KORG has other new product announcements, and I think both are going to be big hits for them.
The SV-1 stage piano falls well into the category of “why didn’t anyone else do this first?” First, it looks beautiful – finally, a keyboard designed for the stage that actually looks good onstage. (I don’t know, maybe manufacturers assume us keyboardists are ugly?) Second, it combines all the sounds many gigging keyboardists need, instead of an odd assortment that covers some bases but not all, or overkill workstation keyboards that do too much and get too complex. Third, it’s finally a hardware keyboard that learns some recent lessons from software – you need to model the characteristics of the real thing, and people expect good amp models, and the like. Fourth, it’s… okay, it’s just really, really pretty, which I expect will change how everyone feels about the whole package.
Updated: Yes, in fairness, Nord has potent competition waiting for the KORG, and available first. I think either the Nord Stage or Nord Combo win handily if organ sounds are important, and both are designed to double as external controllers if you do like software. The Nord also has more bells and whistles for editing and sound control. On the other hand, the KORG will clearly appeal to people who are in it mainly for the electric piano side of the coin. And pretty as the Nord is – as much as they’re both shades of red – I think the KORG is still pretty darned sexy-looking.
In addition to all the specs and such, KORG has the manual online, so you can get into the details.
Oh, yeah, just one gripe – I always think it’s silly when you put a window in front of the tube. But I won’t knock it; I expect it helps on the sales floor. At least the side that faces the audience looks like a racecar.
Now, I have just one request for the whole industry: some of us really do like our computers. Can we please, please have one top-flight software keyboard controller that’s worth spending extra dollars on and looks like it means business? Unfortunately, the industry has decided the “pros” want nice hardware keyboards, and anyone using software is probably a basement producer – which is why you see the pros, when they want a software controller, using hardware like the Yamaha Motif for the job even when there’s no actual sound coming out of it.
The other announcement is a redesigned WAVEDRUM. For those of you who haven’t discovered the Cult of Wavedrum (and the rival Roland Handsonic), this may be a bigger deal than you think. As it happens, the electronic music world often wants stuff that doesn’t fall in a predictable category. Digital virtual bongo head? Why, yes, people want that – to play virtual conga or tabla, or just as a controller for other sounds. The new Wavedrum is built with more sounds, more effects, and more sensors for a wider sonic palette, including newer features like physically-modeled sounds and the ability to apply different effects to different parts of the surface. I’m guessing it’s still no match for boutique controllers, but it could give the Handsonic a serious run for its money – not least because it looks a heck of a lot better. (Hey, it matters.)
Let us know if either of these items strike your fancy and I can dig up more from my Long Island neighbors at KORG.