Review: Korg Gadget gives Reason to iPad Beatmaking

Korg’s new Gadget app for the iPad is a fully-fledged beatmaking environment featuring up to 15 different synth and drum machine modules usable simultaneously. Essentially this is Reason on a tablet. The app’s sound quality is great, and Gadget also sports a robust feature set that makes it a breeze to create music.

Korg Gadget for the iPad Features

  • 15 Separate Instrument Modules (Synths and Drum Machines)
  • Easy-to-use Portrait Oriented Interface
  • Multiple Time Signatures
  • Synth, Drum Machine, and Mixer Effects
  • Easily Record Control Automation
  • Support for AudioCopy and WIST
  • Export Audio to GadgetCloud Service powered by SoundCloud
  • Available at the App Store for $28.99 (Regular $38.99)

Korg Gadget is a great “go to” app for tablet-based beat construction. Users with recent iPad models can really crank up the number of the simultaneous tracks — up to 25 on the iPad Air. It is a must have download for iPad owners interested in electronic music creation.

15 Gadgets for You and You and You

Gadget’s collection of 15 synth and drum machine modules features something for nearly all musical tastes.  Everything from the TB-303 inspired bass synth, Chicago, to the monophonic “modular” synth, Dublin, inspires creativity. Each gadget is named after a city, for what it’s worth.

Korg Gadget Screenshot 1

Korg Gadget’s Dublin synth features a small virtual patch bay. I dream of virtual wires. Screenshot by Author.

The 12 synth modules are enough to support most musical styles, especially when considering the huge array of sounds in the PCM-based gadget, Marseille. I would have preferred another drum machine or two, since there are only three in the app. Korg is planning on releasing new gadgets in the future, probably through an in-app purchase.

Each gadget features an attractive on-screen interface with all the relevant automatable controls, including virtual patch cables for Dublin. On some gadgets, an on-screen keyboard provides the typical touchscreen playing functionality, like one-finger chords and built-in scales. Each gadget comes with either one or two effects to further tailor the sound.

Expect future TabMuse articles to profile Gadget’s robust collection of synths (Part 1 and Part 2) and drum machines more deeply.

A Sequencer that’s a Breeze to Use

Gadget’s sequencer easily allows for either real-time or step-based beat creation. The app uses a portrait oriented interface, with the top half focusing on the sequencer and the bottom half controlling either a mixer or an individual gadget. The intuitive interface is a breeze to use.

Korg Gadget Screenshot 2

Korg Gadget sports an easy-to-use vertical interface suitable for bringing the freek. Screenshot by Author.

Each song is made up of any number of scenes which can vary in length and time signature individually — a great feature! Scene and track management is an easy process; so is sequencing the parts of an individual track. Control automation is accomplished through either real-time knob twiddling, or after the fact envelope drawing.

The mixer is also automatable with a standard set of volume and pan controls. Two song-level effects (Limiter and Reverb) are useful for mastering a final mix.

While my iPad 2 is only limited to 5 tracks in Gadget, that isn’t a real bother for me as I’ll dump a beat into ProTools for additional overdubs and melodic development. Those of you with newer iPads can really go to town, with over 20 tracks possible on Apple’s newer tablets.

Korg Gadget offers a ton of synth choices and host of features making its high price well worth it for iPad musicians. This app ranks with the Korg iPolysix, and easily earns my highest recommendation. Check out these profiles of six of the gadgets and the three drum modules within Korg’s innovative iOS app.


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