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#2012530 - 01/10/13 11:14 PM Korg Krome 88
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3097
Loc: Oregon
Initial impressions... [EDIT: please also see my later posts where issues around resonance and sounds etc. are clarified]

Out of the box, my first thought was; "Oh my, what have I done!" It's light but very bulky, with a lot of spare real estate. The power supply connector is tiny, and no better than that on the unweighted boards. Initially, the action felt strange and non-linear in velocity response, and some of the keyboard sounds seemed to lack any organic texture or depth.

Now I had briefly owned the 73-key (non-weighted) version, so I should have known what to expect sound-wise. I had not kept it because the action was awful, with a very unpredictable, jumpy response, and trying to run the piano sounds via MIDI was too much of a hassle, what with setting up Combis and rationing effects. But as time went by, I realized that there was no other model range that offered a 32lbs hammer-action keyboard with excellent eight-level acoustic and electric piano sounds, plus a host of supporting sounds and features (whether I needed them or not!).

Fast-forward forty-eight hours, and I am becoming quite attached to this board. Unfortunately, it does require some tweaking to get the best out of it, and I find the plethora of menu options daunting and confusing; (I haven't tried the PC editor yet). The main Krome piano sound has a few different iterations, ranging from bright to quite dark. They are all extremely playable, with a beautiful gradation of timbre, so that - most notably with the Krome Dark Piano - one can play from gentle pianissimo passages to strident fortissimo with a good degree of control and responsiveness. The action is actually surprisingly good - not up to Kawai's or Roland's standards, but acceptable in view of the weight, and somewhat reminiscent of the Privia action. Repetition is a little better than what I recall from the Fatar action in the Nord Piano.

Acoustic piano patches lack a few of the refinements that we have come to expect in dedicated DPs, particularly in terms of resonance, and notes do trigger at MIDI velocity #1. There is just a tiny hint of "plunkiness" on some mid-range notes. The overall sound is perhaps very slightly thinner and brighter than Roland's SN. But right now, despite the absence of these additional refinements, the basic sound and response is probably as good as anything I have tried in a DP in recent years; it seems to play more smoothly than my recently departed MP6. The proof of the pudding for me will be to see how these unlooped samples behave in live performance, and how well they record.

EPs were initially not quite as I remembered them from the Krome 73; they seemed a little dull and lifeless. But I managed to do a few minor tweaks, and now I think they are very good. The Mark V Rhodes is particularly nice. The Wurli is not quite up to Nord's standard, but it will probably do fine. There are some good clavs onboard, some so-so organs, and a whole raft of synth and orchestral sounds, most of which I'll never use, although some of the pads are pretty good.

Unless NAMM produces some surprises, there is probably little outside of the Krome and the Nord range that offers very high quality pianos in a truly portable form. I may decide to pair the Krome with an Electro 4 to get the best mix of bread-and-butter sounds, or finally bite the bullet and trade up to a Nord Stage 2. However, at this stage - and depending on how well it works live - the Krome 88 is kind of unique at $1600.


Edited by voxpops (01/11/13 12:34 PM)
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#2012533 - 01/10/13 11:30 PM Re: Korg Krome 88 [Re: voxpops]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9534
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Nice one, thanks for the mini review.

I'm quite interested in the Krome too, and still haven't ordered the NE4 yet...
Still wondering about an SV-2 an NAMM.

Cheers,
James
x
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#2012535 - 01/10/13 11:39 PM Re: Korg Krome 88 [Re: voxpops]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3665
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Interesting, Vox. Just wondering what the boot up time of the Krome is? The Kronos has attracted a lot of criticism for it's really slow boot up time on powering up. Something like a minute! Which would be a disaster if you had a momentary power interruption during a gig. Hopefully Krome is a bit faster.

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#2012536 - 01/10/13 11:43 PM Re: Korg Krome 88 [Re: voxpops]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3097
Loc: Oregon
James, it's a little frustrating. The NE4D has the drawbars (very appealing to me), and the NE4 SW73 lacks the drawbars but has the additional memory (equally appealing), so it's almost impossible to decide. Buying a 4D might be a bad move as it'll be obsolete quicker due to the lack of memory. And in the end, I also wonder whether it's worth spending $2400 on a SW73, and then having to add another $300 for a set of Ocean Beach drawbars, when an open box Stage can be had for a couple of hundred more.

