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To Kronos or not to Kronos, and other stuff


marino

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Hi my friends. I've not been very present on KC lately, but still checking it regularly.

I'll jump to the point:

 

I have been in need of a new main performance keyboard for quite a while now; I've been able to delay the purchase until now, using mainly my Studiologic VMK176plus and Kurzweil K2600R for gigs, plus a second keyboard when required.

However, there are a few drawbacks in this setup:

- The VMK is transmitting on only one MIDI channel at a time (urgh), so every setting has to be programmed in the expander;

- I'm becoming a bit reluctant to bring the K2600 out of the house... it's going to become more difficult to repair as the years go by, and I have years of work into it;

- Both instruments, in their cases, are getting a bit too heavy to carry for my aging back.

 

So I've been looking to a more integrated solution: An all-purpose keyboard with built-in sounds, good for both casual piano gigs and as a main board for more complex work and bigger stages.

Must be *fully* weighted, relatively light, and have high-quality sounds. I highly prefer 73/76 keys over 88.

 

Also, I'm in financial trouble... :freak: For this reason, I've never considered getting a Kronos, although I would just love to have a deep instrument on which to sink my programmer's teeth. I also happen to like the RH3 keyboard enough for 'pianistic' use. But because of the cost, I was looking for something cheaper, which I could finance at least in part by selling some of my existing gear.

 

BUT. I'm teaching a lot these days, so I've developed a good relationship with the Big Music Store here, since I'm sending them many students to buy instruments.

Now, they are offering me a Kronos 73 for something more than 2000 Euros. It's been on display for quite a while, but it includes the original boxes and a full warranty. Also, it has no quality issues with the RH3 action.

The deal is just for this one unit, so if I say no, when it's gone, it's gone.

 

Initially, I declined the offer, because even at that price, and considering monthly payments, it was too expensive for my present situation. But they said, rather surprisingly, that since they know me well by now, they were willing to accept a more 'relaxed' form of payment, like post-dated checks or something of that kind...

It was tease marketing for sure - and it worked. :D:freak: A new quality synth would help getting the creative juices flowing again. On the other hand, it's not even the best choice for my immediate needs: It's still a bit heavy (18+ kgs, same as my VMK) and bulky, and it has that horrible Korg lever/stick as a left-hand controller.

 

Until now, I had considered the Kurzweil SP4-8, the Krome 88, and the upcoming Casio PX5S (I went to a Casio event the other day, but it wasn't there yet). I have also tried the MOX8, but I don't like the action.

 

But as a synth fanatic, the idea of having the deep Kronos engine to tweak is quite appealing.

So since I would use the new keyboard onstage quite a bit, my question is simple:

 

- To those of you who are using (or have used) the Kronos onstage: Did you find it reliable for live use? Any issues, crashes, troubles, worries, gremlins, etc.?

 

Any input appreciated. Thanks!

 

 

 

 

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I have a K73 version 1, which I preordered from Sweetwater after attending a launch event (therefore it has the earliest iteration of RH3).

 

It gets moved to rehearsals or gigs several times a week, pretty much every week since purchase.

 

No repair issues, no breakdowns to date. No problems with RH3. Only minor issues I've encountered are:

 

1) The long boot time - remedied by packing a UPS to every Kronos gig.

 

2) On very rare occasions, selecting a CX3 patch in set list mode won't "take" on first try. I have to quickly tap to any other program and then tap back to the intended organ program to get it to "catch". Again, very infrequent and quickly remedied, but it should be mentioned.

 

3) That friggin' joystick. The X/Y stick is, on many patches, preset to do all sorts of dramatic multiple-destination mods. On the 73 it's in a great position for me to inadvertently swat it during my burning solo...causing the patch to mute unexpectedly or some other unintended craziness. I've just been too "busy with work" (aka "too lazy") to ferret out the culprit routings and reprogram them.

 

Hope this helps.

