Korg resurrects keytar and turns iPad into 15 synth studio

Chris Davies - Jan 23, 2014
Korg resurrects keytar and turns iPad into 15 synth studio

Korg has taken the wraps off of its NAMM 2014 instrument range, including mobile synths for the iPad, a DIY monophonic synth, and a resurrection of the classic 80s keytar. Continuing its push into quirky portable music-making, tablet integration, and affordable audio toys, the range kicks off with a collection of fifteen software synths and drum machines for the iPad which Korg calls “Gadgets”, building on the popular iElectribe range first launched in 2010.


Korg Gadget for iPad – $28.99 until February 23rd – has been designed to suit portrait-orientation use, and includes virtual versions of several of the company’s drum and synth sounds. Up to twenty can be played simultaneously (on the iPad Air, at least; the exact number depends on what processor is in your iPad) while it also works as a DAW for recording external noise.

Those with a soft-spot for the classic 80s keytar may be more interested in the RK-100S, a refresh of the RK-100. It slims the body but still manages to add an onboard analog-modeling sound module, plus two ribbon controllers, an arpeggiator, a vocoder, and easily-hit shortcut buttons for live performances.


37 slim keys live on the front, borrowed from the MS-20 mini, while one ribbon controller runs under the ‘board and the other is up on the neck. The whole thing runs on six AA batteries, but still gets a MIDI output and USB port for hooking up to PCs and other instruments.

Korg’s MS-20 has also spawned a DIY synth kit, for musicians good with their hands to build something akin to the mini model that the company offered ready-made in January 2013. It’s promising to be very close to the original MS-20 from 1978, including both the early and later versions of the filters, which can be toggled between.

Those using their computers for music get the TRITON taktile, a USB controller keyboard that works as a standalone synth in its own right, and the taktile controller, which drops the independent functionality. There are also two new DACs – the DS-DAC-100 for desk use, and the DS-DAC-100m, for mobile users – which look surprisingly sleek.


The TRITON taktile may find some fans, meanwhile, borrowing the same 512 sounds from the TRITON workstation but packaging it in a smaller body which doubles as a controller for soft-synths. There are sliders, switches, and velocity sensitive pads, plus a semi-weighted keyboard. The touchpad in the center can also be used as a mouse for your computer.

Finally, there’s the tinyPIANO, a battery powered compact digital piano aimed at kids but promising correct pitch and accurate tone, borrowed from Korg’s full-sized versions. It has 25 keys and a range of sounds including electric piano, clavinet, organ, bell, box, and toy piano.

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