KARMA 2: Tutorial - Mastering Level 2 ("KARMA Tweaker") KARMA usage

Note: this independently contributed article has not yet been reviewed for accuracy by Karma-Lab.


This article is under construction. Pardon the dust! Also be aware that the contents will change a LOT while it is being drafted, so take whatever you read during construction with a grain of salt.


You have become proficient as a Level 1 ("KARMA Player") KARMA user, and now you want to master Level 2 ("KARMA Tweaker") usage. This tutorial is only one of several articles that explain what you need to know to become a Level 2 ("KARMA Tweaker") user. For more information on the levels of KARMA usage, see KARMA 2: A beginner's guide

This tutorial should require how many minutes? to work through fully, and it explains all of the important basics of tweaking the GE RTP, Perf RTP, and Dynamic MIDI parameters that are visible in your keyboard but not tied directly to the KARMA control surface sliders and switches, to further tailor the sound of a GE beyond what you can do with the KARMA control surface. The tutorial also covers MIDI filters, random seeds, and how to research any parameter found in the KARMA sections of your keyboard.

Although this tutorial is written for the Korg M3 keyboard, it can be easily followed by Korg OASYS users too because KARMA 2 is virtually identical on both keyboards and the page, tab, and field names are very similar on both keyboards.

IMPORTANT: This tutorial assumes you are proficient with Level 1 usage and are familiar with the concepts and terminology covered in the Level 1 section of the KARMA beginner's guide.

Part 1 - Figuring out WHAT to tweak to achieve some sound you're looking for

Using KARMA at Level 1 ("KARMA Player") requires knowing a few basic things about how KARMA is set up, such as how to trigger each module, how it's set up to interact with the drum track, how the scenes and control layers work, etc. But most of your time is spent just experimenting with the switches and sliders for each module (and the Master control layer in combis).

Using KARMA at Level 2 ("KARMA Tweaker"), by contrast, doesn't focus on brute experimentation. Instead, it focuses on research. You have some idea of how you'd like to change the sound, and you know roughly what part of KARMA you need to use to achieve the change, but then at this point you'll be spending a lot of time looking up what the parameters in that part of KARMA do (by reading the M3 Parameter Guide), so that you can figure out which ones are likely to give you the results that you're seeking.

So with that in mind let's summarize the two major areas of KARMA in your keyboard and what they effectively "do":

  • Performance - A KARMA performance is the "wrapper" around one or more modules that tells your keyboard how interact with the modules. As you'll recall from the Level 1 tutorial, programs contain single-module performances and combis contain multi-module performances. A performance comprises the following major groupings of parameters in the KARMA Software. For each grouping, the listed page name > tab name tells you where to look on your keyboard (and in your keyboard's Parameter Guide) for the relevant parameters.

SK Note: don't know with all these definitions if there's a way to tie the Glossary project http://karma-lab.wikidot.com/korg-m3:glossary that we have here into it….that's a great page that doesn't get featured enough…probably not…

* GE Setup Definition
* Programs: page P7-1:KARMA1 > GE Setup
* Combis: page P7-1:KARMA1 > Setup A/B/C/D
* Control Definition
* Programs: page P7-1:KARMA1 > Control
* Combis: page P7-2:KARMA2 > Control A/B/C/D
* Trigger Definition
* Programs: page P7-1:KARMA1 > Control
* Combis: page P7-2:KARMA2 > Control A/B/C/D
* Filter Definition
* Programs: page P7-1:KARMA1 > MIDI Filter
* Combis: page P7-1:KARMA1 > MIDI Filter
* Zones Definition
* Programs: page P7-1:KARMA1 > GE Setup
* Combis: page P7-2:KARMA2 > Setup A/B/C/D
* Perf RTP Definition
* Programs: page P7-2:KARMA2 > Perf RTP
* Combis: page P7-4:KARMA4 > Perf RTP
* Dynamic MIDI Definition
* Programs: page P7-2:KARMA2 > Dynamic MIDI
* Combis: page P7-4:KARMA4 > Dynamic MIDI
* Random Seeds Definition
* Programs: page P7-1:KARMA1 > Random Seeds
* Combis: page P7-1:KARMA1 > Random Seeds
* CC Offsets Definition
* Programs: page P7-1:KARMA1 > CC Offset
* Combis: page P7-1:KARMA1 > CC Offset

  • Generated Effect (GE) - A KARMA GE is an algorithmic generator that outputs MIDI notes, CC data, and SysEx data based on over 400 parameters. Only 32 of these 400 parameters are visible in your keyboard, and any combination of these 32 can be assigned to switches and sliders in your keyboard's control surface. Each module in a performance has one GE assigned to it. A GE comprises the following major groupings of parameters in the KARMA Software:
    • Note Series Definition
    • Phase Definition
    • Rhythm Definition
    • Duration Definition
    • Index Definition
    • Cluster Definition
    • Velocity Definition
    • CCs Definition
    • Wavesequence Definition
    • Envelopes Definition
    • Repeat Definition
    • Bend Definition
    • Drum Definition
    • Direct Index Definition
    • On your keyboard, the 32 visible parameters out of all the preceding groupings (known as the GE RTP parameters) are all grouped together on one tab:
      • Programs: page P7-2:KARMA2 > GE RTP
      • Combis:
        • Module layers: page P7-3:KARMA3 > GE RTP A/B/C/D
        • Master layer: page P7-3:KARMA3 > GE RTP M A/B/C/D
    • In your keyboard's Parameter Guide, all of the possible GE parameters that might be visible in your keyboard (based on the 13 standardized RTC Models) are described in the KARMA GE Guide chapter just before the appendices.

More coming soon

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