As for the SV-2, I've a feeling that if they do release one, and judging by the Krome, it'll be a killer board!
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#2012539 - 01/10/13 11:45 PM Re: Korg Krome 88 [Re: ando]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3097
Loc: Oregon
Originally Posted By: ando
Interesting, Vox. Just wondering what the boot up time of the Krome is? The Kronos has attracted a lot of criticism for it's really slow boot up time on powering up. Something like a minute! Which would be a disaster if you had a momentary power interruption during a gig. Hopefully Krome is a bit faster.

I think Kronos is around two minutes (!) and Krome is just shy of a minute. It's certainly too long if a reboot is necessary. A second board would cover the downtime, but it's not ideal.
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#2012543 - 01/10/13 11:53 PM Re: Korg Krome 88 [Re: voxpops]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3408
Originally Posted By: voxpops
I had briefly owned the 73-key (non-weighted) version... I had not kept it because the action was awful, with a very unpredictable, jumpy response.

Yeah, that's what I would have expected. Even the best unweighted Korg actions (i.e. Kronos) are pretty bad for piano, and the lower end ones even worse.

In terms of weight, sounds, features, the only competition for the Krome 88 is the MOX8.

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#2012566 - 01/11/13 12:57 AM Re: Korg Krome 88 [Re: anotherscott]
Dave Ferris Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/07
Posts: 1732
Loc: Glendale, Ca.
I played the Krome 88 at a Sam Ash about two weeks ago. I didn't spend a whole lot of time with it but initial impressions were--it's not as bad as the reports I've read over at KC.

I just kinda scrolled through the first 20 sounds or so as I had limited time. I think it was running through some M-Audio monitors. So at least a fairly decent representation of what it can do.

As usual there was a CP5 nearby. I jumped on that quickly after the Krome and again as usual my first impressions were dampened compared to the Yamaha....but that's typical for me whenever I compare anything to the CP5.

Still I thought it wasn't half bad just in the short time I had with it. It was a flimsy build quality which I guess is to be expected.
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#2012590 - 01/11/13 02:31 AM Re: Korg Krome 88 [Re: voxpops]
JFP Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/10
Posts: 1336
Loc: The Netherlands
I think most if the critical notes are about the mediocre keybed. The basic sounds must be alright , especially the AP - though it will always remain a matter of preference which (brands ) piano sound you like the most.

Any thoughts about the keys of the 88 Krome ?

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#2012657 - 01/11/13 08:56 AM Re: Korg Krome 88 [Re: voxpops]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3097
Loc: Oregon
The keys are standard plastic with a slightly more matte finish for the black keys. I'm not sure whether I'll have grip problems or not yet, but they feel fine. Funnily enough, my wife (who does not play piano and usually shows no interest in the boards that come and go) came in to the room and played a few notes, commenting that the Krome felt more like a real piano. As I said above, the action is actually pretty good for a lightweight board, but takes a little getting used to after PHAIII and RH.
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#2012668 - 01/11/13 09:21 AM Re: Korg Krome 88 [Re: Dave Ferris]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3097
Loc: Oregon
Originally Posted By: Dave Ferris
As usual there was a CP5 nearby. I jumped on that quickly after the Krome and again as usual my first impressions were dampened compared to the Yamaha....but that's typical for me whenever I compare anything to the CP5.


You know, Dave, if they put the CP5's pianos and EPs in a "P160" shell, I'd be first in line. We'll see...
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#2012705 - 01/11/13 10:29 AM Re: Korg Krome 88 [Re: voxpops]
Kbeaumont Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/26/10
Posts: 269
Loc: Virginia, USA
Korgs biggest fail are its keys. The RH3 keys are sluggish and notoriously unreliable. The Krome has the SP-170 keybed, I haven't played it but I have yet to hear anyone raving about it. Their semi-weighted are jumpy as the OP said. It seems to that if they would put more priority in designing quality lightweight FULL SIZED keys they could sell a lot more units. If CASIO can do it why not Korg? Korg has been doing it a lot longer! This is Korgs 50th Anniversary, how about designing a decent hammer action?
Or license casio's!

