Last updated: 19 Jan 2010

General
What is KARMA?
How does KARMA work? Stephen Kay explains...
What is the relationship between Korg and Karma Lab?
Where can I find KARMA Technology audio and video demos?

Korg M3, OASYS, Karma Music Workstations
Do the Korg keyboards incorporating KARMA have an arpeggiator?
Do I still need an arpeggiator?
Can the user edit the KARMA GEs (Generated Effects)?
Can the user create new GEs (Generated Effects) from scratch?
Is all the MIDI data that the KARMA Function generates sent out the MIDI Out?
Can the knob, slider and switch movements be recorded?
Is it possible to bypass the KARMA function and play a specific program just like usual without having complex phrases being created all the time?
Is the M3, OASYS, or Karma an arranger keyboard, or can it replace an arranger keyboard?
Do the M3, OASYS or Karma know about producing an intro, verse, chorus, fill, ending etc.?

Korg Karma/Triton Music Workstations
Can I read what actual users are saying about the Karma keyboard?
Where can I get the official "Karma Keyboard FAQ" pdf document?
What is the difference between the Karma and the Triton?

KARMA Software (KARMA MW, KARMA Triton, KARMA Oasys, KARMA M3)
What is KARMA MW software?
What is KARMA Triton software?
What is KARMA Oasys software?
What is KARMA M3 software?
Will there be a version of KARMA software that does not require owning a Korg product?
Is the KARMA Software written in Max, or compatible with Max?







• What is KARMA?

KARMA™ (Kay Algorithmic Realtime Music Architecture) is a patented algorithmic MIDI data generating technology that takes input notes and controller movements and generates complex musical phrases and effects. KARMA provides independent real-time control over various aspects of a musical phrase, such as rhythm, duration, accents, chord density, pitch bending, tonal variation, panning, repeats, randomization, etc.

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• How does KARMA work? Stephen Kay explains...

KARMA is a parameter-based approach to generating musical effects, rather than a musical data based approach. It is not a system that plays back prerecorded MIDI phrases through Note Transposition Tables, like most arranger systems (or phrase generation systems). However, it is also not a system where you set up parameters, press a button, and sit back and listen to the "music" it generates. It is not the type of system that is supposed to "evolve" a piece all by itself, according to parameter settings. One of the ideas behind KARMA is that the user is always in control of how the music is generated. If you want the rhythmic complexity to increase at a certain point, well then, you hook up the parameter(s) that can cause that to happen to a real-time control, and you twist it at the point that you want it to happen...

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• What is the relationship between Korg and Karma Lab?

Karma Lab develops the KARMA algorithmic music generation technology, and licenses it to Korg for inclusion in its keyboard products. The license is non-exclusive, and KARMA is available to be licensed to other interested parties. Please contact info@karma-lab.com if you are interested in licensing KARMA technology for inclusion in hardware or software products.

Karma Lab does not manufacture the Karma, OASYS, or M3 Workstations - Korg does, and Korg is responsible for support issues related to the operation of the keyboards.

For support information: Karma Lab Support Page

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• Where can I find KARMA Technology audio and video demos?

KARMA in the M3:

M3 Page

KARMA in the OASYS:

OASYS Page

KARMA in the Karma Music Workstation (also includes some general audio demos):

Karma Keyboard Demos Page

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• Where can I get the official "Karma Keyboard FAQ" pdf document?

Right here! This pdf document has hundreds of questions related to the operation of the original Korg Karma Workstation, answered by the developer of the KARMA Function, Stephen Kay:

KarmaKeyboardFAQ.pdf

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• Do the Korg keyboards incorporating KARMA have an arpeggiator?


No, the KARMA Technology provides Generated Effects (GEs) instead. A GE is far more advanced than any arpeggiator, pattern-playback system, phrase sequencer, etc. They can do everything arpeggiators do, and more. Up to 4 GEs can be used at a time in Combi mode or Sequence mode, and 1 GE can be used at a time in Program mode.

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• Do I still need an arpeggiator?

No, KARMA provides thousands of GEs, many of which are dedicated arpeggiator models that do all the standard sorts of arpeggiator effects people have come to expect, along with new twists and tricks.

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• Can the user edit the KARMA GEs (Generated Effects)?

Not internally, but: a KARMA GE has over 400 internal parameters, many of which may not actually be used depending on the particular effect that is being generated. KORG and Stephen Kay (KARMA’s creator) wisely chose not to burden users with screen after screen after screen of arcane parameters (in a hardware product) that only an engineer could love, and instead designed a system where up to 16 (Karma) or 32 (OASYS/M3) of the most important and useful parameters are provided for editing in each GE. You can edit those parameters and create many variations and new effects that can sound completely unlike the original GE. That means that in a combi, there may be up to 128 GE parameters available to be edited, and also available to be assigned to the 8 KARMA realtime control knobs and 2 switches (Karma) or 8 sliders and 8 switches (OASYS/M3). This is in addition to the numerous other parameters on the “modular” level that are completely programmable on the keyboards, such as the key zones that KARMA GEs are in, the means/modes of triggering them, quantization, Dynamic MIDI effects (i.e. sweeping notes with a Joystick), etc. So there is quite a lot of editability built into them!

