Korg Module review – Korg raise the bar for sample-based virtual instruments under iOS

Download from iTunes App StoreKorg Module logoKorg will be well-known to any music technology fan and their expertise in hardware keyboards and effects units (amongst other things) has seen their software products also gain wide acceptance. And, of course, over the last couple of years, they have also shown a development commitment towards the mobile musician and their list of iOS music apps is impressive.

I’ve reviewed a number of these here on the Music App Blog – iPolySix and iMS-20 for example  – but perhaps my favourite is Gadget. This was launched early in 2014 and, even from day 1, it was obvious that it was something a bit special. App of the year 2014? Well, that’s obviously a subjective call and will depend upon your musical interests but Gadget is a joy to use for electronic music production.

Korg have nudged Gadget forward a number of times over the last 11 months or so. Probably the next ‘big thing’ current users are waiting for is the ability to add audio tracks. Korg have suggested this will come… but, at yet, there is no timescale specified.

Korg Module; best in class for acoustic and electric pianos under iOS?

Korg Module; the new best in class for acoustic and electric pianos under iOS?

In fact, while many of us were waiting for the audio ‘next big thing’, Korg have come along with a different sort of ‘next big thing’; Korg Module. This is a step forward to Gadget as Korg Module can be used with Gadget and provides the user with a number of new ‘gadgets’ to work with. However, Korg Module also works as a stand-alone app that falls firmly into the ‘sample-based virtual instrument’ category.

What is it?

Let’s start with the basics…. Korg Module is intended to provide high-quality, sample-based virtual instruments. As I’ve commented on the blog previously, this is not something that current iOS hardware (or, indeed, any mobile computing hardware) is really ideally configured for. In the desktop environment, high-end sample libraries work because of (a) almost limitless hard disk space to store multi-GB sample sets and (b) plentiful RAM to load portions of those samples into memory to ensure smooth performance.

Oh, and it helps because data transfer is fast and CPUs are powerful. The more recent generation of iPad’s are no slouches in processing terms but, for (a) and (b), they don’t really provide the basis required to port current sample-based virtual instruments over from the desktop without some compromises or re-thinking. The increase RAM within the new iPad Air 2 is, therefore, a step in the right direction and it will be interesting to see if that does enable some more ambitious sample-based apps to appear.

Korg Module doesn't just do acoustic piano sounds; there are electric piano, organ clav and a selection of 'other' sounds also provided in the base app.

Korg Module doesn’t just do acoustic piano sounds; there are electric piano, organ clav and a selection of ‘other’ sounds also provided in the base app.

And perhaps Korg Module is the first of those? The initial release offers five sub-modules (the documentation suggests that each of these has a somewhat different ‘engine’ behind it to deliver the sounds) featuring acoustic piano, electric piano, organ, clav and ‘multi’ (a range of sounds including strings, bass and synths). The specification includes Audiobus and IAA support – so you can use the app with other iOS music apps – but the modules will also appear as five ‘gadgets’ within Gadget.

Two further modules are available for purchase as IAPs within Gadget; Ivory Mobile Grand from Synthology and Korg’s own Wurley Electric Piano. Synthogy’s Ivory is one of the better sample-based acoustic piano virtual instruments available on the desktop and is highly respected for its sound quality and realism. To see it offered for an iPad (albeit in a ‘mobile’ edition) is therefore quite impressive. That IAP will usually cost you UK£20.99 but it is also available at a reduced price during the launch (33% off). The Wurly Electric Piano IAP is – for the launch period only – available free.

The preset system provides easy access to all the sounds including any of those added via IAPs.

The preset system provides easy access to all the sounds including any of those added via IAPs.

Do bear in mind, however, that this is iPad only, requires iOS8 (support for iOS7 is not listed) of better and the base app is a 1.3GB download. It runs fine on my iPad Air 1 test system but I suspect you do want a fairly recent generation of iPad hardware to really get the best out of the app. The Ivory IAP is a further 2GB it size to download and, while I’m not quite sure where these samples get stored (in Korg Module, Gadget or some ‘shared’ sample folder? I’ve quizzed the techie folk at Korg but am still waiting for an answer). You will, therefore, need plenty of free storage space to install the app and add any further IAPs.

