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]