You can use KARMA PC/Mac software to edit and create GEs.

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• Can the user create new GEs (Generated Effects) from scratch?

A PC/Mac software program (see KARMA Software) is available (or will be available) for each Korg product incorporating KARMA, that allows the creation of GEs, and the editing of all 400+ parameters in a GE. GEs can be created from phrases in .MID file format, or even imported from sections of the Korg keyboard's sequencer tracks. New and/or edited GEs can be loaded into the Korg keyboards via SysEx (System Exlusive MIDI transmission).

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• Is all the MIDI data that the KARMA Function generates sent out the MIDI Out?

Yes. Everything that is generated by KARMA can be routed to the MIDI Out port. In Program Mode, the data is automatically sent out on the Global Channel. In Combi Mode, you can route the data of each of the 4 KARMA Modules to either the Internal timbres, or the MIDI Out Port (External), on different MIDI Channels. In Sequencer Mode, you can route KARMA output to of each module to Internal, External, or both, on different MIDI Channels. Combis and Programs can be instantly copied to the Sequencer along with all KARMA settings, in order to control and record the data generated by KARMA.

By sending out the MIDI generated by KARMA, you can:

  • record the data generated by KARMA into an external sequencer, such as Performer, Logic, Cubase, Digidesign, etc.
  • control external sound modules, drum modules, other synths etc. with the parts generated by KARMA.


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• Can the knob, slider and switch movements be recorded?


Yes. All of the KARMA Realtime Controls can be assigned a different MIDI CC Number in the Global Mode. They can then send (and receive) MIDI CC values on these numbers.

In the Korg Karma, this includes the 8 knobs and 2 switches, the on/off and latch buttons, the scenes, and the 4 Chord Triggers. In the OASYS/M3, this includes the 8 sliders and 8 switches, the on/off and latch buttons, the 8 scenes, and the 8 velocity sensitive pads.

You can use this to:

  • record the controller movements into the internal sequencer, or into an external sequencer, such as Performer, Logic, Cubase, Digidesign, etc. Then playback the controller movements to “sequence a performance,” rather than recording the actual output of KARMA.
  • control functions on external sound modules, dum modules, other synths etc.
  • use external control surfaces, such as a Peavey PC-1600 or MotorMix, to control KARMA remotely.


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• Is it possible to bypass the KARMA function and play a specific program just like usual without having complex phrases being created all the time?


Yes. Of course you can bypass the KARMA function and use the Korg keyboard just like a regular synth, but the KARMA function is there when you need it or want it, instantly providing inspiration and cool effects.

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• Is the M3, OASYS, or Karma an arranger keyboard, or can it replace an arranger keyboard?


While some users report that they are quite happily using it in this manner, these Korg Workstations are not really designed to be an auto-accompaniment or arranger style keyboard. For example, there are no intro or fill buttons, and you will not find grooves in every style of music, such as cha-chas and rumbas. While it is true that some of the presets respond to LH chords and produce grooves that you can play on top of, there are also many other sorts of presets that do nothing of the sort, or do completely different things.

One user has said “Conventional arrangers are good at replicating how others sound, while KARMA excels in allowing you to create your own sound. KARMA provides a lot more real-time control than a conventional arranger, and thus provides a lot more flexibility for a musician's self-expression. So, if you want to replicate other's music, get a conventional arranger; if you want to create your own, get a product incorporating KARMA.”

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• Do the M3, OASYS, or Karma know about producing an intro, verse, chorus, fill, ending, etc.?


No. There are no intros, fills, variations, etc. While you can change the realtime controls, knobs, sliders and switches to produce many different variations of the initial preset, and there are multiple scenes that you can switch between, it is not conveniently set up to do these kinds of arranger functions. If this is mainly what you are interested in, you should check out the KORG PA line of Professional Arrangers.

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• What is KARMA MW software?

Please see the KARMA MW Page.

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• What is KARMA Triton software?

Please see the KARMA Triton Page.

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• What is KARMA OASYS software?

Please see the KARMA Oasys Page.

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• What is KARMA M3 software?

Please see the KARMA M3 Page.

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• Will there be a version of KARMA software that does not require owning a Korg product?

Yes, hopefully within this year (2010). If you like, you can join one of our mailing lists to be sent info about future developments:

Join Mailing List

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• Is the KARMA Software written in Max, or compatible with Max?

Not any more. KARMA development originally began using Opcode’s Max programming environment (now distributed by Cycling ‘74 - www.cycling74.com) over fourteen years ago. That lasted for a year or two, but soon it outgrew Max and is now a standalone Mac/PC Application written in C and C++. It no longer exists in any sort of form where it could be used within Max. It’s compatible with Max to the extent that you could run the two programs at the same time, and communicate between them using Apple's IAC Driver (Mac), or KARMA's Virtual MIDI Driver (in Windows).

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