I have a friend who bought a Korg R3, the keyboard failed in less than 3 months. He only played the thing rarely at home on top of his acoustic piano. Korg replaced the keys they failed less than 6 months later. I have an SV1-73 , I love nearly everything on that board except the RH3 Keys. If I could get a 73 or 76 key decent hammer action with decent AP, EP sounds in the $1500 range, I would donate it to a charity auction!


Edited by Kbeaumont (01/11/13 10:47 AM)
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#2012715 - 01/11/13 10:48 AM Re: Korg Krome 88 [Re: Kbeaumont]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3408
Originally Posted By: Kbeaumont
The Krome has the SP-170 keybed, I haven't played it but I have yet to hear anyone raving about it.

It's okay, not too dissimilar from the Yamaha GHS, or previous generation Casios. Not spectacular, but then, as with those others, it is a budget design, and within that lens, I'd say it's perfectly respectable.

Originally Posted By: Kbeaumont
If CASIO can do it why not Korg?

Casio can probably do lots of things that Korg can't... I believe they are a much larger company with much deeper pockets. (They may also have certain patents.)

And actually, until a few months ago with the release of the PX-150/PX-350, I'm not sure anyone would have said Casio made any better weighted actions than Korg's anyway.

Originally Posted By: Kbeaumont
Or license casio's!

I doubt Casio wants to license their design to a competitor.

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#2012739 - 01/11/13 11:37 AM Re: Korg Krome 88 [Re: voxpops]
Kbeaumont Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/26/10
Posts: 269
Loc: Virginia, USA
Quote:
And actually, until a few months ago with the release of the PX-150/PX-350, I'm not sure anyone would have said Casio made any better weighted actions than Korg's anyway.


I have to disagree there. The PX-330 & PX-3 were both praised quite highly. Sounds no, but I remember back when I bought my PX-330 (2009?) That several people on KC forum messaged me stating they thought the keys on the SP-250 / M50 weren't that great, and for what I wanted to checkout CASIO. I personally, was really pleasantly surprised by the PX-110 back when it came out. A couple of years before that.

I ended up buying the PX-330 because I wanted something for my home that I use for software sounds and a Sonic Cell I had. I have never regretted buying it, because the internal sounds weren't as important to me as the feel. Though that the PX-3 coming out about 6-8 months later gave me pause.

CASIO is mostly probably a lot bigger, but that doesn't necessarily trump experience. As I said, Korg has been in the music business continuously for 50 years. Korg has put out some great sounding instruments and innovations like Karma were ahead of their peers. My feeling is they have neglected the physical part of their instruments for too long.
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#2012754 - 01/11/13 12:14 PM Re: Korg Krome 88 [Re: voxpops]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3097
Loc: Oregon
A note about resonance in the Krome. Some of the AP samples use two oscillators for the piano sound (presumably for stereo), and others use one oscillator for piano and the other for damper resonance, so you get a mono piano with a fuller resonance. Just to confuse matters, you can also add an effect that provides a soundboard/damper emulation (although it is pretty subtle). There appears to be no sympathetic/duplex resonance.
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#2012766 - 01/11/13 12:32 PM Re: Korg Krome 88 [Re: Kbeaumont]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3408
Originally Posted By: Kbeaumont
I have to disagree there. The PX-330 & PX-3 were both praised quite highly. Sounds no, but I remember back when I bought my PX-330 (2009?) That several people on KC forum messaged me stating they thought the keys on the SP-250 / M50 weren't that great, and for what I wanted to checkout CASIO. I personally, was really pleasantly surprised by the PX-110 back when it came out. A couple of years before that.

Well, these things are always subjective, and you can always find "several people" who think just about anything. ;-) Seriously, though, I don't remember people generally saying that the PX-330 action was better than Korg's RH3. (Personally, I'm no great fan of either one.)

But I happen to agree with you about the older Casio actions. I actually preferred their older actions to the PX-330/PX-3! But I like the actions of their new PX150/350 better than any of them.

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#2012767 - 01/11/13 12:32 PM Re: Korg Krome 88 [Re: voxpops]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3097
Loc: Oregon
A further note about sounds. I mentioned in my first post that some of the sounds seemed different (marginally less good) than the ones in the Krome 73. I now know why. I had updated the OS in the 73, and I omitted to do that until this morning on the 88. The update includes the option to upgrade the programs and combis. The result is slight improvements to the sounds and the way they respond in OS version 1.0.1.