Competition time

I did a roundup post on virtual instruments a few months ago and Korg Module is obviously an app that would fit into that category. So what’s its obvious completion? I don’t really think it is something like SampleTank (well, at least not yet) as that app is designed to provide a broader range of sample-based sounds covering almost every instrument group you can think of. In sampling terms, SampleTank is ‘broader and thinner’ if that makes sense… good coverage but the level of sampling involved in each instrument is not going to match that found in Korg Module.

Each of the sound 'engines' features a different interface as shown here for the organ engine.

Each of the sound ‘engines’ features a different interface as shown here for the organ engine.

Perhaps a more obvious comparison is with IK Multimedia’s iGrand and iLectric apps or MIDIculous Neo-Soul Keys. Like Korg Module, these apps focus on piano and electric piano type sounds and attempt to provide a realistic performance experience through details sampling. I’m a big fan of both iGrand and iLectric (I’ve less experience with Neo-Soul Keys but it does sound very good also). I think they both to a pretty good job in both a live performance and recording context and, bang for buck, deliver great results. These apps are, therefore, what Korg Module’s sounds might be put alongside.

Open the box

So what do we find when we open Korg Module? Let’s start with stand-alone mode and the basics of the app’s operation and I’ll come back to the integration within Gadget later.

The display is dominated by some rather splendid graphical representations of whichever instrument patch you happen to have loaded – acoustic piano, electric piano, organ, synth – but, in each case, the key controls are organised into five zones within the screen. Along the very top strip are buttons to access the app’s settings, MIDI options, recording features, velocity and output meters and, on the right-hand end, the Set List, Module and Store options allow you to toggle between the app’s three main screens.

The Clav instruments use this retro-styled interface.

The Clav instruments use this retro-styled interface.

The Module screen is the default while Set List allows you to create –surprise, surprise – a set list that can be used to organise your song charts and Module presets into a form that can streamline performance with the app. As you might expect, the Store is where you go to access any additional IAP options you wish to explore and is currently populated by the Ivory and Wurly add-ons mentioned earlier.

Korg Module also includes a fifth 'catch-all' category of sounds dominated by synth patches.

Korg Module also includes a fifth ‘catch-all’ category of sounds dominated by synth patches.

Beneath this menu strip are two further elements; the Category/Program options (tap these and you can browse and select from the presets) on the left while, on the right, are controls for the two effects slots the app provides. These are labelled Modulation Effect and Ambient Effect. As you might expect, the Ambient Effect provides a range of reverb and delay options (tap on the label and a drop-down list appears to choose from) but the Modulation Effect actually covers far more than just chorus, phaser or flanger; there are, for example, also EQ, compression, distortion and ring modulation options amongst this group).

The app allows you to use two effects at a time including those from the modulationgroup...  although note that those cover a much wider range of effects types than just modulation.

The app allows you to use two effects at a time including those from the modulation group… although note that those cover a much wider range of effects types than just modulation with EQ, compression and distortion also included.

The final two elements are in the bottom half of the screen; the control set to tweak the current sound and a 3D virtual keyboard. The latter looks very pretty and you can play it. However, given that the whole ethos of Korg Module is as a high-quality performance sound source, it would be kind of criminal not to play the app using something better that a virtual keyboard. Hook up your MIDI keyboard of choice (the app ought to work fine with any MIDI keyboard that is iOS compatible) or your favourite MIDI performance app for a much more satisfying experience.

The sound controls vary depending upon the selected preset and which of the app’s five ‘engines’ are in use. So, for example, the controls offered for the acoustic piano and different from those for the electric piano that, in turn are different again for those for the organ. The screenshots included here show the details but I was particularly impressed with what’s offered for the electric piano as the combination of EQ, tremolo and drive options allow you to create all sorts of great end results.

The ambience effects groups includes a nice selection or reverb and delay effects.

The ambience effects groups includes a nice selection or reverb and delay effects.

What else?

