http://tech-gaming.com/2010/02/22/korg-ds10-plus.aspxSynth-sation: Korg DS-10 Plus Review
As gratifying as achievement earning, level grinding and unlockable collecting can be, sporadically I yearn for something more. When these urges develop, I find comfort in the recesses of a diversion which allows me to generate my own creations- from simple Gravity Crash playfields to sophisticated Little Big Planet stages. Despite a complete lack of music training, I often succumb to the depth offered by software like Beaterator, which allows even neophytes like me to create a decent riff.
Like Beaterator, the recently released Korg DS-10 Plus has a modest learning curve. As first, navigating through the title’s array of menus, flipping screens, and creating anything that is more melodic than a malfunctioning NES game can be a challenge. Yet, as players grasp the titles intricacies and (gasp) spend some reading the title’s sixty page manual, they’ll begin to see their compositional skills steadily improving.
For the initiated, the cartridge’s moniker may sound familiar. Synthesizer aficionados may identify that the title is a variant of the celebrated Korg MS-10, an instrument popularized by bands like A Flock of Seagulls, and The Chemical Brothers. Gamers might recall the application’s 2008 predecessor, Korg DS-10, which offered many of the features of this new iteration. So what’s the difference with this new ‘Plus’ version? Owners of the Nintendo DSi, will have access to twice the amount of synth and drum machines. Whereas DS users can create a melody with six voices, those who possess the latest hardware revision can generate compositions with a dozen simultaneous sounds. Owners of both systems will see a handful of small changes, such as the ability to adjust sound variables on the fly, as well as the capability to mute specific notes during song playback.
Like the preceding cartridge, Korg DS-10 Plus builds songs out of note sequences or loops. Each of these individual progressions can be repeated or arranged with additional loop patterns, forming the essential buildings blocks of song composition. Percussive rhythms and melodies are separated by individual sequencers, making it extremely easy to tweak a beat or riff without wrecking the whole refrain. Since every modification can be immediately heard, budding musicians can work on the fly, turning DS-10 Plus into an interactive tutorial.
Additionally, song creators have access to two additional features: KAOSS Pads and synthesizer sound editing. The former allows users to generate impromptu melodies with their styluses, with movements altering the pitch or tonal quality generated by the application. The later gives composers the ability to completely manipulate the sound produced by the synthesizer. Through knob twiddling and drawing a few ‘patch cords’, everything from resonant basses to effervescent twinkles can be forged.
While Korg DS-10 Plus certainly is brimming with possibilities, a few notable deficiencies exist. Although users have the ability to share compositions locally, no provision for downloading creations from the internet exists. Offering this type of connectivity could have assisted apprentices, who could have dissected other’s opuses. The title’s other minor drawback stems when users are using the advanced note capabilities of the DSi. Instead of allowing direct access to all sound channels, toggling between two separate ‘decks’ in required, making song arrangement a bit more cumbersome.
Make no mistake- Korg DS-10 Plus isn’t for your average gamer. The title has a solid learning curve that compels non-musicians to spend some time with the cartridge before any rhythmic grooves can be generated. Along with this complexity comes a delightful amount of depth; the tool has the capability to captivate users for extended durations. I could think of few DS titles I’d rather have with me on an extended flight.
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