In the past few years, Korg has been particularly busy with a full facelift to its music workstations line-up. After the debut of the Kronos flagship model and the revamped Kronos X edition, the Japanese house created an intermediate workstation to replace the older M50 in a market in which the new Yamaha’s MOX-Series is doing pretty well.
Contrary to expectations, the new Korg Krome is not derived from its big brother Kronos, or at least not completely. While sharing the same modern design, the huge touchscreen and some features and sounds with Kronos and Kronos X, most of the Korg Krome concept is based on the previous M3 and M50 models.
Below, please use the interactive table to compare the Korg Krome to other great digital pianos, including the Korg Kronos and Yamaha MOXF8:
$ = $500 or less | $$ = $500 – $1,000 | $$$ = $1,000 and up
|Roland JUNO-DS61||61||$$||8-Track Pattern Sequencer w/Non-Stop Recording|
|Korg Minilogue||37||$$||16-Step Polyphonic Step & Motion Sequencer|
|Roland JD-XI||37||$$||Gooseneck mic w/built-in Vocoder & AutoPitch|
|Korg Monologue||25||$||2 VCO (Square Wave, Triangle Wave, Sawtooth Wave)|
|Yamaha MODX7||73||$$$||Replaces the Yamaha MODX synths|
|Moog Grandmother||32||$$$||Semi-modular - no patching is required|
|Novation Bass Station II||25||$||Fully Analog Distortion & Filter-Modulation Effects|
|Korg Kross 2||61||$$||Pro-quality EDS-i Sound Engine|
|Yamaha Montage8||88||$$$||Balanced Hammer Effect Keyboard|
What the Korg Krome Offers You
The Korg Krome comes in three different versions: Krome 61 and 73-key models, which feature a semi-weighted keyboard, and Krome 88, which instead features the renowned Korg’s NH (Natural Weighted Hammer Action) keyboard for piano players.
And here’s what’s actually included inside the package.
- Korg Krome (61-key, 73-key or 88-key)
- AC adaptor
- Quick Start Guide
- Accessory Disc (includes the full User Manual)
- Optional: Sustain pedal
Below, take a look at some of the best selling workstations currently available for sale on Amazon:
|1) Yamaha P-515|
|2) Casio PX-870|
|3) Roland F-140|
|4) Yamaha YDP-164|
|5) Yamaha YDP-184|
The Krome is made out of an aluminum chassis that is at the same time extremely heavy-duty and lightweight. At the top of the chassis, we find a large 800×480 pixel TouchView Color display, which can show lots of helpful information at once and can be used with a single finger while playing.
Like its predecessor, the Krome’s touchscreen is very sensitive and allows for touch-drag of basically everything, such as knobs, sliders and boxes. You can quickly manage your sounds and all the related options without pressing a single button.
Well, at least most of the time.
On the left side, there is the multi-use joystick and two assignable buttons, while in the upper-left side you notice the volume knob and four knobs which are used to manage three rows of functions, such as cutoff, resonance, filter envelope intensity and amp envelope release.
On the right side, there are all the controls to navigate into menus, manage the tempo and using the Krome’s built-in 16-track sequencer. USB-to-MIDI port and SD card slot are placed on the rear side, along with all the connection jacks: the first allows to transfer MIDI data to your PC/Mac, while the latter is helpful to add new sounds and manage Krome’s data files.
THE SOUNDS OF THE KROME
The Krome is based on what Korg calls EDSx, which stands for Enhanced Definition Synthesis Extended. This is a Kronos-derived sound engine that runs on PCM samples and shares the same, beautiful, 88 full-length unlooped stereo samples for the main grand piano, which is modeled after a Steinway “D Grand”.
Combined with Krome 88’s NH hammer action keyboard, the piano just sounds amazing: it offers an authentic, natural and surrounding way of playing which can be usually found in much more expensive products.
