KARMA 2: Overview/History of RTC Models


A “Real-Time Control Model” (RTC Model) is a specification of up to 32 GE Real-Time Parameters (GE RTP for short) that are designed to work together and produce certain types of KARMA behavior, along with the way that they are assigned to the Real-Time Controls (the sliders and switches of your keyboard's control surface).

The RTC Model arose out of the desire to provide a more standardized method of controlling GEs. In KARMA Version 1 (the Karma Music Workstation), they were all radically different from each other, both in the types of GE RT Parameters that were programmed into them, and the way that each KARMA Performance (Program or Combi) had them hooked up. While this provided great flexibility, it also provided confusion when moving from one Performance to another, since everything was completely different.

When designing KARMA 2, initially it was thought that the GEs might be standardized based on what type of instrument they were to be applied to. However, as it turned out, the concept of “GE Standardization” did not really work to divide behavior along the lines of instrument categories. For example, a bass line can be created with equally useful results using two (or more) completely different sets of parameters, and two completely different programming paradigms within KARMA. It’s not beneficial to limit it to only one set of parameters, and say that’s the whole set of bass lines. So several different RTC Models might be used to make bass lines, for example.

Likewise, the same RTC Model can work equally well on bass as it does on a synth lead or some other types of musical instruments. What is really defined with this “standardization” is which of the 400+ available GE Parameters are assigned as GE RTP, and how they are assigned to controls – not how it can be used, or what instrumental effects it can be used for.

During development of the RTC Models, it became apparent that some useful effects were more “macros”, and required several GE RTP to be hooked up to one control. (An example would be the “Invert Phrase” Switch, found in several RTC Models.) In addition, some of the effects that were designed into the model need additional “required” GE RTP to be included, to allow the user/programmer to make adjustments to the behavior of others that may be assigned to the RT Controls. This results in the Models requiring up to 25 or 26 GE RTP, or even all 32, as in the case of the Dual LFO RTC Model.

Other goals of the RTC Model Concept:

  • All sliders and switches should do something fairly obvious.
  • There should be standardization between RTC Models as much as possible.
  • Loading GEs should be possible for the user in a way that guarantees they sound great and are all set up for useful operation without really having to know too much.

When GEs are designed and created, there may be room to add more GE RTP to accomplish specific behavior on a GE; there may not, depending on the desired RTC Model. Some of them use all 32 GE RTP, while others leave some open for additional functionality. When programming a GE, you may not be able to do exactly what you want, and still remain within the RTC Model “standardization” concept - with standardization comes loss of some of the complete flexibility designed into the KARMA system. Of course, a user is free to do whatever they want, including breaking the rules of the RTC Models, and designing completely custom setups. But the Korg-supplied voicing sticks to the concept as much as possible. (With the KARMA Software corresponding to your keyboard, it is possible to create GEs that do not conform to any of the RTC Models (essentially a "custom" RTC arrangement), but this type of GE will not hook up any controllers when loaded - that must be done manually.)

Currently, 13 different RTC Models have been designed and implemented. It is anticipated that more models will be developed and released in the future, as KARMA 2 continues to grow.

More on RTC Models

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License