The Master Control Layer of a combi does not have an RTC Model per se. However, the Karma-Lab and Korg combi developers generally try to use the following guidelines when assigning sliders and switches in the master layer of a preset combi.
To determine exactly what a specific slider or switch in the Master layer is doing, look in the ASSIGN fields of the GE RTP tab and the Perf RTP tab of the KARMA pages for a combi. This will tell you the specific GE parameters and Performance parameters (and their assigned values) assigned to that slider/switch. You can then look up the definition of these parameters in the Parameter Guide for your keyboard model.
|RTC: Master Layer Guidelines|
|Slider 1||Rhythm Swing % (all applicable modules)||Switch 1||Module A Run (if applicable)|
|Slider 2||Rhythm Complexity/Pattern (all applicable modules)||Switch 2||Module B Run (if applicable)|
|Slider 3||Duration Control (all applicable modules)||Switch 3||Module C Run (if applicable)|
|Slider 4||Velocity Accents/Level (all applicable modules)||Switch 4||Module D Run (if applicable)|
|Slider 5||(anything - Alternate Note Map if Drums)††||Switch 5||Module A Octave (other if Drums)†|
|Slider 6||(anything - Alternate Note Map if Drums)††||Switch 6||Module B Octave (other if Drums)†|
|Slider 7||(anything - Alternate Note Map if Drums)††||Switch 7||Module C Octave (other if Drums)†|
|Slider 8||(anything - Alternate Note Map if Drums)††||Switch 8||Module D Octave (other if Drums)†|
|† Drum modules generally have something else assigned to a switch, because transposing drum notes by an Octave is not as useful, although sometimes it might create interesting results, as does transposing the drum notes by different semitone amounts. However, since there are only eight Performance RTP Parameters, and it is typical to assign a Slider to the Note Map Table for Drums (also a Perf RTP), assigning Transpose to Drums would not leave any Perf RTP Slots open for that assignment. Also note that many older Korg-produced combis do not closely follow these newer guidelines to keep Sliders and Switches 5-8 closely tied in respective order to modules A-D where possible and useful.
†† For a Drum module, it is typical to assign the Note Map Table parameter (Alternate Note Map) to the slider number that corresponds to the location of the Drum Module (i.e. Module A = 5, Module B = 6 etc.)
Note: The slider/switch names describe how they change the sound generated by the GE. They are not names of specific GE parameters. Some of them control multiple GE parameters at the same time.
Module Layers vs. Master Layer
In a Program (a single module KARMA Performance), only one “layer” of Real-Time Control is available. In this case, the RT Controls are set up according to the RTC Model. The only variations generally allowed (as a Korg/Karma Lab Voicing Rule) are to allow the Scene Switches to be assigned to additional parameters, so that additional parameter changes can happen on a scene-specific level. [need reference]
In a Combi (a four module KARMA Performance), each module has its own “Module Layer” of Real-Time Control, which will be set up according to the RTC Model of the module’s assigned GE. In addition, there is a “Master Layer” which can control any parameter from any of the four modules in use – even the same parameters already assigned to the Module Layers. (For example, one slider can control the Swing % of all four modules at the same time, while the individual modules can independently adjust their Swing % settings. The last adjusted layer carries priority for which setting is used when the Scene is loaded.) Furthermore, the Master Layer is also able to control “Performance RTP” – selected parameters from the upper level module settings, such as Run, Transpose, Triggering, etc.
The standardization rules for the Master Layer are less stringent than the Module Layers – in many ways, it is similar to the very flexible “anything can do anything” rule that was used in the Karma Music Workstation (KARMA 1) – with the difference that each module then still has its own layer that you can switch to, where everything is standardized, for logical operation.
Master Layer – General Standardization
In general, the Master Layer “M” will be setup according to some variation on the table above.
Any of the above controls that are not applicable can be assigned to other parameters. For example, if only two Modules were being used, then the Module Run assignments for C and D will be used for something else.
Another concept that is used, especially in the more recent KARMA-fied combi sets produced by Karma-Lab, is that Sliders and Switches 5~8 should relate sequentially to the four Modules A~D; such that Slider and Switch 5 will be assigned to Module A, Slider and Switch 6 to Module B, and so on - this helps to have an idea which Modules will be operated by the controls. Of course, if nothing useful can be assigned to such an arrangement, the programmer is free to vary it at his/her discretion.
