Korg Gadget Puts A Synth Collection On Your iPad

korg-gadgetAt the 2014 NAMM Show, Korg introduced Korg Gadget, described as ‘the ultimate mobile synth collection’ for your iPad.

Korg Gadget offers a collection of 15 different synthesizers and drum machines. called Gadgets within the app, which you can combine to create electronic music.

The app is designed to be a fun jamming tool, a scratchpad for capturing ideas on the go and a mobile complement for your traditional computer DAW. 

Songs that you create using Korg Gadget can be shared on “GadgetCloud,” a music sharing site for users worldwide. You can also upload from Korg Gadget directly to SoundCloud, Facebook, or Twitter.

By connecting an external MIDI keyboard via the Camera Connection Kit, you can play the 15 synthesizers in Gadget from a real keyboard. A wide range of iOS music technology is also supported, including AudioCopy, and WIST.

Here’s the official intro video for Korg Gadget:

Here’s another demo, produced and performed by Mee Zanook:

Korg Gadget is available now, priced at US 28.99.

If you’ve tried Korg Gadget, let us know what you think of it!

89 thoughts on “Korg Gadget Puts A Synth Collection On Your iPad

    1. I just bought it, the concept of the gadgets is certainly better than “100 presets of one synth with more knobs than you can get your head around”

      But I wouldn’t say it’s worth $30, or even $15.

      1. $30 won’t even buy the proprietary AC adapter for a Roland R5…. this thing packs probably $10,000 worth of sounds and functionality. Not every app should be a race to the bottom of the app pricing model. At $30 this thing is a steal. This isn’t Cut The Rope, after all…

        1. No kidding. This, without even the promised updates and future modules, has raised the bar for iOS music production. The sounds are stunning, and easily comparable with any desktop VST I have ever heard. The GUI? It will make Apple rethink what they could have done with iOS 7 lol. The perfect mix of colour (beautiful, stunning detail, gorgeous selection of hues, and a hint of that regrettable loss, Skeuomorphism) and physical accessibility. I had a kid I teach music to, an NI completist, completely jaded about all things electronica, because he has been there, done that, try out Gadget on my iPad…I had to pry it from his hands!…but not before he smashed out an astounding sounding little track, every sound absolutely meshing together perfectly…

          Never mind an adaptor, it costs this much to walk out the door in Vancouver, let alone get an amazing suite of synths that just over a decade ago would have set you back a couple grand…if some of these incredible sounds even existed back then in a PC environment.

          I think this could be the app that makes the desktop only production folk sit up, take notice, and say “Are. you. effing. kidding. me?!?” BRILLIANT!

      2. Not sure why anybody would think that 30 dollars for this app is a lot. Dev. an app like this is a major effort! Additionally, it requires a lot of maintenance (ongoing expenses) R&D, UX design, concept dev. marketing etc. etc. How many apps do they sell? Lets say they sell 50.000. That’s 1.5 mil. Minus 30% for apple, leaves 1050000. I would argue that it’s hard to develop an app like this for a million – so do they break even? Maybe after 75000 sales… maybe not. Is $30 expensive for a niche product like this? Nope – support the developers, support innovative apps.

  1. Played with this a bit last night. This is the first “DAW” type app that seems to really hit the nail on the head for me as far as UI/workflow on a tablet. It doesn’t feel cumbersome and leave me feeling like someone just tried to cram a desktop type interface into a tablet. It’s intuitive to the point where I felt like I knew how to use it without looking at any tutorials. The ‘gadgets’ are well designed and overall the sound quality is good. Hats off to Korg for this, it seems like they put a lot of thought/work into it and I think they’ve set the bar high. Hopefully the continue developing/adding features in the future.

  2. I picked this up last night and was quickly blown away with the different “gadgets” and versatility of each unit. Each gadget has a very unique palette and a vast array of presets per machine make it very easy to quickly guild up tracks/scenes. The Chicago is wicked! I have yet to try out the midi implementation, but can’t seem to find any advanced midi options so I’m not sure how well it will work out as a module in the end. Will dive deeper into the midi end this weekend. Worth every penny at 29$ IMO. Lastly, the ability to record automation for nearly every parameter of every gadget is invaluable and painless.

