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Rooting the KORG Kronos

Disclaimer: The following file is provided without any warranties. Backup all your settings before using it - maybe you'll need to ...

Samstag, 2. April 2016

Kronos Polyphony and Performance

As explained in many discussions, the Kronos has no fixed polyphony. The number of sounding voices differs depending on the engine used for each voice and even depending on which effects are currently active.

But how does the sound engine know how many voices can be active? 

The answer is a file called CostProfile in /korg/rw/Startup on your Kronos (this file is not included in the filesystem integrity check, so you can modify this file via FTP/SCP after rooting your Kronos. In this file, the resource cost is stored for each engine and for each effect. The engine uses this file to constantly keep track of the current resource usage. As soon as there are not enough resources for all voices and effects that should be running, some algorithm carefully selects the least audible voices and drops them to make room for new (probably more audible voices).

So, if you upgrade the CPU power of your synthesizer, you still need to patch CostProfile to get increased polyphony. I have prepared a CostProfile for my hardware upgrade here. The proposed setup has enough power to archive 200 note polyphony across all engines and regardless of the active effects,

Patching CostProfile to reduce the resource cost on the original main board (i.e. without additional CPU power) leads to some interesting behavior when too many voices are triggered: instead of stuttering and/or clicking, single voices drop out at random. This is because of a second mechanism called EmergencyVoiceStealer that seems to just drop one or more voices as a last measure to prevent a complete audio dropout. It looks like Korg spent a lot of effort to make sure there are no hard audio dropouts. Wow!

Finally, there is a hard limit of 200 voices. This limit is probably a #define in the synthesizer source code and was set arbitrarily by Korg.

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