Synth Site: Korg: Karma: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.6 out of 5
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JOHN B. MANNES, JR. a professional user from USA writes:
I'VE HAD MY KARMA FOR OVER 8 MONTHS AND HAVE UTILIZED IT IN CREATING OVER 85 SONGS, 12 COMMERCIALS, WEB SOUND LOGOS, AND ONE CD NOW AVAILABLE, BUT I DON'T THINK I CAN ADVERTISE ON THIS SITE.

IN THE PAST, I USED MANY ELECTRONIC AND NON ELECTRONIC INSTRUMENTS TO COMPLETE MY WORK. KARMA IS THE FIRST SYNTHESIZER THAT I ACTUALLY COMPOSED A "COMMERCIAL" PIECE WITHOUT USING ANY OTHER INSTRUMENTS OR EQUIPMENT. I LOVE SOUNDS THAT EVOLVE AND HAVE NO PREDICTION AS TO WHERE THEY CAME FROM OR WHERE THEY'RE GOING. I THINK KARMA'S GREATEST STRENGTH IS THAT YOU CAN'T PREDICT THE EXACT CHANGES MADE ON THE CONTROLLER KNOBES.

AS A CLASSICAL MUSIC MAJOR AT ITHACA COLLEGE (A LONG TIME AGO) I REMEMBER USING THE "PRACTICE" ROOMS AND ACTUALLY IMPROVISING SONGS WITHOUT ANY SHEET MUSIC TO FOLLOW. I WAS ALWAYS IMPRESSED WITH THE MUSICIAN WHO COULD PICK UP A PIECE OF MUSIC AND PLAY IT PERFECTLY FIRST TIME AROUND. I NEVER THOUGHT THAT THOSE SAME PEOPLE HAD THE SAM ADMIRATION FOR ME IN TERMS OF PRODUCING MUSIC WITHOUT SHEET MUSIC. KARMA IS JUST THAT, MUSIC THAT YOU CAN'T CONTROL AND MUST PLAY OFF WHAT YOU HEAR INSTEAD OF WHAT YOU SEE. THIS IS WHY THIS INSTRUMENT DESERVES A CLASS TITLE ALL TO ITS OWN. IT'S A "IMPROVISING" MUSICAL SPECTRUM OF IDIOSYNCRASIES. ONCE YOU GOT IT ON HARD DISK, IT WOULD BE NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO DUPLICATE.

I'M A "SOUNDAHOLIC" AND IT'S JUST AMAZING HOW MANY DIFFERENT TEXTURES, MOVEMENTS, 3 DIMENSIONAL WARPING TONES YOU CAN DRAW OUT OF JUST ONE PRESET. I DECIDED ONE DAY TO SPEND 3 HOURS JUST CHANGING THE SOUNDS USING THE KARMA'S CONTROLLERS OF ONE SINGLE PRESET. TRY SPENDING THAT MUCH TIME ON A PRESET FROM ANOTHER KEYBOARD OR SOUND MODULE.

I THING KARMA IS A BARGAIN AT $1575 OR WHATEVER ANYONE PAID FOR THIS INSTRUMENT. I REMEMBER WHEN I PLAYED A COMPUTER AT COLGATE UNIVERSITY THAT COST OVER $50,000 AND COULD ONLY PLAY ONE NOTE AT A TIME. I THINK I CAN FEEL GOOD ABOUT ALL THE MONEY I LOST IN THE STOCK MARKET, BECAUSE I JUST PRETEND THAT I PAID $10,000 FOR THIS KEYBOARD. JUST THINK OF WHAT THIS KEYBOARD WOULD HAVE COST BACK IN THE 1980'S. MY OBXA COST OVER $4000.00 BACK THEN. ITS A GREAT INSTRUMENT WITH A WAPPING 4 NOTES OF POLYPHANY, BUT IT'S NO KARMA!

I THINK WE'VE ALL GROWN SPOILED OVER THE TECHNOLOGY VERSUS CASH SPIROL THAT JUST GIVES US MORE AND MORE FOR LESS AND LESS. IT HAS ALLOWED MANY OF US TO BUY MORE SYNTHESIZERS, SOUND MODULES, BEAT BOXES, SAMPLERS, ECT. THAN WE REALLY NEED. JUST IMAGINE HAVING ONE KEYBOARD (THAT'S IT, NOTHING MORE), NO EFFECTS, MIXERS, PLUG-INS, MODULATORS, CONTROLLERS, SOFTWARE SYNTHS,SPEAKERS,HARD DISK RECORDERS, JUST ONE KEYBOARD WITH ONE HEADPHONE OUTPUT AND ONE PAIR OF HEADPHONES. WHAT WOULD YOU PICK AS YOUR "DESERT ISLAND" SYNTH. FOR ME, IT WOULD BE THE KARMA, I WOULDN'T THINK ABOUT THAT DECISION FOR MORE THEN A FEW SECONDS. ITS THE BEST NEW MUSICAL DEVICE THAT HAS APPEARED IN MORE THEN 20 YEARS. MAYBE A CENTURY OR TWO. BACH WOULD HAVE TRADED HIS PIANO AND ALL OF THAT PERIOD'S ORCHESTRAL INSTRUMENTS FOR THIS INSTRUMENT I AM CERTAIN. OH! THERE IS ONE EXCEPTION TO ALL THE ABOVE. I WOULD NEED A PERCUSSION INSTRUMENT WHILE STRANDED ON THAT "ISLAND" AS WELL. THE GREATEST PERCUSSION INSTRUMENT THAT MATCHES RIGHT UP THERE WITH THE KARMA IS (may I have a drum-roll please) THE ROLAND HPD-15 HANDSONIC. AWESOME!