      1. Apart from the fact that ios7 is smoother and faster than ios6, has game controller support what’s the problem? I have a friend with an iPad who hates apple. Hus reason for hating apple is that his iPad 2 has never had its iOS updated and my friend says it sucks that he can’t run latest apps. I suggested his complaint was like running windows 95 and complaining that the latest software won’t work on it. You think you’re making a big stand and maybe convincing other people ios7 is the worst thing ever… Meanwhile the rest of us are using apps without issue and without needing to troll and complain a new app isn’t compatible with an old version of iOS.

  3. Also Gadget does not yet support InterApp-Audio or Audiobus, but Korg is promising to add those in future updates. Isn’t it cool that you can now download products as soon as they appear at NAMM? This is as close to Reason for the iPad as I’ve seen yet… can’t wait to download.

  4. I’m unable to find the switch that activates the Minority Report-styled projected display. It’s all over the advertisement so it has to be in there, right?

      1. speaking of in app purchases, I am SO GLAD Korg did NOT go that route for all of the different gadgets in this app and I hope they never do!I hate in app purchases!

  5. Does this app allow you to layer multiple gadgets together- i.e., play multiple gadgets via the same MIDI channel? If it allows you to set the receive channel, key ranges and velocity ranges for each gadget that would make it quite useful for a live keyboard rig. I don’t know if there are any apps that let you layer different synths this way. Ultimately, some kind of MainStage for iPad would be very useful for the live keyboardist. Perhaps Korg would avoid this as it might impact their keyboard sales.

  6. I really don’t like the video…The same as all ipad app videos….some guy in the metro or on the street producing music walking around with a couple of hundred dollars in their hands….unrealistic….really you would probably get robbed….get knocked on the head….ipad is great…Korg is great….but stop making those silly “walking on the streets with an ipad in my hands” videos….please

      1. People do get iphones and ipads stolen from their hands in the subway all the time…. I have seen it with my own eyes. Thieves just wait for the door to close and right when they are about to close they grab the phone and jump out the door, and the person can only see the thief running away.

        I saw this once.

        1. All the time? Damn son what train do you ride? I have taken the D Train from Brooklyn to work in mid-town for 3 years and never saw that once…..Yes Kurt PLEASE help.

    1. Yeah, the “look, I’m so cool as I walk amongst the common folk while I produce my next epic track” thing has been overused now.

  7. Why does every demo of these apps have to show someone using it on the streets of NY. I get the feeling they are all using the same stock footage, just replacing the iPad screens

  8. Wow, that promo vid tells me nothing other than “new app, legacy instruments, not just for old guys”. But it’s from Korg, so I want it. Does anyone know if the app works in landscape mode, or only portrait?

    1. In my opinion, every one of these “gadgets” could stand on its own as an individual synth app. Let’s say Korg charged $4.99 per app, x15 apps would put the total at $75… So $29 seems like a good deal to me. 🙂

      1. Exactly. KORG could have done the IIP thing and made the DAW free and nickel and dimed you to death with the gadgets… like Tabletop.
        KORG took the high road here.

          1. It’s weird how in the beginning of these demos, I’m often like ‘meh, boring’ but then once the layers build up and fill in the sonic gaps, it starts to sound awesome. I seem to default to guitar riff mentality and if it isn’t THE hook, I throw it out. I think I need to grow up and stop being so simple minded. 😉

      1. The user section is only for patches you’ve saved in Marseille. It’s not for user loaded samples…..unfortunately…. (ATTN KORG: this is a feature request)

  9. I think lot’s of money will be made selling music I make on this app. Should make up the $29 cost fairly quickly. Will post the YouTube video of my hands jam-dancing with this soon. PLEASE SUBSCRIBE!!

    1. Don’t understand all the hateful down votes. But I will turn that hate into techo energy and sell my songs even faster.

      Anyone here want to buy my songs I make with this for a nickel each? I have 100 done already.

      1. Making ableton racks with each of the gadgets now. They will be free downloads for each song or gadget preset purchase. Please no more red thumbs. They quell my creativity.

  10. Wow! I get it now finally after some months. iPad 1 owners pose as iOS 6 die hards and whine about iOS 7 only apps juss because they cannot upgrade.

    Up vote or down vote but thems the facts chief!

    Looking good Korg, maybe I change my plan for a Nexus Tablet and go for a iPad Mini retina:)

    1. 1. The iPad 1 runs iOS 5.1, not 6.
      2. Having an older computer doesn’t make you a bad person.
      3. iOS 7 still has a lot of problems – hopefully Apple will fix them eventually.