..
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Marino, I've got a Kronos 61 that has handled everything I've thrown at it so far, including moving it back and forth to gigs and rehearsals. I had a Karma, then a M3-73, and so I was already used to the joystick. The Kronos is the deepest keyboard I have ever owned. The pianos are stellar, the EPs will have you playing for hours, and the synth engines are monsters. I'm still trying to dial in a good Hammond, but it's mostly the Leslie simulator I'm unhappy with and I think a Ventilator could solve that problem pretty quick (or more tweaking).

 

Good luck Carlo, I do not think you would be disappointed. Not to mention, the way you play, it couldn't ask for a better home. And it sounds like they are willing to work with you to make it happen. If I lived a little closer I'd gladly pay you for lessons to help you to pay for it.

 

Kronos 88 | MODX7 | Wavestate | Crave | KeyLab 61 | CPS SSv3 | MacBook Pro | MainStage | More VSTs than I'll ever figure out

 

www.thehenrysmusic.com

 

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Marino, I've got a Kronos 61 also that I got kind of by accident. It's probably more deep than I need but it's a great board. I gig a lot so I worry that it's a little fragile. The CX-3 sounds with my Ventilator have been giving me surprising results. I had video of last weeks performance and it sounded really good.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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I've been using my Kronos 88 for gigs and rehearsals for roughly a year. It leaves my music space at home at least twice a week. I haven't had any issues with it whatsoever. As Timwat mentioned - the boot time is significant (but that's just how the Kronos is). I don't carry a UPS - but have never had it reset or lose power yet.

 

I haven't run into Timwat's issue about CX3 patches not "taking" in set list mode.

 

I have experienced some of Timwat's frustrations regarding the X/Y joystick. It is placed such that it's easy to inadvertantly bump out of the "centered" position - which can play havoc with whatever patch happens to be loaded at the time. More than once I've given my Kronos a serious "WTF?" when a patch suddenly started acting crazy - and before realizing that the X/Y joystick had been moved. Now that I know the deal ... I'm diligent about avoiding the situation and rarely run into issues with that.

The SpaceNorman :freak:
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I've had my kronos 61 for over a year with no issues. I was using a UPS but haven't lately because it's heavy/bulky and I've never had an issue, other than with the UPS itself (funny, right? the UPS was the problem so I ran through a power strip). No problems with the vector joystick - although in most of my patches, I disable its routings. The only CX3 issue I've had is occasionally in a combi that has CX3 in setlist mode, the sliders aren't controlling the drawbars unless I hit the tone button first. Not sure why that's the case on some and not others.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Hi Carlo!

 

I have had a Kronos (61) for 1 year. Simply it is one of the best keyboards ever made. It certainly isn't perfect... but as a total package there is nothing else out there atm.

 

I have only gigged with mine twice and it was all fine. It was wonderful to put together a set and have the setlist feature working, I made loads of combos had my controllers set up to do all kinds of things (e.g. nice to be able to swell in the cello over piano). Splits, layers and so forth are pretty easy too. It took a while to get together but I worked it out eventually. Still a bit in the dark about the FX sections in respect of combis but kinda getting there.

 

I have had some niggles at home though... a random crash and restart (on OS1.x) and the other day I had no sound for no reason and rebooted... (I am now suspecting it was the volume pedal!! DOH!!) So no real problems in OS2.0.

 

I love the main piano sound but it needed tweaking a lot because I felt it was triggering the higher velocity sounds too easily from my RD700GX. Probably is perfect from the 73 and 88 actions.

 

Not so in love with the EP but many love it. I have a CX3 and still love it a lot so the CX engine gets a lot of love here.

 

The synths are pretty deep but when you have real analogues it can leave you wanting a bit... the GUI on the AL-1 engine is the pits... so is the HD-1. I quite like the variety of synth waveforms in the HD though... even some of the Matrix 12 stuff in there!

 

As for the MS20 and Polysix they have great GUIs but I haven't really warmed to them. Same with the FM engine...