THANKS FOR LISTENING - JOHN M. THE JOHN MANNES 2 COMPANY, INC. GERMANTOWN, MARYLAND

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Mar-08-2002 at 15:49
jeff carter a professional user from Canada writes:
Creatively the karma is an incredible catch 22. Its great for coming up with ideads and inspiration, but by the time the comination is copied to the sequencer, plus the effects, ect... the idea is usually long gone. Thankfully, korg has version 2 software (coming out shortly) that looks to circumvent that situation. Other than a bit of awkwardness in the user friendliness dept, and the lack of digital outs, the Karma has a unique life to it that is all its own. Nothing in the synth world has got the creative juices fired up for me like the karma has. Not since the wavestation anyways. If you're into musical exloration, or need to put down original commercial tracks quickly, it comes highly recommended.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Mar-07-2002 at 17:55
Ron a part-time user from England writes:
OK I've had it for 8 months, and am still scratching the surface. As othees have noted, there is a disappointing difference when you want to sequence that nice combi ir prog with an external seq( Cubase)

You know the story..Oooh that's nice...I can work with that, then Bang goes that creative moment as you fart about with copying Combi.etc.... and ANSWER ME THIS ANYONE ( VIA EMAIL ) TO ron@themewriter.co.uk HOW CAN YOU USE A PROG IN A SEQUENCE ?...Can it be done ?

Re Manuals : Do no major manufacturers realise that the teaching skills required in writing manuals are more important than techno-speak ? ...Assume EVERYONE who reads the manual is an idiot, and go from there.The more techno-savvy may say, "Tsk,", but they will skip on as they need to..but the rest of us want big pictures and little words !..and some way around " See p 102," which then says, "See page 97," which then says..etc etc.

And, final Question.... Can sounds etc be downloaded from any Karma sites ? Any answers please email me. Thanks ! Ron www.themewriter.co.uk

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Feb-19-2002 at 19:46
Paul Sop a part-time user from Canada writes:
I first borrowed one from a local music store for the weekend (good store :), and was a fence sitter on it. I mean, how "in control" can you be with "karma". I mean, isn't it just just "happen"? Anyway, after about 10 hours of playing with it, I looked at it sternly every time I went to the music store. It was listed for $2700 CDN, and I already had a Trinity with the MOSS expansion, so lots of sound was mine in the "korg" sense. I also had various weird MIDI mutators to take my bad playing and disguise it through severe fractalization... So I pondered for several more months on whether to buy it. I mean, I needed a new synth (well, more like an itch that needed scraching). I researched the Nord's, tried various odd synths (it has to be distinctly different for me to really be interested in it). It all came down to the Korg $400 off poster I saw a few days ago at the store. At $400 off, it seemed to hit that price/value magic number, and now it's sitting in my pit. Now that I have it, I really don't regret the decision at all. One half of my pit is Analog (Juno 60/Andromeda/Electrix/Sherman/etc...) the other seems like a mini Korg Empire now. It's like the ying/yang of music making. When you get fed up with one style/sound, you just rotate your chair around and fresh possibilities are there. The Karma does sound fresh. The GE's can be twisted to new sounds, and actually controlled. It's not really karma. It's like an S&M Karma combination program. You take control of it, beat (twiddle?) it into submission, and it seems to like it. It is very possible to do the same thing twice. It's got the right kind of "random" it seems. After one full day of cranking on it, I've impressed many of my friends. It takes care of enough non-essential stuff and gives me more freedom to crank expression controls and express myself (and not the keyboard). Pretty damn cool.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Saturday-Dec-15-2001 at 23:33
Michael Harter (Ambientrip) a part-time user from USA writes:
MORE REGARDING THE KARMA..

The Karma is an exceptional piece of hardware for sure. The userability from an instructional standpoint is a little complicated to explain, but from the initial get go, you can get an immediate sense of its capabilities. - I personally, have found seq. to be problematic, as each sound must be manipulated, and bussed to achieve the same sounds you hear in default mode (ie. out of the box, after turning on the unit) - Yes, the Karma can be used Midi sequencing or recording wav directly on to software - grab yourself a copy of Logic Audio, you'll thank me later! - Yes, the sequencer can record each knob twist, but only initially on the knobs to the left, (i.e. cutoff, resonnance etc..) to record changes on the KARMA knobs in seq. mode, everything has to be set up manually, which takes a long time to do and is not easy by any stretch. - No the sounds are great, on the onboard effects are superb. - The manual, has 3 parts essentialy, and all must be used to :jump around: from one to another, to another, Much like all Korg products.. (i..e. electribe, Triton) what you get out the box, is not what you hear when you go to seq. everything out, it must be assembled like a "puzzle" .. piece by piece.

But that's what making good music is all about, right?

- IF YOU ENJOYED THIS REVIEW, PLEASE SEND ME AN EMAIL AT ambient@tampabay.rr.com, and listen to my music at www.mp3.com/ambientrip

THANKS!! Michael Harter - Music of Ambientrip - Ambient * Techno * http://www.mp3.com/ambientrip

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Nov-05-2001 at 18:28
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