Korg Kaoss Pad 3

Hi guys,

One of my friends just gave me his used KP3 and I would love to integrate it in my mainly modular and semimodular setup.

Do I need a mixer to use it? I only have an audio interface plugged in my mac and I am not using monitors currently.

Anyone has any experience with this toy?

That really depends on how you want to use it. You could use it directly in your modular chain, either prior to input to your soundcard or elsewhere. Alternatively, depending on your soundcard ons and outs, set it up as a send effect from your daw. Also, they’re great tools. Far more than just a toy!


Johnny Greenwood, Jon Hopkins and even Brian Eno are Kaoss Pad users. Certainly not just a toy :slight_smile:

You could use it simply as an end of chain effect, after your modular before your interface.

JH is using at least three Kaoss Pads in this performance.

KPs pop up cheap from time to time and I’ve always been curious about trying them. They seem very fun and interactive.


Had one briefly, I really liked the performative control of effects! The RCA outs were weird, do they really not have a regular headphone or stereo out? The unit was really noisy too, I remember my bandmate/engineer was so frustrated in dealing with the units noise that it was effectictivly vetoed from our setup.

Seems really fun, wonder if I would have a different experience nowadays. Maybe my unit was faulty? Maybe I’d have more patience to learn each effects controls?

And Adrian Sherwood as I recall from various studio videos ; will see if I can find them.

No stereo jack outs, but there is a headphone out (and microphone in) that I use quite a lot for alternate routings with different devices.

I was also rather happy to remember that the Kaossilator Pro can use a number real-time effects on its inputs, and as both it and the KP3 can loop four separate samples as well, the duo make a fun team. I use them often with the likes of a Dreadbox Nyx for all manner of filtered and grain-glitched fun before passing through or alongside other effects (the Bastl Thyme is my current favourite).

It’s the way that the KP3 can record little looped FX patterns, and then reverse them or edit on the fly that makes it shine. Add in the ability to act as a MIDI controller for other devices and they really become quite flexible.


Anyone else have noise issues with a kp3? It’s funny that this thread popped up when it did as I just started thinking seriously about adding one to my set up for my house / electronica project. Only problem is I’m out of inputs for effects returns so I’d have to run my entire mix through it (which is kinda what I want anyway since I want a master DJ-style filter and beat repeat effects) but this is not the first I’ve heard of noise issues. It seems like users report more noise using the mic input and headphone out than the RCA in/out but I’d like more votes of confidence in the sound quality when using the RCA.

No noise problems here. I’ve used one for years and really couldn’t do without it. Currently its mostly used as a permanent companion to my Music Easel. They make a wonderful pair.

I only use the RCA I/O. For flexibility, I have it set up on an aux send on my mixer but it will happily take line level direct from the Easel.

Best feature for me is the sample pads which use as mini loopers to build drones and pads. It would be nice if it had more sample memory available - the loops lengths are short and variable as they depend on the current BPM - but the ability to resample them with FX applied really extends their usefulness. And it is so playable and immediate.

I think if you’re finding them so noisy that you ban them from your setup, the problem might be somewhere else in your signal chain. I know at one time Brian Eno was using multiple units connected together in various combinations. I don’t think that would work too well if the units were inherently noisy.


Thanks for the reassurance. If I were to just get 1/4” to RCA converter cables so I need to do any level adjusting or will it take a line level signal directly through the RCA? Sorry none of my other gear uses RCA jacks so I’m not really sure what I should expect from them.

It will take line level just fine. You will need to back off the KPs input level (it was designed principally for DJs, hence the RCA jacks making it easy to connect a deck) but there is plenty of room for that. I find the input quite tolerant. Even when the level indicator goes red there is still some way to go before its actually starts to clip.

One issue is that the inputs aren’t normalised so if you want to feed it a mono source (like I do having it on a mono aux send) you need to split the input into both L and R RCA jacks. I use a Y splitter cable on the send and then convert that to 2x RCA. Messy but it works.


Can anyone explain to me how to setup a kaoss pad as an fx processor an a return track in ableton live? I am going crazy trying to do that

Just use the external effect live device on the return track. Set up the relevant ins and outs of your soundcard on the device based on where you’ve plugged in the kaoss pad. Set it to 100% wet. Job done.

Yes, I know that and it seemed pretty easy but actually is not. I am using a scarlett focusrite 18i8 and I am using its SPDIF out into KP3 and out from KP3 into channel 3/4 in my audio interface.

So, on the external audio effect device on my return track in ableton I selected “audio to” 3/4 but I don’t know what to select for “audio from” because the SPDIF out from the audio interface are not appearing in the selection list…

By the way, since the external audio device is on a return track, what is the best way to set that up?

You see it’s a little bit complex for a noobie like me and yesterday I spent a couple of hours trying to figure things out without much success…frustrating

I don’t know much about that specific interface, but from a quick browse, it looks like the default setup is that the spdif outs are assigned to duplicate the main output. You probably want to use some standard outputs. Also audio to is your output and audio from is your input. You want audio from 3/4 and audio to whichever outs you use. Typically, I’d suggest using the same in/out pair for simplicity.

I’m not sure what you mean by the best way to set it up on a return. At its most basic, you want a full wet setting on both the kaoss pad and the external audio effect device. Then use the relevant send knob on the mixer to feed the kaoss pad whichever channels you want.

I am not using a mixer. I connected the audio interface out via double rca cable to the input of the kp3, then the out of the kp3 with a double rca to double jack to the input of my interface.

I mean the ableton mixer.

Like I said above, I’d recommend using both input and outputs via 1/4" Jack’s with converters or jack to rca cables plugged into the Kaoss pad. The spdif output likely gives you a master output, rather than a specific numbered output.

Ok I did that, still it’s not working and I can only hear the synth sounds from kp3 but the track I have in ableton is not being affected at all. i cannot find instructions nowhere I think I am returning it

sounds like you have two problems -

  1. the spdif output is not a standard rca output. your kp3 will not be able to parse spdif data, you need to send it to an analog 1/4” output and then get a 1/4” to rca cable to plug the focusrite into the inputs of the kp3.
  2. from your description above, it sounds like you have your inputs and outputs reversed. the “audio to” should be the focusrite outputs that go to the kp3 inputs (which will be whatever analog 1/4” outputs you choose as discussed above) and the “audio from” should be the focusrite inputs that the kp3’s outputs are plugged into.

should work fine on a return track in ableton like any other effect.

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Hi Nick,

I was told to just plug the spdif out of my interface into the kp3 input with a RCA cable (I read that on anbleton forum) but now you are telling me that it’s wrong. Shall I then just use my 2 audio interface “normal” outputs (with jacks) and use a jack to rca to connect the output of my interface to the input of my kp3?

Yes, that’s what I suggested above.