Korg KPE-1 Entrancer|
On the Box
OK, rant over - what we have here is a unit that very obviously shares a gene pool with the original Kaoss pad. On the front are S-video and composite phono (RCA) connectors for one of the Entrancer's two video inputs, a switch for selecting between them and a headphone socket with volume control.
On the rear panel are six phono connectors; two pairs for unbalanced audio inputs & outputs, one for the second video input, and one for the video output, which also appears on an S-video connector. There's two small switches - one to select PAL or NTSC; the other switches between Direct and FX Loop modes, and finally MIDI In & Out sockets, and the power connector.
Rear connections Left
On the top of the KPE-1 is the large back-lit 'track pad' which controls parameter shifts of the on-board audio and video effects. The colour of the pad changes as you move around the surface, which not only looks great but is also pretty useful to give you some feedback of what's going on. It's a gloriously fun and intuitive interface for real-time paying of sound and effects - the Kaoss Pad becomes very much an instrument in its own right.
Rear connections right
The Entrancer features 100 audio effects, 100 video effects, and 100 'combinations' which allow video and audio signals to be altered simultaneously. These three modes are selected by a Control Select switch towards the top of the unit. To the left is a knob controlling audio line input volume, and to the right a 3-digit LED display and a detented Program/BPM knob, which is primarily used to select between programs. Once selected, programs can be stored and recalled using the eight Program Memory buttons.
FX balance is controlled by a knob to the left of the touch panel; to the right is a Tap/BPM button, and a momentary action switch which selects either Pad Motion or Mute/Freeze.
Of the audio effects, twenty are tempo-related and can be synchronised to an external source, setting BPM either manually, by Tap-tempo, Auto-detect or from incoming MIDI clock. There's also some basic synth and drum voices which can be played with the pad and synch'd to BPM.
Video effects can be played independently or together with audio effects - these are pre-programmed with complementary combinations, but you can choose and store your own choices too.
There is also a graphics pattern mode, which displays overlays of, err.. graphics ;-) These can relate to input or output of audio or video signals; the 60 variations include waveform and spectrum analysis displays, lissajous, pad pointers, oscilloscope images, luminance and various geometric patterns.
Pad motion can be recorded - flip up the Pad Motion switch and up to six seconds of action is saved and can be played back using the same switch. Flip it down, and it freezes the video image and mutes the audio input, but still allows effects tails through.
Toggle that switch
Beneath the touch panel are five buttons which control the functions such as sampling - still images, up to 6 seconds of video and 12 seconds of audio can be stored, but the KPE-1 has no non-volatile memory or removable storage, so these will be lost when the power is turned off.
The Hold button is very handy - press it during play and it remembers the last point of contact on the touch panel and holds the parameters at that point. Some of the screen motion effects can be pretty extreme - it's useful to be able to hold a carefully chosen setting while you set up the next program change, for example.
The Function button, together with the two Sample buttons and the Rec/Stop button, controls the various sampling options - video, audio and stills (from using the Mute/Freeze switch) can be recorded, selected and played using the touch panel. Stored samples can be manipulated in the time domain and effected by the various programs using the pad.