VSTi to replace Korg Kronos

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
KVRer
10 posts since 4 Aug, 2021

Post Wed Aug 04, 2021 5:39 am

Hey guys, I sold my Korg Kronos about a year ago because I only do home-studio work and it was too big and heavy. I replaced it with an Akai Advance 49 and Akai VIP, planning to use VIP and multiple VSTis to create a great digital workstation. I really like how VIP is able to integrate all my VSTis and allow me to use tags to come to the sound I want. I use it stand-alone as it is unstable in Reaper, and then load the specific VSTi in Reaper to record. However, VIP seems to be discontinued, so I am not sure if heavily investing in custom tagging is desirable.
I play progressive metal, and my main instrument is guitar. The music I compose is mainly guitar-driven, but I want a variety of sample and synth sounds to spice things up. Traditional instruments like grand piano, electric piano and rock organ, ethnic instruments like accordion (harmonica), mandolin and harp, a full symphonic orchestra, choirs, and synth leads, pads and basses. I mostly work with existing patches, although I do like the ability to tweak. My experience with sound synthesis is fairly limited.
I had a look at this thread, did some research and tried several sample players. See the detailed list below. I ended up liking Steinberg HALion Sonic 3 (or HALion 6), so this is the one to beat. I am looking for a way to replace my Korg Kronos in the sense that I want a nice way to browse my presets to get to a sound I like, then maybe use it as a template to tweak it myself, and record it via MIDI in Reaper. In addition, I would like to get one or a couple synths that I could really get to know. I now have several that I hardly understand. In this regard, Helm and SynthMaster One appeal to me.
I think about spending about $300, but going a couple hundred bucks higher should be okay. My PC runs on Windows 10 and is fairly (1.5 TB SSD storage, 16 GB RAM, 4 GHz Intel i5 CPU, Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 sound card). I am kind of a sucker for open source stuff (so I take notes and write in CSV, plaintext and Markdown) but I think the music industry is not really the place where one can go that way.

I currently own the following paid VSTis. My experience with all of them is fairly limited.
  • SONiVOX Orchestra, grand piano, bass, electric and acoustic guitar, Twist 2
  • AIR Hybrid, Loom, Vacuum Pro, Velvet and Xpand!2
  • Helm
  • SynthMaster One
  • Surge
  • TAL Noisemaker
These are sample players that I have tried out:
  • Sampletank 4: great interface, sample quality and price, but does not have normal samples like accordion or a normal choir
  • reFX Nexus: great interface but sounds are for EDM, and very expensive
  • AIR XPand!2: very comprehensive and cheap (I already own it), but the samples are of low quality, the browser is really bad (not an issue with VIP) and editing is too limited
  • Korg Triton VST: great price, browser and factory presets, but sample quality is too low
  • Steinberg HALion Sonic 3: overall very good, except piano sounds a bit dated. Downloading and registering is hell but I can manage. Unfortunately there is no preset map for VIP, and adding presets is more cumbersome that with most VSTis.
  • Initial Audio Heatup 3: unsuitable because mostly EDM samples
What I have not tried yet:
  • Native Instruments Kontakt 6
  • UVI Falcon: I think this is more a sampler than a sample library player
  • Omnisphere: I believe this focuses more on weird samples rather than traditional instruments
  • EastWest Quantum Leap Goliath: this might be a very good one, although I believe the presets are very dry and the browser isn't great
  • Plogue Sforzando and SFZ files
Last edited by richwombat19 on Wed Aug 04, 2021 8:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

KVRer
27 posts since 16 Jun, 2006 from Zaventem, Belgium

Post Wed Aug 04, 2021 6:35 am

Omnisphere is what you need, and for drums and more traditional instruments there are either third party libs, keyscape for keys and Trillian for bass. Overall this is what I'd do. everything integrates in omnisphere, so you don't need to load any other VSTi

KVRist
179 posts since 28 Jun, 2004

Post Wed Aug 04, 2021 6:50 am

Based on what you're looking for I would go with Halion 6 or Kontakt 6.

Halion 6 would get you closer to a workstation experience along with the traditional/bread and butter instruments you're looking for.

Kontakt would give you those sounds with A LOT more options to expand later. However, if you want a workstation like experience it would be best to pair it with a NI Komplete Kontrol keyboard and the software.

KVRAF
6413 posts since 28 Apr, 2013

Post Wed Aug 04, 2021 7:07 am

I still have my Kronos. But presented with more and more obstacles to getting to it (it's in another house about 20 miles away), I have been forced to use more software. I use HALion 6 and the Korg Collection as well along those lines. I also use Pianoteq and u-He synths to power size them. Given your styles of music along with what you already have, I'm apt to suggest looking at Rob Papen's Blue 2.
HALion 6 definitely is a great choice with the multiengine and sampling features. Anything more along those lines would probably be over kill. Omni can be a bit bloated and give you a lot of things you'll never need, and at a premium price. Expect to spend $400 for a handful of sounds you'll actually use.
The "minimal buddhist" within brings me to these most often as my software solutions.
Pianoteq7, ZebraHZ, HALion6.

