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The Kaoss Pad's touchpad can be used to control its internal effects engine, which can be applied to a line-in signal or to samples recorded from the line-in. Effects types include pitch shifting, distortion, filtering, wah-wah, tremolo, flanging, delay, reverberation, auto-panning, gating, phasing, and ring modulation.
The Kaoss Pad can also be used as a MIDI controller, with the x- and y-axis positions of a finger on its pad being output via a MIDI out connection as two continuous controller streams. The sum of the x and y positions can also be outputted as a third continuous controller stream.
The original model, released in 1999, is the KP1 Kaoss Pad. Korg has since released updated versions of the Kaoss Pad: the KP2, with a number of new features; the KPE1 Kaoss Pad Entrancer, a Kaoss pad that can process both sound and video; and the KP3, which began shipping in October 2006.
In the spring of 2007, Korg released a newer version of the Kaoss Pad, entitled the mini-KP. This new Kaoss Pad was based on the KP3, using many of the same essential elements. As the name suggests, the mini-KP is a smaller size version of its big brother, the KP3. The mini-KP offers 100 effects/programs and two memory banks. It may be powered by 4 AA batteries so that users can fully utilize the portability of the mini-KP. However, the mini-KP does not have MIDI output, and its touchpad does not have a display.
Korg unveiled a new Kaoss Pad, the Kaoss Pad Quad, during Winter NAMM 2011. It is able to process four effects at once, though it does not have MIDI output.