Korg Gadget Drum Machines Overview

Korg's Gadgets

Korg’s Gadget is one of the most fully featured and popular iOS DAWs and music making apps of recent years but Windows users can get in on the action too thanks to both Korg Gadget 2 music production software for Mac and PC and a Korg Gadget 2 Plugins bundle which allows all of the Korg Gadget devices to be run as plugins in any DAW.

KORG Gadget provides more than 40 tasty gadget instruments including synthesizers, keyboards, drum machines and samplers – it’s a veritable treasure trove of quirky beat makers and sound generators.

Korg Gadget Plugins

Want to use the Korg’s Gadgets in your favorite DAW? In the second generation of the Korg Gadget software, Korg introduced the “KORG Gadget 2 Plugins for Mac/PC” which deliver the popular iOS gadgets in plugin form for use in any DAW on both PC and Mac.

Korg Gadget plugins come in VST, AU, AAX, and NKS formats and come complete with ready to use sounds and presets.

There are currently over 40 Korg gadgets in the gadget library and below I cover the ones which are likely to be of most interest to beat makers.

Korg Gadget London:

London is a “Hypersonic PCM Drum Module”. This is an easy to use electronica/dance music focused drum machine featuring 400+ bread and butter drum machine samples suitable for a variety of dance music formats including electro, house and dubstep.

London provides three effects that you can use on each part, as well as a master effect.

Korg Gadget Tokyo:

Tokyo is a colorful gadget that brings together four compact analog-type drum sound generator modules into a single device.

Each module gives you parameters that are tuned respectively to kick, snare, tom and percussion sounds and you can sculpt some pretty quirky/impressive analog sounding kits with this gadgets.

Korg Gadget Amsterdam:

Amsterdam is a sample based instrument, one that Korg describes as a ‘PCM SFX Boombox’. This device is actually a lot of fun although producers with access to much bigger sample libraries will likely ignore it.

Amsterdam is a four-part PCM sound module gadget with over one hundred sound effects including one-shot sounds, synth sounds, zaps, booms and scratches. It also contains numerous chord samples, allowing you to create chord progressions in a style that might be familiar with producers who worked with sampling keyboards and romplers in the 1990s.

Tip: If you’re looking for a challenge or inspiration then why not fire up an instance of Amsterdam and see what track you can make from its included samples? If you want to explore a different way of working for an afternoon then you could restrict yourself to nothing but instances of Amsterdam – see what can you achieve with a collection of “cheesy” samples you might have previously ignored.

Korg Gadget Kingston:

Kingston is a polyphonic synthesizer optimized for 8-bit or “chip tune” type sounds. This is a great gadget to fire up when you’re wanting to create arcade game music and it’s also useful for synthwave tracks and generating sound effects, one shots and percussion.

There are 5 different oscillators to choose from and special “JUMP” and “RUN” functions twist your sounds into new directions and If you’re looking to make drum kits with a retro vibe then Kingston is a handy tool.

There are plenty more powerful VST synths out there, of course, but Kingston has a charm that is hard to resist. This gadget inspires and if these kind of retro sounds are to your tastes you could create entire albums just using Kingston.

Korg Gadget Recife:

Korg describe Recife as a ‘Futuristic Drum Module’. It’s actually a 16 pad drum machine featuring a broad range of sounds, acoustic drums and effects. You get 30 different kits covering a wide range of genres.

Korg Gadget Bilbao:

Bilbao is a one-shot sampler gadget with 16 parts. This is the gadget to fire up when you’re looking to make lo-fi beats and hip hop. Numerous beats are built in and you can import your own samples.

Korg Gadget Abu Dhabi:

This is another sampler gadget featuring electro drum and chord sequences which you can slice and dice to transform instantly transform them into something new. You can also freely import your own loops and samples.

It’s not as feature packed as Reason’s Dr. Rex or FL Studio’s Slicex plugins but it is quick and easy to use.

Korg Gadget Gladstone:

Gladstone is an acoustic drum Gadget equipped with 20 different acoustic kits. Fire up this gadget when you’re looking to create smokey backing tracks, lounge music, jazz or funk.

Korg Gadget Vancouver:

With the Vancouver gadget you can create an infinite number of sounds and play preloaded sounds with ease using the keyboard. Vancouver features 90 ready to go sounds (acoustic instruments, synthesizers, voice and sound effects) and you can import your own sounds.