The whole rational of Korg Module is as a performance app (whether that performance is in a live context or a recording one) so, effects and, engine controls aside, the interface is remarkably uncluttered. Under the Settings menu you scan for a Bluetooth MIDI keyboard, toggle mono/stereo mode or turn off the keyboard animation (saves a few CPU cycles I guess). The ‘info’ menu provides you access to tips, FAQ and the very comprehensive manual (providing you are online).

The icon that looks like a small graph opens up a dialog for adjusting the MIDI velocity response of the app. This is useful as it allows you to easily adjust for different playing styles or if the velocity response of your MIDI keyboard doesn’t really suit your playing. There are a few presets but you can simply adjust the graph to suit your needs.

You can adjust how Korg Module responds to MIDI velocity if required.

You can adjust how Korg Module responds to MIDI velocity if required.

The MIDI icon opens a MIDI file player. A few files are included by default but you can also load others via iTunes File Sharing. Once loaded, the player will do its thing and this is a good way to audition the sounds in a bit more detail (or, if you just want some soothing piano music in the background!).

The Recording button allows you to make audio recordings of your performance. Once you stop a recording you get a rather nice option to trim the start and finish before saving. You can then export via SoundCloud, Dropbox or email. You can also listen back to any of your previous recordings.

If you were to use the app in a live performance context – particularly if you play a long set of covers and need a bit of a memory jog occasionally as to chord/sounds to use for each song in the set – then I could imagine the Set List feature being useful. This provides a combination of three functions. First you can create a list of all the sound programs that you use for easy selection. Second, you can show a photo or PDF image on the screen (so this might include chords, notation or lyrics). Finally, you can access the built-in audio file player to play back songs of backing tracks so you can then play along. For a solo gigging musician, if you get on top of these features, you could certainly keep your gigging rig compact and clutter-free.

Recordings made within Korg Module can be shared and played back from within the app.

Recordings made within Korg Module can be shared and played back from within the app.

Sound for pound?

Compared to most iOS music apps, Korg Module is towards the upper end of the pricing structure. Given that Korg are suggesting this is a ‘high-end’ sound source then that’s to be expected. So, just how well does Korg Module deliver in terms of sound?

Well, at one level, this is a very easy question to answer; it sounds great. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that there isn’t really a ‘bad’ sound to be had. If you want responsive, realistic piano, electric piano, organ, clav and a few other things thrown in for good measure, under iOS, Korg Module would be a very good place to start. Equally, I’d add that if you are using a entry-level MIDI keyboard to control Korg Module, you might find that that hardware is the weak link in the chain rather than the app. To really get the best performance-wise from the app, you need to have good control over MIDI velocity because the majority of the sounds respond beautifully to just how soft or hard you play.

If you want to load MIDI files for playback within Korg Module then that's also possible.

If you want to load MIDI files for playback within Korg Module then that’s also possible.

This is particularly true for the acoustic pianos. If your MIDI hardware gives you the subtly of control over the IDI velocity you generate then you will really hear that in the sounds Korg Module can produce. Amongst the presets there are some nice variations that you might expect – natural grand, bright grand, upright piano, honky tonk – but also some you might not such as electric grand, pad piano, strings piano, etc. I particularly liked the pad piano preset which has just enough of a pad sound behind the piano itself to fill in the gaps of a simple chord performance.

The electric piano patches are equally impressive and there are lots of them. While I suspect the sample sample-base probably underlies these, they do make excellent use of the module controls and effects to produce a really diverse collection of electric piano tones. And yes, they sound very good indeed.

In terms of the organs then they go from very traditional through to warm and overdriven with stops en route for gospel; jazz, soul and a few suitably cheesy sounds that might sound great at a fun fair :-) Perhaps the only thing that I didn’t think was quite nailed would be a really big church organ preset. However, adding a dollop of extra reverb to one of the ‘full organ’ patches got me pretty close to what I was after.

I’m not a huge clav user but, to my untutored ears, what’s here sounded good, although a ‘superstition’ preset might have been nice. Again, however, a little tweaking of the control set got me in the right ballpark.

