Professional Gear on an Amateur’s Budget: KORG nanoKontrol2

Korg nanoKontrol2

Some people cringe at the mention of the Korg nanoSeries2, I however, beam!

I first found the original nanoKontrol when it was released in 2008 when looking for an affordable mixer controller.  I’ll be honest, it was the cheapest on the market and it’s all I could afford, but that’s what this blog is about!  One thing I hope to do is to show you that there is quality and functional gear out there you can afford.  Take away bias and experiment!

The nanoKontrol2 is not a full mixing console, but it’s not claiming to be!  What the nanoKontrol2 gives you is a portable, reliable and efficient mixing unit.  There are differences between the first generation and this newest version.  The changes though, for the most part, are all improvements.  These are to make things easier on you, a musician or engineer, not a computer programmer.  One of the biggest hurdles I face when I bought the first generation was the fact that I used it with Presonus Studio One and there were no preset templates available for this DAW.  This meant I spent an evening programming each of the 36 channels by hand.  In the newest incarnation Korg designed it to be configured to be used a Mackie Control device.  Which means your DAW will recognize it as such so you will not have to program it.

The first generation had 9 faders total, which was perfect as an 8+1 Master, where as the second only has 8.  This is a very small detail and was obviously done to make way for the new marking system that is a huge improvement over the older “Scene” functions.  Now you can simply push the marker button to mark a spot and scroll between them.  Another improved function is the scroll  keys that will allow you to scroll to other channels in the push of a button, some DAWs have even made our lives easier by putting a visible line under the tracks that are engaged.  Another great feature is the Mute, Solo, Record Ready buttons replacing the two button configuration on the previous version.  I was always torn on weather to use it as an arm, mute or solo.  Now I can have my cake and eat it too!

The same transport keys and knobs are back as well.  But that’s not why you checked this review out.  You are likely thinking, why would I need this?nanoKontrol2

If you haven’t checked out what you can do with these on youtube yet, you are missing out!  You can easily change functions and controls with the Korg Editor software.  Wanna turn a fader into a drawbar?  Go for it.  Want to make the faders control reverb, echo, or many other functions?  You can do that too.  Don’t look at this as just a mixing board, look at it as a controller.  This is easier to do with the first generation, but at around $60 a pop, why not pick up both?

Another great utilization is for DJ’s and Live Sound peeps.  You can use it as a portable set up for smaller venues and have full control over sound at your fingertips!

One thing I always see with the Students at the Institute is that they are sitting somewhere with headphones on, laptops open trying to mix a song using the touchpad on a computer.  I tell every one of them about the nano.

In a Nutshell 

If you need an accurate and easily controllable surface, than the nanaKontrol2 is for you.  I’ve used it in studio, in live settings, on a beach and a bus.  The Pros far outweigh the cons.  Pick one up, I guarantee you will be hooked!

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