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?