Korg has released a new iteration of the KAOSS Pad called the KAOSS Replay, which features 16 velocity-sensitive sample pads, DJ-style group faders and cue points, plus a built-in audio interface, making it truly standalone.
The KAOSS Replay is designed to provide musicians, performers, and producers with signature KAOSS Pad and effects, with expanded sample playback, sampling capabilities, and intuitive DJ controls in its portable, stand-alone unit.
KAOSS Replay vs. Original KAOSS Pad
A comparison between the original Korg KAOSS Pad and the new KAOSS Replay wouldn’t be exactly fair. The former was released 24 years ago, in 1999 and it has been a milestone in modern music production (among its notable users, Brian Eno, Radiohead, Muse, etc.).
Compared to the original KAOSS Pad, the KAOSS Replay features a 5-inch full-color OLED touchscreen, expanded sample playback and sampling capabilities (128 sample slots with 16 pads x 8 banks) for each of up to 100 projects., “top-tier vocal effects”, DJ-style controls, USB-C connectivity, a sturdy aluminum casing, and a built-in audio interface.
The innovative, slightly toy-like look of the original KAOSS Pad is gone. The new KAOSS Replay boasts a more professional (too-Roland SP inspired?) look.
However, the KAOSS Replay retains the compact form factor, ease of use, and the ability to create complex effects and loops in real-time. The price tag (approx. $/€1000), on the other hand, may also be high for some users (including yours truly). Korg calls it “the flagship KAOSS”, and it’s priced accordingly!
That said, the KAOSS Replay is an immersive and engaging performance tool for all musicians, and it is designed to facilitate electrifying KAOSS-infused performances on the fly, eliminating the need for additional equipment. I find it a welcome upgrade on the old KP, however it comes at a cost.
Eventually it will be a new hit for Korg, especially if they will be able to bring down the price in the $/€700-800 range. I also expect a cheaper, more feature-limited version in a year or so, but that’s just my guess.
Pricing and Availability
The Korg KAOSS Replay is projected to hit the market by January 2024 (some say late December 2023), and it should retail at approximately $1,000 USD/EUR. You can learn more about the KAOSS Replay on the Korg website.
The Korg KAOSS Replay, like the original KAOSS Pad, is a pretty unique machine. There is no equivalent on the market, but you might be able to replicate some of its features on other machines. Possible alternatives include the Roland SP404 MK2, 1010music’s Blackbox and why not, an iPad with the right sound mangling apps (such as the good old ElasticFX and Turnado, or the newer Popsicle FX, for instance).
Last but not least, if you don’t need the improvements of the newer version, you can also look for one of the previous iterations of the KAOSS Pad family on eBay and the likes.
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