Korg Gadget Stockholm:

Earlier I mentioned that the Abu Dhabi gadget isn’t as fully featured as Reason’s Dr. Octo Rex loop slicer. Rectifying that situation somewhat is the Stockholm Gadget by Reason studios.

This is a gadgetized version of the Dr. Octo Rex Loop Player from Reason, which allows you to load a total of 8 Rex files and switch between them in real-time.

You can make arrangements by simply loading multiple drum or guitar loops into the player and freely switching between them. It is also possible to create new beats by triggering slices in any way you like.

This gadget is great fun and if you have no access to the ‘real’ Dr. Octo Rex Loop Player in Reason then it’s a really handy gadget to have in your plugin folder.

Korg Gadget Ottori

When it comes to chip tune nostalgia the Ottori is hard to beat! This gadget takes classic sounds from SEGA arcade games such as Outrun and Afterburner and packages them up into a SEGA console inspired drum machine with 12 pads. Producers of a certain age might find themselves weeping gently as they trigger these sounds!

Are Korg Gadget plugins worth it?

Korg Gadget plugin collection retails at $199.00 (the KORG Gadget 2 DAW software retails at $299.00) which puts this collection firmly into “serious software” territory. This is not a collection of throwaway freeware or “toy” plugins although the case could be made that between your DAWs stock plugins, freebies and cheap plugins from third parties you could cover most – if not all – of the bases covered by the Gadget collection.

That said, you do get a LOT for your money including some pretty impressive synthesizers based on Korg’s own legacy collection of instruments including the Polysix and ARP Odyssey.

Korg Gadget plugins are packed with great sounds and they are great fun to use. Korg’s developers have done an incredible job giving you the core tools you need to create beats and melodies with a minimum of fuss. There are no complicated manuals to wade through nor do the gadgets suffer from complex menus to navigate or hundreds of knobs to tweak. These plugins are also light on CPU too.

If you already own hundreds of plugins/sample packs then maybe the Korg Gadgets collection is perhaps harder to justify but if you’re new to music production and you happen to have $199.00 to spend on software then this plugin collection is a great way to pack your DAW with useful music making devices.

Ironically, given the premium prices, Korg’s own website does a somewhat poor job of selling the Korg plugins collection and their Gadget 2 DAW software, perhaps due to Korg traditionally being a hardware developer – the likes of Native Instruments could teach Korg’s website design and marketing teams a thing or two, I think.

In particular us potential customers really would benefit from demo versions. In the world of pocket money priced apps it might be acceptable to spend a few bucks on a music making apps – most of which soon end up unloved – but how can I work out if I should shell out $299 for a DAW to run on my PC without even having access to a demo version?

You can read more about Korg’s software here

Are Korg Gadget plugins compatible with Ableton Live?

Yes the Korg Gadget plugins work in any suitable DAW that supports VST instruments including Ableton Live and FL Studio.

How much is Korg Gadget for iPad?

Korg Gadget on iPad/iPhone retails at $39.99. Note that a number of gadgets featured above including Bilbao,Abu Dhabi and Stockholm are in-app purchases.

Buying the Korg plugins collection for Mac/PC does not give you access to these gadgets on your iOS device. You must purchase the iOS app in addition to the PC/Mac software.

Does Korg Gadget run on Nintendo Switch?

There is a special version of Korg Gadget which runs on the Nintendo Switch console. The Nintendo Switch version of Korg Gadget includes 16 synthesizer and drum machine gadgets.

Sound, Phrase, Sequence, and Mix sections are contained in an intuitive layout allowing for rapid and intuitive music creation.

With the Nintendo Switch Korg Gadget you can collaborate with up to four people in Multiplayer Mode and challenge yourself to create a song rapidly in “Time Limit Mode”.

The Nintendo Switch Korg Gadget makes good use of the Joy-Con™ sensors. For example, by turning the Joy-Con™ users can turn the knobs on a gadget, or twist to enter or play the notes and trigger effects.

Nintendo Switch Korg Gadget can no doubt be enjoyed by people of any age but it’s a particularly good way to introduce young children to the world of music making technology.

You can read more about the Korg Gadget for Nintendo Switch on the Korg website here.

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