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Last weekend I stopped by the local music store and happened upon the new 
Korg KARMA keyboard sitting in the keyboard section.

As I understand it, the keyboard is a hardware implementation of 
MAX patch, using Korg's Triton sound engine.  The onboard controls include 
"chord memory" buttons.  The little placard mounted on the stand next to 
keyboard suggested holding down the chord buttons then messing around with 
the 8 main parameter knobs.  These buttons do more than just trigger 
- they can apparently also be programmed to trigger simple sequenced 
phrases/loops/drum parts.  At any rate, for most of the example patches, 
knob varies the swing amount of the rhythm (from robotically straight to 
really funky), another varies chord density, another varies velocity 
threshold or something like that, etc.

The chord buttons were neat, but I had the most fun when I started messing 
with the keyboard itself.  For one patch, I was triggering wild piano 
arpeggios whose intervals changed with one knob twist and harmonic content 
changed with another knob twist.  For the "Tricky" rhythm patch, radical 
changes in time signature, swing amount, etc. were within easy reach of 
knobs.  For virtually all patches, different notes and velocities around 
keyboard caused noticeable behavioral changes.

All in all, the KARMA keyboard turned out to be quite addictive.  There 
some more things I'd like to know before I shell out the cash for it (Sam 
Ash had it for $1795) such as whether the notes generated by the chord 
buttons can have their volume levels set independently of the master 
and whether it will respond to incoming MIDI messages from, say a 
or MIDI guitar, in the same interactive manner that it responds to someone 
playing its keyboard directly.  I'd also like to know if you can record 
own phrase, loop it in realtime, then subject your brand new loop to the 
same type of radical alterations (time signature, swing amount, chord 
density, etc.).

Here's the informational site of the guy behind KARMA:


There's mention of a software release for Macintosh coming up.  I'm 
this is a software-only version of KARMA rather than some sort of 

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