This board is growing on me.
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#2012776 - 01/11/13 12:47 PM Re: Korg Krome 88 [Re: voxpops]
Kbeaumont Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/26/10
Posts: 269
Loc: Virginia, USA
Quote:
Just to confuse matters, you can also add an effect that provides a soundboard/damper emulation (although it is pretty subtle)


Thanks for the review voxpops!
In the SV1 there is the sound of the damper pedal thud it can be easily filtered using eq settings. But the default is anything but subtle. I think the Krome looks like a nice update over the M50.

I guess I'm gonna have to demo it, I've heard mixed reviews on the keys. If the note repetition is faster than the RH3 action and the reliability is better than this is good news indeed. I'm really not that picky, the keys on my SV1 are just slow! It initially didn't bother me. But after a couple months of gigging with it, I'm noticing it more and more!


Edited by Kbeaumont (01/11/13 12:53 PM)
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A long long time ago, I can still remember
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#2012976 - 01/11/13 05:27 PM Re: Korg Krome 88 [Re: voxpops]
Ojustaboo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/18/11
Posts: 155
Loc: Deleted
Deleted


Edited by Ojustaboo (07/29/13 06:22 PM)

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#2013058 - 01/11/13 07:55 PM Re: Korg Krome 88 [Re: Ojustaboo]
Possum SP280Krome Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/23/10
Posts: 624
GHS has different versions as well for Yamaha.

What about getting a Krome 61 and midi'ing it to whatever 88 one has already?
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#2013072 - 01/11/13 08:31 PM Re: Korg Krome 88 [Re: voxpops]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3097
Loc: Oregon
With all the talk about Korg and key problems, I have to say that the NH action in the Krome is OK. It took a short while to get used to it, but now it seems fine. There are a host of velocity curves to choose from, but I keep ending up on the default. None is perfect - I keep wishing for one or two in-between curves - but the default works well enough.

I used RH3 in a Korg SP-250 a few years ago and had absolutely no problems with that. It seems that all the keybed issues occurred with the advent of the SV-1 and the Kronos. I wonder if something changed. But it now seems that they have the weighted action problem licked - although whether you like RH3 or NH is another matter. I do think they need to address the playability of their unweighted actions, though...
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#2013169 - 01/12/13 01:16 AM Re: Korg Krome 88 [Re: voxpops]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3097
Loc: Oregon
It's not often I say this about any digital instrument, but I'm actually finding the Krome to be quite inspirational, and am wanting to sit and play it. It's a heck of a bang for the buck. It's probably not the right instrument for serious study, but there are plenty of alternatives for music students; however, for composing, arranging and light gigging duties I doubt anything else comes close at the price. It wipes the floor with the MOX, IMO.
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#2013176 - 01/12/13 01:31 AM Re: Korg Krome 88 [Re: voxpops]
Dr Popper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/09
Posts: 1718
Loc: Hancock Park LA (not again)
Originally Posted By: voxpops

I used RH3 in a Korg SP-250 a few years ago and had absolutely no problems with that. It seems that all the keybed issues occurred with the advent of the SV-1 and the Kronos. I wonder if something changed. But it now seems that they have the weighted action problem licked - although whether you like RH3 or NH is another matter. I do think they need to address the playability of their unweighted actions, though...


The new made in japan RH3 actions as used on the Kronos X are a definite improvement in both manufacturing quality and playing feel although I would never say it was a good action. It's barely passable. After all it's really a 20+ year old design from Technics. I've played the Krome's NH and I actually prefer it to RH3 ...I think the Krome 88 is somewhat of a bargin. You get a lot for your money.



Edited by Dr Popper (01/12/13 01:32 AM)
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#2013187 - 01/12/13 02:18 AM Re: Korg Krome 88 [Re: Dr Popper]
Dave Ferris Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/07
Posts: 1732
Loc: Glendale, Ca.
Originally Posted By: Dr Popper
. After all it's (RH3) really a 20+ year old design from Technics. I've played the Krome's NH and I actually prefer it to RH3 ...I think the Krome 88 is somewhat of a bargin. You get a lot for your money.