 

Something I did recently which you would love is transfer a few of my Matrix 12 and PolyEvolver sounds across to the Kronos. They were massive multisamples of every key (done using SampleRobot in Soundfont format) at 15 seconds each! As far as I know the Kronos is the only keyboard out there that can really do that. Now they weren't quite the same (I reckon something magical happens on the Matrix 12 when multiple voices are played together, perhaps some kind of saturation at the mixer?) but they are gonna be great for gigging.

 

So in closing, the Kronos is a real deep synth... it will take a lifetime to figure everything out... but at the same time there are tons of great sounds available so you don't need to.

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I love my kronos. Gig, travel, and move it semi-regularly and never had any issue with it.

 

I would caution on music store display models though. Those things take a beating. You could probably get that same price for a used one on the internet by a guy who kept it maticulously maintained in his studio.

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I have a K61 (#220). No issues ever. It covers a lot of ground (gigs, practices at various locations, outdoors, indoors). Complete sound source for everything (I added a vent to enrich the CX-3). I do the whole Sport Utility Keyboard Player thing. Jack of all Trades, master of none. For that role, it cannot be beat.

 

Korg Kronos 2 61, Kronos 1 61, Dave Smith Mopho x4, 1954 Hammond C2, Wurlitzer 200A, Yamaha Motif 6, Casio CDP-100, Alesis Vortex Wireless, too much PA gear!
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Thanks everybody for the overwhelming response! Once again, KC rules. :thu:

 

Since your collective verdict on using the Kronos live seemed to be mostly positive, I was starting to think about doing the crazy thing and bringing it home.... but unfortunately, when I went to talk with the guys again, things had taken a different turn... it was now 2600 euros, and with inflexible monthly payments. I left the place rather quickly; obviously, some people like to open their mouth just to let air in... not that I was so sure to be able to purchase it anyway, but still. It would have made my life quite a bit easier from a few different points of view... not to mention getting into programmer's heaven.... oh well.

 

Sorry to have wasted your time guys... and thanks again.

 

 

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Sorry to hear that Carlo. I was really surprised (given that every note was sampled, 15 seconds long each) to hear the sounds playback on the Kronos absolutely perfect note for note... but when I played chords on both the difference was night and day....
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That friggin' joystick. The X/Y stick is, on many patches, preset to do all sorts of dramatic multiple-destination mods. On the 73 it's in a great position for me to inadvertently swat it during my burning solo...causing the patch to mute unexpectedly or some other unintended craziness. I've just been too "busy with work" (aka "too lazy") to ferret out the culprit routings and reprogram them.

 

That's an easy fix. Go to BASIC/VECTOR==>VECTOR CONTROL. At the top left is a selection that reads: ENABLE VOLUME CONTROL. Deselect it. Save the Program. If you want to disable the CC aspect of the VJS, you can do it on that page as well.

 

Carlo, I think you'd really connect with the Kronos. The preset pusher crowd will argue the strings or something else are better on some other board, but that's all largely irrelevant with SSD, SF2 import and streaming disk sampling. The engines are deep and beg you to tweak/program. I've had it close to two years now and still feel like a novice with some of the engines.

 

Busch.

 

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Sorry to hear that Carlo. I was really surprised (given that every note was sampled, 15 seconds long each) to hear the sounds playback on the Kronos absolutely perfect note for note... but when I played chords on both the difference was night and day....

Exactly! It's amazing to hear, isn't it? I had the same experience when I tried to sample some of the sounds I had created on the Rhodes Chroma, before selling it. Frankly, not even single notes sounded really credible... but with chordal playing, the difference was so totally evident, that after a while I just gave up. It wasn't the lack of filter envelopes, or anything like that... just something in the interaction between notes, which made the sampled version much more static-sounding. In a sense, I'm sort of glad that the analog sound can't still be entirely reproduced with digital technology... :D

 

 

 

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I have read that the Kronos is not a bargain in the various Euro countries. We are fortunate in the US to have good price leverage. My Kronos 88 is a fantastic instrument. It was easy to unload my multi-keyboard rig, replace all that with the Kronos.

