WNAMM05: Korg's OASYS Keyboard Debuts

10 Years in the making      21/01/05

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WNAMM05: Korg's OASYS Keyboard Debuts
Korgs new flagship platform

The Korg Oasys has been causing quite a stir, the chattering in the isles has been along the lines of ? have you seen the Oasys??. We have and it?s impressive. The Oasys is a new synthesizer platform for Korg, based on a Linux core the OASYS OPEN ARCHITECTURE SYNTHESIS STUDIO provides an impressive amount of synthesis capabilities with room for expansion. Korg have made a bold move with this keyboard, pricing is rumoured to be in the area of $7k for a fully loaded 88 key version and while this may seem like a lot, just see what you get: Here?s the official Korg line
OASYS is actually three synthesizers in one: Korg's all-new HD-1 High Definition PCM Synthesizer plus two additional EXi Expansion Instruments, the powerful AL-1 Virtual Analog synth, and an enhanced CX-3 Tonewheel Organ. Powerful PCM Synthesis
The 172-voice HD-1 offers an abundant 616 MB PCM library that captures the natural detail and ornamentation of an acoustic instrument. Also included are many stereo waveforms to preserve the natural imaging of acoustic sounds as well as up to 4-way velocity switching to recreate an instrument?s complete dynamic range. Extended-length samples preserve each instrument?s natural decay, especially evident in the drums and cymbals. The HD-1?s detailed voice architecture allows a single oscillator to play back stereo waveforms and support 4-way layering, switching and crossfading. Newly-designed multi-mode resonant filters, a new ?Drive? parameter for harmonic overdrive, detailed Envelope Generators and increased modulation possibilities are a few of the other new capabilities. Making a return are Korg?s classic Advanced Vector Synthesis and Wave Sequencing. Advanced Vector Synthesis allows for smooth blending between the two oscillators and user-definable modulation of many parameters. In Combination Mode, Advanced Vector Synthesis can blend between four different mixtures of sounds to create evocative, motion-based timbres. Wave Sequences play back a series of selected waveforms over time, creating either distinctive rhythmic timbres or continually evolving sounds. New additions to this classic technology include enhanced tempo synchronization, swing and dual integrated step-sequencer modulation outputs. Analog Modeling
The AL-1 is a cutting-edge virtual analog synth engine delivering an unparalleled 84 notes of polyphony. Two ultra-low aliasing oscillators per voice offer eight waveforms for a wide palette of modulatable shapes. An adjustable ?Edge? parameter provides vintage oscillator modeling, while sync, FM and several varieties of ring modulation offer ample tone-shaping possibilities. A sub oscillator, colored noise generator and live audio input round out the signal sources. Each voice can use up to two of Korg?s new multimode resonant filters with a new MultiFilter allowing for crossfading in real time between any two of 21 different filter types ? including custom mixes. Tonewheel Modeling
The CX-3 Tonewheel Organ engine provides an enhanced version of Korg?s tonewheel modeling technology. In addition to the dual drawbar sets, the CX-3 features control over every nuance of the sound including leakage, key click, adjustable percussion, chorus/vibrato and a complete rotary speaker simulation. Korg?s unique EX Mode adds additional harmonics and percussion tunings. Combis and More
Korg?s signature Combination structure has been expanded, now allowing up to 16 Programs to be split and layered across the keyboard. Combinations can freely use sounds from the HD-1, AL-1 and CX-3, with dynamic voice allocation between the different synth engines for complete performance flexibility. Korg?s international team of sound designers have provided 1,152 Programs and 384 Combinations, ranging from realistic acoustic instruments to fat, imaginative Korg synth sounds; from CX-3 organ sounds designed by top players to cutting-edge VA synth sounds. All sound locations (1,664 Programs / 1,792 Combis) are fully editable. Multiple Effects
OASYS extends the quantity and quality of onboard effects, offering 12 Insert, two Master and two Total effects, with 185 algorithms. Many new effects are featured, along with classic Korg favorites ? REMS mic, amp and speaker models; the pro-quality O-Verb from the OASYS-PCI card; the Polysix/Legacy Collection Ensemble effect and more. Advanced KARMA OASYS also introduces second generation KARMA technology.* This revolutionary algorithmic performance technology generates amazing phrases, grooves and other musical effects that can be altered and randomized in real time. Many new features keep this KARMA technology on the cutting edge, including KARMA-driven Wave Sequencing, more flexible control over the real-time controls in Combi and Sequencer modes, and a standardization of controller assignments for quick user familiarity with varying the KARMA effects. *For more information about the foundation of the original KARMA technology, see the KARMA OVERVIEW section at the end of the file named OASYS_longstory.doc. MIDI Sequencing
The 16-track MIDI sequencer records up to 200 Songs (400,000 MIDI notes), and includes Korg?s familiar user-friendly features. One-touch setup takes the user from playing a Program or Combination instantly to ?ready-to-record? status. Song Templates contain pre-assigned effect routings and program assignments. Built-in rhythm patterns can be used to instantly create a rhythm track. Individual track looping allows the user to create smaller looped parts (such as drum grooves) within a Song and much more. Audio Recording
OASYS also offers an unprecedented 16-track audio recording studio, fully integrated with the sequencer?s MIDI tracks. Up to four tracks of 16-bit, 48 kHz audio can be recorded to the internal 40 GB hard drive simultaneously. All onboard effects are available to the recorder, including studio quality mic and amp models, dynamic treatments and spatial effects. The audio recorder sports a full mixing control surface with per-track, 3-band EQ, event automation, as well as track and song editing capabilities. Open Sampling
The same Open Sampling System first introduced in the TRITON Studio provides sampling and resampling from any mode, sampling through effects and much more. Time Slice, Time Stretch, Crossfade Looping and other cutting-edge editing tools are provided. Samples in Korg native format, AIFF, WAV and AKAI (S-1000/3000 with advanced Program parameter conversion) formats can be used. Flexible control surface
The 10.4" adjustable-angle, color TouchView display features a clear layout and rich graphics. Real-time controllers include the traditional Korg joystick, dual switches and ribbon, an assignable Vector Joystick, eight real-time knobs, 16 switches, nine sliders, plus three pedal inputs. The eight knobs and nine sliders are augmented by LED status indicators showing their current values. OASYS also features eight soft-touch and velocity-sensitive drum pads that can be used to trigger notes, controllers, or KARMA chord voicings. The control surface has multiple modes of operation ? for mixing MIDI or audio tracks, for real-time control of sounds and KARMA parameters, or for quick tweaking of a given sound, Combination timbre or sequence track. Finally, External Mode maps the hardware to various MIDI Controller messages to control external software and devices. Future Expansion is Already Here
OASYS comes with the first two EXs Expansion Sample Libraries. The pre-loaded EXs-1 ROM Expansion set enhances the onboard sounds with many stereo drums, and additional large acoustic and synthesizer multisamples. The 511 MB EXs-2 Concert Grand Piano resides on the hard drive, and can be loaded in place of the EXs-1 to serve up Korg?s finest piano experience to date. Future expansion options will include new synthesis engines, new effects, more sample libraries and various operating system enhancements. Two flavors
To suit a variety of players, OASYS is available in a 76-key synth action, and an 88-key model offering Korg?s top-of-the-line, RH2 weighted hammer graded action. In the U.S., the Korg OASYS Open Architecture Synthesis Studio will be available March 2005 at select, authorized dealers, with pricing to be announced shortly.
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