I caught a bunch of flak on the Korg forum awhile back when I posted that Technics/RH3 connection. I said ...hey just repeating what someone told me who's been selling digital pianos since their inception....and from someone who's one of the most straight ahead guys in the biz.

The Korg fans went ahead and researched it and found it to be true.

Good to hear that you're digging that board voxpops. I have a sneaky suspicion that this is possibly Korg's SV2.... wink I'll have to spend more time with it myself.

Does that have a wall wart power supply ?

Dr. P-my sympathies you have to come back to LA to make a buck... frown


Edited by Dave Ferris (01/12/13 10:20 AM)
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#2013220 - 01/12/13 05:16 AM Re: Korg Krome 88 [Re: Dave Ferris]
Dr Popper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/09
Posts: 1718
Loc: Hancock Park LA (not again)
Originally Posted By: Dave Ferris

Dr. P-my sympathies you have to come back to LA to make a buck... frown


Its not that bad mate... this time I've got a lovely old house in Hancock Park to go home to instead of a hotel.
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#2013324 - 01/12/13 09:55 AM Re: Korg Krome 88 [Re: Dave Ferris]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3097
Loc: Oregon
Originally Posted By: Dave Ferris
Does that have a wall wart power supply?

Unfortunately, yes - and a tiny, flimsy connector. frown
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#2013353 - 01/12/13 10:33 AM Re: Korg Krome 88 [Re: voxpops]
Possum SP280Krome Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/23/10
Posts: 624
I did not cringe upon playing the NH on the Krome 88.
My question is:

MIDI the PX350 to a Krome 61 and save $510 or
go for the Krome 88?

I myself would want the Krome for the non-piano sounds as well.
I would likely keep the Juno Gi for digital recording purposes, but the Krome seems to beat the Gi in every category.
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#2013364 - 01/12/13 10:56 AM Re: Korg Krome 88 [Re: voxpops]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3097
Loc: Oregon
I thought I could save a few bucks by initially buying the Krome 73 and connecting it to one of my DPs, but since I wanted to access the other Krome sounds at the same time as playing its pianos from the DP, it made the setup of combis over-complex, with compromises in respect of effects. I'm much happier with the 88, although you need plenty of room for it.

The NH took half-an-hour to get used to, but I feel that it's a perfectly respectable action, and better than the equivalents from Fatar and Yamaha.
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#2013530 - 01/12/13 03:54 PM Re: Korg Krome 88 [Re: voxpops]
thomsurf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/01/10
Posts: 153
Loc: Copenhagen, Denmark
Hi Voxpops,
Congrats on your new instrument. This is a bit off topic but hoping you'll be able to answer this question:
Do you think this organ sound http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0A4n_HmvcU could be reproduced using the organ patches in the Krome.
Thanks in advance,
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#2013637 - 01/12/13 08:02 PM Re: Korg Krome 88 [Re: thomsurf]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3097
Loc: Oregon
Originally Posted By: thomsurf
Hi Voxpops,
Congrats on your new instrument. This is a bit off topic but hoping you'll be able to answer this question:
Do you think this organ sound http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0A4n_HmvcU could be reproduced using the organ patches in the Krome.
Thanks in advance,

Thanks thomsurf.

For the Coldplay song, you can get close by using Prog: A110 (Vintage Drawbars 2). You need to turn off IFX 1 (Vib/Chorus), maybe increase the overdrive a bit, and then start the song with SW 1 turned off. For the added upper "drawbars," activate SW 1 at the appropriate moment in the song.

Edit: same thing applies to patch 116 (Drawbars adds Highs)

Hope this helps.


Edited by voxpops (01/12/13 08:59 PM)
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#2013723 - 01/12/13 11:39 PM Re: Korg Krome 88 [Re: voxpops]
Possum SP280Krome Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/23/10
Posts: 624
Vox- what are you putting the Krome through for speakers?
Likely going with the 61 in a few weeks- I would be using this for seqeuncing/daw as well, and revisiting some of the revised old korg sounds.
_________________________
Roland Juno Gi
Casio PX-130
Korg Krome 61
Korg SP280

Rokit KRK 6 monitors
MXL V67G microphone

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