Korg’s Kross 2 workstation promises to be the compact keyboard that does everything

Korg’s entry-level Kross workstation keyboard has been around for four years now, so it was probably due a refresh. The second-generation model adds more sounds and features, promising to be a portable synth that does a bit of everything.

There are now more than 1,000 sounds, and polyphony has been raised from 80 to 120 voices. What’s more, there’s 128MB of expansion PCM memory that can be filled with optional libraries that are soon to be released. 134 effects come included; you can use five insert and two master effects simultaneously.

Kross 2 also has a sampling function and a pad sampler - you can record into the hardware and assign a stereo sample of up to 14 seconds to each of the 16 pads, up to four of which can be triggered simultaneously. There’s built-in sample editing, and you can assign long audio files to the pads from an SD card.

One of our criticisms of the original Kross was the absence of real-time control, so we’re pleased to see that Korg has added a section devoted to this. You can store and recall more favourite programs and combinations than before, and layers/splits are easier to set up thanks to a dedicated button. Sound categories can be selected using a dial.

On the production side, the Kross 2 comes with a 16-track MIDI sequencer, a step sequencer, a drum track and an arpeggiator. An audio recorder enables you to overdub a vocal track, for example - there are mic and line inputs - and Kross 2 also functions as a USB audio interface.

The redesigned black version of the Kross 2 61, which weighs less than its predecessor and can be powered by six AA batteries, is available now priced at £689, with a red marble version with the same number of keys set to arrive in September for the same price. The larger Kross 2 88 will land in October priced at £969. Find out more on the Korg website.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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