KORG & VOX Promotional Month -
Product Demonstration by JUN KUNG (20/11/2009)
Event Review & Product HighlightsOn 20th November 2009 at the Tom Lee Academy Hall, Jun Kung, one of the town’s hippest drummers put on a funky and captivating casual jam session with arranger-producer Fergus Chow as they gave a tour of the latest music instruments by KORG and VOX. As a staunch believer in technology, Jun believes that evolution in technologies brings new inspiration; it affects the way we make music and gives birth to new music. Like a six-year-old in an amusement park, Jun was blown away by the awesome lineup of synthesizers, samplers and guitar products that were set on stage for the product demo. “This is almost like a playground! I could spend hours here, just jamming!”
To begin, Jun kicked off the demonstration with “Intro”, a short, exotic passage layered with samples of Indian percussive instruments from the WaveDrum, an upgraded version of the legendary percussion synthesizer that was first introduced to the music world in 1994. As an owner of the original version, Jun recalls, “The rim of the original version was made of wood. Since the technology required to engineering the WaveDrum was particularly popular back then, that version was considered as a classy, high-end product with a lofty price tag. 15 years have gone by and this new, compact instrument returns with improved touch, sonic versatility and a lower price.” The WaveDrum is a comprehensive package that integrates a generous bank of worldwide percussion with realistic touch and superb response. As Jun suggested, there is more than one way to create music with this handy device. You can hit different parts of the rim, or even scratch the drumhead to bring other instrument samples to life -in Jun’s case, sitar from the WaveDrum. Mimicking the voice-over artists of Discovery channel, Jun’s inventive voice-over and Indian tabla music are mysterious, rich and entertaining.
KORG SV-1 Stage Vintage Piano
For those who have been searching for a realistic, “What You See Is What You Get” (WYSIWYG) stage piano packed with mainstream and retro sounds, the quest is finally over because KORG SV-1 Stage Vintage Piano is the real deal. Recently, Jun recommended SV-1 to singer-songwriter Khali Fong. “Fong is a big fan of Stevie Wonder. So SV-1 is the perfect axe for him to bring on the road, as it comes with authentic rhodes and funky clavs patches.” says Jun. Just as Jun was about to finish, Fergus played snippets of Minnie Riperton’s “Loving You”. The warmth and crystal-like quality of the notes were the reasons why SV-1 become the obvious choice for Fong.
SV-1 recreates the look of a vintage stage piano; its Valve Reactor circuit design adds the much-needed warmth to it, taking the whole performing experience to another level. This transistorized keyboard has no screen, no menus nor hidden functions. Form follows function on SV-1; the signal-flow-like arrangement of the control and knobs makes keyboard player’s life easier, as effects such as overdrive, or amp-modeling effects could be adjusted with instantly accessible knobs and buttons.
VOX Virage Guitar
Over the years, Jun is probably best known as a drummer. Yet, his passion for music is not limited to one single scope. In fact, he enjoys immersing himself in the guitar world too. As seen in the jam session, he has acquired good fretboard proficiency- only he is too humble to admit. With a VOX Virage guitar on hand, he talks about how new models like the Virage series could function as an alternative to vintage, great-sounding axes that are both hard-to-find and costly. The Virage series is a series semi-hollow six-strings designed with an equal emphasis on sonic flexibility, playability and ergonomic factor, with a look that resembles the body of Gibson 335 and Les Paul. Available in single cutaway and double cutaway, the whole form, especially the back of the guitar is gently curved. “Imagine playing this guitar while sitting in front of the TV. This is something you could hold, wrap it around your body and play for a considerably long period without feeling tired and exhausted,” describes Jun.
VOX ToneLab ST
Next Jun went on to demystify the secrets behind VOX ToneLab ST, a compact tube-equipped guitar effect processor that could be handily connected to a computer via USB connection. With its guitar amp emulating technology, ToneLab ST gives guitarists tube-amp like reactivity, realistic-sounding result without the need of running the signal through an amplifier. That is why; guitar virtuosos recommended ToneLab ST to Jun. Just one-third the size of ToneLab LE, ToneLab ST preserves the essence of its elder brother. It emulates 33 amp models, from large amp stacks to mini combo; and it comes with 20 updated edition of song presets, providing guitarists with spot-on recreations of instantly recognized rock guitar classics.
Built with native features of KORG’s acclaimed flagship workstation M3, M50 is a slim-line relative of M3. Utilizing “Enhanced Definition Synthesis” (EDS), the same tone generation method that brought M3 into the limelight, M50 houses more than 600 onboard program presets, ready to impress and entertain. These stock sounds are great starting points for keyboard players who prefer a more sophisticated and personalized tone. KARMA is omitted and it has now become an expansion option. For a streamlined operation, M50 has a clean and intuitive design, featuring a touch-screen and bare minimum of knobs, which is ideal in live settings. For around half the price of M3, M50 is a budget-friendly alternative loaded with M3’s sonic horsepower without compromising on quality.
VOX Night Train
There’s no denying the irresistible allure of tubes. The majority of serious guitar players are obsessed with the fat, irresistible warmth of these precious tube bottles, so as Jun. In practice rooms, he feels that the power and output of self-contained guitar combos could be close to head-and-speaker units, but not as satisfying. Thus, VOX Night Train guitar amp head is a new, inspiring concept that conveniently marries portable factor with rock-solid performance. In the Pentode mode, Night Train delivers a full 15 watts of power. In the Triode mode, the power is cut to 7.5 watts. Experience it, hear it and you will believe - Jun’s demonstration reveals that this head, weighing less than 17 pounds, has the actual ability to deliver and maintain a relatively consistent output, even when power is reduced by half.
Have you ever thought of extracting a few measures from an existing piece of music, tweak it, break up beats and create something that would cut through a mix in a strong interesting way? With KORG’s new microSAMPLER, you don’t have to be a programming expert to complete these tasks. To demonstrate, Jun extracted some material from a remix track he produced for hip-hop group LMF from his iPhone, and jammed on the top of the chords of a Cantonese ballad that Fergus played. Packed with drum samples and effects developed for the KAOSS Pad series, microSAMPLER is instantly accessible instrument that is on a par with a laptop. Unlike conventional pad-based samplers, the microSAMPLER’s keyboard interface also doubles as improvisational tool, as samples could be replayed at different pitches in a musical fashion. Either DC or six 2A batteries could power the microSAMPLER, meaning it’s possible to sample anywhere, jam anytime and more creatively than ever.
- Francis Fu