  11. A great start, love it, but acutely aware that it’s still scratching the surface: needed in time- a pro MIDI IO implementation (Korg are still pretty awful on this front on iOS- WTF?), AudioBus 1/2 and/or IAA, more ‘onboard’ effects with more controls, a recordable touch and MIDI responsive mix-down feature, custom instrument sample import/export on appropriate instruments… I’m hoping in time, step by step we get there… and a landscape presentation of course. Assuming more to come, price is fine. Completely wasted my day on it!

  12. Suggesting that it can be a junior partner for a DAW and pointing out its usability with a keyboard or other controller makes it much more appealing to me. I encourage people to play a “real” instrument to some extent because it opens some big doors for synth playing. Having the feel of that in your tool box is invaluable. I’m still not wild about playing the pad itself, but as a synth module and a bridge between merely-novel portability and more serious work, this route sets a pretty good standard. I wonder how detailed the synths really are?

  13. I got this today. Very intuitive and easy to use. I even didnt read the manual. I find the sequencing and arrangement features better than any other daw-like apps. Lots of different presets and different styles of synthesis. Definitely a buy for me.

  14. i got this today, gadgets are fun. i’d love to see the same concept with the sequencer. piano roll is boring, there are quite a few different kinds of analog and digital sequencers that would work well as gadgets.

    personally, i’d say the app is worth $15. give it more interesting and fun sequencing options and it’d be worth the full price.

    1. I would love to see KORG’s own hardware gadgets show up in future updates.
      (ie, the Monotron series, the Kaoss series, the Electribe series, etc)

      Hell, I’d even buy them as in app purchases… but seriously, please don’t go IIP…. 😉

      1. I agree with you. I play guitar most of the time, but I’ve been trying out synths and Korg hardware lately. Being able to run my Microkorg would be really great.

    2. ok so revised opinion. (even) used just for drums it’s (almost) totally worth it. although imo it really needs step recording. and bar looping. 🙂

      it’s the super electribe r + (and of course you can use any of the synths for percussion. i like the semi-modular a lot. nintendo ds-10 style. 🙂 ) the corny PCM samples are totally usable pitched up/down or shortened into clicks and blips.

      super bonus points for no crashing.

      a lot of the synths are really limited. i mean there’s the one that basically just does the mentasm hoover sound. 🙂 the polys and my favorites the FM and chip seem to use a lot of CPU, i get clicking and popping with only a few tracks while i can have more than enough tracks for drums – using an ipad2

      turn of the limiter and reverb for more power. 🙂

    1. Nice find!!
      It’s odd that they broke their naming scheme for those two.

      Maybe “1984” will be the Oberheim OB-X / Val Halen ‘Jump’ synth…

  15. Bought it — very very impressive. Hats off again, Korg! Hoping for IAA, better MIDI support in future, but it is extremely useable right now. Would love ability to rotate screen to get larger keys, please, a la Propellerheads Figure. These keys at the bottom of portrait mode are waay too small, and I’m using a full sized iPad rather than a mini.

    The automation really rocks.
    MIDI editing — nicer than Cubasis, even.
    Effects – bit annoying – separate for each device. Same as other Korg iOS apps.
    UI criticism – would prefer larger buttons for things like preset or effects selection.
    Sounds — really great. A bit EDM, but surprisingly deep. I have an Odyssey and the Berlin synth is very good. Surprisingly good.

    Thanks Korg! You guys are on a total roll of awesomeness.

    1. The gadget switching in the bottom right is too small and slow to use, imo. Some suggestions in case Korg is listening, or others can improve further. In sum, it’s a fantastic app, but the designers seem to be additcted to really small function buttons… 🙂

      -To switch among mixer channels while playing, would be nice to grab the name/logo of the gadget and swipe left or right.
      -To switch gadgets, put finget on logo of the gadget for 1s to get menu, or just swipe up/down immediately.
      – To get large keys, just click the little page icon that is already there for getting full-piano-roll. Flick down for large piano roll, flick up for large keys instead.

      Really love this app. Hope for some small useability improvements, mostly larger buttons and faster switching among channels and gadgets during playback/recording.

  16. Just bought it last night, this thing ROCKS!!!

    I have tried pretty much every serious ipad app for music making, but this one tops them all easily! It’s the first one after Nanostudio that I found really capable of serious production, with a sound that comes nothing short in terms of deepness compared to my best VST/VA Hardware!