The fifth and final group of default sounds is a mixture of strings, brass and synths. There are some nice things amongst this collection with a couple of the string patches being very good and the brass sound, while lacking the detail of a dedicated orchestral or funk library, are perfectly useable. In terms of the synths, again, the sounds are good covering leads and pads mostly, but if you own a few of the better dedicated iOS synth apps, then this isn’t perhaps the core reason for buying Korg Module.

And there’s more

You can, of course, add to the default sound set via the available IAPs (of which Korg are already promising more). Usefully, within the preset browser, and presets based upon samples from an IAP are indicated beside the preset name.

For the launch period only, Korg’s own Wurley Electric Grand IAP is free (get it while you can) and this provides another 14 or so presets for the list. These do have a different sound to the default electric piano patches – perhaps ‘warmer’ is the best way to distinguish them – perhaps reflecting the ‘vintage’ tag that Korg place on the IAP.

Of course, the current star of the IAP show is Synthogy’s Ivory Mobile Grand. Priced at UK£13.99 for the launch period, this is based upon a 2GB additional download. In an iPad context, that must surely make it the largest single sample-based instrument currently available.

The IAP adds 16 further patches based upon this sample set ranging from standard grand pianos through to a few ‘special’ treatments such as ‘Ivory grand and syn pad’. Are they better than the acoustic pianos included with the base app? Well, yes… at least I think so… there is perhaps just a slightly crisper and more dynamic response, but the differences are far from huge. That said, the Korg acoustics are great… the Ivory ones are just a little bit better.

Used as a stand-alone virtual instrument, Korg Module's Audiobus support seems well implemented.

Used as a stand-alone virtual instrument, Korg Module’s Audiobus support seems well implemented.

I’ll add to my comment from earlier, to really get the benefit from the Ivory IA, I think you need to be using a good MIDI keyboard and, in addition, monitoring the app’s playback through a decent sound reproduction system. With a good live rig or a nice studio monitoring environment, the differences will become apparent; listen on your Apple earbuds while playing the virtual keyboard and I’d be surprised if you can really appreciate quite what the Ivory does over and above Korg’s own acoustic piano sounds.

Modular workflow

When using Korg Module as a stand-alone app, it offers the usual workflow options for iOS musicians. Audiobus support and IAA are both provided therefore. In testing via Audiobus, I had no issues with the app and it worked very nicely alongside my usual iOS DAW of choice Cubasis. It also sounded particularly nice when feed through AltiSpace :-)

With IAA – and used again with Cubasis – Korg Module appears as an audio source for a Cubasis track and I was also able to route a MIDI track from Cubasis back out to Module for playback. Korg Module does not (yet at least), appear to provide IAA via a MIDI instrument but then neither do any of Korg’s other iOS music apps. This is not a big deal; for my own workflow, I’d prefer the combination of IAA audio track plus a separate MIDI track anyway. As with Audiobus, I didn’t experience any problems with IAA, performance seemed solid and you get a nice IAA transport panel within Module when in use via this route.

Korg Module also seemed to work well within Cubasis when used as an IAA app and was also happy to receive MIDI data from a Cubasis MIDI track.

Korg Module also seemed to work well within Cubasis when used as an IAA app and was also happy to receive MIDI data from a Cubasis MIDI track.

Gadget man

Of course, the other key feature of Korg Module is the integration with Korg’s Gadget. If you are not familiar with Gadget then check out the review for early in 2014 when the app was first released. In essence, Gadget is a pattern-based sequencing environment for electronic music production. It features a number of distinctive ‘gadgets’ (= sound sources) that include drum machines, synths, sample playback tools, sound FX with a couple of additional gadgets added via IAP (an additional sample playback engine and a loop slicer).

The five new 'Mpdule' gadgets appear in Gadget's selection list.

The five new ‘Mpdule’ gadgets appear in Gadget’s selection list.

And, if you own Gadget and then purchase Korg Module, on first run of Gadget afterwards, you get the option to install the Korg Module sounds as new ‘gadgets’ within Gadget. Once selected, this process chugs away for about 30 seconds before the main Gadget screen appears. During this time, some reorganisation of the samples within Module (or how gadgets accesses them) is presumably going on but it is not really clear at this stage quite how the various sample sets are organised between the two apps. If I do find out then I’ll let you know…

You can , of course, use all five modules at the same time within Gadget...  and even multiple instances of the same module if required.

