Review: Korg Gadget 2

Korg's Gadget 2 introduces new instruments and FX as well as more DAW functionality than ever. There's a reason why it's Matt Vanacoro's favourite fun way to make music...  

I was a big fan of Korg Gadget when it first appeared on the scene for iOS. The idea that Korg would design its own DAW complete with its own suite of synth sounds made me giddy with excitement. I had a great time with Gadget, but I’ll be honest, I never really ‘turned to it’ as a way to get work done. With Gadget 2 (and with a lot of the updates to Gadget 1 along the way, if we’re being honest) that notion has gone out the window. Korg Gadget 2 is absolutely a fantastic way to make great sounding music quickly, and it’s a blast.

What’s New

There are 6 new focused instruments included with Gadget 2, and 4 of them are available now. Just a heads up, Gadget 2 is a free upgrade for iOS users, and the new synths are in-app purchases. If you’re a Mac user, the upgrade is $99, but it includes all of the new instruments. Of these, I found Durban to be the most intriguing. Rather than another bass synth, Korg created a pretty amazing bass effect processor in Durban with amp modeling, cabinet simulation, effects, eq, and more! You can record bass live into your iOS device with Durban or even import audio and use Durban as a standard effect. It’s great!

New gadgets are not all that’s exciting about Gadget 2. The color scheme has been tweaked, as has the user interface. I was able to quickly get up and running and track a few things without having to look at the help file at all. Everything is placed in a way that makes sense, and you can feel like a ‘pro’ after only 20 minutes of tinkering around in the interface.

Still More

There are 4 new IFX included to craft your instruments and mix, and these include feedback reverb, a saturator, an enhancer, and an exciter. All four are easily activated in the channel strip which slides up quickly and beautifully from the bottom of the screen. As always, I’m impressed with what Korg has done to make Gadget 2 efficient and use screen real estate wisely.

You can now insert tempo changes as well as create fade in/outs for your projects. The Gadget 2 plugins themselves are compatible with Windows, for those of you who want to use just the instruments in your own DAW and not the entire Korg app.

Did I Mention Fun?

I can’t say enough how much fun Gadget 2 is. I’m thrilled that your other Korg instrument apps like Arp Odyessi and Module show up in Gadget 2 as available gadgets. Comparisons will invariably be made to Ableton Live as this is a loop/cell based music sequencer, but really, using Gadget 2 is far more ‘fun’ than Live ever has been for me. It’s a bit of an alien concept for some, but you actually look forward to opening up this DAW. You can record audio tracks, and now Korg has shown they are giving you great options for processing that audio. The Taipei gadget allows us a peek at the future of MIDI-out capabilities in Gadget 2. The last piece I’m waiting to fall into place is AU support for iOS. There is no other touch capable DAW that is as intuitive, fun, and great sounding as Gadget 2.

Price: Free update to Gadget 1, individual gadgets are in-app purchases. Mac upgrade is $99. Mac standalone purchase is $199 for a limited time.
Pros: Overwhelmingly slick and fast, snappy response, great touch interface on iOS, fantastic sounds, playful instrument graphic design, incredibly easy to use, fun to use.
Cons: No AU support on iOS… YET!!! (fingers crossed)
Web: www.korg.com
Learn the ins and outs of Korg Gadget here: https://ask.audio/academy?nleloc=category/audio/topic/korg

Matt Vanacoro is one of New York’s premier musicans. Matt has collaborated as a keyboardist in studio and on stage with artists such as Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), Mark Wood (Trans-Siberian Orchestra), Mark Rivera (Billy Joel Band), Aaron Carter, Amy Regan, Jay Azzolina, Marcus Ratzenboeck (Tantric), KeKe Palmer, C-Note, Jordan Knig... Read More

Discussion

Buis
Does the Mac version also contain all in app purchases such as the wavestation cards and arp presets?
Would be nice to be able to simultaneous record an external synth, controlled by Taipei, but at this time, you can’t. Gadget is great for beginners developing into enthusiasts.
Buis
Does the Mac version also contain all in app purchases such as the wavestation cards and arp presets?
Would be nice to be able to simultaneous record an external synth, controlled by Taipei, but at this time, you can’t. Gadget is great for beginners developing into enthusiasts.

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