 

I suspect Korg has a new board in the works by January 2014. Maybe you can take advantage of a price reduction early next year.

Why fit in, when you were born to stand out ?

My Soundcloud with many originals:

[70's Songwriter]

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Carlo, I think you'd really connect with the Kronos.

Yeah, to be honest, I was starting to feel the taste of the beast, and if they had stuck with the promised deal, I probably would have bitten, although it would have been a huge stretch. I miss deep programming since I sold the A6 (although *you* have helped quite a bit to keep my analog chops oiled... :D once again, thank you).

I was envisioning things like solo gigs with complete arrangements and using Karma on some parts... transferring my Wavestation sounds to the Kronos engine and getting rid of my last WS...

So now I'm just trying to find the positive side... for example, I'll continue to have a few hours every night for sleeping.... :D

 

 

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Marino,

 

I'd keep the Casio PX5S on your radar screen!

 

I agree. A PX5S on bottom and a Kronos 61 on top makes a force to be reckoned with IMO. I'm also considering a MOX8 for bottom board too though.

 

Kronos 88 | MODX7 | Wavestate | Crave | KeyLab 61 | CPS SSv3 | MacBook Pro | MainStage | More VSTs than I'll ever figure out

 

www.thehenrysmusic.com

 

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Marino,

 

I'd keep the Casio PX5S on your radar screen!

 

I agree. A PX5S on bottom and a Kronos 61 on top makes a force to be reckoned with IMO. I'm also considering a MOX8 for bottom board too though.

 

I'm watching the PX5S very closely indeed. I went to a Casio event recently, and although it wasn't there yet, I've talked with the Casio people about it for a while, and it promises to be really interesting. Also, I was told it has the same keyboard of one of their 'home' DP models (the 450 IIRC), which I have played, and it's a great-feeling action, with the right balance and a textured surface. I sure prefer it to the MOX8 keybed.

 

 

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My Kronos 73 did die due to a faulty board but it was replaced in 11 days by Korg.

Since then (a year later) it's totally reliable - and I too have a UPS in my rack to prevent having ro reboot when some joker kicks the mains plug.

 

Like it as my main weighted keyboard and slowly scratching out sounds below the surface as time goes by - great MIDI controller.

 

R

Alan

Yamaha CP70B;Roland XP30/AXSynth/Fantom/FA76/XR;Hammond XK3C SK2; Korg Kronos 73;ProSoloist Rack+; ARP ProSoloist; Mellotron M4000D; GEM Promega2; Hohner Pianet N, Roland V-Grand,Voyager XL, RMI
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I love my Kronos 61.. I use it as a single "all-in-one" keyboard or as a second keyboard sitting on top of my Crumar Mojo organ. It is absolutely the best all in one that's available now.. is it perfect.. no, but it's the closest thing to perfect that's out there right now. My opinon of course, and I've had no problems with mine whatsoever!

Craig MacDonald

Hammond BV, Franken-B (A100 in a BV cabinet), Leslies 122/147/44W, Crumar Mojo, HX3 module, Korg Kronos, VR-09, Roland GAIA, Burn, Ventilator

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At least I have one thing in common with Marino - we have the same live rig - I have been gigging with a VMK76 and a K2600R since I sold my PC1SE last summer. And I have one thing to say: stop before it is too late! I did a gig recently and afterwards the display on my K stopped working unless you press and hold the display knob from the front panel. So I need to drop it off at the keyboard hospital and pray that they can fix it.

 

I like the idea of getting a Kronos 61 and keeping the VMK - I love the feel on that controller - but that would mean going back to a two tier stand and I really like just having a single board - too bad I didn't care for the feel of the Kronos 73, I just didn't care for the RH3 action, though I probably would have gotten used to it.

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