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Korg Nautilus keyboard synth


  • introduced in Jan 2021
  • operating system version 1.2 bringing a number of improvements, including compatibility with PCG files created on Korg’s KRONOS workstation excluding any KRONOS/NAUTILUS specific functionality.
    • also expands the KORG bank in PROGRAM mode from 20 to 40 banks, allowing more programs to be saved and sound libraries to be loaded. The Wave Sequence bank has also been expanded from 15 to 20 banks.
    • like the Kronos 2 has exquisite piano sounds but the action is not as good as a Roland PHA-50 keys
  • NAUTILUS was released nearly 10 years after the first generation KRONOS and does away with some features such as KARMA (AI randomness in arpeggiation), in favour of programmable arpeggiators and Arpeggiator Scenes. These changes along with differences in factory sample libraries mean that content is not cross-compatible between the two instruments.


Compared to Kronos 2

  • Nautilus is a cut down version of the Kronos 2 although has most of the Kronos features such as:
    • same 9 synth engines
      • incl. SGX-2 piano engine - every note is sampled in stereo at up to 12 velocity levels with no loops, for smooth response and natural decays—plus multiple velocity layers of true damper resonance, along with modeled string resonance and 100 dual stereo voice polyphony (400 mono voices)
    • same polyphony capability
    • same 16 track MIDI + 16 track audio sequencing capability
    • same sampling capability
    • same drum kit capability
    • ability to load Kronos sound libraries albeit with some reduced functionality if missing sounds or controls are needed
    • 73 key version only “natural touch semi-weighted” keyboard w/o after touch compared to Kronos RH3 (Real Weighted Hammer Action 3)
    • similar albeit simplified LCD touch screen capabilities and interface however, the loss of some physical controls requires more work to use the screen
      • same 3 main play modes: Set List (up to 128 set lists each having up to 128 slots of combinations or programs), Combinations and Programs (individual sounds)
        • Combinations are organized into 14 Banks (A,B are factory presets, C..N are user combinations) of 128 Combinations each, giving max. 1792 combinations loaded into RAM but you can also store many more Combinations on the internal drive, or on external USB 2.0 devices
    • same PCM structure: ROM, EXs (EXpansion Samples which are loaded as desired), User Sample Banks (may be sounds that you create yourself, or load from imported Akai or SoundFont 2.0 libraries, or WAV or AIFF files), SAMPLING mode (is used to create and edit samples and then these are saved to User Sample Banks).
      • of the 3Gb RAM, 1Gb is used to load operating system and ROM data leaving 2Gb for loading Exs, User Sample Banks which can also be loaded into Virtual Memory although still requires some RAM.
    • square USB-B port lets you connect to a Mac or Windows PC, for sending and receiving MIDI and audio (only 2 channels), and for connecting to the NAUTILUS Editor. If you want to use the NAUTILUS with multiple applications simultaneously, you must install the Korg USB-MIDI driver instead of using the standard default USB-MIDI driver in Windows.
    • USB-A port can connect to a USB hub and to USB QWERTY keyboard for editing names, etc, and to USB storage devices, MIDI controllers, etc
    • SW2 can lock/unlock the joystick effect at the current position
    • can use a special half-damper pedal (such as the Korg DS-1H)
  • it is missing:
    • lots of real-time controls, aftertouch, ribbon controller, separate vector joystick, knobs, sliders, buttons, has a smaller LCD touch screen but includes new sounds such as the Italian Grand Piano and has a new arpeggiato functionality and has dark mode screen
    • S/P Dif connections
    • ability to add a 2nd SSD drive
    • a large number of sounds but these can be purchased from Korg for $US399:
    • many of the Korg optional sound libraries as below require the above to work fully
  • it adds:
  • new piano sounds and wave sequences preloaded eg Italian piano and many others
  • Smooth Sound Transitions (SST)
  • programmable arpeggiator
  • push down buttons for a flat transport option
  • separate headphone jack instead of having to use the L & R jacks
Korg Kronos 2 73 key Korg Nautilus 73 key
synth engines 9 9
polyphony SGX-2 100 dual stereo 100 dual stereo
hard drive 60Gb + opt. 2nd SSD 60Gb
PCM RAM 2Gb 760Mb free after “PRELOAD.KSC” 2Gb 260Mb free after “PRELOAD.KSC”
preset PCM 314 MB (ROM 1,505 Multisamples, 1,388 Drumsamples) RAM 496 MB / DISK 2.3G (ROM 1,771 Multisamples, 3,955 Drumsamples)
build-in expansion libraries EXs1 - ROM Expansion EXs2 - Concert Grand Piano EXs3 - Brass & Woodwinds EXs4 - Vintage Keyboards EXs5 - ROM Expansion 2 EXs6 - SGX-1 German D Piano EXs7 - SGX-1 Japanese C Piano EXs8 - Rock Ambience Drums EXs9 - Jazz Ambience Drums EXs17 – SGX-2 Berlin D Piano EXs18 – KORG EXs Collections EXs301: German2 D Piano EXs302: Italian F Piano EXs303: Japanese Upright U Piano EXs304: Prepared Piano EXs305: Historical Keyboards EXs306: Vintage Keyboards 2 EXs307: Strings & Synths EXs308: Guitar Collection EXs309: Bass Collection EXs310: World Essence EXs311: Background Loops EXs312: SFX & Hits EXs313: Found Percussions EXs314: Expansion Drums
Wave sequences 598 User memory, 187 Preload 598 User memory, 377 Preload
Piano types 64 (With the factory settings, the 16 varieties of EXs12 SGX-1 Austrian D Piano do not produce sound. The EXs12 option must be downloaded.) 128 (With the factory settings, the 64 varieties of EXs6: German D Piano, EXs7: Japanese C Piano, EXs12: SGX-1 Austrian D Piano, EXs17: Berlin D Piano do not produce sound. The options must be downloaded.)
arpeggiator engine Karma programmable arpeggiators and Arpeggiator Scenes
EXs315 EXs316 EXs317 EXs318 EXs319 EXs320 sounds Yes opt. $US399
Italian grand piano No, ?opt Yes
real time controls aftertouch, ribbon controller, vector joystick, knobs, sliders, buttons popup dials, ARP, opt: Korg nanoKontrol 2 to provide physical faders
connection differences 2x USB-A, S/P Dif, Mic/line button, Max/Min input 1x USB-A, phones jack
DVD system restore data yes no
weight 21.1kg 14.6kg
size 1,221 x 371 x 148 mm / 48.07” x 14.61” x 5.83” 1,227 x 386 x 116 mm / 48.31” x 15.20” x 4.57”
power supply 60W 40W
price March 2022 $AU4999-5999 $AU3699