The EDSx sound engine features a 3.8GB PCM memory and 583 multi-samples, along with 2,080 high quality drum samples. Each sound program can include one or two oscillators, and each oscillator includes up to eight multi-samples that can be enriched by two filters, amp envelopes and dual LFOs.
When using the Single mode (one oscillator), the maximum available polyphony is fixed to 120 voices, while in Double mode (two oscillators) the maximum polyphony drops to 60 voices. Each oscillator features 8 velocity zones with switching, crossfades and layers. You can even add 5 Insert Effects, 2 Master Effects and 1 Total Effect to the mix, counting on more than 193 different Effects types.
Thanks to this architecture, Korg has achieved a superior quality in most of the available sounds: the electric pianos and clavinets are excellent, the ROMpler organ model derived from CX-3 sounds good and, of course, the huge Korg’s synth library offers at least a preset for each of the most important synthesizers the world has ever seen.
The Kronos-derived Jazz Ambience Drum Kit takes the whole scene in Drums section, while the Orchestral category offers so many high quality Strings and Brass programs and combinations that can fit different needs.
Live musicians can count on 15 different categories of pre-made programs (plus another category for user-made patches), and 384 different combinations (a patch which contains multiple programs, combined to play as one, unique instrument). You can even use the free standalone Krome Editing Software to create your patches and combinations directly from a computer.
MAKE YOUR OWN SONGS
One of the biggest features of the Korg Krome is its built-in 16-track sequencer, which allows for recording your own songs in a home studio or backing tracks for live shows.
While it does not allow you to make an audio recording like the Kronos, the sequencer includes a visual track editor and a piano roll editor that offers several editing options, such as select and edit individual notes previously recorded or even cut and copy entire bars from one spot to another.
You can use this mode along with the built-in Arpeggiator and Drum Track to create complex songs, and even migrate your project to a proper-DAW for further corrections and improvements. It’s a shame that Korg chose to not allow the use of an external mouse in the sequencer mode, something that it did with the previous M3 workstation.
A FAMILY MATTER
So, if you have to buy a new workstation, choosing the Krome would certainly be a wise option. But what about other Korg products?
The current line-up includes the entry-level Kross, available in two versions (the $699 61-key and the $999 88-key), the aforementioned Krome ($1049 for the 61-key version, $1249 for the 73-key version, and $1649 for the 88-key version) and the flagship Kronos.
The new Kronos is probably the world’s best workstation ever created and the most complete keyboard made by Korg, but of course not everybody can afford a $2999 (61-key version) or a $3699 (88-key) investment for buying a single music workstation.
While the new Kronos offers the same 9-engine structure from the previous versions, the brand new 9GB Berlin D Grand Piano, and has a new chassis with natural wood side panels and several new features in its OS, the truth is that the two keyboards can not really be compared.
Of course, if you’re a pro musician, you’ll find in the new Kronos to be the best possible solution to make your music, create amazing sounds and rocking on the stage. But if you’re just about to play in your first gig or desire to make a more modest investment, your choice will be among the Kross and the Krome.
The Kross is an entry-level solution modeled after the X50 success, which offers a cheaper, lightweight plastic chassis, a simplified EDS-i engine with 112MB memory, 421 multisamples and 40-to-80 maximum polyphony. There’s no touchscreen, but Krome offers many other features that you would find really helpful if playing with a live band or using it as a recording studio.
The price difference between the two models is not as huge as the gap among Krome and Kronos, so if you can afford to buy the Krome, you can be sure that you won’t regret it.
Though Korg launched the third itineration of Kronos only a few months ago, Krome is still one of the best-seller products in the workstation market, thanks to a great formula that offers a complete bunch of features blended with a top-of-the-class grand piano sound and a really affordable price.
If you want to use a single keyboard on stage, the 88-key version will allow you to do basically everything in a lightweight and portable chassis. If you already own a digital or stage piano, the 61-key and 73-key versions would be the perfect complement for using strings and synths sounds, or even as an Hammond-like organ clone.
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