    Please Korg add more to it, like separate insert/send effects, movable tracks, and a sampler!
    My Electribe MX just got really old after this…

  17. Beyond belief what they pulled off here, even without the inevitable updates.

    They raised the bar, broke the mould, and may finally contribute to breaking down that final perception barrier that iOS music production is all about toys.

    These “toys” sound SUPERB? Magical. Unbelievably beautiful to look at and work/play with, and to gripe about the price tag is just ludicrous…At this price, no IAPs: Thievery, on our part!

  18. Spent the Saturday evening fiddling around with all these synths.

    WOW !

    I had expected something like that from the Propellerheads, but now Korg has done it !
    And I don’t regret paying the price for it.

    The only thing I miss are a few more effects in the mixer. But this way I can look forward to the next updates.

  19. One of the only things I took home with me from NAMM that I was REALLY excited about! Well worth the price IMO. Excellent UI, much like others, no need for manual. That is how it SHOULD be. Excellent sounds / versatility. Needing to upgrade my iPad 3rd gen. But certainly not one of the many that complains about iOS 7. If one is simply open minded, they would see that iOS7 has a lot of power and flexibility behind it. Not to mention moving forward instead of being stuck in the past and afraid of change. 🙂

    Korg rocked the house with this one! Looking forward to watch further potential development.

  20. I tried out the new Korg Garage extensively today.

    It’s the first time I’ve come to doubt Korg’s commitment to their “new” way of doing things, mostly because this app feels nowhere near finished.

    In fact, worse than that, it feels rushed, like they were panicking to get something ready for NAMM because none of their new hardware comes out for ages. There’s so many things about it that kind of suck that unless you’re really in the target market (as per the ad they made), it’s a toy, basically because of what’s been side stepped or left out.

    Here’s some of my first major pain points:


    The rest:

    Probably the biggest single crime, after making iPolySix do this so well, is that there’s no ability to share entire compositions, only the rendered output. So collaboration isn’t possible, nor is it possible to download and examine the work of others. I think this feature of iPolySix was fucking extraordinary, and went a LONG way to building stickiness and a community around the product that far outlived and outweighed the other narrow aspects of its “niche-ness”. It was an inspired effort to include track sharing in a truly meaningful way.

    I’d go as far as saying I think a different team worked on this app, so different is it in terms of “polish” and apparent ability of the programming, and the above missing element of the most powerful feature of Korg’s most recent other successful app, that would have been truly epic in this app.

    More weirdness:

    It turns off on whatever time frame you’ve got your iPad set to autosave battery. This might be the only music app I know of that does this. Not annoying for anyone except those that sit it aside to try something on another device whilst it runs in the background… then cuts out as the device goes into rest mode. This shocked me. I have seen it happen twice, it’s not a one off. [woeful pun]

    The playback refuses to work after turning off loop, then turning it back on again. You have to exit back out to the main menu/layout and then come back in for it to work again. That’s fucking odd.

    All Table View menus scroll very slowly, and stutter when scrolling, kind of like using an Android device. Given priority Apple’s underlying API’s give to Table Views, I’m not sure how they’ve managed to make them so stuttery and slow. It’s like they’re at 15fps and don’t have the normal physical responses of a Table View list.

    Zooming the width of Time displayed in the Timeline is incredibly awkward, unintuitive, generally unresponsive and doesn’t behave well, at all. Needs a complete rethink as to how this is designed to operate because it’s utter shit, and something completely necessary the moment you add a second bar. I can’t imagine dealing with it once a timeline gets out to 8 or 16 bars, I’m so frustrated with it at 4 bars that I haven’t bothered going beyond that. It defaults to 1 bar, the best it deals with, and I can see why, despite this being an odd choice of default length, it’s the only length of a track that the timeline comfortably manages.

    There is no corresponding scaling of the note heights, at all. Often times this would be helpful.

    When “full screening” the track editor the indicator to revert goes grey, that’s fucking odd, this should be a Bright DOWN arrow with lines above it during the default state, and the inverse when the timeline fully opened.

    When focusing on the velocity section, it makes the note-tracks too small to be meaningful, but this gets much worse:

    The settings for velocity of a chord are completely odd. I don’t see how to specifically choose and set the velocity of one particular note in the chord. It seems almost random, and there’s no knowing which one is selected even after you’ve moved it, only your ear will tell you as there’s no visual indicator on the notes of the chord.

