Back in May this year I contacted Million Machine March about the possibility of modifying my old, battered Korg Mini KP into Eurorack modular format. The owner, Chris, responded to me and we exchanged ideas about how it could be done as well as considerations.
Chris has previously worked on Korg mods before, and this is what attracted me to his service. I found his can-do attitude fantastic and he’s clearly experienced working with eurorack.
Some back story: Korg released their 1st generation Kaoss Pad back in 1999. Very much aimed at the DJ market, the units were renowned for their grey/red colour and bulky appearance. They contained onboard effects (99, if I recall correctly) that could have parameters mapped to the XY coordinated of a large plastic pad that just screamed ‘touch me’.
There has been several incarnations since, but it was doing working experience in Digital Village circa 2001/2 that I fell in love with them and the concept of controllerism in general.
Around 2009 I bought a Korg Mini KP to use live with my band at the time J-Treole. This was powered by x4 AA batteries (although it could accept a 6v DC adapter), made of a thin red and black plastic casing and (regrettably) like the other Kaoss Pad series, used phono connectors to input and output line level audio.
It took quite a beating being bolted on top of my Nord Electro (next to an Alesis Bitrman) and eventually was relegated to just studio usage as I’d dented the XY pad. This was later fixed and it was back-in-action but I was growing tired of it’s limitations.
Around 2013 I started getting into eurorack modular off the back of reading this article in SOS in summer 2010. I’d always wanted to translate the Mini KP into euro format… it was roughly the size of a Make Noise MATHS in both width and height, and I figured there might be some cool modulation options.
After speaking to a few people about it I basically shelved the idea until years later I saw the Million Machine March units. After tossing the idea about in my head I thought “why not” and contacted Chris. After sending him some pictures of the PCB he was on-board.
As the project was nearing completion I discussed some custom artwork with the über talented Jenni Sparks, who also happens to be a very good friend of mine. She converted some artwork we’d worked together on for a never released Robotaki project, removing certain logo-ing, adding the correct labeling and changing the colour scheme and we were away!
…and here’s the final version!
Hopefully I’ll get some more euro stuff DIY’d in the coming years, I have plenty of ideas, so watch this space!