Korg Gadget — Reviewing the Synths, Part 2

So we’ve reviewed Korg’s powerful Gadget iOS beatmaking app; we covered its drum modules, and the first half of its synth collection. Naturally, what follows is a look at the other six synth modules of Gadget. Expect these Gadgets to be useful for creating a wide range of electronic and esoteric music.

Wolfsburg offers a Distant Mirror to 80s Polyphony

Wolfsburg is essentially a mini Rompler filled with sampled waveforms from a variety of classic analog synths. The sounds seem more 80s oriented than related to the 70s, with classic Oberheim and one can assume the Korg Polysix and Poly 61 well represented. Its main difference with Phoenix is being sample-based versus the latter’s virtual analog emulation.

Korg Gadget Wolfsburg Screenshot

Wolfsburg provides Gadget classic analog samples from the 80s. Screenshot by Author.

Two oscillators operate in either monophonic or polyphonic modes. Noise can also be mixed into the equation. A standard array of subtractive synthesis controls (including a filter), a useful modulation matrix, and two separate effects round out Wolfsburg.

Brussels spouting Today’s Monophonic Anthems

A unique monophonic Gadget with a host of modern musical applications, Brussels serves well as either a lead or bass instrument. The “Anthem” moniker definitely applies. Brussels sports a modern, sleek interface with a collection of interesting synth controls organized within three sections: Generator, Performer, and Output.

Korg Gadget Brussels Screenshot

Brussels is a Gadget suitable for state of the art bass and lead sounds. Screenshot by Author.

The Performer section’s pump and repeat controls appear to influence a patch’s delay and envelope settings — more or less. The interface lends itself to experimentation, especially the Generator section which offers unique tweaking of the filter, glide, and low-end controls. The Output section includes a reverb as Brussels’ only true effect.

Kiev resides in Outer Space

When a track needs a bit of ambience to finish it off, or if you are creating a music piece squarely in the realm of outer space — Kiev is the Gadget of choice. An “Advanced Spatial Digital Synthesizer,” Kiev is slightly reminiscent of Animoog. It uses four waveform oscillators, leveraging an x-y pad to mix the four in real time.

Korg Gadget Kiev Screenshot

Korg Gadget’s Kiev is squarely in outer space. Screenshot by Author.

A second screen provides access to a filter, envelopes for the amp and filter, and a singular multi-effect. This is a fun, spacey Gadget suitable for real-time tweaking. Hopefully some additional waveforms get added in a future update (or the ability to load your own), but there are currently enough to satisfy most musical scenarios.

Chiang Mai for Take Out

Chiang Mai is a Gadget sporting a variable phase modulation architecture. This makes it suitable for bells, organs, or even a decent lead. Some of the factory presets cover basses and even sound effects pads — it’s a pretty versatile gadget with a DX-like sound.

The first screen offers access to the oscillators and filter; be sure to tweak the harmonics control on both oscillators to get a feel for the sonic possibilities. The two envelopes as well as chorus and delay effects reside on the second screen. If you want to channel those crystal clear sounds of Yamaha in the 80s — Chiang Mai is your Gadget.

Taking our Talents to Miami

Looking for a modern sounding low-end? Check out Miami. This unique monophonic gadget offers an interesting architecture not unlike Brussels with the Wobble knob — a form of BPM synced LFO — taking center stage. Miami is also suitable for some badass lead sounds as well.

Miami’s filter has a resonance control called “Crush” suitable for an extra edge compared to other filters. The carrier and “X-Mod” dual oscillator setup is capable of some complex waveforms. I’d like a delay (wouldn’t we all) but the Wobble function almost serves that role.

Helsinki brings Scandinavian Ambience to Gadget

Another Gadget suitable for ambience, Helsinki rounds out Korg’s collection of virtual sound modules. The interface even hints at an icy Scandinavian winter and the sounds come pretty close as well. Many useful drones or mellow leads lurk within.

The Helsinki architecture utilizes a generator that combines an oscillator with an EQ; noise can also be mixed in. The LoFi frequency control is great for real-time tweaking. A filter, envelope, and a reverb finish off Helsinki.

There you have it — twelve great Gadgets and an environment for electronic music creation provided by Korg all within one app. Gadget is simply a must download for iPad musicians. Hopefully future updates with add to the mayhem — especially a new drum module or three!


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  2. […] take a closer look at six of the synths included in Korg Gadget. Future articles will cover the other six synths and Gadget’s three drum machines. Note that all the gadgets are named after […]

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