Korg Triton (keyboard workstation)

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This is Korg's popular keyboard workstation. It's a synthesizer, sequencer, and sampler all in one.

User Comments

Please contact me if you have tips or comments you would like me to post on here.

Tripecac (Travis Emmitt)

I purchased the 61 key "Triton Classic" on 2000-05-27 for $2220. I'm currently using OS version 2.5.3.


In May 2000 I bought a Triton as a "modern" replacement for my Yamaha SY55. My hope was to use the Triton's built-in sequencer (as I did with the SY55), and not have to be around computers when I was making music. Unfortunately, after I brought it home, I found out that the Triton's sequencer memory doesn't get saved internally; it needs to be saved to floppy or external SCSI disk. This was confusing and aggravating at first, because this meant that, despite being 10 years newer, the Triton was actually less convenient to use than the SY55.

Long story short... I ended up abandoning the Triton's sequencer and any hopes of making music without computers. It took me almost two years and lots of hours of research and testing, but eventually I settled on Cakewalk/Sonar. I now sequence my songs in Sonar, but use the Triton as my "master keyboard" (MIDI controller, sounds, and effects). I also plug my mic into it, so it acts as a mic pre-amp and effects processor too.


  • First of all, make sure your cables are connected. I spent an hour trying to get MIDI-IN to work before I realized I had unplugged my MIDI cables previously and forgot to plug them back in...
  • Once I plugged the cables in (and unplugged my Joystick from my Sound Blaster Live), MIDI-IN worked instantaneously. I didn't have to change any settings on the Triton. I just put the keyboard in "SEQ" mode [I believe] and listened while Sonar and my SY55 controlled the Triton.


Here I had problems:

My Triton could receive MIDI from both Sonar and my second keyboard, but I couldn't figure out how to get the Triton to send MIDI anywhere.
To get MIDI-OUT to work, I switched to "Prog" mode, and used a General MIDI voice. I had been using the non-GM A095 (Vibraphone) before; once I switched to G012 (Vibraphone), I was able to send MIDI to Sonar and to my SY55.
What about non-General MIDI sounds? Can I EVER use them with Sonar?
Download some Triton instrument definitions. I prefer my EasyTriton.ins, which are sorted by category.
Playback timing is erratic. Is this because I am multi-tasking, or could the MIDI cables be dirty?
I ended up getting a music-dedicated PC, which helped stabilize playback. As of 2005, Sonar still doesn't have completely "gapless" audio, and I still get occasional glitches when I try to edit MIDI and playback at the same time, so don't expect perfection. I don't think this is the Triton's fault, though.


Can't hear what you're trying to sample?
Go to Sampling -> Input/Setup. Change the bus(ifx) to L/R

Tips for using Triton with Sonar:

Instrument Definitions

I quickly got frustrated with the default Triton.ins that I got from Korg or TritonHaven. The Triton's patches are not organized by category within the banks. It's very difficult to find, say, a bass patch, just by looking at the patch and bank numbers. I therefore created my own instrument definition file, which sorts the patches by category.

You can download it here: EasyTriton.zip.

Note: I've included 2 versions: one uses category numbers and the other uses abbreviations (e.g., "ke" for keyboards).

Converting Triton .SNG files into Sonar projects

I created lots of songs using the Triton's sequencer that I later wanted to finish using Sonar. Here's the steps I took to finish each Triton-started song on Baby Steps and Baby Talk (and some tracks on other albums):

  1. Triton: load the .SNG file from floppy
  2. Triton: export MIDI data to a .mid file on a floppy
  3. Triton: save the current state to one of the Triton's 16 "template songs"
  4. Sonar: create a new project
  5. Sonar: import the .mid file from a floppy
  6. Triton: load appropriate the "template song" from memory
  7. Sonar: send a Sysx dump request to the Triton, saved the results
  8. Sonar: set the Sonar project to auto-send the Sysx to the Triton upon loading
  9. Sonar: edit, extend, mix, and record the song
Effects: Triton vs. Sonar

Even though Sonar comes with lots of audio effects, I prefer using the Triton's effects, for the following reasons:

  1. Triton effects require no CPU or RAM. This decreases the likelihood of pops and clicks.
  2. Triton effects are bug-free. Software effects sometimes crash Sonar.
  3. Triton effects don't change over time. Projects which use them today will sound the same 5 years from now.
  4. Triton effects aren't collectable. Since you're stuck with the factory effects, you won't waste any time researching, purchasing, and learning new effects.
  5. Triton effects are familiar to all Triton owners, so it's easy to get help and advice.
  6. Triton effects support 16 MIDI tracks. Since the Triton only has 4 (mono) audio outputs, you wouldn't be able to have this much control via software plugins unless you freeze your MIDI tracks to audio first, which eats up time, CPU, and disk space.
  7. Inertia. I learned the Triton effects first.
Sysx dumps (a/k/a SysEx dumps)

The Triton's effects can't be manipulated within Sonar. This means we need to use the Triton's touchscreen and knobs. Once we're done tweaking the Triton's effects, we need a way to save them. Sure, we could save them as a .SNG file to a floppy or SCSI disk, but it's more convenient to store them as Sysx data within a Sonar project. This way, the project will always "remember" the state of the Triton effects.

