Korg Intros Nautilus Synthesizer Workstation, A More Affordable Kronos

Korg today introduced the Nauilus keyboard workstation – a more affordable version of their flagship Kronos keyboard.

The Nautilus features 9 different synth engines and a variety of new sounds, and is available with 88-key weighted hammer action or with 73-key or 61-key models with synth action keyboard.


  • Nine different sound engines offer massive expressive power
  • New sounds offered over three broad categories
  • The DYNAMICS knob makes delicate expression possible
  • Make intuitive changes to sounds with the Realtime knobs
  • A user interface designed for easy operation
  • Convenient arpeggiator and drum track functions
  • Color TouchView Display
  • Set list mode that demonstrates its power in live performances
  • Open Sampling System
  • 16-Track MIDI Sequencer / 16-Track Audio Recorder
  • 16 Onboard Effect Processors
  • USB/MIDI Host Ports Accommodate MIDI Control Surfaces
  • Smooth sound transitions that eliminate dropouts when changing sounds, regardless of the mode you’re in
  • 88-key model with piano touch, 73-key model with light touch and 61-key model available

Audio Demos:

Korg Nautilus Video Manual:

Pricing and Availability

The Korg Nautilus is available to pre-order now, with a street price of about $2,700 USD for the 88-key model, about $2,400 for the 73-key model and $2,000 for the 61-key model. It’s expected to ship in early 2021. See the Korg site for details.

27 thoughts on “Korg Intros Nautilus Synthesizer Workstation, A More Affordable Kronos

  1. No aftertouch on the keyboard. And they also dropped the 9 sliders that could be used as drawbars for the organ engine. Very disappointing.

  2. Think of the dizzying level of realtime control you can get with ONE switch input and ONE expression pedal input!

    I’m sure it’s a fine Korg keyboard. But it’s always a bit disappointing when a sophisticated keyboard gives you so few options to switch & control sounds with your feet.

    1. Yeah, where’s the knee-cap caliper, elbow-screws, and joint-pinion-effector inputs?

      Also chin-strap-tension over BT? No? PASS!

      Love my KRONOS! :0)

    2. Been a Korg loyalist for 30+ years now. Sadly my beloved Triton (IIRC its serial number is in the low 500s), finally died. Can’t find anyone in my area to fix my older keyboards anymore. Plus lugging this monster in its case just plain sucks. Last repair cost me almost $400 on my Triton Studio, I finally took out all my cards and put them in my Triton Rack module. I own a Korg Kronos X 88 and have always wondered why the tiny display? Just put my iPad Air 3rd Gen over the Kronos screen and something similar in size could have been used, or why not give an option for an external monitor, mouse and keyboard?

      Geezus all the newer iPads can run that stuff but not synths that cost 2-5k? You give us all this supposed power and then make us have to squint our eyes, do endless menu diving, and read tiny fonts, fuck it. I am so over this type of workflow. The last 3 years I have become more inclined to use my laptops and iPads while my Jupiter 80, barrage of Korg keyboards and other hardware gets left out, when I do use them they are basically waveform generators and loop creators, sad to say but there is nothing new design wise that really takes advantage of the supposed power they offer us. I can do stuff in Plug-in Guru’s Unify, or on my Apple laptops, or even in AUM on my iOS devices that blows my Kronos out of the water. I will never buy another hardware synth let alone a “workstation.” Been there, done that for 30 years now. No more.

      It’s like you go to this awesome rice store that advertises all these amazing rices and when you get there they give you tweezers to get your rice lol. As I get older, ergonomics of mind and especially my body become more important. Stuff for me needs to be easy to navigate, and comfortable to use, that’s the crappy part about getting older, oh no I am ranting lol. Hey get off my lawn! JMOs.

  3. Oasys and Kronos technology filtering down to Krome-level workstation. I hope we get the revamped UI on the Kronos too. The touch targets look better sized on the Nautilus even if the screen has less area.

    1. Yes, if only it was one page with 500 parameters / values with a teensy weensy font! 😀

      But your point is well taken. I try to imagine what a non-boring workstation would look like– especially one that was professional in features, function, and depth.

