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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Korg Nano Series

Quite a while back I decided to try the Korg nanoKontrol and nanoPad. The price was certainly right (about $60/each). The Kontrol worked fine after I found this post on untidymusic.com. That post has info on getting it working with versions of Sonar before X1, but it's easy enough to find the settings now under Preferences). The Kontrol has continued to work well for what it's intended to do.

The nanoPad was a completely different story. It was what I discovered to be a piece of junk. More than half of the pads didn't work reliably or at all. Checking the internet, I discovered many people having problems with it. I wrote Korg and asked what the deal was. They never replied. I sent the thing back. While I'd received free shipping to get it, the well-known company that sold it to me actually charged me for return shipping even though they knew it was defective. Needless to say, I won't do business with that company again -- and it's not the cost of the shipping, it's the principle of the thing. Thankfully, there is plenty of competition in the musical equipment arena.

The really weird thing about the nanoKontrol is that it has nine faders (along with a rotary and two buttons for each fader). If you think of something that's intended to work with a computer, nine is a strange number. Computers like 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, etc. The Kontrol can handle 32 tracks through the use of four "scenes." Since each scene has nine faders, when you get to scene 4, only the first five faders will work (9+9+9+5 = 32).

I got tired of having the fun of thinking "I want to control track 25" -- let's see, the second scene gets me up to track 18. So I know I need to be in scene 3. 9 plus 9 equals 18. 25 minus 18 equals 7. Ah yes, slider 7 on scene 3. Now, what song was I working on?" Of course labeling would be the answer. So, here's my label. Print it in landscape mode. Cut it out close to the numbers and put the numbers directly below the buttons to the left of each fader. I used some stick paper paste on the back of this strip to hold it steady while lining it up. I had the faders all the way up and out of the way. When the label was in place, I lowered the faders to make sure they would travel all the way to the bottom. Then I raised the faders again and put some clear tape over the label, folding the extra tape down the front side of the Kontrol.

There is now a "2" series for the nano. And they made the math on the nanoKontrol2 more human friendly, with eight faders. I searched Korg's site for 2 series user's manuals, and they don't have them up as of today. I certainly hope Korg fixed the pad problem on the nanoPad2.

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