You can , of course, use all five modules at the same time within Gadget… and even multiple instances of the same module if required.

Modules five ‘engines’ appear as five new gadgets within the usual gadget selection screens; Salzburg (acoustic pianos), Montreal (electric pianos), Alexandria (organs), Firenze (clav) and Glasgow (everything else). If, as I did, you have any of the additional IAPs for Module installed, these appear as additional presets within the appropriate gadget; Ivory within the Salzberg acoustic piano gadget and the Wurley patches within the Montreal electric piano gadget.

Each of the new gadgets gets a smart interface within Gadget.

Each of the new gadgets gets a smart interface within Gadget.

Aside from the fact that you now have access to a very impressive additional collection of sample-based instruments within Gadget, in use these new ‘gadgets’ work in exactly the same way as any of Gadget’s existing gadgets. And, of course, that means the key thing is that, within a Gadget project, you can access more than one of these sounds at a time and, if you wish, have multiple instances of a single Gadget each playing a different patch and with different settings. This includes the twin effects units found in the main app; within Gadget, the effects chosen and their settings are on a ‘per gadget’ basis.

All the appropriate presets  - including any based upon IAP content - appear in the appropriate Gadget gadget.

All the appropriate presets – including any based upon IAP content – appear in the appropriate Gadget gadget.

I still think Gadget is an absolute joy to use. The interface is beautifully designed for the iPad and the sequencing environment as slick as it gets under iOS. With the sounds from Korg Module sitting inside Gadget it simply broadens the sonic palette you have to work with… but in a significant and very worthwhile fashion. For Gadget fans, Korg Module is a pretty obvious ‘upgrade’ to make.

And the best piano is….

What about coming back to the question I posed earlier and the comparison of Korg Module’s sounds with those of the obvious competition? For pianos and electric pianos, my apps of choice for some time have been iGrand and iLectric. While both these apps will work as stand-alone sound sources under iOS8, IK Multimedia has, as yet, got around to providing either of them with full iOS/Audiobus/IAA support. I’m pretty sure that will come but it is a bit of a shame that it hasn’t happened already.

That issue aside, what about the sounds? Well, to my ears at least, I think that in terms of absolute realism, I think I’ve give Korg Module the edge. That’s not to say that iGrand and iLectric suddenly sound ‘bad’ by comparison – they do not – but I think there is a depth – and at times, a delicacy – that is present in the Korg sounds that is less obvious in those of the other two apps. I think this is particularly noticeable in the acoustic pianos and perhaps a bit less obvious in the electric and clav type sounds. In contrast, however, I think IK Multimedia have – for iLectric in particular – provided a few rather more interesting preset options than Korg… but that’s nother that a few DIY presets would not soon address.

The new Glasgow gadget provided by Module.

The new Glasgow gadget provided by Module.

So, should every iOS piano player be deleting their current piano apps of choice in favour of Korg Module? Well, that will depend upon what you use that app for. While I suspect that Korg Module will now become my own first port of call for piano/electric piano sounds, providing I’m not short of storage space, I’ll be more than happy to turn to iGrand or iLectric when the urge strikes. And if you are happy with your current choice of piano sounds – or perhaps your needs are more casual – then maybe you don’t need to stretch to Korg Module as well as what you currently use.

However, for those that absolutely must have access to the best piano and electric piano sounds that iOS can provide, then the issue of duplication is perhaps less of a distraction. If that’s you, and you have the means to stump up for the base app and the Ivory IAP, then Korg Module is a very attractive proposition indeed.

I'm not quite sure where Korg Module's samples get stored - with Korg Module, with Gadget or somewhere shared between the two?

I’m not quite sure where Korg Module’s samples get stored – with Korg Module, with Gadget or somewhere shared between the two?

