AZ PIANO REVIEWS!: REVIEW - Korg Kronos Digital Piano Workstation - Sounds Great & Lots of Fun to Use - Digital Piano Reviews

May 8, 2013

REVIEW - Korg Kronos Digital Piano Workstation - Sounds Great & Lots of Fun to Use

UPDATED REVIEW - November 1, 2014 - Korg has been producing some very impressive pro keyboards and digital piano workstations for many years. These instruments are played by pro musicians worldwide on stage, in studio, at home, and many other places. Korg has been a leader in keyboard technology over the years (all of which I have played) including their famous M1, Trinity, Triton, OASYS, and other models, and the Korg Kronos stage piano/workstation is no exception. The Kronos comes in a 61-key ($2999) lightweight synth type action, and 73 key ($3499 internet price) & 88 key ($3799 internet price) piano type weighted key action. There are no built-in speakers as this is a stage piano and the speakers, stand, and other accessories are optional and an extra cost.

I have played all three of the models but the 88-key version of the Kronos is what interests me the most when it comes to pianos because it has the full piano simulated key action. The first thing that I noticed about this piano was that Korg is using the same key action (RH3) as found in their lower priced 88-key stage pianos including the SV1 ($2199 internet price) and the LP380 ($999 internet price). Although Korg has used this key action for many, many years and it's pretty good overall, it's curious why they have not made advancements in their piano key action for the new Kronos. The RH3 key action it is not what an acoustic grand or upright piano feels like, however it is more realistic than other brands I have played. It does play evenly and quickly and this is particularly good if the player is going to be regularly using the extensive library of sounds on this model including electric pianos, synths, jazz organs, strings, guitars, horns, percussion, and other instruments that need a quick, fast key reaction time.

When it comes to a digital piano (and the Kronos is much more than that), my first thought is that the piano key action needs to be great, especially in an instrument which sells near $4000 that has very convincing grand piano sounds, which the Kronos 88 does including realistic reproductions of German and Japanese acoustic grand pianos. If you're wanting a grand piano playing experience when it comes to accurate organic acoustic piano key action, this piano would not be it. However with that said, the rest of the piano is very impressive. The 8" color touch screen is super cool and fun to use and allows multitasking of sounds and events in various ways. However, the control panel and interface display is flat and and the display screen is flush in the top and not slightly slanted which would have been a better way to see and use the controls when sitting at the keyboard. Perhaps Korg thought a flush flat panel would be better and safer for for transport, but a flat panel is not near as good for performance when sitting down (in my opinion). Maybe Korg thinks most people will be standing up when playing. The Kronos has a solid state hard drive where many of the piano sounds reside (in unlooped form - very cool) and the tone generation is from multiple sources including sampling as well as PCM generated tones and Physical & Analog modeling, which is simply a different and effective way of coming up with realistic instrument tones. The best way to judge sound quality is to listen to a Korg Kronos for yourself, and at the end of the day, that's all that really counts. As I have talked about in other blog reviews, it's not the descriptive terminology that a company uses to describe their product (and Korg uses plenty), but it's what actually comes out of the instrument for tone, touch, and features.

The Kronos has the ability to record and play instruments over 16 MIDI tracks & 16 separate audio tracks which is a great features when it comes to creating, recording, and playing back your music or music that you have imported from other sources. The Kronos has very convincing backing tracks for live performance, phrase creation, arpeggiator, CD burner & playback features (needs to be used in conjunction with external USB CD drive), and 1000's of exciting sounds in every way you can imagine and is also highly upgradable with additional factory sounds and features that can be installed later. You can write and compose film scores, entire musical productions, or just play the Kronos as a live acoustic piano, electric piano, jazz organ, or anything else you like.

Ultimately, this instrument is (what I call) a CREATION STATION with everything you would need make incredible music for studio or performance...and that's what it's all about. If you want to create and play music with the 1000's of available quality instruments (all of which can be edited in a number of ways on the touch screen) and features with smooth transition movements from one tone to the next without delay or dropout, then the Kronos piano workstation (a workstation is an all-in-one way to create music) with it's beautiful large color interactive touch display screen is a winner and I would recommend it.  As far as aesthetics (looks ) go, the Korg Kronos 88 key version is very sleek and attractive except for the fact that the side panels on the ends of the keyboards are a shiny black plastic which in my opinion, looks cheap and picks up fingerprints and smudges like crazy (and probably dust as well) and can easily be seen. 

However, if you are really wanting to get an impressive grand piano tone with the best possible grand piano key action in lower priced portable digital piano, then I would recommend you also consider the Kawai MP11 digital portable concert grand piano. This is an instrument that hits a big home run with its realistic "Grand Feel" wooden key action and center pivot point movement with grand piano let-off control, new synthetic ivory keytops, and a beautiful piano sound that is unmatched for it's lower price of $2799. It's affordable and is also a great piano midi controller as well so that you can use it to control external VST's, computers, & midi sound modules as well being able to create separate independent zones on the keyboard itself for internal and external sounds. Go to the following link below to read my blog review on the new MP11.

Kawai MP11 Review

If you want more info on these and other pianos and LOWER PRICES than internet discounts, please email me at tim@azpianowholesale.com or call direct at 602-571-1864.

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