Sound libraries

Loading sound libraries

file types

  • PCG files:
    • these contain all the set list, combination, program data and parameters for the sounds
    • one can view these files using a free PCG Tool
  • SNG files
    • Korg song files
  • KMP files
    • Korg multisample file
  • KSF files
    • Korg Sample file
  • KFX files
    • Korg effect preset data
  • KSC files:
    • these are text files which contain a list of all the files to load
    • KSC stands for Korg Sample Collection. KSC files group your Samples and Multisamples together, and let you load them as User Sample Banks. User Sample Banks may be loaded either into RAM, or may use Virtual Memory, just like EXs.
  • MID files
    • standard MIDI format files
  • EXL files
    • System exclusive data from an external device that was saved on the NAUTILUS. (This allows the NAUTILUS to be used as a data filer.)
  • WAV / AIFF files
    • wave or AIFF format audio files

copying files to the internal drive

  • ensure path name including file name and folder is less than 76 characters
  • insert the USB drive
  • go to Media mode and select the USB drive and navigate to the folder you wish to import
  • press Utility button on the screen, select the files to import (can use Multi-Select button to allow more than one) and then access the top right menu and press COPY
  • change the drive to the internal SSD drive and navigate to the folder you wish to import to then press PASTE

Temporarily loading the sound files into RAM

  • in Media mode, navigate to the PCG file and select it then press LOAD
    • you can choose a different bank destination to what is stored in the PCG file and you can choose to load the KSC file as well (generally use the append option)

Auto-load sound files on start up

  • in GLOBAL mode, go to auto load KSC and then add your desired KSC files and check the ones you want auto-loaded
  • this setting will be automatically saved

Banks in internal memory

  • presets cannot be over-written but preloads can be
  • Programs 000–127 in banks A–T and a–t (A..O are factory preloads) (GM, g(1)–g(9), and g(d): 001–128 are factory preset)
  • Combinations 000–127 in banks A…N (A,B are factory preloads)
  • User Wave Sequences Banks A: 000…149, Banks B…T: 00…31 (A..O are factory preloads)
  • User Drum Kits Banks A: 00…39, Banks G…T: 00…15 (A..H are factory preloads) (GM0–GM8 are factory preset)
  • User Drum Track Patterns User 000…999
  • User Arpeggio Pattern A0000-A2048, B000-B127
  • User Template Songs User 0…15.
  • NB. SAMPLING mode Multisamples and Samples must be saved to and loaded from drive; they cannot be written into internal memory.

NB. the action of writing into internal memory is called “Writing,” and the action of saving to an external USB storage device is called “Saving.” FAT32 USB drives up to 2Tb can be used.

