KORG KONNECT PORTABLE PA
Looking for a super-sized Bluetooth speaker, or a mini PA, then the Konnect is right in your wheelhouse.
Review: Mark Davie
I’ve gotta say, Bluetooth speakers are getting pretty incredible. I just got a Sony Bluetooth speaker, and I’m loving it. It’s IP67-rated, lights up like a Christmas tree, and has a ‘Party Booster’ mode where you can play it like a set of bongos, or a cowbell. Perfect for my beach party lifestyle… if only it wasn’t Winter in Melbourne.
Aside from all Sony’s kitschy features; it’s plenty loud, sounds pretty good, and pairs up in a jiff. You can even daisy-chain 100 of them! Super handy for blaring out tunes down at the local rec centre, when you’re having a barbie, or building a studio.
When the Korg Konnect portable PA rolled in for review, I was pretty keen to see what a big version of my little Sony could do. Unlike my fabric-covered, aqua-coloured Sony, the Korg is plastic-moulded, black with a sleek grille and integrated carry handle. It looks relatively serious, but Konnect’s got its own party tricks. Channels 1 and 2 have mic (XLR) or line (1/4-inch) inputs, but the first lets you switch the level of the 1/4-inch input between mic or line, in case you’ve got a karaoke mic wired to jack lying around. For the full karaoke effect, you can nix the centre channel to replace your favourite singer’s voice with your own. It’s not perfect, but Korg keeps the mono low end intact, so it still feels good.
The stereo channel takes either analogue inputs or connects via Bluetooth. It worked on both Android and iPhone handsets in the office; just hold the pairing button down and you’ll be playing tunes in no time. Things really open up once you download the Konnect app. The app gives you lots more control over your mix. You can control levels with great metering, solo and mute inputs, add effects and reverb, and adjust the voicing. The voicing control lets you assign an EQ characteristic for each channel. There are presets for Female Vocal, Slap Bass, Cajon, and plenty in-between. There are also four presets for music playback. It’s a great approach, considering most portable PAs only give you global control over voicing. In those scenarios you could choose something that suits the rock music playback, but it’ll probably be too peaky for that female solo acoustic set later in the night. Konnect solves that issue.
There are four reverb types, from Small to Large & Bright, which was a little too fizzy for my tastes. Everything up to Large sounded great for a device of this sort, and you can blend the send in to taste. You can also choose an ‘effect’, either compression, chorus or delay, again with a send control.
There are two levels of control; simple and advanced. The advanced setting breaks down the voicing into hi, mid and lo frequency bands, as well as giving you control over phase and pan, which is relatively inconsequential for a box this size.
There’s also a global feedback suppressor, which is relatively gentle on your tone. It’ll whip out any out of control frequencies after a couple of seconds, typically before they go anywhere too nasty. It’s not something you setup before a show though, so you will still hear feedback before it kicks in.
There’s a mounting hole for a speaker stand, but make sure you bring some gaff. The Konnect is powered by a ‘cable lump’ power supply, and the lead from the DC jack isn’t long enough to leave the lump sitting on the floor, plus there’s no strain relief for the cable.
The one thing missing from Konnect is a battery, which is a shame, especially considering this is a ghetto blaster-sized device. It would really perfect a very flexible little PA. The Konnect is loud enough to run in smaller breakout areas, but don’t expect it to command attention in gatherings over 50 people. It obviously does way more than my humble Sony Bluetooth speaker, and for something around the $500 mark, it’s great value.