In what is proving to be a NAMM week bonanza for lovers of hardware effects, Korg’s Kaoss Pad Quad may be the best bang-for-the-buck. You can control up to four effects simultaneously, all via the trademark KAOSS-style touchpad, triggering effects you want via single-button toggles. (In fact, this device reminds me in a good way of the superb but sadly now-defunct Entrancer KPE-1 video device, in that everything is neatly accessible.)

Plug in your input from an external source or use the onboard mic input, then control effects from the touchpad with multi-color LED effects for visual feedback. There are four basic modules – looper, modulation, filter, and delay/reverb – each with variations, so that Korg promises 1,295 combinations. (That’s an utterly meaningless number to me, but I’ll take their word for it.)

There’s also a “freeze” effect for each module, so you can lock its settings in place. Some effects:

  • Multi-mode looper with reverse and loop slicing.
  • Vinyl break.
  • Ducking compressor.
  • Automatic BPM. But real men and women use the onboard tap tempo instead, so pretend you didn’t read that.
  • Pitch shifter, grain shifter.
  • Reverb, delay, tape echo.

All that’s missing, really, is MIDI input – it’s intended as a self-contained device, and any sync will be up to its auto BPM feature or tapping in tempos.

If you’re in my house, you’re not allowed to use the fake vinyl break effect. Sorry, them’s the rules. (Keep them for the next time you need to score an MTV reality show.) But otherwise, this looks useful. And at this price, with this kind of ready-to-play control, the whole device looks pretty irresistible. Korg’s ability to keep churning out KAOSS stuff people love is kind of ridiculous.

Kaoss Pad Quad [Korg]

  • Ivan De Sousa

    $350 for an app? haha!

  • Does anyone know if the sampling/looping features are improved over the KP3?

  • Peter Kirn

    @Ivan: Let me anticipate the reaction of Korg fans to the iPad — "$500 for a KAOSS Pad? And it doesn't even have any ports? Or a volume knob? How am I going to gig with that?"

    (Don't get me wrong – both can work. I'd hardly say the one eliminates the need for the other.)

  • Ivan De Sousa

    @Peter, don't get me wrong,I'm a tactile touching type of guy,just waiting for the day i can buy a 911 turbo app and drive it around town! working on my virtual reality version, just waiting on permission from goggle maps.   

  • Ritchie – In what way would you like to see them improved?

    I have to admit, my kp3 synced up via midi to my drum machine seems to drift out of sync when it's looping.

    I have to say this is pretty hot. There have been a few times when i've wanted to layer the effects in my kp3, and had to resort to multiple resampling to get the job done, which is fun, but still.

    I'm hoping you can reassign the buttons under each category, agreed with the vinyl stop. I assume it comes with the same magic list of effects. Though i'm still sad you can't edit the effect combinations in the kp3.

  • @Ivan – $350 for a multi effects box is reasonable. $350 for a multi-effects box with an x/y pad is better.

    I notice that the sampling functions are missing though.

  • Heh. actually, the more I look at this, it looks like there is only 1 effect per button and that's the end of it. That's a bit sad if that's true.

    By the way, the 1295 combinations comes from the fact that each 4 banks has 6 possible combinations including 'off'.

  • In a way the easily accessible nature of the effects if more attractive to me – I'd rather have a lower number of button-selectable effects than rolling through 100 vaguely different effects with a dial. Surprised by the lack of a Midi-Input though.

    Also: am I the only one that thinks of Saturday Night Fever when looking at that touchpad? :S

  • Dave

    Wow, this falls way short of what I expected of a KP4. Four mini-KPs in a box for the price of… four mini-KPs. Fail.

  • loopstationzebra

    No MIDI?
    Jesus Wept.

  • No MIDI seems like a backwards step. I'm not a fan of MIDI, but I sure liked using my KP3 as a X/Y controller for my DAW and plug-ins.

    I think the price is perfectly reasonable and the comparison to an app is goofy. But I'm not interested unless I can use it as a controller too.

