Korg Kronos: Combi creation tutorial with KARMA - part 2

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

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Part 2: Fine tuning the Timbres and adding IFX and MFX

Scenario

You have completed Part of the KARMA Combi Creation tutorial and have selected and set up the Timbres/Programs for the four KARMA Modules, the LH Pads and the RH Soloing/Comping Timbre. Now you want to fine tune the ways the Timbres sound and set up the Insert, Master and Total effects, together with the signal routing for these effects.

Timbre Parameter

In the Combi P2 -> Timbre Parameter page various adjustments to the Timbre can be made using the Osc and Pitch sub-tabs.

  1. In the Pitch tab: The ‘Transpose Octave’ line of checkboxes can shift the pitch, generally up or down by an octave, however you can choose to transpose by any note interval you want. In pitch you can also adjust the bend range for the Timbre (Program default is often +/-2 while KARMA operates using a default of +/-12; as this value is what the GEs will use as a basis for generating pitch bends in the Modules). You can leave the RH and LH keyboard splits as you set them in the previous tutorial as KARMA won’t be generating Midi output on these Timbres.
  2. In the Osc tab: In the ‘Force Osc Mode’ line of checkboxes you can set the oscillators to play in mono; poly; or mono legato mode. Changing to mono mode can make quite a difference to some of the GEs and is probably desirable when running Bass Timbres or other monophonic types of Timbre/Instrumentation. In Mono legato mode the note pitches will change but the Midi effects and envelopes will not retrigger unless all note keys have been released first.
  3. In the Osc tab: In the ‘Osc select’ line of checkboxes you can set the oscillators to play as either ‘both’ or ‘Osc 1’ or ‘Osc 2’ , so if you have a programme using double oscillators you can choose to have only one or the other played by the Module.
  4. In the Osc tab: In the ‘Portamento’ line of checkboxes you can set the degree of portamento that the Timbre will use.

Note: Page 65/6 of the Operation Guide explains the use of these parameters

Tone Adjust

  1. To make adjustments to the sound of individual Modules make sure that the Track/Timbre you want to work on is selected in Combi P0: -> Play -> Control Surface screen (see Page 436 of the Parameter Guide)
  2. Make adjustments using Tone Adj. These controls can easily be accessed using the Tone Adj/EQ button (bottom left next to the Drum Track button) and then by making changes on the Surface Control of the Kronos; or by reassigning parameters in the Control Surface touch-screen.
    • When you ‘save’ the Combi the changes made to the Tone Adj parameters will be saved into the Combi settings. This is a good way of making and saving changes to the factory programs without changing the programs in their original factory bank locations.
    • Saving the Combi will retain the changes you make to the Timbres and to KARMA, however when in RTP/KARMA Mode it will not save the RT Controls (the top knobs of the Kronos Surface Control). These knob controls are useful for making ‘live’ changes to the Combi sound, but will reset to the saved Combi settings when the Combi is saved or changed to a new Combi.
    • Changes made in when in Tone Adjust Mode will be saved for the selected Timbre into the Combi
    • When in Combi mode only ‘copy from program’ is available from the drop down menu. This means that you can’t copy a Timbre/Track from within another Combi.
    • However: The ‘Copy’ Tone Adjust’ command is available in the Tone Adjust control screen drop down menu and allows you to copy settings from specified track(s) in other Combis into the current Combi.
  3. When in the KARMA Module Timbres, in RT Knobs/KARMA Mode, playing with the first four top knobs will affect the Filter and Resonance parameters for the whole Combi.
  4. The second four knobs can be assigned to parameters on the Combi Play1: -> EQ/Vector/Control -> Controllers page. When in RT Knobs/KARMA Mode these, like the first four RT knobs, affect the sound of the whole Combi.

Note: Changing the ‘Amp Decay’ time parameter on the Drum Track/Module to lower values will make the drums crisper. Be aware that changing to the more extreme lower values will start to cut the drum sample off before it has finished playing.

