Korg announces Kaoss Replay effects processor and sampler – what’s the verdict?

BoBeats and Loopop both say the Replay needs a sequencer.

Korg Kaoss Replay

Credit: Korg

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Korg has announced the latest in its Kaoss series of XY pad-centric MIDI controllers, the new standalone effects processor and sampler, the Korg Kaoss Replay.

The Kaoss Replay is a standalone performance tool for musicians, performers, and producers. While the original Kaoss Pad, launched in 1999, has just an XY pad, this combines the touchpad with a 4×4 pad matrix and other features associated with samplers.

It has all the Kaoss Pad effects that have been featured on previous products in the series such as the Kaossilator and Kaoss DJ, immersive sample playback, and sampling functionalities, along with user-friendly DJ controls, all with USB-C power and lots of connectivity options.

What are the main features of the Korg Kaoss Replay?

The Korg Kaoss Replay has a five-inch OLED touchscreen, 16 velocity-sensitive pads that can hold up to 128 samples across eight banks, and up to 100 projects via microSD.

The device allows sample import and direct recording with BPM detection, sync, and quantisation. It includes a 12-point Hot Cue triggering system and an extensive effects palette with up to 128 tweakable effects.

Automation is possible through the Pad Motion function, and effects can be locked in place with the Touch Hold button. There are also resampling functions, DJ-style dual faders, USB/mains powering options, and the flexibility to function as an audio interface or MIDI controller.

In terms of build, The Kaoss Replay’s construction has a sturdy aluminium body, making for durability during energetic live performances.

How has the Kaoss Replay been received?

This is a big release for Korg, considering sampler controls have been laid down alongside Korg’s distinctive XY pad. The music tech world, as you might expect, has reacted accordingly. Music tech reviewer BoBeats, for example, took to X to call the Replay to diminish claims that this might be an “SP-404 killer”.

He writes, “I think Korg confused a lot of people with the design of their Kaoss Replay. It is not an SP404 killer. Not by a long shot. Enter the DJS 1000 which shares many similarities with the Replay. It even has a touch screen. But it isn’t a tool for beatmakers, it’s a “DJ tool”.

In his YouTube review of the product, BoBeats concludes that he sees the unit as a “performance effect with some sampling capabilities”, saying “it’s not something he “wouldn’t use a ton”. He goes on to say that he thinks it’s missing a “basic step sequencer”, saying “it’s a missed opportunity given how nice the screen is”.

In another review, Loopop highlights some limitations in the Replay, such as, again, no sequencer and no chromatic playing capabilities. He also says there’s no feature that lets you apply two effects at the same time, and he says the high-res screen is “underutilised”, saying he thinks waveforms, when you hit the pads, would be a good addition.

The Korg Kaoss Replay is $1,158/£949/€1,134 and is available to check out at Korg.

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