KORG KAOSS PAD KP1
These mods are now available for your KP1 HERE.
Way back in 1999 (its seems like longer) the Korg Kaoss Pad seemed like some kind of visitation from an alien technology. Visually, it looks fairly primitive today, but back then it was the first of its kind. The technology was lifted straight from the Korg Z1, which was essentially a polyphonic Korg Prophecy released in 1997, but the KP1 was certainly the first stand alone effects device with a two axis touch pad controller.
If you want to read a review detailing the full specs of the KP1, you won't go far wrong with the Sound On Sound review from 1999 that can be found HERE. Essentially the KP1 features 60 different preset effects in six banks of 10 filters, modulation effects, delays. reverbs. SFX and sampling. Each effect preset has various different realtime control parameters assigned to the touch pad, so on a delay preset you might find that the delay feedback is increased as you move your finger on the pad towards the top left, or reverb might be introduced as you move your finger towards the bottom left etc etc. Normally when you remove your finger from the pad the effect is turned off, but at any point you can press the 'Hold' button and the effect is locked on in the last pad position you used.
The 'sample' presets are especially interesting, as they allow you to sample a sound into the unit, and then the sample is continuously looped as long as you are touching the pad. On the various sample presets the pad position is assigned to such things as the sample loop point, loop length, playback speed, forward/reverse playback etc.
As you can see, we have added a new control box to the side of the KP1. The box itself is made from a translucent red plastic, and we have installed several LED's inside so the whole thing lights up when you turn the unit on....... Nice! :-)
The control box houses a 16 way 'bend bus' switching matrix, and a clock speed knob. There is also another new switch mounted on the main casing just in front of the new control box 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 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 KP1 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 KP1 clock. Unlike many units that can be re-clocked in a similar way, on the KP1 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 16 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.
The final, and we think you'll agree, most important mod to this machine, is a new spiral backing to the touch pad. You might ask why, but it would probably be more appropriate to ask, why not? Since when have we needed an excuse to make anything look more psychedelic? ;-)
The unit does very occasionally crash and lock to one effect when you quickly change preset effects with the clock speed set low. For some reason this mainly happens with the filter effects, but with a little practise it is completely avoidable and simply restarting the thing resets it.
Below are some demos of what this machine is now capable of. The first is a fairly long and brutal destruction of a very simple pattern supplied by a Yamaha RM1X. The second demonstrates what can be done to delays, and shows what can be created by the unit itself without an input when the mods are applied to the reverb effects. The third demo is the result of processing a breakbeat, again from a RM1X. The fourth is a stereo ambience and the final demo is a continuation of the first, only with more of a bad trip feel to it.
This version is exactly the same, but the breakout box is in blue translucent plastic. We have also replaced the 4 orange corner LED's for the screen with blues ones, and the centre red one that lights up when you touch the screen, with a white one.
These mods are now available for your KP1 HERE.