In summary

Korg Module will not be an ‘essential’ purchase for every iOS musician but, if you do crave the very best acoustic and electric piano sounds that iOS can currently offer, then this is the app for you. Korg have also done a brilliant job with the interface; its slick and uncluttered so you can access the high-quality sounds with the greatest of ease.

I think it is fair to say that – just as with Gadget for electronic music production – Korg have raised the bar here for iOS music making using sample-based virtual instruments. Yes, Module is a big application, requires iOS8.1 (or latter) and is perhaps going like being installed on newer iOS hardware rather than an older iPad but, in testing on my own iPad Air 1 system, it behaved flawlessly.

I think dedicated Gadget owners are also going to find this hard to resist. The sounds seem to work brilliantly within Gadget and the five new ‘gadgets’ open up all sorts of additional sound options over and above the existing collection. If Korg do get around to adding audio recording to Gadget in some form then it is going to become a pretty formidable platform.

Given what is on offer, I’ve no hesitation is stating that Korg Module represents excellent value for money. However, at the launch price it is obviously an even better bargain. Only you can decide whether you need to splash the cash for the quality it offers – no reviewer can make that call for you :-) – but, if you are going to do it, then I suggest you do it sooner rather than later and grab it for UK£20.99 along with the Wurley IAP that is currently free…. then see just how long you can hold out for the Ivory IAP before it goes up to its full price after December 11th….

For those that want the best piano sounds available under iOS, and for keen Gadget users, Korg Module comes highly recommended.

Korg Module for iPad


Gadget



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    Comments

    1. Chris Catalano says:

      Yes, expensive, but these piano sounds rival desktop sounds quite easily to my ears. Plus the degree of tonal control and FX pretty much blows the IK stuff out of the water. This is upping the iOS Ante in terms of the IAP price structuring, but really, I cannot wait to run this into iConnectmidi2 into Logic and AB it with the pianos in there, the Reason Pianos, and NI the Giant. If my headphone checks are any indication, Korg just knocked it out of the park…while hitting my pocketbook a little too hard in the process, lol! If Gadget ever gets Audio Tracks and true sampling implemented, it could very well become the Hub of many user’s iOS Production, but I suspect the transition will not come all that cheaply.

      • Hi Chris… I’ll do a comparison against some of my own desktop sample-based pianos at some point…. the ‘cost vs sound’ calculation will be quite interesting I think :-) best wishes, John

    2. I’m loving Korg Module, and I haven’t even done much with it yet! This has superior sounds to anything else I’ve come across for iOS. A big part of my judgement is based on the organ sounds and they are superb, especially the Drive Organ and the four Perc Organ sounds. In each module there are several sounds that I like, and I can see using them, maybe even the Synth sounds.

      While it runs fine as expected on the iPad-Mini Retina, it’s been good on the iPad4 stand alone as well as using it in the AudioBus input slot; though I did have issues trying to load it as IAA into AudioShare. Not sure what’s up with that just yet.

      The quality of sound-sets for iOS have really improved a lot recently, but looking forward to what’s next.

      • Hi Toz… thanks for the comments about us on an iPad 4… that’s interesting… I’ve yet to try it on my older iPad 3 but, when I get a chance, I’ll give it a go. best wishes, John

    3. It does sound excellent. I can see retiring from Logic Pro within a year if Korg (and Apple iPad engineering) keeps this up.

      would love to see a Guitars/Bass module next. A wavestation module would really be splendid.

    4. oh, no! have a vocoder inside the Gadget! and chaining the synths with that vocoder to beat the Caustic, haha, a EDM kingdom by Korg.

    5. BTW, the Korg module inside the Korg Gadget on Ipad Air 1 isn’t that perfect, The battery get highs consumption. Whole Ipad air 1 got a quite hight heat just arfter playing around. So High quality sound needs newer Ipad Air 2. Sorry for that in terms of money.

    6. I buy the app the moment it came out and was very surprised with the sounds, plan to buy the ivory mobile grand before the sale ends, the only thing i dont like is that other than playing from the keyboard and the sustain pedal Module doesnt respond to any other command i sent from my midi controller and i dont see a midi learn option or other way to do this, only using the touchscreen, it would be great if i could control the output level or the rotation of the organ or the cutoff in the multi from the keyboard instead of the screen, its not very handy in some contexts.

