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Author Topic: NI Kore 2 - NOW WITH PODCAST / AUDIO DEMO  (Read 6361 times)
Marc JX8P
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« on: February 07, 2008, 03:42:37 AM »

** NEW: Audio demos **

I thought that perhaps this story would work better with some real audio examples, so at the bottom of this post you'll be able to find my first podcast/audio review ever! Smiley It was recorded in one go on one track without a script so it's probably sounding like me rambling on and on but please post your comments as I quite liked doing this and I would like to improve on it. Anyway, hope you enjoy it and get some idea of how Kore 2 is, just playing sounds.
I need to add that the 'airy pad' I play is another Kontakt 3 preset played from Kore 2 and not part of the Kore 2 presets.
[/hr]

I've been using Kore 2 more and more lately so I thought it'd be nice to do a little review of it. I'm quite enthusiastic about this software which is very intuitive and easy to play and amazingly complex and flexible if you dive into the sound creation and editing facilities.

A short introduction

To start with, a short introduction as to what Kore 2 does: basically, the Kore platform is a combination of a software host for MIDI, VST and VSTi plugins and a hardware controller. Though the software can be used without the controller, it does make 'playing' the software a lot easier if you have it connected.

The software is amazingly flexible. You can host loads of VSTi's, set them up so they play at the same time or for different zones on your master keyboard. You can send them through seperate VST effects if you want and route the audio to different audio outs (if you have them). You can tweak the incoming midi data using midi transfomers, you can add a midi file player (which can be triggered by an incoming midi note if you want), there's and arpeggiator and a step sequencer...

Any automatable parameter in a VSTi or VST - or even most of the internal structure of such a setup such as channel volumes or pan - can be assigned to one of the eight knobs on the control hardware, or to one of the eight buttons that it has. The control hardware also has a display which can display those parameter names and, of course, several pages of such assignments can be set up (called controller pages).

You can of course store such a setup - complete with all kinds of tags and metadata which makes finding back such presets easy in the future.

Kore 2 contains loads of presets for all of the NI instruments, most of them with 8 different 'morph states' that you can morph between. But the nicest thing is that NI have fitted Kore 2 with the synth engines (and the Kontakt 2 engine too) of most of their software products which means that even if you don't own those you can play Kore 2 presets that use these engines. You can't open the synths and samplers in that case, but you will be able to use Kore 2 to tweak the parameters that the sound programmers have set up. Kore 2 contains loads of presets, all neatly tagged and fitted with metadata and controller pages. They are also releasing Kore 2 soundpacks, which are packs of additional presets with a very nice price.

If this has gotten you interested: NI are about to release a free version of the Kore 2 software with a select number of presets, so you can always check that one out!

Installation

Getting started with Kore is really a very simple affair - no more difficult than installing your usual software synth or host. You install the software (there's a standalone and a plugin version for use in your sequencer, both are largely similar in function) and the presets it contains, you install the driver for the controller and you connect the controller to the USB port of your computer. Authentication is via the NI license control center which asks for the serial code you got with the software, then connects to NI and authorizes the software on your computer. You can authorize the software on two different machines simultaneously. Should you later dump one of these machines, you can remove it from your account at NI and thus free the authorization for a new computer. It's all very quick and easy and one of the best schemes I know. After this, Kore 2 will scan your VSTi/VST folders for plugins (you'll be able to add other folders and rescan them later) to buil up a plugin database. After that, the fun begins.

Finding a sound

The database of presets is one of the most important assets of Kore 2. Aside from its name, every preset is fitted with several tags, such as: 'Synth Pad', 'Layered', 'Warm', 'New Age' for a particular synth pad sound, or 'Guitar', 'Distorted', 'Metallic', 'Rock' for a particular lead guitar sound. Loads of tags can be assigned to any one preset, along with a personal score for that preset so you'll be able to quickly find your favourites again. The database can also score information such as who made the preset, notes on the preset and what plugins were used in it which all helps tremendously when you are looking for a certain sound quality or you need to find a preset back that you used before.

Now, say I want a nice synth lead. All I have to do is to open the sound browser and click on the 'synth lead' tags in the tag lists to the left. To the right I have my results window and there I'll see the names of all the presets that conform to my selection. I can try one of these by just double clicking it. If there are still too many, I can add another search tag to the left - say 'Classic Mono Lead', and even other tags to further refine my search. Once again, the results window will directly change to reflect what tags I select and I'm just a double click away from playing the sounds in question.

