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Korg RK-100S 2

Korg RK-100S 2  ·  Source: Korg

At every NAMM some bright spark comes up with another Keytar. Last year it was Yamaha, before than Roland and Alesis, in 2014 it was Korg with the RK-100S. It was the reissue of their Keytar from the 1980s and now it’s time for an update with the RK-100S 2.

RK-100S 2

I have no idea why these things keep coming back. I am not a fan of the widdy synth solo or prancing about on stage pretending I have a guitar. For me this promo video makes me cringe.

However, many people love these things and I’m sure that’s why you decided to read this article. So I’ll put my disgust aside and give you the details.

The RK-100S 2 is a 3-octave keyboard that you hang around your neck, it has a bunch of sounds onboard and a handle that features modulation possibilities. In version 2 you now get a decent wood grain finish stained black or red. The sounds have been expanded to add more lead solo sounds (oh god) and there are now 200 stage-ready presets covering up-to-date genres to get the party started. You can allocated sounds to the row of buttons for super-quick access. There are two ribbon controllers to get you into some modulation action. One is on the neck for regular mod and pitchbend duties but the other one runs along the length of the keyboard and can be scaled for notes or mapped to any parameter.

And we’re not done yet because there’s also a vocoder function that can plug a headset mic into and become even more of your own performance.

It can be battery powered so you won’t wind yourself up in the power cable when you dance although you’ve still got to contend with the audio cable. Maybe do yourself (and everyone else) a favour by using it only with headphones. This version 2 does look a lot better than the version 1 – I’ll give them that.

Pricing and availability is yet to be announced although the RK-100S retailed for £695.

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For me, the main power of the keytar comes from having a ribbon in an ergonomic position with your hand in a natural position like a guitarist. I have keyboards with ribbons on the surface, Kurzweil’s, Korg’s etc., but I find them FAR less intuitive to use with my hand tapping down on to them rather than reaching up around like a keytar. Hammer on/offs, trills, finger vibratos, scoops, there are a ton of performance nuances you can get from a keytar that are far more difficult to perform on a ribbon in the usual keyboard bender locations. And, let’s… Read more »

Alessia
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”I have no idea why these things keep coming back” The answer to your opening is ‘by popular demand’. Outside of the western market especially – there is a huge passion for Keytar. Nothing quite lays it down like the 100s because what some feel it ‘lacks’ under the hood; is made up for by what the other commentator correctly says: Ergonomics. There are far too many iterations of this platform that tote impressive features; but are hard to fully capture or utilize. I think of the Edge and how, it almost does feel as if I’ve picked up my… Read more »