FK10: Korg Rhythm-55 for Kontakt
Forgotten Keys FK10
- Jean-Michell Jarre (magnetic fields)
The Forgotten Keys FK10 Kontakt instrument is a close virtual re-creation of the Korg Rhythm-55 (AKA KR-55); an analogue drum machine released in 1979. The KR-55 featured a relatively large array of rhythms for the time as well as improved, more realistic sounds than previous analogue machines. Although the sound generation was all analogue, the rhythm patterns were stored in computer memory unlike previous models where a diode-matrix was used.
- High Tom
- Low Tom
- Closed High-Hat
- Open High-Hat
- High Conga
- Low Conga
The 12 sounds of the FK10 originate from a carfully sampled KR-55. Each sound was sampled 8 times to preserve the subtle differences involved in playing analogue sounds, especially the snare and toms where random transistor noise is used as part of the sound. Of particular note are the cymbal and high-hats which have a very metallic ring to them and are more realistic compared to other analogue machines yet still unmistakably synthesized. The congas and toms have a slight downward pitch as they decay adding more realism and the toms have filtered noise which adds a subtle almost room reverb effect.
A Mytek Stereo96 ADC was used for the recordings and great care was taken to achieve the best signal to noise ratio. The sounds are in 24-bit 44.1KHz wav format.
- Jazz Waltz
- Rock Waltz
- Swing 1-3
- Ballad 1-3
- Bossa Nova 1-3
- 5/4 Beat 1-3
- Cha Cha
- Pops 1-3
- Rock 1-12
- Disco 1-6
Each group of three rhythms has its own intro and fill-in pattern.
All 48 rhythms, 16 intros and 16 fill-ins have been re-created in the FK10. These are not sampled loops, rather sequenced patterns that trigger the individual sampled sounds. This allows for easy manipulation of individual sounds, artifact-free tempo changes and the ability to combine rhythms without volume and phasing problems. In short, it is more like how a real drum machine works except that samples are used in place of the sound generator circuit.
Rhythms can be combined with the FK10 in a way that was not possible on the KR-55 opening up a huge array of new rhythms. On the KR-55, you could combine a 3/4 or 5/4 rhythm with a 4/4 rhythm and the later would take on the time signature of the former, but that’s all. Because the FK10 can combine rhythms, a separate meter control has been included so that you can replicate this effect.
The swing control allows you to alter the feel of the rhythms. It can be used on just the 3 swing rhythms or switched to affect all rhythms. It works on some better than others but certainly expands the range of available patterns significantly.
The mixer controls allow you to balance the volume of individual sounds in the same way as on the KR-55, however, finer control can be had on the Setup tab in the FK10.
The Setup tab offers greater control over how the FK10 sounds and operates. There are volume, pan, tune and mute controls for each sound. Incoming MIDI notes can be mapped to any rhythm or sound and outgoing sounds can be assigned to any available Kontakt output. Random tune and volume controls add a little human element to the sounds.
A working installation of Native Instruments’ Kontakt version 4.2 or higher is required. This Kontakt instrument is NOT compatible with the free Kontakt Player.
FK10 costs £5.50 (GBP) and payment is via PayPal. A personal download link will be sent automatically to your PayPal email address once payment has been made. This usually arrives in a matter of minutes, but please allow a couple of hours as email can get delayed en route. Also allow www.forgottenkeys.co.uk through any spam filter. Feel free to contact me if you require more information.