EQ

  1. In the Combi P1: -> EQ/Vector/Control -> Timbre EQ tab the program EQ settings of the original program can be preserved by using the Auto Import setting (in the ‘auto load’ checkbox) – by turning this off you can change Timbres without loading the ‘Auto EQ’ settings
  2. In the same tab in the ‘Input Trim’ line of checkboxes the value can be adjusted for the Timbre volume independently of the volume sliders on Combi P0 -> Play, which is a useful way of balancing the volumes of the different Timbres during the setup of the Combi.
  3. The ‘Bypass’ checkbox can be used to compare the Timbre EQ against ‘no EQ’
  4. Make changes to the Timbre Parameters, EQ and Tone Adjust and save your work

IFX

The structure of the IFX/MFX/TFX signal path is such that the signal from the Timbre can be routed through the IFX and then be sent to the MFX with the amount of the signal sent being controlled using the ‘Send1’ & ‘Send2’ controls (in the Combi P8: Insert Effect -> IFX -> Insert FX tab), before being sent to the L/R outputs. The signal from the L/R output is then sent through the TFX effects.

One of great features of the Kronos is the number of IFX slots it has (12). Furthermore when you use the ‘Copy from Program’ menu command when setting up the Timbres for the Combi (see Korg Kronos: Combi creation tutorial with KARMA - part 1), you can copy the IFX settings that the original program uses into the Combi. When you execute this command a screen appears with various checkbox options. Make sure that the ‘IFXs All Used’ checkbox is ticked and the Programs effects will be copied into the Combi IFX. If there are IFX slots already filled then the imported IFXs will be copied into the next available slots. If you try to copy IFXs and there aren’t enough free slots you will get an ‘exceeds limit’ warning.

Beware (especially in Drum Programs) as the Drum Program IFX Routing ‘Chain to’ drop-down menu setting, found in the Program: P8 -> Insert Effect -> IFX -> Insert FX, may be set to IFX 12 which can contain an overall IFX effect (normally a Stereo Limiter). If this is the case then IFX 12 will be copied into the Combi IFXs into the first free slot. If this happens then remove the extra IFX. Alternatively you could keep the extra FX and use the Drum IFX routing or the 'chain to' dropdown menu to send each or all of the IFX to the extra IFX slot. (See below).

Important: In Tutorial 1 when the Timbres were selected for the Combi no IFXs will have been copied into the Combi. At this point in the setup procedure you could reselect a Timbre and use the ‘Copy from Program’ command with the IFX checkbox ticked and reload the program Timbre with its effects, however you will then need to redo the Timbre Parameter settings (as described in section 1 A).

  1. If you have already selected the Timbres for the Combi but have no IFXs assigned, in Combi P8: Insert Effect -> IFX -> Insert Effect then you can use the main dropdown menu command ‘Copy Insert Effect’ to select the assigned IFXs from the original Programs/Timbres that you have used in the Combi. Start with the Drum IFXs (as these are a special case), (remembering to remove any extra FXs copied over from IFX12 of the original Program) and then the IFXs for the other Timbres, which will be loaded into the next available slot(s).
  2. The Drum IFX tends to be set to IFX (1-5) as default. The routing for the Drums is setup in the Global Mode P5: Drum Kit -> Voice/Mixer tab -> Mixer sub-screen. If you hold down the ‘Enter’ button (on the right hand side of the Kronos) and press a key the drum note will sound and the Mixer sub-screen ‘Bus Select’ will show which IFX the note is being sent to. Note: The default ‘Sends’ are set to the maximum 127 value. (See Parameter Guide page 861 -> 866 for more information regarding effects routing)
  3. The standard set up for the Drum Kits is: Snare – IFX1; Kicks – IFX2; Toms IFX3; HH & Cymbals – IFX4; Claps and Prec – IFX5. (You can check the routing in Global P5: Drum kit -> Voice/Mixer -> Mixer for different kits.)
  4. In Combi Mode you can alternatively route the IFX Drum settings using the Combi P8: Insert FX -> IFX -> Routing1/2 main dropdown menu command ‘Drum Kit IFX Patch’. This is useful if you haven’t set the Drum effects up first and want to route the standard drum IFX setup to different FX slots.
  5. In Combi P8: Insert FX -> IFX -> Routing1 -> Bus Select the Timbres are initially set to L/R. Choose the Drum Timbre and in the dropdown tab set it to DKit. This will set the Drum Timbre to the FX routing as specified in the Global P5: Drum Kit page. In the screen graphic you will see the routing from the Timbre to the associated effects.
  6. Stay on the same page: For the remaining Timbres select in the Bus Select menu the IFX slot that the Timbre is to be routed to. If no IFX is assigned to a Timbre the amount of ‘Send’ sent to the MFXs can be adjusted with the ‘Send1/2 MFX1/2’ values in the boxes underneath the Bus Select Checkbox. Note that when a Timbre is routed to an IFX slot the MFX ‘Sends’ get greyed out, so if sending to an IFX slot reset the master send to 0, (for organisational simplicity).
  7. IFXs can be chained together by turning the ‘Chain’ checkbox on and specifying which IFX slot the current IFX is to be sent to using the ‘Chain To’ dropdown menu.
  8. Re-mix the relative volumes of the overall Combi sound as the FXs may have changed the volumes of the Timbres.