To do Sysx dumps, you first need to tell Sonar how to request a Sysx dump from the Triton. This is a one-time thing, and is pretty easy:

  1. close Sonar if it's open
  2. find cakewalk.ini (for me it's in C:/Program Files/Cakewalk/Sonar 4 Studio Edition/)
  3. open cakewalk.ini in an editor
  4. find the [Dump Request Macros] section
  5. add this line to that section:
    01 Triton Sequencer Dump=F0 42 30 50 18 00 F7
  6. save cakewalk.ini

That should be it. Note that I prefix my dump request's name with "01" to force it to the top of the list.

If you want to add more dump request macros, you can find a bunch at TritonHaven. These give me a "what channel" prompt in Sonar. To get rid of that prompt, you can replace FC 30 FD 50 with 30 50 in each dump. I hacked the TritonHaven list to create these simplified macros (which I haven't tested thoroughly):

Triton All Arpeggios=F0 42 30 50 34 00 00 00 F7
Triton All Combi=F0 42 30 50 1D 00 00 00 F7
Triton All Data=F0 42 30 50 0F 00 F7
Triton All Drumkits=F0 42 30 50 0D 00 00 F7
Triton All Programs=F0 42 30 50 1C 00 00 00 F7
Triton Combi Bank A=F0 42 30 50 1D 10 00 00 F7
Triton Combi Bank B=F0 42 30 50 1D 11 00 00 F7
Triton Combi Bank C=F0 42 30 50 1D 12 00 00 F7
Triton Combi Bank D=F0 42 30 50 1D 13 00 00 F7
Triton Global Data=F0 42 30 50 0E 00 F7
Triton Sequence Data=F0 42 30 50 18 00 F7
Triton Program Bank A=F0 42 30 50 1C 10 00 00 F7
Triton Program Bank B=F0 42 30 50 1C 11 00 00 F7
Triton Program Bank C=F0 42 30 50 1C 12 00 00 F7
Triton Program Bank D=F0 42 30 50 1C 13 00 00 F7
Triton Program Bank E=F0 42 30 50 1C 14 00 00 F7
Triton Program Bank F=F0 42 30 50 1C 15 00 00 F7

Before I tell you about how to request and save an actual Sysx dump, I need to tell you about a bug (or "undesirable feature") in the Triton. This bug requires you to perform a few semi-tedious steps in order to prepare the Triton for the dump. You need to perform these steps each time you do a Sysx dump. Since this bug might be fixed in later versions of the Triton OS, and since someone might find workarounds for it, I'll cover it in a separate section: Preparing the Triton for a Sysx dump. Read that section first, then come back here and I'll tell how to do the Sysx dump.

Okay, here are the steps we need to perform whenever we change effects on the Triton and are ready to save our Sonar project (before turning off the Triton):

  1. Triton: tweak your IFX and MFX
  2. Triton: prepare your Triton for the Sysx dump (see below)
  3. Sonar: open the Sysx View if it's not already open (I always have it open)
  4. Sonar: click on Receive Bank (red down arrow)
  5. Sonar: when it asks whether to append, click No (you want to overwrite)
  6. Sonar: select 01 Korg Triton Sequencer Dump
  7. Sonar: click OK
  8. Sonar: wait about 10 seconds; the Triton should say "Dump Sequencer Data / Now transmitting data"
  9. Sonar: click anywhere inside the Track View; you'll see "Sysx Receive... 11211 bytes received"
  10. Sonar: click Done
  11. Sonar: save your project

The Sysx data should now be saved within your actual Sonar project file. What I like to do is auto-send the Sysx data to the Triton whenever I open a project. To do this, you need to:

  1. Sonar: in the Sysx View, click on the Sysx dump (for me, it's always in bank 0
  2. Sonar: if Auto is not checked, click Auto Send Bank (up arrow next to A)
  3. Sonar: save your project

This should put a checkmark in the Auto column.

Since almost all my projects use Triton effects, I include a Sysx dump in my default Sonar template. I also set it to auto-send, so that every time I start or load a project, the Triton's effects are automatically setup for me.

Preparing the Triton for a Sysx dump

Sysx dumps are super-convenient, but there's a slight catch. For some reason, the Triton has two sets of SEQ data, which I'll call X and Y. Here's what I've noticed:

  • When you load a song or template, both the X and Y data get updated.
  • When you tweak effects on the Triton, you're changing the X data.
  • When you play the Triton, you're hearing the X data.
  • When you save a song or template, you save the X data.
  • When you dump Sysx, you dump the Y data.

As soon as you start changing settings on the Triton, the Y data gets out of date. This means you won't be dumping the current (X) settings. To force the Y data to be the same as the current (X) data, you need to save and load the current "song" data. Just follow these steps:

  1. Triton: go to the main SEQ page
  2. Triton: open the drop-down menu in the upper right
  3. Triton: I usually rename the current song, but you don't have to
  4. Triton: select Save Template Song
  5. Triton: hit OK
  6. Triton: overwrite U00 or whatever template you don't need
  7. Triton: open the drop-down menu in the upper right
  8. Triton: select Load Template Song
  9. Triton: select the template you just saved
  10. Triton: hit OK

At this point, the Y data matches the X data, so your Sysx dump will work as expected. Yes, these steps are annoying, and no, I don't know of any workarounds. However, you'll get used to it, and soon you will be enjoying the ability to save Triton effects inside Sonar projects.