Having selected a sound, it's loaded into the 'Sound matrix' which sounds very impressive (and which is) but which can basically be seen as a kind of mixer with several channels, each of which can contain one or more plugins (more of this later when I'll be talking about sound creation). The presets all have several controller pages which have been set up by the sound designers for the specific sound that you've just loaded. A synth preset, for example, is very likely therefore to give you access to the filter settings, probably some basic ADSR settings and other switches and tweakable parameters that are useful. Most sounds also have eight different morph states which you can either select directly or which you can morph between by using your mouse or - even better - your controller. Having the controller pages and the morph states really means that you're able to quickly tweak an existing sound and play it very expressively. What also helps here is that the eight endless controllers have a very high resolution. Another cool thing here: not only does the controller show you what knob and what button controls what in the display, each button also has a built in status led showing the status of the switch it controls and each knob is touch sensitive: if you just touch it it will show its current value in the display of the controller.

I'm in control!

Ah yes, the controller. Kore 2 can basically be completely controlled via the controller. Sound selection, sound tweaking and all. The controller looks and feels very classy, silvery metal and shiny black are the main elements here. All lights are red as is the display. The left hand side is the tweaking section; here are the eight buttons and eight knobs that control your sounds and they feel very sturdy. The middle section contains the display, four arrow buttons (for controlling the menus) and a stop, run and record button (intended for the Kore 2 sequencers and such) and to the right is a big alpha dial for making precise adjustments in values with a ring of six special buttons around it (for jumping to the menu or to the controller pages of a sound). While the arrow buttons and the six buttons around the alpha dial feel a bit more flimsy to me, they work well and in the Kore 2 version they are improved so I heard (I still use the Kore 1 controller as I got Kore 1 and then upgraded to Kore 2 in software only).

Using the controller is really a pleasure; the tweak knobs and buttons work well and give you quick access without needing to open a plugin or its menu pages if it has those. Since it can also allow you to simultaneously control several plugins within a preset, this really makes it an interesting performance tool too. Tweak the volume levels of a backing synth line controlled by the Kore arpeggiator, raise the filter frequency of an arpeggiated synth while simultaneously starting another arpeggiated synth line followed by a quick selection of another patch to play from your keyboard so you can play along to it? All in a days work (and exactly the kind of stuff I'm programming into it at the moment).



Next: some basic sound editing; layering and setting up splits.

* MarcJX8P-Kore2-Review1-22-64.mp3 (5726.17 KB - downloaded 159 times.)
« Last Edit: February 11, 2008, 01:26:52 PM by Marc JX8P » Logged

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Marc JX8P
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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2008, 02:37:20 AM »

I added a podcast showing off some Kore 2 sounds to the original post in this thread, hope you enjoy it! In any case, some feedback would be appreciated, it being my first podcast.
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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2008, 10:45:40 AM »

Now that I am finishing up two months of computer problems, I am getting ready to turn my attention back to learning Reason, and I found this interesting..it has been a bit daunting for me, learning synths, and this was inspiring. THX.

Wyatt
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Oren
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« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2008, 08:55:27 PM »

Outstanding presentation, Marc!

Great voice, excellent language skills, smooth style  Grin

Oren.
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Marc JX8P
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« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2008, 12:48:21 AM »

Thanks! Glad to hear you think it's useful and also that it worked on a presentation level. It was fun to do but you're never really sure how it will work for others when they listen to it so I was really curious for feedback.

One advantage that I do have with this is that I really love talking English, it's a great language to express yourself in.
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kara
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« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2008, 08:17:32 AM »

This is excelent work Marc !  Cool
A good introduction and the audio file is perfect to realy hear what is all about.
You should get yourself a webcam and do this as a video  Grin

By the way, I was in your country this week  wOO

k
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« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2008, 06:51:03 PM »

This is excelent work Marc !  Cool
A good introduction and the audio file is perfect to realy hear what is all about.
You should get yourself a webcam and do this as a video  Grin

By the way, I was in your country this week  wOO

k


Thanks! Smiley  I think I'll do a next one the coming weekend; not planning to use a webcam though... First of all that would make the file dramatically larger and second of all, if I were to do that I would want to intercut with screen images. It does interest me, but probably not something to try directly...

Also, forcing you guys to listen to me is a first step - requiring you all to see too me would be too cruel! Grin

Cool to hear you were here, where were you if I may ask? I live in Maastricht, in the south.
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« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2008, 10:11:42 PM »

Den Helder, Harlingen & Urk

k



Cool to hear you were here, where were you if I may ask? I live in Maastricht, in the south.

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« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2008, 01:42:05 PM »

Wow, I really should be getting a new podcast ready... Smiley
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