      In a way, Korg, Yamaha, Roland, and Kurzweil all have their strengths. I struggle to imagine what the ideal merger of all those brands would look like. Especially if ease of workflow didn’t automatically mean dumbed-down feature-set.

      1. I have always wondered why synth makers who make synths with touch screens don’t add support for external touch monitors or tablets/iPads? It just seems like a no-brainer to me.

        1. It’s a fine line between ease-of-use and and a dumbed-down feature-set. I don’t have any final answers either. The best I could guess would be some european manufacturers like Dexibell (ex-Roland, Italy) or Nord, though none of these does full-blown workstations.

          Take a look at Technics workstations (built by Panasonic) from the mid-to-late 90’s. Back in the day they’ve struck an amazing balance between features and workflow. Sadly, Panasonic decided to discontinue all keyboard products by the mid 2000’s, which is a shame, really.

          As for the Korg Nautilus:
          I’m happy that a powerful synthesis toolkit (all the Kronos engines – nine different ones!) is available at a lower price point. Hands-on control hasn’t seen much improvement since Yamaha’s Montage (which turned into a proper workstation after a software update added sequencer capability. MoDX cut the knobs and faders by about half). Korg did choose a bit of a silly name, though.

  4. I agree that at $2k+, mono aftertouch & a couple of proper pedal inputs should be a minimum spec. I’d also want to lay hands to one in real-time, so as to really inspect the build and key mechanism. The loss of the drawbars is a hair-splitter, depending on how much you play them like a real Hammond. If you are that focused, you probably have a clonewheel or outboard drawbar unit. The total sound is impressive, by any standard.

    $2k is not that far above the $1200-1600 range of more specialized winners like the Hydrasynth. People dismiss the NINE engines too easily. Lotta power there. At this price, it feels more competitive with a computer/DAW/plug-in setup. It depends on your gut feeling in the end, as always.

  5. i’ve been looking at upgrading my master keyboard from a Fusion 8HD to a kronos 88 (v2) for a LONG time… I saw this being dropped last night, & read the early reports it was effectively a more affordable Kronos (which is rather old now).

    Initially I thought this may be a great product, as it takes 10+ year old tech & brings it to a more reachable price point, but to have no after-touch, on a £1800+ keyboard, that designed to be live-players workstation, is frankly nuts! Comparing prices on the 2nd hand market, you can get a Kronos 88 v2, in some case, for LESS than a new Nautalus. This is a miss for me.

    Given the age of the tech, I’d hoped we’d see a new full kronos V3, with double Ram, expanded HDD memory, & double polyphony/FX, & maybe a new synthesis engine thrown in (expanded VL anyone?)

  6. Correction time: I did some more digging and the Nautilus has jacks for stereo audio input plus three controller inputs for a damper, sustain pedal and footswitch. 2 stereo outs and 4 assignables. USB-A & -B. The sampler will read WAV, AIFF, Akai and Soundfont formats. Nice. I thought it had fewer pedal jacks, but the Woody Piano Shack demo made it all clear. For me, that makes the lack of mono aftertouch a much smaller issue. I’d rather commit to a small ROLI for the poly AT and call it good.

    1. Isn’t a damper and a sustain the same thing? I just was looking as the camera panned across. Only two jacks for pedals. Probably the switch in is TRS and handles two switches.

      1. What are you guys talking about?

        Korg site has a photo of the back. It has three 1/4″ jacks labelled DAMPER, SWITCH, PEDAL. Above SWITCH and PEDAL it says “ASSIGNABLE”.

        So, DAMPER is fixed to Sustain. SWITCH is on/off and can be selected what to control. PEDAL is continuous and can be selected what to control.

        It would be nice to have two continuous pedal inputs for a workstation, but this configuration isn’t uncommon.

        1. Yes, you are correct. I was wrong. I missed the jack labeled “Damper”. So yes, two external switch ins, one is assignable.

          I’ve become increasingly aware of devices that are stingy with foot controls. I use them often in live settings– so I can keep my hands on the keys.

