When you’re working in the studio or designing sounds, navigating complex parameters with a mouse makes some sense. But when you want to focus on sounds — while playing an instrument in private or (especially) live — you really want hardware control.
Kore 2′s controller does let you do this. The trick is to learn how to navigate different levels of sounds, since you may have different instruments in a performance you want to control. Here’s a quick reference guide to how to do it.
This comes off a little like those old text adventure games. (You’re in a dark dungeon. There are entrances to the LEFT and RIGHT. There are SOUNDS. You can hit the CONTROL button.) But walk through these steps with a performance open, and it’ll make sense — and with a little practice, you can do this quite quickly.
Screen shows: NAV > [Your Performance]
Highlighted button: ENTER
Use it to control: Overall mix
With nothing selected in the Kore window, you’ll see an option for the top level of the performance. From here, if you hit CONTROL, you’ll be able to bring up pages for the channels. That makes this an easy way to mix levels for your overall sound, adjust effects send levels, mute, and so on. After hitting CONTROL, the LEFT and RIGHT arrow keys become active. Press these to switch between different channels, and the MASTER channel. (Note that if you haven’t renamed each source channel, they’ll each display as “CTL > SOURCE,” so you probably do want to rename them!)
To get into the details of each channel, press the ENTER button.
Screen Shows: NAV > [Performance] and displays the Sound Matrix
Highlighted buttons: ARROW buttons, ESC
Use it to control: Navigation between matrices, browser loading
In the Sound Matrix, you can navigate between inserted modules, effects, and instruments using the arrow keys. So, for instance, if you have an arpeggiator you want to control, you’d hit the arrow buttons until it’s highlighted, then press CONTROL to bring up its control pages and activate those parameters on the controller encoders and buttons. If you press the SOUND button, you bring up the active morph matrix. Press ESC if you want to return to the matrix.
Because you can activate an individual slot in your Sound Matrix, this is also an ideal level from which to bring up the Browser. Hit F2 in a slot, and you’ll see a list of Koresound names. Hit the preview button on the controller (the one that looks like a speaker), and you can audition sounds from a keyboard or other controller.
What about sounds embedded within sounds? Select a slot, and hit the ENTER button on the controller. To return to the parent sound, hit ESC.
Screen Shows: CTL > [Active Page]
Highlighted Buttons: UP, DOWN, CONTROL
Use it to control: Individual parameters using the encoders and buttons – this is the fun part
Hit CONTROL, and you enter the all-important control pages — the point at which you actually control sounds. Using the up and down arrow keys, you can switch between pages. If you’re using a third-party plug-in, that’ll include all the plug-in parameters, so you can scroll through a VST or AU plug-in and find each individual element you can control.
Hit CONTROL a second time, and you can switch between user and channel pages or user and plug-in pages. If the active plug-in doesn’t have a user page, you’ll see “CTL > No Page.” Hit CONTROL again to return to the plug-in page, or use the Assign > Learn feature in software to add parameters to your own user page.
Again, you can hit ESC to return to the previous level and go back to the matrix.
When Inside a Host
Running inside a host like Ableton Live or Logic, the Kore controller will function just as it does in standalone mode. The difference is, you may have more than one instance of Kore — more than one channel on which the Kore plug-in is running. For example, I often like to run live sets with a small number of Kore instances in Live, each within different channel setups, and activate them for different parts of the set.
This means you have to be able to switch between instances.
Hold down the F1 button, and you’ll see a screen of rectangles. Rectangles with a solid border are active instances; broken rectangles with just the corners displayed are inactive. To choose which instance you want, you can either use the UP and DOWN buttons or (cooler) use one of the eight toggle buttons on the controller.
There’s just one trick: Kore will use the order in which each instance was added. That can be confusing if you’re looking at channel numbers and going left to right. If that’s hard for you, I’d be careful to add Kore instances from left to right when working in your host. If you reorder channels later, be sure to reorder your Kore instances, too.
(ESC repeatedly to get to this top level)
CONTROL, then LEFT / RIGHT: Channel control pages
ENTER: Select a channel for more detail
UP / DOWN / LEFT / RIGHT: Select insert in the matrix
SOUND: Morph matrix for active insert
CONTROL: Control pages for active insert
F2: Load browser and replace at the active insert
ENTER: Navigate one level deeper into an embedded sound
ESC: Return to the Performance level
UP / DOWN: Navigate through pages
CONTROL: Toggle User, Plugin, Channel pages
ESC: Return to the Sound Matrix
In a Host:
(Hold) F1 + button / UP/DOWN: Select active instance of Kore from available instances
(I’ll be brushing up the above list so we can do a printable quick reference card … corrections / additions welcome.)
Does that make sense? Give it a try and see if any spots are confusing. To me, though, the ability to navigate entirely from the hardware is a huge boon … even if I just used it for sound design, I’d want that capability.
One big note: just because a button is inactive (confusingly) doesn’t mean you can’t use it – and that also means you’ll have to remember which button is which, unless you can read black type on a black background. (If anything changes, we’ll update this documentation.)
And if you have tips of your own, be sure to share.