      • Alexander Democratis says:

        The rotary of the organ works fine with the sustain pedal as with any other soft clone of a B3.
        It would be perfect to have drawbars…

        • Yeah, forgot about the sustain pedal and the rotation, but still i would like to control everything via midi not just the rotation.

    7. Littlewoodg says:

      Thanks John for yet another thorough piece of expert witness testimony!
      A couple of apps bear some comparison to the instruments in Module: CMP Grande Piano, NeoSoul Keys, and Gallileo cover the same ground as the instruments available in the Korg app. All three are stunners in their own right, but costs are an issue…

    8. Littlewoodg says:

      Sorry, I see now that NeoSoul Keys is mentioned…
      One thing that is worth noting- CMP Grande and NeoSoulkeys are both universal…incredible to carry these instruments around in ones pocket on 5s…

    9. Daniel Reinholdsson says:

      Excellent sound quality…but hope for more MIDI options in future. No MIDI learn?

    10. Hi All… here is the reply I received from the techie folk at Korg re the sample storage. I’m not sure it goes in to a great deal of detail but hope it helps somewhat….

      “We’ve used a new iOS 8 technology called “app groups” to share sample libraries between apps. So, the data of both Ivory and Wurly are not doubled. The data is shared between Module and Gadget. You can save data size with this way. Only the initial sample data is currently doubled in each Module and Gadget for some technical reason.

      Under the iOS settings, Module or Gadget shows only the initial PCM size, so you cannot see the increased size by in-app purchase on each item. It depends on specification of iOS. However, the total size of iPad correctly shows the actual size including shared samples.”

      Best wishes, John

      • Very cool looks like Korg has some top-of-the-line iOS engineers. here’s an excerpt from the iOS8 developer documentation:

        “Sharing Data with Your Containing App

        The security domains for an app extension and its containing app are distinct, even though the extension bundle is nested within the containing app’s bundle. By default, your extension and its containing app have no direct access to each other’s containers.

        You can, however, enable data sharing. For example, you might want to allow your app extension and its containing app to share a single large set of data, such as prerendered assets.”

      • Makes things much clearer, thanks John!

        So the initial install is doubled, and I’m guessing that is still an iOS limitation thing going (w/ access to main app dir etc). But downloaded expansions are placed in a directory that’s open for this new extension/sharing iOS8 tech. This bodes really well for future expansion packs. Great stuff! :)

    11. Great Review!
      Are there some Mellotron like sounds in Module? I am looking für Mellotron Patches in the iPad for some time now and have not found anything usefull yet…

      • Hi Manuel…. have you tried the apps by developer Omenie Limited? They are emulations of some Mellotron sounds I believe. best wishes, John

    12. Alexander Democratis says:

      Dear John, I just made a comparison of the Module, with Igrand/Ilectric, Neo Soul Keys and CMP Piano and for the organs with galileo hammond app on my ipad 4th gen.
      In terms of electric piano there was a small difference, but I believe that Module is closer to the real thing, there is a lot of bark to its sound, Neo Soul that comes second, in matters of Suitcase Piano has a great sound but lacks on stage and Wurli sounds.Ilectric although it is very friendly still has that AB prob and isn’t so close to the real thing.
      Now on the acoustic pianos, the module wins with the second challenger, the CMP, about a mile behind.
      Although I have purchased the IAP of Bechstein 1,8 GB sample (the CMP whole install was 4,2 GB;) the Ivory expansion sounds terrific.The Igrand needs a new sample engine to challenge the other two.Every piano sounds almost the same with a small EQ differences.The CMP also has some crackles and noises a few times when you play a lot of notes.
      So in matters of hammond I think Galileo is better as it offers more options to change the registers and the percussions, plus keyboard split, more presets etc. They both need a better hammond engine to become challenging to hardware keyboards.