Restoring factory sounds

  • Make sure that Memory Protect is off
    • in Global Basic Tab, make sure that all of the Memory Protect check-boxes are NOT checked.
  • Go TO MEDIA mode and the LOAD tab
  • Select the HDD and Select Factory folder then Open
  • Select the PRELOAD.PCG file then press LOAD
  • Use “.PCG Contents” to select the data you want to load. To completely restore the factory sounds, select All.
  • Select the PRELOAD.KSC checkbox
  • Set “.KSC Allocation” to Clear All
  • Set the Load Method for EXs and User Sample Banks to KSC Settings
  • Press the OK button to load the data.
  • also to auto-load the factory settings, check the Auto-load box next to PRELOAD.KSC in Global KSC Auto-Load page and uncheck any other KSC files


Playing songs

  • first either:
    • load the Song from disk
    • send the Song to the NAUTILUS via MIDI SysEx
    • record a new Song either by real time MIDI or step record MIDI
      • there are also 16 audio tracks which allow 16- or 24-bit linear PCM recording with a maximum time of 80 minutes.
      • When you save Songs to internal drive, they’re stored in an .SNG file. This .SNG file contains all of the data from SEQUENCER mode, including all of the Songs in memory, except for the related audio files.
      • When you save an .SNG file, its related audio files are stored in a separate directory. This directory is created automatically, within the same directory as the .SNG file. (It’s also created if you load a pre-existing .SNG file which doesn’t have a matching audio directory.) The directory’s name consists of the .SNG file name followed by “_A” (for “Audio”).
      • You can play back a WAVE file by importing it into a region of an audio track.
        • Important: You can only directly import WAVE files from the internal disk. To use files from CDs or external USB devices, you must first copy them to the internal disk, and then import the copied file into the Song. Note: To be imported, WAVE files must be at 44.1kHz or 48 kHz sample rate, and less than 80 minutes long.
      • sequencer supports both the internal
      • Before you record a track or pattern, or edit the musical data, you will need to turn off the memory protect setting in GLOBAL mode. NAUTILUS Song format, and Standard MIDI Files.


  • can sample external audio from the analog, or USB inputs, at 48 kHz 16-bit resolution (or 24-bit when sampling to disk), in mono or stereo. You can record samples into RAM, or sample directly to disk.
  • can also digitally resample the complete sound of a Program, Combi, or Song, played live or sequenced, including any effects and ARP-generated events.
  • can process the inputs through the IFX, MFX, and TFX, or through the synthesis functions of EXi such as the MS-20EX and MOD-7.
  • can combine any and all of these features at once.
  • Any Samples and Multisamples that you create or edit in SAMPLING mode must be saved in MEDIA mode, or they’ll go away when you turn off the power. use the Save Sample Data menu command on the Disk– Save page
    • If you want to create an archive of the current setup, including any Programs, Wave Sequences, or Drum Kits which use the sample data, we recommend that you use Save All in order to ensure that the sounds will be reproduced correctly the next time you load them
  • In pages Recording– EQ, you can use the Convert MS To Program page menu command to create a Program.
    • use banks P–T and a–t as program banks for SAMPLING mode.
  • SAMPLING mode lets you create and edit Samples and Multisamples. However, it doesn’t have access to Virtual Memory. When loaded as a User Sample Bank, the samples are more like EXs; they can access Virtual Memory, but they can’t be edited. Use SAMPLING mode to create and edit your Samples and Multisamples, or to import sounds from Akai and SoundFont 2.0 formats.
    • Programs, Wave Sequences, and Drum Kits will remember which Multisamples and Samples they use, regardless of whether the data is loaded into SAMPLING mode or as a User Sample Bank.

KSC files


  • NAUTILUS keeps track of User Sample Banks by a special ID saved in the KSC file. This lets the system find and recognize the User Sample Bank if you change the name or location on the drive, and even if it’s used on another NAUTILUS altogether.
    • An ID is initially assigned when the samples are created in SAMPLING mode. This ID stays with the data as long as you load and save using KSCs—even if you save to a different location, or with a different name. It also stays with the data regardless of whether it’s loaded as a User Sample Bank, or loaded into SAMPLING mode for editing.
    • It will not be preserved, however, if you load or save individual Samples or Multisamples.
    • If there are multiple files on internal disks with the same ID, the one with the most recent modification date one will be used. KSCs on USB storage devices are ignored for this purpose.
    • When you look at the bank name in Programs, Drum Kits, and Wave Sequences, you’ll see the full file path of the associated KSC file.

saving a KSC

  • Saving a KSC file which includes Sampling Mode Data automatically creates a User Sample Bank - it thus creates 2 files:
    • A KSC with the name you’ve specified, which includes the actual Samples and Multisamples from SAMPLING mode.
    • A second KSC which includes links to the first KSC’s Sampling Mode Data, with Load Method for EXs and User Sample Banks set to Virtual Memory. The name for this KSC is the name you’ve specified followed by the text “_UserBank.” For instance, if the first KSC is named BillGig.KSC, the second will be BillGig_UserBank.KSC. This is the file that you’ll load to access the sample data as a User Sample Bank.

