It’s not enough just to gripe about something not being good enough, to tally a criticism of a product in the “cons” side of a review. Intrepid musician-hackers are going and just changing it themselves.

Karg, the Heidelberg-based musician (with an ‘a’), is a fan of Korg, the manufacturer (with an ‘o’). And presumably when he bought the Kaossilator Pro+ and its touch pad access to tones. But he ran into frustration when he couldn’t quite get his finger on precise pitches and rhythms. So, he hacked the hardware to add the functionality he wanted.

kargkorg

The solution: intervene with Korg’s MIDI implementation so that you can use a standard controller. Really, this might have made the hardware friendlier in the first place (especially since you do see standard MIDI DIN on there), but there’s something sort of lovely about just letting the user do what they want.

The first hack is pretty simple: basically, add a cheap Arduino board, download some code, and you don’t even have to solder. (You basically need to know how to use your browser and USB cables.)

Play the Kaossilator Pro with standard MIDI controllers (solder-free tweak)

This week, he’s added a fancier mod. This one requires (just) one solder point, but lets you work with any standard MIDI DIN equipment.

Play the Kaossilator and Kaoss Pad with any Din MIDI equipment

Now, to be honest, I have no particular interest in the solution here. But the Arduino software it’s based on, named with the cheeky acronym MDMA (Multi Duty MIDI Aid), I’m more excited by.

It includes a lot of useful stuff for the Arduino platform and Teensy that let you do MIDI. And it looks friendly enough that even a casual Arduino hacker might get started in trying out making MIDI gear. It’s easy fodder for a hackathon, for instance, and doesn’t require you be a terribly skilled programmer. (Okay, you readers maybe are – I may be projecting my own lack of ability.)

Features:
MIDI over USB
Load/save features (EEPROM), status LED
MIDI DIN in and out

https://github.com/k-a-r-g/MDMA

And then these Korg hacks make good examples if you’re pondering some hack of your own.

Good stuff. And worth checking out Karg’s blog and music:
http://karg-music.blogspot.de

You’ll find lots of other hacks and solutions, including modding even IKEA furniture.

Plus don’t miss the explanation of a MIDI circuit you can connect to Arduino (familiar territory, but essential knowledge):

Midifcation

Got favorite mods of your own? Let us know!

  • Edward On-Robinson

    Given that the KP already has MIDI i/o, other readers may be as confused as I was about what the problem is in the first place. The following quote from the blog post may help: ‘my MIDI keyboard sends a note on command when I hit a key, while the Kaossilator expects a control change # 74 (to signal that the touch pad was pressed), and then control changes # 12 and # 13 (to define the X and Y coordinates on the pad) to play a sound.’

    • Polite Society

      Right, so it’s a note to CC converter. I was going to say, it’s totally possible via midi already.

  • mckenic

    Hey! Cool!
    Time to dust off my KPs and have a hack with Max 4 Live!

  • Josh Dingus

    Does it really? I have yet to find another instance of someone else playing Kaoss Pad Pro sounds via en external MIDI controller anywhere on the internet. How can I do this without a hack? Just plug it in?