      Great Stuff in our hands, and the future looks bright…

      Waiting for a Module Mellotron/Chamberlin Expansion…

      • Hi Alexander… many thanks for these detailed comments. I’ve no experience of CMP so your thoughts are interesting to see…. and I’m sure other readers will benefit also. Thanks again and very best wishes, John

      • Robert Goldberg says:

        Well, interesting. That’s what makes horse races, I guess. I’d put CMP Grand Piano out ‘way ahead of the pack. The sound is brighter (easy to eq down) and there is no contest when it comes to responsiveness on my iPad 4. CMP is happy at a 5ms latency. If I set Module below 256 it becomes unplayable, full of crackles and noise. 256 is at the edge for me, where I can begin to feel the delay. I bought Module for the piano/strings/pad/choir patches. Unlike iGrandPiano, it allows you to set the relative level of the second voice. iGP has it just too loud for me. The synth section is also very nice, including that cool minisynth under Strings/Strings. Thanks, John. Didn’t even know it was there. And thanks for a splendid review.

    13. sounds great but on screen keyboard is a nightmare so not that good for on the go musician

    14. Hi,
      Has anybody had problems with importing a PDF into the Set List? if you have how have you overcome it?
      Thanks
      Niven

    15. kenny kearns says:

      one feature you neglected to mention in your review is comparing the midi controls in the IK apps with the Module, one of the best features of the iLectric ap (and the iGrand ap) is the ability to assign any midi controller to any “knob” in the ap, this is super useful and easy in the IK products, I do have some issues with the iGrand ap distorting occassionally but these controls are super important in the live setting. i also know that switching between iGrand and iLectric in a live setting can be cumbersome as the ap needs to close then load and open so I am wondering if Module is a much more versatile choice for live performance. I also (occassionally) use garageband for some sounds (organ, synth, strings etc) and it too gives no options for midi assigning. can you let me know how midi assign works on Module?

    16. could we make splits on these ? where I can play piano on the lower octave and clavinets on the higher octave ?

    17. Can anyone comment on the polyphony level for the Ivory samples on newer Ipads? My Ipad 2 seems to have about 24 voices, which is fine until I hit the pedal and do two handed arpeggios up the keyboard, the bottom notes just peel off. I expect this wouldn’t happen with a 64bit A7, just want some confirmation before I consider investing in a new ipad.

    18. LeyendRV says:

      I do not believe all these comments that compare and say that the Korg Module is better than the Igrand piano from IK . KM has too much limitation with the polyphony on the Piano sounds, it is pretty much a toy. For example try playing arpeggios up and down with both hands while using the sustain pedal. It doesn’t matter if Korg has better sounds if we cannot really play them in a variety of every day situations.

      I think Korg has purposely limited the polyphony, because even when the polyphony is real issue on any hardware there are better ways of dictating which notes are dropped, but Korg diceded to dropp all the notes. Is that musical? Really Korg?..

    19. Fausto Campos Ferreira says:

      Korg module- good with Ivory, big piano samples but little polyphony and high battery drain. The most vesatile and good sounding Clavinets in iOS if you care about that. Very thin Rhodes, not usefull at all. Hammond sounds good, but lacks user configuration, such as drawbars and advanced leslie configurations. Other sounds ( strings, brasses, synths ) are very poor, so they’re quite useless for me.

      iK multimedia- wide variety, NOT JUST the same samples with diferent eq’s, try Rich Upright (you have to buy In app). Samples are little but multicicle looping is very well done. Low resources consumption, very stable, always works as it should, and more important, sounds good with all sound equipment, even in mono.

      CMP grand- Impressive at first, but in real world starts to show its limitations: bad low velocity samples, (for the steinway), sounds thin and lacks body in large PA’s, and even worst when listening in Mono. The real big problem is with the highest velocity layer: it makes a very big jump. Useless Jazz piano and the other inApp purchases.

      iLectric- Although not the best samples, probably the most usefull Rhodes for iOS: very sweet in low velocity and powerfull in high velocitys.

      Neo Soul Keys- The best samples out there- release samples, and many other noises, all very configurable. There’s one very big problem: Lacks power in midle/high register in high velocitys, just doesn’t bark. ilectric does bark a lot.

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