KORG KAOSS PAD KP2
(Installed on your machine by circuitbenders)
KP1 mods can be found HERE.
The Korg Kaoss Pad KP2 was released back in 2002, three years after the original KP1. In many ways it was very much the 'main battle tank' upgrade to the KP1, with a new metal casing solid enough to use as a murder weapon without leaving a dent, and a whole host of extra effects and flashing lights. The KP2 was one of those rare cases of a manufacturer actually learning from previous units and providing an upgrade that provided more or less exactly what the original machine was lacking. Side by side you do get a slight sense that the KP2 is a slightly safer machine, with a indefinably cleaner and more refined character to both its sound and operation. The KP1 is maybe slightly more chaotic, but if this is a downside its probably made up for by the KP2's expanded effects range and features.
When modded it has to be said that the KP2 is a somewhat less subtle machine and much more of a brute force tool than the KP1, although it is still very capable of more nuanced results alongside the flat out absolute chewing the furniture lunacy!
The standard mods add a new control box to the side of the KP2. The box itself is made from a translucent red or blue plastic (state your preference), and includes the installation of several LED's inside so the whole thing lights up when you turn the unit on.
The control box houses an 18 way 'bend bus' switching matrix, and a clock speed knob. There is also another new switch mounted on the front of the main casing which switches between the normal clock speed, and the new clock speed knob.
The new clock speed knob controls the running speed of the onboard sample RAM. This means that it will control the playback speed of any samples, the length of both the delays and reverbs, and the depth / speed of any other effects that use the sample RAM, such as flanging or chorus. This works independently of any other effect or pad settings.
The clock speed also appears to control the sample rate of the RAM. On the KP2 the clean input signal is always run though the A/D and D/A convertors before reaching the output as there is no true bypass. This means that even when there is no effect running, the clock speed knob will change the sample rate of the input signal. This allows you to take a normal input and take the sample rate down to give drum loops more punch and dirt, until at the bottom of the knobs range the input sounds like its playing back through some kind of underwater drug experience.
The switch allows you to quickly switch back to the standard KP2 clock. Unlike many units that can be re-clocked in a similar way, on the KP2 you can freely switch between the standard clock speed and the new clock speed knob at any time without the unit locking up or crashing.
The 18 way bend bus switching matrix allows you to apply various kinds of comb filters, pseudo ring modulation, bit crushing, distortion, and what can only be described as audio smearing™ to any affect that uses the sample RAM in any respect. Each switch has a certain effect that is usually associated with it, although its effect can be altered depending on which other switches are activated simultaneously. You have to activate more than one switch at a time for any effect to work, but when two or more switches are activated their associated effects will combine to produce something entirely new. The demos below do tend to highlight the savagely brutal end of what this machine can do, but thats only because its more fun! It is very keen on distorting sounds way beyond the outer limits of what is strictly healthy, but it's also capable of producing a range of more subtle and sometimes strangely beautiful alien sounds.
Below are some demos of what this machine is now capable of. The first demo is in three parts, processing an external acid input, playing and processing some of the onboard synth sounds via the touch pad, and a selection of self generated sounds created from just activating the switches on certain effects patches.
The second and third demos are both either processing a Roland R5 drum machine live, or using the KP2's sampling features to grab a drum loop that is then mangled with the mods.
We may try to come up with a slightly more subtle and nuanced demo at some point, but for now its carnage!
PAD IMAGE: £25
Some KP2's have stickers on the front of the touch pad and others don't, but they can be easily removed if they are damaged or won't look good with a new pad design. We can add any custom image you want to the inside of the touch screen so that it lights up when you touch the pad. The standard default image we use is our spiral design as shown below, but we can use pretty much any black and white image you want. Subtle tone gradients don't work as well as sharp edged black and white images, so keep that in mind if you are designing your own pad image.
With the KP1 the LED positioning under the panel throws some odd shadows through the image onto the surface of the pad which is much less translucent than on the KP2, so things sometimes get a bit confused. With the KP2 you don't experience this issue so you tend to get a much sharper and well defined pad image.
If you want to produce your own image you can download a 300dpi guide frame to fit it into from HERE. The white area within the black border is the visible surface of the touch pad. Please position your image within the white area, leaving the black frame in place as it acts as a framing and cutting guide for us.
If you want your KP2 modded please get in touch via the CONTACT form.
KP1 mods can be found HERE.