NAMM Show Update: Korg’s new Pa500 uses the same EDS (Enhanced Definition Synthesis) sound engine that powers the Korg M3 workstation, Pa800 and the new Pa2XPro.
For the songwriter, the Pa500 features both traditional “workstation” sequencing, as well as Korg’s time-saving Backing Sequencer that can record each Style part to its own track in a single pass. Step editing quickly re-writes all Style parts without the need to play new data. For the guitarist, singer or novice keyboardist, chord changes can simply be “typed” into the Backing Sequencer to create complete backing tracks without playing a note.
The Pa500 features 61 velocity sensing keys and delivers 80-note polyphony along with 880 pre-loaded sounds (plus 128 user locations) and 56 preset drum sounds (64 user-programmable kits) and includes a GM2 soundset. In addition, four simultaneous Effects (124 types) can be used.
A USB jack allows the Pa500 to communicate with a computer and supports USB/MIDI. The onboard sound system features two dual-cone speakers powered by 15-Watt amplifiers housed in a bass reflex enclosure with a tuned EQ for rich musical sound quality.
The Pa500’s 240 x 320 pixel TouchView display offers two interface modes. For beginners or live performance, the EASY mode uses enhanced graphics to display common performance controls, while EXPERT mode offers full editing control.
The new Guitar Mode transforms the keyboard into the fretted strings of nearly any chord/neck position for authentic picking patterns, slides, strums and more. In addition, the piano from Korg’s flagship C720 concert piano is included.
Korg’s Style Engine
The center of all Korg Pa instruments is the Style engine. By following the performer’s chord changes, timing and voice leading, each Style can provide anything from a simple drum and bass groove to a full blown R & B rhythm section to create a complete performance — all in real time and on the fly, with no programming required.
In addition to Drums, Percussion and Bass, a Style can add up to five additional musical parts. Each of the 320 editable Styles is a complete musical environment for either performing a song or composing a new one, with four variations, introductions, endings, fill-ins and more. Musicians can create their own Styles from scratch, or combine various elements from existing Styles to create their own custom settings.
As the Style engine follows the left hand chording, the performer can play up to four additional sounds in real time. Single Touch Settings (STS) allow these sounds to be quickly changed with a single button. Four STS settings can be saved with each Style. The SongBook feature allows all settings — Style, STS, Tempo, Transposition, MIDI file, etc. needed to recreate a song to be organized into a quickly searchable database for instant access.
In performance, Korg’s XDS twin, multi-mode sequencer allows users to load one sequence while the other plays and use the DJ-style crossfader for smooth transitions between them. The Jukebox mode allows a single file to play back multiple songs for non-stop entertainment. The sequencer is compatible with standard SMF or Karaoke files. Karaoke lyrics will appear in the display. Sequence files — as well as sound, style and other data — can be saved and loaded via SD card or MMC memory stick.
Additional features include:
- Two audio outputs
- MIDI In/Out
- Two unbalanced line audio inputs
- Damper pedal input and user-assignable pedal input
The Korg Pa500 is available now with a U.S. MSRP of $1899.00.