    There’s no UNDO (or REDO) in editing any aspect of anything.

    Ordinarily, perhaps in a simplified desktop app, this might not be a big deal, until someone hit Command+Z and freaked out. But the nature of the way users learn touch software is through intuitive estimation and trial and error. Don’t try pressing the “Hold to Erase” button on anything you’ve created that you like while it’s playing… there’s no way to get back what you lose without remembering what you created and doing it ALL over. If you’ve done a stack of difficult to do volume/velocity changes on chords this is going to cause you great pain. SO DO NOT EXPERIMENT WITH THAT BUTTON. Learn what it does, and then pretend it’s not there. I hope I never accidentally press it.

    The presets are good, though, mostly 🙂

    Essentially it’s a closed door DAW, only serving its own synths, with no input, and no ability to control anything external.

    But… 15 synths and stacks of tracks. But that timeline needs the most work.

    Oh, and the keyboards universally suck across all the synths. and are unnecessarily themed to each synth. It would have been a far better use of space to make a pop-up keyboard that dropped out of the way when not needed and was universal throughout the app.

    1. I agree with a lot of what you said. But some of it is inaccurate.
      1. In the actual settings for KORG Gadget, you can turn off the screen saver issue. (Not sure why you’d want it on anyway)
      2. Choose the ‘select’ option and press a single note. It’ll turn white. This clearly shows which note you’ve selected, allowing for velocity alterations etc.
      3. There is an ‘undo’ option, which appears over the ‘quantise’ tab. BUT I will agree, it only seems to appear when you don’t need it and is never fuckin there when you do! 😀

  21. I bought this and was able to pretty much figure it out on the fly. The sounds are very good from the gadgets and automation is so simple to add. I played with it for 3 hours and didn’t look at the clock once.. This is just a fun app and that is what we are doing having fun right? Well if you aren’t then. Lighten up Francis and make some music.

  22. deeds, someone needs to whoop your whiney butt! GTFOH with that BS. You sound like one of those instant gratification-loving, gimme-gimme, don’t appreciate how good ya have modern day cry babies. Korg obviously put in a lot of work and delivered an innovative, quality music creation app. and delivered it ahead of schedule so that the NAMM people could check it out and they also made it available to us end-users. Keep in mind that this is version 1. They already said that Audiobus, IAA and a bunch of other features are being worked. If you don’t like the onscreen keyboards get yerself an external one like the dude in this video and call it a day!

    1. @ControlFreak. How is anything you’ve said less whiney than what I’ve said?

      Or did you walk to school through snow, rain, sleet and across deserts, for 25 miles, each day, without shoes?

      Harden up, son. It’s critique. Something from the good ole days before internet warriors.

      You might remember it from such things as words on paper and intelligent conversation.

      1. Deeds’ words are a little harsh and since this is version 1, I think we can all expect to see many of these gripes addressed soon, but his gripes about zooming in the piano roll and editing the velocity of notes in chords is 100% spot on.

        I bought it yesterday, really love everything about it besides those two things. I cannot reliably zoom in and out of the piano roll and its crazy how something so essential could get bungled.

  23. Someone mentioned they thought this was the closest thing to
    Reason on the iPad and while this looks and sounds great I have to recommend CAUSTIC v3 for the ipad. It blows this thing out of the water in regards to routing capabilities, has lots of fx units such as a compresser, eq, reverb, a vocoder, etc and has a waaay better entry price of $9.99. This thing even flips around so users can use cable routing – again Caustic is reason for the ipad. Check out the Caustic vids on Youtube (which are pretty good btw) and then go download 🙂 http://www.musicappblog.com/caustic-review/

  24. Okay, first I agree with all the positives from above! Unfortunately, am I the only one here with a bad experience of using this?? You need the memory of a Call of a Duty server to create a decent track!! I’m not exaggerating either. I have 8gb free space on my iPad and can barely squeeze out 1.30 mins of song creation before the app starts to go bat shit crazy and decides to crash constantly and crackle like hell! :'(
    If you’re serious about creating music, then use this as a learning tool for scribing down ideas.
    Beyond that, no chance.

  25. Just amazing. Some synths remind me about electribe series. Maybe also microkorg, maybe…Sound is really great. If Korg puts audio in this. It would be super. Something like groovebox sampler for little audio clips. Maby also a sample import for drum stuff in synths. So please do this korg!

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