To create a stripped-down version of a KSC:

  • Save any data you’ve created in SAMPLING mode. (The next step will erase all Sampling Mode Data.)
  • Load UserBank.KSC version of the KSC, using the Clear All option.
  • On the Global Sample Management page, set the Bank to the original (not the UserBank version) KSC, and delete any unwanted Multisamples or Drumsamples.
  • Save a new KSC with a different name (not a UserBank name though), with Include set to “Links to EXs and User Sample Banks.” (this will link the new KSC to the sample data in the old KSC)

To create a “best of” KSC with only your favorite samples from three KSCs

  • Save any data you’ve created in SAMPLING mode. (The next step will erase all Sampling Mode Data.)
  • in MEDIA mode, browse into the first UserBank.KSC file.
  • Select one or more Multisamples (Multiple Select lets you choose two or more at once).
  • Load the Multisamples using the Clear All option.
  • Load additional Multisamples or Drumsamples from other UserBank.KSC files, using the Append Option.
  • Save as above

Creating a subset of PRELOAD.KSC

  • see page 181 of manual

Auto-loading KSC files

  • Global KSC Auto-Load page lets you keep a list of your favorite KSC files, and select which ones from the list are loaded automatically at startup.
  • KSC Auto-Load settings are saved automatically, and are not part of the Global PCG file.
  • Press the Do Auto-load Now button to re-initialise the system without powering off

File management and backing up SSD data

Backing up the SSD drive to PC via FTP on ethernet

  • can use a USB Ethernet adapter to rapidly and easily transfer files to and from your computer, by means of the FTP server functionality built into the NAUTILUS. This feature makes it simple to back up and transfer sample data from the NAUTILUS, restructure your programs and other data, rename various files and directories and so on.
  • Connect a compatible USB ethernet adapter.
  • Connect an ethernet cable from the adapter to your local network.
    • For connection to a wireless network, you’ll need to use a wireless-to-ethernet bridge.
  • Go to the GLOBAL > Basic Setup– Network page.
  • Set the User Name and Password as desired.
  • Note the IP address shown in the TCP/IP section
  • On your computer, install FTP client software and connect to the above IP address with name and password
  • After connecting, you should be able to see the internal disk(s) of your NAUTILUS. You can then use your FTP client software to transfer files between the NAUTILUS and your computer

Backing up the SSD drive to a USB hard drive via USB2.0

  • insert a formatted FAT32 USB drive up to 2Tb size
  • go to MEDIA mode
  • press the SAVE tab to go to the Save page
  • Press Drive Select to select the save-destination drive.
  • If the USB drive contains directories, select the directory in which you want to save the data.
  • Select the Save All command from the page menu.
    • Save All will save the sounds, songs, and sample data, and ARP at the same time.
  • Press the file name cell and enter a name for the files.
    • All of the files created by Save All will share this name, but with different file extensions.
  • Press the OK button to execute the Save operation.
  • See p210 of manual for more details

Using Arp Scenes

  • essentially, if you want to have up to 4 different sounds “timbres” in a combi for a song, each of these can be assigned a different Midi channel eg. 2,3,4,5 (not 1 as that is the global channel which always plays)
    • you then go into the Arp settings and for each Arp scene you:
      • turn off the Arp 1 and 2
      • go to MORE and change MIDI settings for ARP A - channel to the channel chosen above, turn off the Timbre Zone bypass and turn on Thru By Arp Switch Off

Using Arp

  • Latch On means arp will continue playing even when hands are off the keyboard
  • Latch Off means arp/drums stop when hands no longer on keyboard

Creating combinations

  • choosing a program directly as one of the timbres does NOT bring the effects with it so it may sound very different to the program sound - to bring the effects, use the menu and choose “Copy From Program” and then you can select which effects to import - noting these may also over-ride existing Combi effect settings and may apply to other timbres in the Combi.
    • use one combi for variety of solo instruments with IFX effects added individually for each but then use them in split and layers including option for a timbre to only play at a harder velocity, disable sustain or expression pedals and assign the switch button to choose a pair of timbres only.
music/korgnautilus.txt · Last modified: 2022/05/27 14:28 by gary1

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