          Audiofront makes a little device called MIDI Expression i/o that can expand the options provided by controllers with few external inputs.

          1. Yeah I *really* like two continuous and two switch inputs. At least two, but I don’t have any devices with more. Fixed routing of pedals isn’t great though. So I have a keyboard with fixed volume pedal, assignable pedal, and two switch inputs. I pretty much never want to do volume with foot, but I often want to do two continuous controllers with feet. In particular, I very much like having continuous values on the sustain/damper pedal, just like a real instrument. This is extremely difficult to find outside high end digital pianos.

            Where we see more jacks is in workstations and master controllers. Not all, only some. Should be more. Presumably though these companies monitor user use and those of us using these features are rare. Most players maybe don’t even have a single decent sustain pedal. Those cheap tappy switch things that break after 6 months don’t count.

            My favorite pedal manufacturer is Yamaha. And much of my gear doesn’t use the Yamaha TRS configuration but uses the other standard, maybe we call that Roland. So I’ve rewired my Yamaha pedals to the Roland standard, and I’ve rewired the chassis mounted jacks inside my Yamaha keyboards as well.

            Man if these guys could unify their TRS pedal wiring it would save a lot of trouble. But that’ll never happen because both groups have to maintain backwards compatibility.

            Even with on/off switches there’s two standards and devices that try to automatically configure themselves somehow often do it backwards. Sigh.

    1. $1,000 to 2,000 is entry-level for a serious instrument. The Kronos, which this is based on, is more like $3,000 – $3,500.

      When you see synths going for $500, they are stripped-down instruments, with compromises like cheesy keyboards, plastic construction or limited synth engines.

      A lot of people have to settle for cheap gear, because that’s what they can afford. And a lot of synthesists are into novelty, and cheap synths feed into that. I’d put most of the Roland Boutique synths, all of Behringer’s synths, minikey synths and the Korg Volca’s into this bucket. They are capable of being used creatively by musicians, but most serious musicians will be disappointed by their compromises.

      If you think this is crazy talk, wait a couple of years and, if you’re still into making music, you’ll understand.

      1. 1000-2000€ might be an entry-level price tag for a workstation (Roland’s FA or Kurzweil’s “cheaper” keyboards), but not for many dedicated instruments. Have you ever compared the Kronos’ C3 to an actual clonewheel, like the Mojo or the Legend? The Kronos too is a compromise, as it offers great sounds, but not the best ones available (and actually, the Polysix and MS-20 emulations are objectively bad: you have no idea how many times I couldn’t fully reproduce, on my MS-20 for Mac, the patch I programmed on my hardware MS-20 mini).
        Also, I’d argue that the engine of “cheap instruments” like the KingKorg’s virtual analogue synthesis do not have much too envy. That is, not everyone needs everything in a single keyboard, which is actually somewhat of an issue, especially if you’re playing certain genres (e.g. prog rock).

        I can’t understand why you would despise Roland and Behringer’s mini-synths. You know, there’s no difference between a Model D and actual Moog. If you think your value as a musician is influenced by having smaller pots, then you don’t lack good hardware, but everything else. Expensive instruments won’t make you a better musicians. And no, I don’t know what you were taught, but “plastic construction” instead of metal and wood doesn’t make things sound better (unlike a solid classical background). Would you consider the Nautilus too cheap for you, even though sounds every bit as the Kronos?
        But limited instruments might: think of how Emerson and Wakeman did so much with a monophonic synth like the Minimoog, or how the Moody Blues made the Mellotron shine.

        All of the above is especially true, since there are PC/Mac software alternatives which are vastly superior to the much pricier hardware (want to get an actual workstation? Install Ivory piano, Gsi’s VB3, G-tron plus, any free analogue modelling and, if you want, a couple Korg apps and voilà, a Kronos ends up looking definitely overpriced!).

        Paying a premium price for features you don’t need, R&D and marketing costs and a sprinkle of elitism is straight-out pointless. The Kronos’ both overpriced and old, as it’s the same machine since 2013: computer software, on the opposite, keeps evolving. Sometimes I really wonder what kind of musicians visit this website.

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