Part of the appeal of using Kore is as a meta-host for multiple plug-ins. But that means, particularly in live performance, that you’ll want to conserve CPU resources. I personally don’t like to make things too unwieldy with Kore, keeping things to 8-12 channels and consolidating wherever possible. But even with a couple of instances of Reaktor, CPU conservation is a good idea.
Enter the power of the Channel On/Off switch. It’s actually in two places – see the X in the top left of the image here, as well as the one on the Audio tab at bottom. What’s nice about it is that, by “pulling the plug” on a channel, you prevent plug-ins on that channel from consuming CPU resources. (Many third-party plug-ins will keep using CPU resources even if no signal is routed to them. The “X” in this case switches them off entirely.)
So we know that switching off channels entirely – rather than just avoiding routing audio to them or switching off MIDI input – is the best way to conserve CPU when switching between instruments and effects. But how do you automate this in performance?
You can’t directly assign controls to the on/off switch, so your best solution is likely to enable and disable channels with performance presets. Performance presets will store the enabled/disabled state of all channels when they’re saved. To access them, click the Performance Presets button on the toolbar:
In the matrix, select the channels you want to be active and inactive for a preset (whether it’s a song, a section of a song, or just a convenient performance preset during a set). Choose Store. Repeat for each preset, and when you recall the presets, the channels you want to be enabled and disabled will be set up properly.
There’s just one catch. Currently, if you add additional channels after you’ve saved a preset, they’ll be activated in all presets by default. There’s a discussion thread about this on the NI forums:
For me, though, this means the best workflow is something like this:
1. Build up a set of channels with sounds/effects
2. Save each channel as a Koresound (File > Save performance as Koresound or right-click on a channel in the matrix > Save as…). This means you can recall these sounds in any combination for creating different performance sets.
3. Set up the final combination of channels, sounds, and effects you want to use for a set, and save each preset as a Performance Preset.
I actually like this way of working, as it means I consolidate presets for specific uses. We’ll be looking at some other performance strategies over coming posts, though, as there are a range of possible ways of working to suit different purposes. And some people will, of course, want to combine Kore instances in a host like Ableton Live or FL Studio for working live, while others will want to run Kore in its standalone mode. If you’ve got ideas or questions, we’d love to hear them!