How to Make Music with your Nintendo Switch: It Really Works!


The Nintendo Switch is one of the most innovative gaming consoles released by one of the most well-known names in the gaming industry. It features a console that you can use with your TV that can also turn into a handheld console you can take anywhere. It might be primarily designed for gaming, but you can now use it to make music. Imagine a DAW you can use with a big screen as well as a mobile recording device when you are on the go.

To create awesome tracks using your Nintendo Switch, you will need to purchase the KORG Gadget app. This app costs $50, and it comes with about 16 different gadgets, and hundreds of different presets you can use to your recording advantage. You can connect the Switch to your TV screen so you can view and edit your song with ease or you record on the go in handheld mode. To discover more about how to record a full song with your Switch, keep on reading!

NINTENDO SWITCH

The Switch is Nintendo’s latest console release since the Nintendo Wii. It is a revolutionary and innovative console that combines the handheld technology with the conventional home console system. It is like your old Game Boy, and SNES combined into one all-around gaming system. Recording is something you can already do on your phone, which is not new information to us as consumers, but being able to produce music with a gaming console is exciting news that is worth talking about. 

I consider myself as a casual gamer who owned most consoles since I was a kid. And aside from that, I am also a music producer with a home music studio. As a gamer and a musician alike, being able to play video games and produce music on one device is a cool feature that makes people like me excited. Aside from that, you can do all of these ON THE GO. Although there are not enough apps and VSTs on the Switch at this time, the future is bright for game console music-making. I know it is not a thing right now, but it would be cool if it ever does become one.

When you were a kid playing video games, the first memories of music and sounds were the game sounds from Super Mario Bros. and all the other classics. Making music with the KORG GADGET 2 on the Nintendo Switch makes a lot of sense since the GADGET 2 has the Kingston Gadget that produces all the 8bit sounds from your childhood video game days.

SPECS

Since we are talking about music production and not video games, I think I will only mention the specifications of the Nintendo Switch that has something to do with music-making. Here are some of the specs of the Nintendo Switch that are worth mentioning:

  • Storage- The Nintendo Switch starts with 32GB of storage, which I would say is enough for music production only. It won’t be enough if you will store games, photos, and videos. Good thing that you can export projects from the Switch to your laptop or computer at a 400MB/s transfer rate.
  • USB Ports- The two USB ports cannot be used to connect MIDI controllers to your NINTENDO SWITCH right now. Maybe in the future, the developers will decide to add this feature due to public demand. Aside from the touchscreen technology, connecting a MIDI controller can be more convenient when recording instruments using the KORG Gadget for Switch. The fast transfer speed is also a waste if you cannot even export songs.
  • 4GB RAM- For a compact device, a 4GB RAM is substantial enough to support music production apps such as the KORG Gadget 2. For producing music on a computer, 4GB of RAM is suitable, but I would choose an 8GB RAM just to be sure.
  • DISPLAY- The 6.2-inch LCD is large enough to edit and mix the music comfortably. It also features a 10-point multi-touch display that will add extensive uses for the built-in instruments on KORG Gadget for Switch.
  • Hybrid Console- Since you can connect the Switch to a bigger screen, you can produce music more relaxed and more comfortable. I personally like to create music with multiple monitors. However, one large screen is as good as having two screens. When using your TV to create with the Nintendo Switch, there is an option to split the screen into 4, so that you can create a fast workflow.
  • JOYCON- Perform instruments and create music on the big screen using the JOYCON. (Nintendo Switch’s Joystick controller with motion sensors so you can edit your music onscreen)

KORG GADGET

KORG Gadget for Switch is, basically, a slimmed-down version of the KORG Gadget for the MAC and iOS. It may have some added features in terms of controls, but there are a lot of limitations that will make you see that KORG Gadget for Switch is more of a game than an actual music-making app. With that being said, it does not mean that it is not worth the fun. This version of Gadget pretty much has all the same 16 gadgets that come with the purchase. You can also purchase 13 more devices to extend your selection of fresh sounds, effects, and instruments to create a song. KORG Gadget for Switch costs $48 compared to the $200 on the MAC and the $20 on the iOS. The Switch version will also have Switch exclusive gadgets that are not in the iOS and MAC versions. Here is a table of gadgets and their descriptions:

GADGETS

GADGET DESCRIPTION
LONDON HYPERSONIC PCM DRUM MODULE The London is a drum module gadget that is designed specifically for Electronic and Dance Music. This Gadget contains over 400 drum samples in different styles, including EDM, Dubstep, and many more.
MARSEILLE POLYPHONIC PCM SYNTHESIZER The Marseille offers an extensive selection of standard keyboard sounds such as brass, strings, and synthesizer sounds. What I like most about this Gadget is the Electric Piano with a chill vibe.
BERLIN MONOPHONIC SYNCHRONIZED SYNTH This Gadget is a monophonic gadget that is designed and optimized for lead sounds. It can generate complex overtones using its sync oscillators.
CHICAGO TUBE BASS MACHINE The Chicago has tons of presets producing acid bass sounds. It produces intense synth bass. It also has a built-in arpeggiator giving excellent rhythm patterns.
PHOENIX POLYPHONIC ANALOG SYNTH The Phoenix synthesizer offers a variety of classic sounding presets. It emulates the vintage analog synth sound with the use of chords, pads, and more.
MIAMI MONOPHONI WOBBLE SYNTHESIZER   The Miami is an exciting synth bass machine. It features presets that have crush and wobble noises that you would often hear in Dubstep music. The Modulation effects work really great with this Gadget.
WOLFSBURG HYBRID POLYPHONIC SYNTHESIZER This Gadget features a variety of distinctive analog synthesizer sounds and waveforms perfect for making dance anthem tracks. It provides two effect units you can use to add reverb, chop, and many more types of modulation.
BRUSSELS MONOPHONIC ANTHEM SYNTHESIZER If you want to get thick unison tones with oscillating overtones that you would typically hear in  EDM drops, Brussels is the Gadget for you. You can either create sounds or use one of the incredible presets.
TOKYO ANALOG PERCUSSION SYNTHESIZER Tokyo is another drum gadget. It has a collection of four different analog drum sounds in one single Gadget. Each of these modules will have a set of different parameters you can adjust to your liking.
DUBLIN MONOPHONIC SEMI-MODULAR SYNTH Reminiscent of a classic MOOG modular synth, the Dublin shares both the looks and the sounds. This Gadget has fantastic deep bass sounds for techno and house music. You can enjoy a wide variety of deeply synthesized tones.
AMSTERDAM PCM SFX BOOMBOX The Amsterdam gadget has over 100 different sound effects to choose from. You can use this Gadget to add a little flavor to your track’s transitions. It includes one-shot samples, synths, and even DJ scratches.
KIEV ADVANCED SPATIAL DIGITAL SYNTHESIZER What I like most about this Gadget is the X/Y pad that opens a lot of possibilities in terms of modulation and creativity. It features a lot of futuristic warp sounds you can control with the touch of the finger.
CHIANG MAI VARIABLE PHASE MODULATION SYNTHESIZER VPM or variable phased modulation is featured in the Chiang Mai gadget. This Gadget specializes in sparkly, metallic, and bell sounds that are suitable for your Chillwave tracks.
HELSINKI POLYPHONIC AMBIENT SYNTHESIZER If you want low key ambient synthesis in your tracks, the Helsinki is the Gadget you need. It is perfect for creating an ambient background chord that can enhance your tracks and songs.
KINGSTON POLYPHONIC CHIP SYNTHESIZER One of the most exciting gadgets included in the KORG Gadget app is the Kingston. It features the classic chiptune or 8bit sounds you hear in the classic Nintendo games such as Legend of Zelda, Super Mario, and many more. It also features cool 8bit sound effects.
KAMATA WAVE TABLE SYNTHESIZER Another exciting video game sounding Gadget is the Kamata. It emulates the sound of 80’s video game sounds. This Gadget is based on the NAMCO CUSTOM30 sound generator that was used by Bandai and Namco studios to create the sounds for PAC-MAN. It is a combination of old school sounds and a more modern way of generating them. This Gadget is a Nintendo Switch exclusive.