But RP Explorer, the other u-He synths and the Korg collection are seeing their share many days as well.

KVRian
505 posts since 26 Nov, 2009

Post Wed Aug 04, 2021 8:09 am

You won't replace Kronos, because there is no single package that covers all kinds of acoustic instruments in decent quality.
You must buy something like Komplete ultimate + lots of third party ethnic/folk instruments expansions to have everything covered (in the end it will cost you thousands, you are getting nothing decent for 300 usd)

KVRer
5 posts since 10 Jun, 2021 from Gulf Coast of Florida

Post Wed Aug 04, 2021 8:21 am

I have two Kronos(es): a 73 that I use for playing gigs (about eight to ten/month) and a K2 88 that I keep at home to practice, to program, and to use as my DAW's midi controller.
Similar to @BBFG#, I have Pianoteq 7.4, ZebraHZ, Omnisphere, and Unify among a modest collection of sample libraries (some Spitfire Audio, Heavyocity, and Native Instruments, &c)
I was/am interested in Korg Collection 3 but noticed that (according to Korg Shop), I need Studio One 5--I have S1 4.6.2. I sent an inquiry to info at Korg about this requirement, but have yet to get a response.

*I need a few posts in order to communicate with sellers on the Sell/Buy forum, so this rambling post is generally to fulfill that necessity.

KVRAF
6413 posts since 28 Apr, 2013

Post Wed Aug 04, 2021 10:51 am

anomandaris1 wrote:
Wed Aug 04, 2021 8:09 am
You won't replace Kronos, because there is no single package that covers all kinds of acoustic instruments in decent quality.
You must buy something like Komplete ultimate + lots of third party ethnic/folk instruments expansions to have everything covered (in the end it will cost you thousands, you are getting nothing decent for 300 usd)
Uh, yes and no.
But HALion is the better bet.
Somewhere in sound between a Yamaha and Korg, with additional engines like the granular and spectral.
And OP seems to already have jumped on HALion.
Kontakt has proven itself to me as something different which theoretically promises but in reality only delivers a small part. So the idea of Kontakt will always be better than the reality IMO.

But another way to look at it is this.
Start with what you're actually replacing from Kronos.
The Korg Collection covers most of it adequately. But if you want to kick it up a notch...
The Pianos and Electric Pianos are well covered by Pianoteq. The Mod7, AL, Polysix, MS-20 are covered well, albeit with far more umph, by u-He Bazille, Zebra, Diva, Ace. And the organs can be covered very well and more with GG Audio Blue 3 and Arturia Vox Continental.
Adding more "ethnic" instruments to HALion is also available.
Now you might still want the specific Korg sound of the HD/EDS and Wavestation synthesis, which now can be found in software as well.
However, this is where I suggest RP Blue 2 to fill and compliment the others without too much overlap as an option.

Kontakt and Omnisphere are good plugins. But completely unnecessary unless there's a surplus of funds that need decreasing.

KVRist
173 posts since 7 Apr, 2002 from Belfast

Post Wed Aug 04, 2021 11:16 am

I think NI Komplete is hard to beat for a broad and high quality palette. As someone who has been on board since v1, I feel that Komplete Kontrol and Maschine hardware/software have really made it a much better workstation replacement that it used to be (and also the fact of PC hardware being much more powerful now - I remember trying to play a live set with Kore 2, that was more stressful!)

Reason 11 (get Suite second hand in the marketplace maybe) also ticks a lot of boxes. I seem to remember them marketing an earlier version (3?) as the ultimate live keyboard rig :) The browsing isn't brilliant but is apparently being improved in v12.

That being said I’m seriously considering Triton Extreme / Korg Collection 3 as a super lightweight live setup (on a Surface Pro 7) as an alternative to a laptop upgrade. It's the first KC version that's had what I'd consider an acceptable acoustic piano for live use.

@PhoenixLinks you can try the whole Korg Collection as a demo with your Studio One 4 by downloading the Korg Software Pass app, if that helps.

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KVRAF
2592 posts since 18 Mar, 2011 from Spain

Post Wed Aug 04, 2021 11:58 am

No idea about this website. Just letting you know that there is a Korg Kronos Kontakt version.
https://panndora-audio.com/products/kor ... 9601399850

Good luck!
Image

KVRist
162 posts since 1 Mar, 2019

Post Thu Aug 05, 2021 12:45 am

IrionDaRonin wrote:
Wed Aug 04, 2021 11:58 am
No idea about this website. Just letting you know that there is a Korg Kronos Kontakt version.
https://panndora-audio.com/products/kor ... 9601399850

Good luck!
Better avoid kontakt versions of real workstations...those are just iilegaly poorly sampled collections of the real thing which sounds bad and weights dozens of gigabytes.

For the op:
Korg released the extreme version of triton, it has better sound quality and extra patches that weren't included in the original triton. I would demo it if I were you, imo it has everything you need for whatever metal project you intend to make.

Other than that, halion sonic 3 will do the job as well, but it weights more and costs more.

