis, and loop sampling are included, and everything can be beat-matched.

That’s the good news. The bad news: like the AVM02, there’s no MIDI input — all the more annoying, given it does have beat-driven capabilities. For MIDI, you have to upgrade to the pricier ZERO4/ZERO8, but those would be wild overkill for live visualists. Still, I still think, depending on the pricing of the KM-202, I might prefer a KM-202 for audio and (sorry, Korg) Edirol V4 video mixer to Numark’s all-in-one deal. Mixing simultaneous audio and visuals is a new area, of course. But it’ll be interesting to see what happens.

This, of course, brings me to a more important question:

Why the heck doesn’t the KORG KrossFour have a KAOSS Pad?

The KrossFour is Korg’s entry into the video mixing market. If you haven’t heard about it, it’s because it’s been somewhat overshadowed by Edirol’s wildly-popular V4. I’m sure the KrossFour sells, but there’s not much to say about it, other than it does have the plus of coming with a crossfader onboard. (Edirol makes you buy an accessory to replace their T-bar; which you prefer is a matter of taste.) I tried one, and it’s a decent piece of kit. It just lacks that extra something to make people notice it, like, oh, something really out-there with an X/Y pad and effects. (Now, where would Korg find something like that … not in the form of their KAOSS Pad Entrancer video effects unit, by any chance?)

Korg helpfully suggests you pair the KrossFour with their KAOSS Pad Entrancer for effects and KAOSS Pad mixing. Most VJs I know with Entrancers do just that — only they use the Edirol V4, not the Korg KrossFour. Besides, whatever mixer you use, this immediately creates a problem: where do you put the effects unit? Before the mixer? After the mixer? Either way, you can’t assign the effect to a mixer channel. If Korg would just meld the two, problem solved — and the KAOSSFour would become the instant, de facto tool for VJs.

Now, I need someone to translate that into Japanese and send a nice card to the Korg office there. Here’s a subtle hint, in case they’re reading; perhaps our Japanese blogger friends (thanks for the links; we do read them!) can start posting this on their VJ blogs:

Polling all readers: who’s with me?

  • love the idea!

  • I've been having this very issue over the past 2 nights of gigs: Where in the chain should the Entrancer go. I actually enede up with it before the mixer and ran my preview monitor from one of the entrancer outputs so I could preview the effected video without sending it to the screens.

    I think/hope that we're about to have a bit of a renaissance of video gear. To me right now it feels like DJs must have felt in the early days, they knew what they wanted to do with chaining stuff together and adding effects, but the manufacturers were taking a while to respond. We've got the same deal right now, with a very limited selection of limited products which we're having to bend to our wills.

    The upside of this is that the skills and lateral thinking of we "pioneers" will let us deal with anything and take the art further when we finally do have the gear we all know we're waiting for.

  • Zac Darko

    i feel an oncoming visual renaissance too..

    def agree with that comment jaymis

    i think with the new numark and korg mixers, and people providing feedback, were close to some really awesome technology

  • I am not really feeling this mixer.
    Take a look at the demo.
    I am much more into the new vixid VJX16-4 type of mixer.
    This is awesome technology.

    Kid Ice

  • The Vixid is a terrific-looking mixer. But from an effects standpoint, it's nothing like the Entrancer. Yes, there's a lot of extra stuff in the Entrancer you'd never use … but there are also quite a few very useful effects, many of which are based on phrase sampling, that a unit like the Vixid doesn't have.

  • Zac Darko

    Has anyone ever modified an entrancer?

    to have more ports etc.. ?

    or perhaps you could even make a cross breed of an entrancer and a korg km2.. hmm..

  • frank beifus

    let me get this straight ,,are you saying that i can not run the korg entrancer through one of my open video chanerl on my edirol v-4 mixer and see it on my out put? or are you saying i can not mix whats comeing off of the entrancer with any of my digital efx from the v-4.?or are you saying i can not mix my the entrancer with clips from another chanel on the what way is the entrancer not compadable with the v-4?

  • Funkatron


    Dear visual artists. Heads out of the sand and forget the mixers. They are reducing your art. Sit tight with a solid visual PC platform, supply your favourite darling midi instrument (or 5) and learn your instruments (I've seen a weird array in my years running around and refuse to say one way is better than another on that one!).

    I tells ya! You will not regret it on bit, firewire in your cam/s or whatever to remix. Play them, not selection. Slows you down, too much looking down fiddling look up! Greet the people, feel the energy!

    Just observations… offence to those whom love the crossfader….curiously an X-station has a pad ;0, and a joystick….very nice!