Note: Many of the original Korg-produced combis do not follow this newer design guideline closely, if at all. In these combis, you will often find Switches 5-8 being used for other purposes that are not relative to modules A-D. For example, in a particular combi, drums might be on Module A, but switch 5 is used for nothing related to the drums on module A. Instead, Switch 7 is used for something to affect the drums on Module A. This lack of predictability is part of what lead to the newer guidelines to try and keep Sliders and Switches 5-8 linked in respective order to modules A through D where possible and useful.
|Slider 1||Rhythm Swing %
(all applicable modules)
|Controls the Swing % value on all assigned modules, at the same time. Since Swing % is also assigned to Slider 1 in the Module Layers, the last moved slider has priority, so you could use the Master Slider 1 to set all four modules to 50%, and then change just Module B’s Swing % to 75%. If Swing is not something that is used by the modules (rare, but possible), this may be assigned to something else.|
|Slider 2||Rhythm Complexity/Pattern
(all applicable modules)
|Affects the rhythm of the notes being generated on all assigned modules, at the same time. Since there are several different ways of controlling rhythm in GEs, including varying the Random Ties Factor on a Rhythm Pattern containing random ties, or switching the entire Rhythm Pattern using one of multiple Rhythm Pattern Templates, the exact function may be different depending on the GE. Again, the same parameters may also be assigned to Slider 2 in the Module Layers, so the last moved control has priority. If there is nothing related to rhythm to control in the modules (rare, but possible), this may be assigned to something else.|
|Slider 3||Duration Control
(all applicable modules)
|Controls the duration of notes on all assigned modules, at the same time. Since Duration Control is also generally assigned to Slider 3 in the Module Layers, the last moved slider has priority, so you could use the Master Slider 1 to set all four modules to 50, and then change just Module B’s Duration Control to 99. Again, several different types of Duration related RTP may be assigned here. If there is nothing related to duration to control in the modules (rare, but possible), this may be assigned to something else.|
|Slider 4||Velocity Accents/Level/Pattern
(all applicable modules)
|Affects the velocity of the notes being generated on all assigned modules, at the same time. Since there are several different ways of controlling velocity in GEs, including varying the Velocity Scale % on a Velocity Pattern of accents, changing the entire Velocity Pattern by selecting one of multiple Velocity Pattern Templates, or controlling the Velocity Sensitivity with which the GE responds to the keyboard, the exact function may be different depending on the GE. Again, the same parameters may also be assigned to Slider 3 in the Module Layers, so the last moved control has priority. If there is nothing related to velocity to control in the modules (rare, but possible), this may be assigned to something else.|
|Switches 1~4||Module Run||Module Run is a Performance RTP (assigned on the Perf RTP page in the Kronos, OASYS or M3), that controls whether a given module is generating data. Although it is named “Run”, it functions more like a reverse mute, in that the Module is always running, but you just cannot hear it when Run is Off. This allows a module to be turned on in the middle of a phrase and it picks up from the correct spot.|
|Switches 5~8||Octaves and/or
Other (if Drums)
If a GE/module is not producing a drum groove, it’s usually useful to have the ability to transpose the phrase up or down by some setting as part of a scene. So GEs producing musical phrases will often be assigned to these switches with the Perf RTP Mix:Transpose value being varied up or down.
However, in the case of Drum Modules, an Octave/Transpose switch is relatively useless. So typically, for a Drum Module this will be assigned to some other GE RTP. Also, a setting you will often find assigned is the “Alternate Drum Map On/Off.” This turns on/off the Perf RTP “Note Map Mode,” which remaps the drum kit to some other arrangement. It can be subtle or drastic, and it can be a custom designed map (per Performance), or one of many preset global Note Maps. This is often assigned instead of or in conjunction with one of the sliders being set to vary the “Note Map Table” itself, selecting from the many different types. Alternately, you will often find the Note Map Table assigned to a Slider, where selecting the "0" value selects the custom map with a linear setting so it doesn't modify the groove, and then a wide range of maps can be chosen with the slider. In this case, it is redundant to have a switch also assigned to turn the Note Map on/off, so the switch can be freely assigned to some other Drum GE RTP.
|The rest of the Sliders/Switches||In the case of a Drum Module, you will often find the slider assigned to vary the “Note Map Table,” selecting one of many alternate mappings of the drum notes, in lieu of using a switch for transposing the drums. Other controls in the Master Layer not discussed here are open to be used as the programmer saw fit, and may be different for each Performance.
One concept that is sometimes used in the Master Layer is to have Slider/Switch 5 relate to something from Module A, Slider/Switch 6 for Module B, Slider/Switch 7 for Module C, and Slider/Switch 8 for Module D.
This article is referenced by multiple chapters of the Karma-Lab video tutorial series:
House 101: Combi Creation Series.