KVRian
804 posts since 8 Jan, 2012 from frankfurt, Germany

Post Thu Aug 05, 2021 3:21 am

you can also move to NAtive instruments Komplete Kontrol MK2 Keyboard and use the Korg NKS Templates:
Together with NI Komplete 13 it should replace a Kronos by faar.

https://freelancesoundlabs.com/index.ph ... te-kontrol

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KVRist
40 posts since 11 Mar, 2021 from Romania

Post Thu Aug 05, 2021 4:22 am

richwombat19 wrote:
Wed Aug 04, 2021 5:39 am
  • UVI Falcon: I think this is more a sampler than a sample library player
I would say Falcon is the closest to a software "synth workstation" like the hardware Kronos.
Has a ton of "synth engines" (VA, 4OP FM, additive, wavetable, modelling (pluck, drum) and more) and a ton of sampling engines with everything (granular, stretching etc), all of which can be combined freely in keygroups, layers etc, a huge amount of great effects at every level (keygroup, layer, program, multi) and unlimited modulators, again at every level.

I would also say that a small and light synth like the Yamaha MODX could be a good complement, with a nice sampling engine that doesn't require your computer to be powered up and an amazing FM engine that you can't find anywhere else and with great features for DAW/VSTi remote control.

KVRer

Topic Starter

10 posts since 4 Aug, 2021

Post Thu Aug 05, 2021 7:41 am

First of all, thank you all so much for your suggestions. Here are my current thoughts:
  • Clearly there is no one plugin to fit all my needs. As such, I think VIP wil be great to keep using.
  • What I liked about the Kronos was the sample quality and variety and the diverse engines. However, I have never invested in really learning the engines so I do not need them specifically. Ergo, I am fine not getting Korg Collection.
  • With VIP, using a digital workstation like HALion feels a bit inceptionish---engines within a plugin within VIP---but HALion does sound great and is very diverse.
  • I did some more playing with HALion Sonic 3 and I am really impressed. I think the piano sounds are good enough for me, the organ is great. It has for awesome combis and possibilities. However, 1) the interface is really small so it feels fiddly, and 2) this program is already pretty complex with its four slots per Instrument (engine), effects and combis.
  • I like the idea of having 1 workhorse synth (or would it make more sense getting separate VSTIs for different synth types?), 1 global "all kinds of instruments" sample player and some "cream of the crop" VSTis for specific instruments (piano, organ, orchestra), and then really getting to know those. In that line, I really like my SONiVOX Orchestral Companion sounds, and Pianoteq, GG Audio Blue 3 appeal to me. Pianoteq is really expensive tho. I think HALion does what I need.
Varia:
  • Rob Papen Blue II looks interesting. I'll have a look.
  • Regarding Kontakt and Omnisphere, I agree they are good plugins but bloating for my needs
  • U-HE Zebra 2 seems daunting but also very comprehensive as a workhorse synth
  • I tried Korg Triton Extreme. It is indeed of better quality than the normal one, but not good enough for me.
  • Korg Kronos Kontakt: I have seen this before but agree it is not a good option.
  • EastWest Goliath is now on sale for $120. Might be worth it as an"all kinds of instruments" sample player, although HALion might suffice there.
  • Falcon does not have an extensive sample library, does it? It could perhaps become my workhose synth?
Last edited by richwombat19 on Thu Aug 05, 2021 8:42 am, edited 3 times in total.

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KVRist
40 posts since 11 Mar, 2021 from Romania

Post Thu Aug 05, 2021 8:02 am

richwombat19 wrote:
Thu Aug 05, 2021 7:41 am
Falcon does not have an extensive sample library, does it? It could perhaps become my workhose synth?
HALion and Falcon are similar in some aspects. Falcon definitely broader, but no idea if HALion has more content available.
You can make an idea about Falcon as a workhorse synth by browsing this playlist:
https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLj53 ... rPHHnBt8fw

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KVRian
501 posts since 3 Jul, 2016

Post Thu Aug 05, 2021 9:06 am

digitallysane wrote:
Thu Aug 05, 2021 8:02 am
richwombat19 wrote:
Thu Aug 05, 2021 7:41 am
Falcon does not have an extensive sample library, does it? It could perhaps become my workhose synth?
HALion and Falcon are similar in some aspects. Falcon definitely broader, but no idea if HALion has more content available.
You can make an idea about Falcon as a workhorse synth by browsing this playlist:
https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLj53 ... rPHHnBt8fw
When thinking about Halion ...I always think - go for the Absolute collection - when on sale - it is available for around 200£ and includes a good set of tools (just check).
Last upgrade from 3 to 4 wasn't super-super exciting but....ABS 5 imo should now include a good nr of updates well worth the $$$ and lets hope it wont be too long before release..
And when it comes to a sequencer you'll still need a DAW - create a nr of templates with all your favorite instruments setups - & you're ready to record.

when it comes to Falcon - that will cost a lot more $$$ - to have a lot more fun you'll need expansions,
thinking the other way round - you'll need Falcon to have more control not just the UVI Workstation.

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