  • yeah, the lack of sampling is whats killing it for me… my kp3 has also recently become a very important part of my laptop midi setup. this just seems o abandon that. bit dissapointing imo..

  • minuek

    I'll stick with with my KP3 and 2 ucreate music's 🙂 If mattel can make a effects box that good for £20 what kind of device would they make for $350.

    No midi is a bit of a shocker though.

  • You mention the Korg Kaossilator video device – did the Kaossilator have a video function or version? Or are you thinking of the sadly discontinued Korg Kaoss Entrancer audio/video effector?

  • Peter Kirn

    Entrancer! Yipes, I was tired writing this last night… 😉

    Note that it's $350 list. I expect street below this. I hear the criticisms, though, and it's not as advanced as the KPE3.

  • i'm really hoping they eventually come out with a KP4, this box in no way replaces the KP3. i really think the KP3 functions as one of the best live samplers and looping boxes out there when midi sync'd. getting rid of those features is just kinda weird if you ask me.

  • tobamai

    I always wanted to play with an entrancer and I could never find one! I forgot about that thing.

  • Ben P

    I'm kind of expecting this things street price to be about halfway between the kp3 and the mini-kp. That price would match it's features, IMO. This doesn't look like a replacement for the kp3 at all.

    I'm expecting this to have a mic stand adaptor available soon. With the mic input, this seems more like something for more experimental vocalists. The different colors give a nice visual aspect to performing with it.

  • dn

    Good for teh lulz, from the Vinyl Break description:

    "This realistic sound is highly usable as part of a DJ performance, allowing even a beginner to feel like an experienced DJ. "

  • dn

    Also, the Entrancer rules.
    Glad I never sold mine.

  • also not really impressed by this. i snatched a used kp3 a couple of years ago and i mostly use it as a control surface for plugins or kaonome. maybe midi works over usb?

  • ps

    i just got a kp3 for xmas – and, then when i saw the announcement for this, i was gutted. until, i really read it close. this is in no way a kp3 replacement. so, here are hopes the kp4 is still being worked on. 

    i gotta say, after a few sessions with my machinedrum and kp3 – i like it a lot. but, it's sync seems horrible – either sending or receiving. for a device who's crown is beat syncing efx – that is quite disappointing. 

    hopefully the kp4 has great midi sync, and allows for more independence of the 4 samplers, with time stretching for beat matching. yes?! ok! in any case, the kp3 is still in production, so again, this seems to NOT be it's replacement – so there is hope!

  • at first glance i thought 'wow, an unexpensive multitouch device with midi functionality' – then came the specs 🙁 sounds more like a fail to me…

  • I love the Entrancer, too. As the years go by since it came out, I realize it has some limitations – but it is just simply so much fun to manipulate live and take a break from staring into the interface of a VJ software on the computer. I always wanted to play with the Korg Kaptivator, but never got the chance. Hope Korg will do another audio-visual unit.

  • peter

    what does JET do?

  • tad ghostal

    I wonder if we'll see lots of variations on the kaoss range to compete with the new tablets coming out? Maybe a mini KP-2 with 2 sample banks?

    This (Quad)looks like it was made for Beardyman, he uses 2 KP-3s. Adding it to a Microsampler would be fun.

  • Man

    to play probably good, but NO mIDI, commmoooon man! that could be very nice.
    And i could be really happy if they are putting that SEND/DIRECT button to the front, i use that very much time.
    + it can be good if i can set up an own effect setting, with every parameters.
    +sometimes i would like that effect stop in the same time when i m pushing that knob, it could be good to deny that sometimes. i donno who said that 350 dollar,but its always much more,when it goes to the publicum. i think this gonna coast more than 500 if only 350,than why not?

  • I feel as though the Quad was made simply to give the simplest KAOSS pad possible. It is really no frills and everything is pretty self-explanatory on the unit.  I agree that the price is a little high, and I guess they assume that you won't need MIDI if you already have their nanoPAD(1 or 2).