ADD-ON GADGETS

You can also purchase some addon gadgets if the initial ones are not enough. Each Gadget will cost about $10. It can be a little pricey, but If you really want to explore the different sounds that the KORG Gadget has to offer, I’m sure it is worth every penny.

FEATURES on the SWITCH VERSION

  • Intuitive User Interface

The KORG Gadget for Nintendo Switch features a new and intuitive user interface. You can multitask with the split-screen mode. The new layout will let you phrase, sequence, and mix your track easily.

  • JOYCON Integration

One of the features in KORG Gadget that is Switch exclusive is the integration of the JOYCON to operate and perform. The sensors allow the user to do certain functions such as turning knobs and playing notes by your movement.

  • Multiplayer or Collaboration Mode

One of the unique features is the multiplayer or collaboration mode in which four people can collaborate and create a song simultaneously on a screen divided into four parts. This feature is what puts the game into the gaming console.

  • Create Anywhere

You can create music using the Nintendo Switch, whether it is docked, on table mode, or mobile mode. Whichever method you choose, creating music with a gaming console can be really exciting.

PROS

  • You can use your TV and multiple controllers to create a song
  • You can create melodies with friends with the split 4-screen mode
  • The JOYCON has a unique way of adjusting levels on the TV screen
  • Larger screen via HDMI output
  • Additional game mode features that are not on the iOS platform

CONS

  • Cannot export songs
  • Cannot connect MIDI controllers
  • The touchscreen is very limited
  • More of a game than a real DAW (what would you expect on a gaming console)
  • A limited number of tracks, gadgets, songs, and scenes (compared to the iOS and MAC versions)

RELATED QUESTIONS:

  • Are there any other music production apps you can use with your Nintendo Switch?

As of now, there are no other apps for music-making on the Nintendo Switch platform. Because KORG Gadget on the Switch did not precisely blow people’s minds that much, I do not think we will see another app for music production on the Switch anytime soon.

  • Is recording on your Nintendo Switch worth it? Or is it just another feature?

The value of the game is subjective. If you are a gamer and a musician or music producer, KORG Gadget on the Nintendo switch can be worth it. However, keep in mind that you cannot really record and export an entire song on this platform. You can, however, have fun, and that is for sure.

  • Can you record vocals using the Nintendo Switch?

As of now, recording vocals is not possible using the Nintendo Switch. You cannot connect an audio interface to record audio. The KORG Gadget does not support Audio Recording tracks on Switch or any other platform. You can only record purely from the gadgets on the app. In the MAC version of Gadget, you can use these fantastic gadgets as a VST to record on your primary DAW.

CONCLUSION

Because of the limitations of the Nintendo Switch platform, the features of KORG Gadget are limited. Unlike in the MAC and iOS versions, you can connect MIDI and use the touchscreen to edit the piano roll quickly. Although you can do a lot of functions using the JOYCON, the touchscreen is very limited. Being unable to export songs can be another deal-breaker. The KORG Gadget for Switch is more of a game rather than a real music production app; This statement is what people should understand. And apparently, KORG Gadget should have included this information on their page. Anyways, it is all a matter of preference, though you cannot be a professional producer using KORG Gadget on the Nintendo Switch, it is always nice to have a little bit of fun with friends.

THE VERDICT

The Nintendo Switch has a lot of limitations when it comes to music production, but we have to understand that the Switch is a gaming console. I would not suggest that you buy a Switch solely for music-making. It just fun to have a piece of music software for you and your friends to have fun with on the big screen. If you have a band, you can also take advantage of this technology, where you can split the screen into four, and independently work on the part of the song. The only downside to this feature is, you won’t be able to isolate the audio into four outputs.

Furthermore, the KORG Gadget for the Nintendo Switch is a fun music-making game. With the emphasis on the word GAME. After reviewing what it has to offer, KORG Gadget is so much better on the iOS platform, as there are not too many limitations in creating a song. 

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