Korg Nautilus, Kronos Synthesizer Workstation Got A Little Affordable Brother

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Korg Nautilus is the Kronos Synthesizer Workstation for everyone with the same supercharged sound engine but with less direct control and no aftertouch.

Big Synthesizer workstations are less of my specialty, although they are true performance devices. Korg is now officially showing the Nautilus, the little affordable brother of the KRONOS workstation. Now you can enjoy the famous KRONOS sounds from Jordan Rudess and co. for significantly less. For that, you have to do without some features: you get what you pay for.

According to Korg, “Nautilus pushes the boundaries of what a performance synth and workstation is capable of. With the power of nine engines to drive a new approach to sounds, plentiful sampling, audio recording, effects, and processing power, there is simply no other synth that delivers more to explore sonically, with the workflow to get you there faster than ever.

Korg Nautilus

Korg Nautilus With The KRONOS Engine

Korg Nautilus is based on the award-winning Kronos engine that features nine dedicated sound engines. SGX-2 piano sound generator for accurate acoustic pianos, EP-1 electric piano, CX-3 tonewheel organ offer friends of classic, acoustic sounds almost endless possibilities. Synthesizer enthusiasts also have plenty to discover. Nautilus also has the known Synthesizer from the Kronos built-in. This includes the MOD-7 VPM/FM synthesis, the PolysixEX and MS-20EX for analog modeling, and the STR-1 for physical modeling. So basically you have an engine for any type of sound you’re looking to get. In program or combination modes, the user can combine these engines and create massive hybrid patches. Often underestimated, but this makes huge sounds possible.

They have split the sounds into three categories. The first category “Standard Sounds” includes all the regular bread and butter sounds that fit in every production. Unique sounds bring you distinctive sounds including phrase loops, prepared pianos, found percussion, and more. This section also contains completely new sampled sounds that were only developed for the Nautilus. Featuring prepared piano sounds created by placing different objects between piano strings and recording samples, or “found percussion” sounds made by turning ordinary items into instruments to be struck.

Korg Nautilus

Current sounds aim at modern music productions. You can find here fat EDM-style synths, drum kits, special effects, and more. Everything you need to make your next big hit.


In addition to these 9 different engines, Nautilus is a powerful sampler like the Korg Kronos. It has balanced inputs that can instantly capture anything coming into the machine. Nautilus is powered by Korg’s Open Sampling System that supports EXs sample libraries and AIFF, WAV, SoundFont 2.0, and AKAI S1000/3000. format samples. These can be loaded using a USB memory on the back.

New Control Interface

The interface is probably the strongest point that distinguishes the Kronos and the Nautilus. For the latter, i.e. the new product, it was completely redeveloped. It focuses around a 7″ color touch screen which centralizes all the functions. If you don’t like touch screens, you are definitely wrong here. 6 quick access buttons give you control of the essential points you always need. Plus, you can setup 4 templates for easier programming starting points.

There are only a few knobs available. 6 real-time editing knobs are available to the user with which you can edit the most important parameters. These also work as level control for the combi sounds.

Korg Nautilus Interface


Natilus is not just an instrument with a huge selection of sounds but also a complete workstation. So a DAW in the keyboard. This means that it is a standalone audio recording and MIDI sequencing overpowered environment. 16 tracks of MIDI, 16 tracks of audio, 16 onboard effect processors with 12 inserts and 2 master effects, 3-band EQ per track…. gives enough freedom for complete songs.

On the backside, you have left/right mono outputs, 4 individual balanced outputs, headphone input, two audio inputs on 6.3mm TRS, three assignable inputs (damper, switch, pedal), USB B for MIDI and 2 channels of audio, USB A (host) for external devices and MIDI (in, out, thru) on jacks. Nautilus has built-in a 60 GB SSD as memory which ensures that sounds can be loaded quickly

Nautilus will be available in three versions. 61 and 73 with full-size semi-weighted keys, or in a 88 hammer action version. All without aftertouch which is a shame.

Key Features

  • 9 different sound engines offer massive expressive power
  • new sounds offered over three broad categories
  • the DYNAMICS knob makes delicate expression possible
  • make intuitive changes to sounds with the realtime knobs
  • a user interface designed for easy operation
  • convenient arpeggiator and drum track functions
  • setlist mode that demonstrates its power in live performances
  • open sampling system
  • 16-track MIDI Sequencer/ 16-track audio recorder
  • 16 onboard effect processors
  • USB/MIDI host ports accommodate MIDI control surfaces
  • smooth sound transitions that eliminate dropouts when changing sounds, regardless of the mode you’re in
  • 88-key model with piano touch, 73-key model with light touch, and 61-key model available

All in all, the Korg Nautilus is a nice alternative to the large Kronos. The same power but fewer control options. But there is a new touch screen interface that is no less inviting.

Korg Nautilus will be available in early 2021 and will retail for 2199€ for the 61 key version, 2499€ for the 73, and 2899€ for the 88 hammer action.

More information here: Korg 

Hardware Synthesizer News


  1. It feels like Korg has a very explicit strategy combining its ads with market segmentation. This is a keyboard for a mainstream, globalized audience, it sounds like. The little display trick feels quite gimmicky and what we’d call « racoleur », in French (“pandering”? that doesn’t sound right). It might just work with the customers they want to reach, if not with other users of #MusicTech.

  2. What, AGAIN no aftertouch!?
    This is a great opportunity missed. Yet again.
    First Wavestate, which, like the Wavestation LIVES for aftertouch, now this..
    How much more expensive would it have become..??

    • Every few boards, Korg has a miss like everyone else. I hope Nautilus is not supposed to be the flagship board this year for them. It is a Krome upgrade, not a Kronos replacement. Kronos topped everyone when it launched. Kronos 2 still led the way, even though it was not monumental in its upgrades. I hope they are planning to compete with the Fantom & Montage, if not, I may have to move back to Fantom. I went from M1, to trinity, triton, motif, fantom g, now Kronos 2. Mostly Korg history & I’d like to keep it that way, but Fantom seems to be leading the way this year so far.

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