Hands-On Review:Korg Pandora PX3B Multi-Effects Processor
Too often, tone-hungry bass players have had to sit back and drool while manufacturers lavish a multitude of stunning effects on their skinny-stringed brethren. So hurray for Korg for turning its formidable techno talents to the plight of the un-effected bassist. The result is the PX3B, a multi-effects processor that employs the company’s excellent REMS modeling system, an onboard rhythm section, phrase sampler and tuner. How many rack spaces will you need? None. Designed as a comprehensive practice aid and super-compact studio processor, the PX3B takes up less space than a Walkman, making it one powerful pocket full.
The unit offers 50 effects patches, each of which is built from up to seven of the 44 effects variations available. These include reverb, delay, chorus, flanger, distortion, phaser, wah and vibrato effects, as well as six bass amp simulations. The presets do a good job of demonstrating the many possible effects combinations, from outrageous sounds like “Boot” (as in Bootsy) and “Alien” to workable tones that include variations for pick, finger and slap styles.
The PX3B displays patch data in the large, backlit LCD, beneath which are the various editing buttons from which to create 50 user patches. The ample thumbwheel does double duty as a master level and editing control, and the PX3B even has a four-band graphic eq to help you hone in on just the right tone.
Of course, much of a bass player’s time is spent keeping the groove, which is why the Pandora’s rhythm section is such an essential inclusion here. The unit offers a choice of 50 patterns that range from simple eight-beat rhythms to standard backings for blues, country, thrash and so on. Not only does the rhythm section help you emphasize the right groove; it’s also fun to jam with.
The onboard phrase sampler is another great practice aid. It’s capable of recording up to 16 seconds of audio via the CD input, and samples can be looped and incrementally slowed down without changing their pitch. There’s even a “bass canceler” function to remove the bass from the audio sample to make room for your own righteous funkiness. Best of all, the PX3B runs on 4 AAA batteries (or optional AC adaptor), allowing you to put this power to work anywhere you happen to be.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Unaccompanied bass practice can be a real chore. With the PX3B, grooving along with drum patterns and audio loops of your fave bands doesn’t feel like work, especially when you have up to 100 killer tones to play with. Home recordists will also benefit from the unit’s full-blown stereo effects and realistic amp simulations.