Lowbit Records Erik Pettersson road tests the KORG KAOSS DJ controller

The KORG KAOSS DJ controller which launched in March this year is Korg’s first foray in to the complete DJ controller package. Their previous range of DJ products have been solely focused on effects units with the much loved KAOSS FX series.

The KAOSS DJ controller is small lightweight all-in-one package housed in a plastic moulded case featuring a built-in sound card, an X/Y KAOSS effect pad and two channels each with a touch wheel, pitch fader, volume fader and low, mid and hi EQ knobs. The device comes with a free version of Serato Intro (with built-in KAOSS DJ mapping) downloadable from their website. Each channel also has a touch strip used for either nudging a track back or forth, jump between cue points or set loop points as well as buttons for play, sync and cue. The unit also has a light strip around the edges that blinks in sync with the music on each channel.

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The whole thing can be USB bus powered and operate in two different modes, controller mode or mixer mode. In mixer mode the unit works as a standalone mixer taking audio from its two RCA line in inputs and microphone input, great if you want to use one unit for laptop DJing or CD players. You can’t combine the use of controller or mixer though so its one or the other. For output there is a standard master out using RCA connections and a separate headphones out.

The KAOSS DJ controller is tailored for Serato but can work with Traktor with some manual mapping. At the time of writing I could not find shared mapping for Traktor so had a quick play around and got the basic functionality working but the touch wheel and strip needs some more advance setup to get working. The KAOSS FX part of the controller comes with 120 effects which are independent from the software used and applied on the master output in hardware. The effects available range from filters, delays, loopers and reverbs as well as a a range of sound effects, bass, lead and chord samples.

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You can set a scale/key globally so you can play the bass, lead and chord samples in key with songs you are playing. The unit also has an ‘auto BPM’ feature to automatically detect the BPM of the songs and synchronise the effects. The unit feels plastic and not extremely sturdy, its also quite small and feels a bit fiddly to work with due to the size constraints. For me, this is a great controller for the beginner DJ just getting started,
the unit would be perfect for house/small parties where a major setup isn’t required. The ability to use it as both a software controller and a stand-alone mixer with other audio inputs (CDs, iPods etc) makes it a great starter kit piece.

Specifications

Effects – 120
Effects Categories
Filter (13), Modulation (12), Dynamics (3), LFO (17), Delay (12), Reverb (5), Gain (3), Looper (21), Lead (9), Acoustic (2), Bass (6), Chord (5), Sound Effect (12)
Audio Inputs
RCA pin jack (L/R) x 2
Microphone (Standard monaural phone jack)
Audio Outputs
RCA pin jack (L/R) x1
Headphones (Standard stereo phone jack)
USB: Type B x 1
Sampling Rate
24 bit 44.1 kHz/ 48 kHz
Sampling Frequency
20 Hz–20 kHz
S/N Rate
More than 100 dB (USB)
Power Supply
USB bus power
Dimensions (W x D x H)
307 mm x 158 mm x 42 mm / 12.09” x 6.22” x 1.65”
Weight
730 g / 1.61 lbs


About the author

Sweden’s Erik Pettersson is better known as DJ/producer Sonic Union, one half of prolific progressive house pair Bastards of Funk and Sonic Union and co-founder, label owner and manager of Lowbit Records.

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