gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

Korg LP350 First Impressions

Yesterday I arrived home to find an absolutely behemoth, obelisk*-like box towering over everything else in my living room. It contained the Korg LP350 Digital Piano which Korg so kindly sent for a spot of ivory tickling.

The Korg LP350 is the latest in Korgs line of mid-range compact digital pianos. It sits above the SP range but is more compact, cheaper and boasts a much more understated and modern design than the more classically styled C340 and C540.

The incredibly understated and clean design of the LP350 is intended to place it comfortably into a modern living room, the sleek black (or white, should you choose it) exterior is marred only by extremely poorly chosen silver ends which I think unnecessarily break up the otherwise seamless black.

Aiding the seamless appearance is the lid, which is hinged only at the back which provides a double-whammy of features. First and foremost, no hinge breaks up the top surface of the Piano and, more importantly, the opened lid (with the front lip folded down) can serve as a full-length music stand, housing a variety of material for students and teachers.

Combined with the dual headphone sockets and its three full-featured pedals, this places the LP350 in an extremely good position as a teaching instrument.

The seamless lid does beg to be used for a variety of nefarious purposes, so if you’re in a busy household you’ll have to actively defend your LP350 from coffee mugs and miscellany.

The LP350 isn’t as integrated with its stand as it might look at first glance, unlike the slightly more serious C series the top of the LP350 can be removed in a pinch by unscrewing the two thumb screws that secure it. Unfortunately, though, the LP350 doesn’t lend itself well to sitting upon a desk. The power, speaker, pedals and headphones connections all reside on a box that protrudes from the bottom. This doesn’t stop you separating the LP350 from its stand for slightly easier portability though.

I suspect you’re probably wanting to know how the LP350 sounds and feels. In general: pretty good. The RH3 hammer action key-bed is employed to great effect and provides a subtle gradient of weight from the heavy low keys to lighter high ones. Rapid, repeated strikes are registered flawlessly to the best of my ability to test. This is my first encounter with Korg’s RH3 bed, and I must say that I’m impressed, though coming from an un-weighted or semi-weighted keyboard background I’m unable to accurately comment on the accuracy of its emulation.

Sound-wise the LP350 has a healthy variety of 5 different acoustic piano patches which are complimented by 7 electric pianos and a variety of other patches including some very nice strings and organs. These can be modified with one of three levels of Reverb or Chorus which leaves a little to be desired in terms of effects tweaking but should, in reality, be more than you need on a piano designed for casual play.

What really makes the LP350 excel in terms of sound, however, is the full-width speaker cabinet mounted below the piano itself. It only actually contains two 10cm speakers mounted in bass-reflex enclosures but strategically it’s position below the piano itself in an attempt to deliver the sort of indirect and enveloping sound one would obtain from a real piano.

Looks aside, the only complaint I have thus far is the lack of a L/R quarter-inch pair of stereo outputs. I resorted to using the two headphone sockets to feed them into my audio interface resulting, with some tweaking, in a good clean recording. Obviously the LP350 isn’t intrinsically designed to function as a control surface or an effective instrument for home recording, but it does sort-of serve this purpose.

* – You can’t have an Obelisk without an Asterisk

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009, News.