MFX 2

  1. Go to Combi P9: -> MFX/TFX -> Routing tab. Here you can choose which Master effects the Combi will use.
  2. Reverb is normally on MFX 2. Make sure MFX2 is turned on in the checkbox.
  3. Select MFX by category in the drop down menu. (You can also use the presets included with each effect or make and save your own preferred effect settings)
  4. Set ‘Return’ to 100 (to allow for signal headroom when controlling the signal strength with optional KARMA RTP controllers)
  5. Go to Combi P9: -> MFX/TFX -> MFX2. In the individual MFX2 effect screen set wet/dry to 50 (This can be changed later)
  6. Solo the current Module to and turn the MFX2 on and off hear changes/settings of MFX2
  7. Go to Combi P8: Insert Effect -> IFX -> Insert FX -> IFX routing. For the IFX that you are sending the Timbre/signal through, change the value of 'Send 2' to 0 and then to 127. You will hear that the amount of signal that is being sent to MX2 (the Reverb) increases. Set 'Send 2' to a level that sounds right for the Timbre.
  8. Work through each module and the keyboard timbres being sent by 'Send 2' to MX2 (reverb) (compare by turning reverb on/off) till you have a satisfactory balance.
    • Note: for a crisp low end don't 'send' Bass and Kick Drum IFX to MFX2 as this can tend to muddy the sound. Applying higher levels of reverb to a timbre can make it sound like it is further away in the mix.
  9. The MFX2 ‘return’ control acts as a Master control for all the timbres sending to MFX2 relative to their IFX settings

MFX 1 & TFX

  1. Choose an effect for MFX1. The most commonly used effects for MFX1 are Delay/Chorus effects. Turn the effect to ‘On’ in the checkbox. Set the MFX1 return to 100. Presets are available for the effects or you can create and save your own settings.
  2. Go to IFX routing P8: Insert Effect -> IFX -> Insert FX -> IFX Routing and set the Send 1 (to MFX1) to get the desired level of the MFX1 sound applied to the Timbre.
  3. Note: I often set the MFX1 Return to 0 or a low value so I can use the MFX1 Return as a master control for multiple IFX effect sends. For example: If I have used a BPM delay effect as my MFX1 and I set my snare, kick and tom sends to MFX1 to a high value, then I can in real-time simultaneously apply a BPM Delay to these IFXs by changing the MFX1 Return to a high value.
  4. Additionally, if multiple IFXs are sending to a Delay effect on MFX1 then MFX1 can be used as a master control for the ‘feedback’ parameter in the Delay effect. In Combi P9: -> MFX/TFX -> MFX1 -> Delay screen in the ‘feedback’ sub-screen assign ‘source’ to ‘Knob Mod 5 (CC# 17)’ and change the L and R ‘amount’ values to (say) +50 (experiment to find a value that suits). Then when you adjust Knob 5 on the Kronos Control Surface you will be controlling the feedback value for all the IFXs sending to MFX1.
  5. The TFX (Total Effects) are a final pair of FX that are at end of the signal routing that affect the output sound to the L/R out (useful for Master Limiter/Mastering EQ or Multiband Compressor effects.)
  6. Finally bring the Timbre relative volume levels to maximum. This is easily done in Combi P0: -> Play -> Mixer by turning on the checkbox ‘Hold Balance’ (at the top of the screen) and selecting the slider that has the highest value and moving it to the maximum 127. The other sliders will be linked to the slider being moved and will change values simultaneously.
  7. Fine tune the volumes and Save

Note: The routing and control options for the IFX and MFX are huge and can be complex, especially with regard to assigning controllers, as some of the Program Timbre controls may already have parameters assigned, so changing or setting up additional control parameters may cause unexpected results in the output sound.

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