Keystage - MIDI 2.0 poly-at keyboard controller from KORG

My guess is if Korg is doing it for a MIDI controller, they’ll be looking at how to update their sound engines to handle it and probably will make it into some of their future flagships.


POLYOPSIX :pray::pray::pray:

Ignore this part

F the robots

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So Korg was at Synthfest UK ( thread ) this past weekend but no announcement.
B&H must have gotten way out over their skis.

Any guess when Korg actually officially announces the Keystage ?

Have been waiting for these products for a long time. I will be picking up a poly AT MIDI keyboard sometime next year when these have been around a bit on the market. Just from a visual perspective between this one and the Kontrol, I think the Kontrol is still the winner for me with integrations, build quality and bang for buck. That being said, the low profile (depth) of this keyboard due to a lack of large screen makes it more attractive for the desk. Arturia should be next and hopefully we won’t have to wait much longer.

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I think one other thing for you to consider between these two, would be the keybed.

The Korg used the Medeli Polytouch and the Native Instruments is Fatar based.
There are differences, although both are high quality keybeds.

We’ll see what may come next. Poly-AT Keyboard Speculation thread.

Mini screens per encoder - sort of like the Kontrol Mk1?

Not one to get excited about controllers but this looks like it implements a few quality of life things that make it interesting. Full midi 2.0 means it’ll load up assignments to the knobs along with a display-per-knob so you can see what’s what right away. Poly AT too, plus an output only audio interface which is very useful.

Downside, not the cheapest at £500-600. Interesting though.

Great to see midi 2.0 finally hitting the market.
Let’s hope other manufacturers start implementing it too asap.

Pots instead of endless encoders. No way to change the mode of the pots to catch or jump to new values.

We need the VST makers to implement Midi 2 for the 2 way communication (loading and labelling the knobs and OLED etc from the VST). Korg have an incentive to do their VSTs first!

Pots over encoders a strange choice though.

Do you guys think that MIDI 2.0 could be implemented to the existing Elektron gear?

To the DIN ports no. Maybe over the USB port it would be possible but I am not aware of any company that has done such an upgrade or announced plans to do one. Elektron still hasn’t done anything “next-gen” in that department. Same goes for USB-C connectivity or power (which some people want and others don’t). The AHFX came out this year but dev time for that was likely already started several years back.

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MIDI 2.0 on Elektron would be on topic in the MIDI 2.0 thread, or would make an excellent new thread.

Listings at Sweetwater USA
61 Key – $700
49 Key – $600

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That seems like a very concise, yet comprehensive controller! I don’t currently need one, but if I ever do, this will be on the list for sure.

The comments in the Loopop video are all over the perplexing decision to go with pots instead of encoders. I just don’t get how anyone at Korg thought that was a good idea – as several of the comments mention, the whole point of the per-knob displays (and a big part of MIDI 2.0) is being able to switch between plugins and pages and instantly have hands-on control.

Using pots means every parameter will end up jumping or having to catch up when you adjust it. It may not completely defeat the purpose… but it’s enough of a completely unnecessary workflow interrupter that for me, at least, it’s a dealbreaker.


That’s been my experience with recent Korg ‘Flagship’ products: unnecessary workflow interruptions

Drumlogue, for example, has bizarrely lacking MIDI routing/config capabilities if you want to use it with pretty much any other gear, let alone multiple pieces in a complex setup, to the point where it’s the first device I’ve wanted to sell because it is a chore to work around… so many workarounds, and not everything can be worked around.

It’s like their program/product managers are uselessly out of the loop on who they’re selling to, and what a product is expected to be in 2023. Out of touch; inattentive, or something.

I’d hate jumpy behavior when switching instruments, and hence, also dead on arrival for me. And they don’t update firmware/software. Almost feel like NI from that perspective, but with silence instead of “we’ll get to it later.”

I can see that. A design team coming from knob-per-function synths is probably going to be looking at this quite differently from all of us thinking in terms of either ITB or a master keyboard for a module setup. Still, though, that’s what product research is for…

Pretty much. Either that, or we’re all wrong and this will sell like hotcakes to people who want this for their live rig.

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Some people prefer pots on controllers rather than encoders, encoders usually require more rotation to make a full sweep of the parameter.

So as much as I’ve been bemoaning Korg’s use of pots over encoders in this thread… I would take a good pot over a poor encoder.

product design nerd rant follows

I think most of the people who prefer pots to encoders have never used a really good encoder (entirely understandable as they are all too rare!) Encoder resolution is a terribly under-appreciated factor in gear design and component sourcing, and there are simply too many low-res encoders out there.

Most manufacturers work around limited encoder resolution by using acceleration curves. This allows you to kind of compensate by making a fast turn cover more “ground” than a slow turn, and to some extent, it works. But it only goes so far: if the resolution is too low to start with (and especially if the polling rate is too low), you just end up with controls that feel imprecise and separated from what they’re controlling.

The perfect encoder would have the same resolution as a potentiometer. I’m not aware of any that are quite up to that level, but there are some very good ones out there. Elektron, for example, uses very good ones that don’t require much in the way of acceleration curves to be usable. NI has some great ones on its Komplete Kontrol series keyboards.

If Korg simply sourced the same encoders that NI has been using for years, that would do it for me, an encoder snob – and yet there’s still room for improvement. Just as ASM has pushed keybeds forward and licensed Polytouch to OEMs, someone should be doing the same for encoders.

The high-end market for MIDI controllers is still ripe for new entrants. Let’s see some more innovation!