MR-2: Palm-sized High Fidelity Recording
By Dr. Fidelity
Get the highest fidelity recording available today, right in the palm of your hand. Sound too good to be true? Why? As video fidelity improves exponentially, the form factor continues to shrink. The new Korg MR-2 provides the same benefits to the audio enthusiast or recording professional; impeccable fidelity in a hand-held unit that is completely self-contained.
The category of hand-held recorders has exploded over the last few years – the ability to record your gigs, practice sessions, and other live events is a dream come true. Many musicians realize that every gig, every session, every show is a special and unique event, and things happen “in the moment” that may not ever be repeated, certainly not when the red light comes on and you know you are recording. So the ability to basically carry a professional quality studio in your pocket is a wonderful thing. But what has been missing is knowing that the quality of your recordings is the best possible – ready for whatever use may come down the line. That’s where the unique benefit the MR-2 offers comes to play; what we call “Future Proof Recording.”
Without getting too technical, the DSD format that all Korg MR recorders use is a super-high sample rate that captures every nuance and detail of a performance, with a depth of field and realism that is simply stunning. Using such a high sample rate (2.8 million times per second!) allows DSD to use less bits per sample period: actually it only needs one bit to define whether the signal is moved up, down, or stayed constant. For more reading on the technology of DSD recording click here, and here.
This 1-bit technology has confused consumers used to the “more is better” school of thought. And with a sample rate that is over four times better than a CD and 2.5 times better than DVD audio you’re getting resolution that far surpasses your likely delivery medium. Certainly today’s mediums. And that’s the beauty of DSD recording – capture all those once in a lifetime occurrences knowing you are ready for today’s uses, and still have audio “headroom” for what will likely come in the future. As they say, you can “spill down” but you can’t “spill up”!
OK, so the technology sounds great, but let’s talk about what the MR-2 itself offers. Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, the battery-powered MR-2 records to convenient SD/SDHC cards, which can store over 11 hours of DSD recording on the largest card supported (32 GB). Onboard stereo condenser mics can rotate a total of 210 degrees toward the front, top, or rear of the unit in eight 30 degree steps, for optimal mic placement. An analog limiter, low cut filter and bass EQ controls help you capture the perfect signal, even when used outdoors and in noisy environments. You can even call up any of 40 Recording Setups that have pre-adjusted input levels and settings to help you get optimized in a hurry. And with 10 User locations you can save your favorite settings as well. And it wouldn’t be a Korg if it didn’t have a high-quality tuner onboard – we’re the leader in tuner technology, after all!
The essential link in bringing your superb DSD recordings into your projects for today is Korg’s acclaimed AudioGate conversion software. This free utility comes with every MR recorder and enables a wealth of audio editing and file conversion possibilities. Read more about it here.
Let’s end with some food for thought. Today we are faced with increasing resolution and storage capabilities for everything from cameras, movies/TV to our computers. Yet the delivery of our beloved musical creations and performances is being unjustly hampered by formats that have fallen behind the times. Back in the days of the vinyl record, song and album side length was limited by the size of the physical record, and trying to squeeze more music per side compressed the space between the grooves, resulting in poorer sound quality. And it was hard for a Mastering Engineer to get enough bass out of the record without the needle jumping.
Along comes the CD, and a chance to escape those limitations, and remove issues like surface noise, pops, and clicks. But the sample rate and bit-depth was chosen to again fit a certain amount of music onto a fixed physical medium. Fast forward to the early days of the Internet and we were dealing with dial-up modems, relatively small hard drives, and overall limited bandwidth. So along comes the MP3 to the rescue and music was able to be delivered and shared online. But the quality suffered.
Now fast forward to today and all the limitations have gone away. Fast transmission speeds? Got ‘em. Fat pipelines for sending data across? Check. Cheap and plentiful storage capabilities? No problem. So why not deliver your music in the best possible resolution? Don’t you want your friends, fans and customers to experience the full resolution experience you had when recording or performing in the first place? Think about it – every visual medium is benefitting from unheard of leaps forward in resolution, yet we still compromise our music delivery. Korg is doing our part to combat this, by offering improved audio fidelity at never before prices and form factors. And we’re not alone in this evangelism – top producers, engineers, and artists are embracing higher resolution audio in various formats and mediums. Do your part, by considering to upgrade your recording and delivery medium – even if it just means offering lossless compression formats on your website, to redoing the gear you use, your music will sound better. Why ever make a choice to compromise your music, when you don’t have to? Happy creating!