Hands-On Review:Your complete production solution

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By Michael K. Dennison

Only the best
When I set out a couple years ago to build my first professional studio, my plan was simple: get the most effective gear possible - easier said than done! For example, gear, such as mixers and pre-amps, and effects feature countless specs, functions, options, and qualities one must consider when making an informed choice.



Korg TRITON StudioCompared to that, choosing my main keyboard was a piece of cake. I was already aware of the Korg TRITON's reputation for being the best-sounding, most feature-rich keyboard on the market, and one trip to my local Guitar Center confirmed it. With stereo sampling, dual arpeggiators, and lush, sensuous sounds it was an easy decision. One call to Musician's Friend (for the best price) and my TRITON Pro was winging its way here.




In the ensuing years, the TRITON has proven its worth many times over. It's inspired (and contributed to) innumerable songs, set the musical foundation for a major Shakespeare production, been a sound design workhorse, served as an awesome synth engine, and has even been - on occasion - just plain fun to play! In short, this keyboard is so integrated into my studio that I wouldn't give it up for anything. Until today...


Enter the TRITON
When the good folks at Musician's Friend asked me to review the new TRITON Studio, I jumped at the chance! When it arrived on my doorstep, it was only a matter of minutes before it was up and running, trading space with a stodgy Brand X keyboard that has seen rare action since the TRITON Pro first made its appearance.


The TRITON Studio features a Champagne silver finish and a sleeker, more refined appearance than the classic TRITON, making it a pure attention-getter in the studio or on stage. A quick look at the TRITON Studio guide showed some interesting, even profound differences on the inside that I expect will keep me in studio-geek heaven for the next few nights!


To match the racy exterior, the TRITON Studio CPU has been seriously turbocharged: it's six times faster than the original! Not only does it make the touchscreen far more responsive, it also has the horsepower to handle in-track sampling and re-sampling, twice as much polyphony, five more expansion slots with dedicated banks (YES!), triple the Program and Combi locations, internal hard drive, internal CDRW and much more.



Korg TritonSample skinny

The original TRITON is no slouch in the sampling department - 48kHz/16-bit stereo sampling and editing is easy to do and sounds great. The TRITON Studio extends its power by upping the maximum sample RAM from 64MB to 96MB, while the hopped-up CPU makes metering and level setting much more intuitive. Could it possibly get better than that? Korg thought so and upped the ante with their Open Sampling System - power that puts the TRITON Studio

in a whole new league!




In-track sampling gives the TRITON's already powerful sequencer almost DAW-like power. With the TRITON Studio, a touch of the Sample tab on the LCD screen (available in ANY mode!) delivers instant access to all necessary routing and patching. With a press of the record button you can sample audio directly into to your MIDI sequence from any source, whether an internal sound or an external instrument such as guitar or voice! The TRITON Studio takes care of all the details including memory locations and sample placement, so you're free to dance with the muse instead of freak with the geek.


The TRITON Studio's re-sampling feature lets you capture a simple phrase or even an entire sequence. This is great for building complex sequences that might otherwise take more than 16 tracks or for turning multilayered arpeggiated Combis into one-key wonders! Even better, you're not limited to your available RAM - you can re-sample up to 80 minutes of a performance directly to the internal (or external) hard drive, where it's stored as a WAV file!


Burnin' down the house
The TRITON Studio is possibly the most powerful workstation keyboard available at any price. But get this - the CDRW drive takes the TRITON Studio from a serious workstation to a full-fledged production studio. With the CDRW you can load audio samples directly from data or audio CDs. And it doesn't just read track info - it reads track index too. This is a feature you rarely see, but for audio sample discs where indexing is common it's a serious time-saving tool.


The flip side of a CDRW drive is, of course, the ability to burn CDs, and the TRITON Studio can do just that. You can create a data CD filled with your performances, sequences, samples, keymaps, and other TRITON files. You can create CDs of WAV samples or even a full Red Book Audio CD! The TRITON Studio can take you from inspiration to finished CD - all without leaving the keyboard. The power inherent in this keyboard is truly amazing!


It's a wrap
It should be obvious that I'm completely taken with the TRITON Studio! After a few short hours with it, I'm convinced that no serious keyboardist, composer, or studio owner should be without one. The ability to grab inspiration and guide it through to the final production in one sitting is incredibly liberating, and sending this baby back to Korg is going to be near impossible!


Features & Specs



  • Polyphony: 120 voices

  • 16MB velocity-switched stereo grand piano sample ROM included

  • Processor speed: 6x

  • Waveform memory: 48MB

  • Sample RAM - up to 96MB

  • Multisamples: 429

  • Drum samples: 417

  • PCM expansion: 7 slots

  • Total program locations: 1536

  • Preload programs: 512

  • User/preload drum kits: 144/20

  • GM2 programs/GM2 drum kits: 256/9

  • Total combination locations: 1536

  • Preload Combis: 512

  • Insert effect processors: 5

  • Number of insert effects: 102

  • Master effect processors: 2

  • Number of master effects: 89

  • Master EQ: 3-band

  • Sequencer: 16-track/200,000 notes

  • Sampling: 48kHz/16-bit

  • Re-sampling and in-track sampling

  • Sample to HD

  • Burn audio CD

  • Arpeggiator: Dual polyphonic

  • Display: TouchView 320x240

  • Ribbon controller

  • Assignable knobs: 4

  • Assignable switches: 2

  • Audio outputs: 6

  • Audio inputs: 2

  • SCSI: standard

  • S/PDIF digital I/O: standard

  • ADAT optical output: optional

  • mLan digital I/O: optional

  • EXB-MOSS: optional

  • Floppy drive and 5GB hard drive

  • Optional CDRW 1x8

  • Available in 61-, 76-, and 88-keys