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dcstep
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Korg MR1000 used to archive vinyl

I just received my Korg MR1000 "1-bit Professional Recorder". It's a very compact unit with a full complement of inputs and outputs, battery power (4 hr claimed life, yet to be confirmed), AC converter and gig bag. It's $1200-street from numerous sources. I bought mine from Music123, but most of the sellers offering recording devices have it at the same price. The case is aluminum and attractively finished.

A few weeks ago I purchased a Pro-ject RM10 with a Sumiko Blackbird cartridge. I've been mightily impressed with that setup. I've purchased a couple of dozen new pressings and continue to pull oldies out of my modest collection (about 800 albums) going back to the late 1950s.

At first I wanted to record my vinyl treasures so that I could also enjoy them at the office and on the iPhone as I travel. I was looking for the best quality I could find for the iPhone when I ran across an announcement by Ric Schultz www.tweakaudio.com that he'd be offering 1-bit 5.6 MHz recordings for playback on the Korg.

Before I knew it, I'd spent about an hour on the phone with Ric and then ordering a Korg for myself. Reading more about 1-bit recording, it seemed like the ultimate archival format. With headroom at 130dB and unfiltered frequency response up to 50,000 and beyond, if desired, it seemed like a recordist dream. As a founder of the Rocky Mountain Trumpet Fest, I get lots of opportunities to record trumpet ensembles and brass ensembles at this annual event and I already own several decent condenser mics, so this promised easy, two-channel, on-location recording was a giant plus to me.

I've been really busy since the Korg arrived Monday evening and won't really get time to work seriously with it until Thanksgiving weekend; however, I did take time to record four tracks off the Pro-ject. I bypassed the line stage pre-amp and went direct from my Pro-ject Tube Box phono preamp to the Korg, using Kimber interconnects and Radio Shack RCA/TRS gold plated adapters into the Korg's line inputs.

I set the recording levels so that they played back at about the same level as the RM10 played thru my system. This resulted in the Record level being at about 12-o'clock and left a good 20+dB of headroom above the peak levels of the music. (In the future, I'll get closer to the peak limits to achieve the very best s/n level possible, but I wanted to see how good performance would be at a "set and forget" type recording level).

OMG, the recordings were ASTOUNDING. First up was Eden Atwood singing "Blame It on My Youth" on her "The Ballad Sessions" on Groove Note 45rpm/180gram vinyl. When I played this one back for my buddies at Soundings, one asked "is that vinyl" because the disc is so quiet. Eden comes in a capella and is joined by bass after a chorus. Then flugelist, Tom Harrell, joins for a few choruses, stretching the limits of how soft flugelhorn can be played. It's a great cut where you hear every nuance of Eden's rich voice, together with the body and strings of the double bass. Harrell's sound on this cut is as much about air as flugel, with a very puffy attack and ppp levels. Amazing. I could detect no digital imprint.

Next up was Janos Starker. This great recording of the Bach Cello Suites on 180gram is a "must have" if you're at all interested in this music. This, IMHO, is the ultimate performance, extremely well recorded. You hear the music, of course, but you also hear bow noise, breathing, harmonics as the bow is lifted off the streams AND a mechanical rumble from the recording venue. It all comes through gloriously on the Korg.

Next was my old D2D Crystal Clear recording of organ and brass from Atlanta in the 1970s. Murray on a HUGE organ, playing the Bach Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. I played it at Soundings through their Vienna Acoustic Mahler

Elk
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Re: Korg MR1000 used to archive vinyl

Dave,

This is fun! Not only have I archived analog using my Tascam DV-RA1000 as you describe, I am a trumpet player and regularly record brass ensembles of various sizes. These are not easy groups to record.

For analog needle-drops I have found that I need to use the level input control of the Tascam to decrease the signal from my phone preamp about 6dB for some pop recordings or I overload the input. This surprised me. I generally do not have any issue with this and leave the input level control out of the circuit.

Aren't the resulting CD's great?!

Please share how you record a brass ensemble, especially a brass quintet. I have found this quite hard to do well.

My preferred method so far is to have the group sit in as straight of a line as possible, with the French horn on the far left and with the bell angled forward a bit, hopefully with something next to hit to bounce off of as well. This helps with horn balance. One trumpet next to the horn, then tuba in the middle, trombone and the other trumpet.

I set the mics out from the group about eight feet and about 12' high. I am experimenting with fine tuning mic type and patterns. I last used two ribbon mics (Beyer M160's) in a coincident 90 degree X-Y pair; good burnished detailed sound with precise imaging which fills about 2/3 between the speakers. (Of course opening the angle up between the mics would widen the stereo spread, but would provide less of an ensemble sound).

Two large diaphragm condensers in the same position work well also (Shure KSM44's), but provide a brighter sound - a bit too bright and too present. Both sound very real - eerily so - but do not really capture the experience of hearing a quintet as an audience member. I know this sounds like a contradiction - but it is hard to get mics to hear as ears do, at least for me.

No matter what I try I tend to be at least a bit dissatisfied with the balance, no matter what the group does there are times that certain instruments leap out. Getting a good ensemble blend is also difficult. If I back the mics off I get more of an ensemble sense but the immediacy of the recording suffers a great deal. <sigh>

I am surprised that the Korg generates a noise. The Tascam is dead silent. My Masterlink was also very quiet.

CECE
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Re: Korg MR1000 used to archive vinyl
CECE
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Re: Korg MR1000 used to archive vinyl

http://www.korg.com/mr/Future_Proof_Recording_Explained.pdf
Analog is dead, anyone who thinks it "sounds" better or does anything better is fooling themselves, analog is a cumbersome, dead entity. Digital just keeps getting bettr and better. If you have 30IPS open reel tape machines at home, then you hear teh original sound. Otherwise listening to a record is like trying to fit 10 pounds of stuff in a 5 pound package. LP is limited, highly distorted, and it wears out everytime ya use it. DSD baby!!!

Buddha
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Re: Korg MR1000 used to archive vinyl

DUP, if you hate analog, please stay off the analog forum.

You're making me long for August, 2007.

CECE
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Re: Korg MR1000 used to archive vinyl

I love analog, especially teh ORIGINAL tapes, put onto DSD, for consumer listening, to hear what they really did in teh studio, it mattters. Without DSD, your ANALOG will never be heard real. There is no analog, without DIGITAL. Unless you have 30 IPS tape machines at home? Do you?Can you still find 2" tapes? DSD, bringing it all to the common man. I love analog, just not using it to reproduce it at home, cus it don't work.

CECE
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Re: Korg MR1000 used to archive vinyl

If Stereophile wants to really push HI FI HIGH END, they would get off the obsolete home analog, and push DSD SACD and any other Digital format that brings hi end, home. A $100K TT, is not doing it, nor is it based in reality. Neither are $4K cartridges, that are much hyped too. If I truly "hated" analog, why do I have a few thousand LP's, and soemtimes play em on teh TT? But when I do use em, it further proves to me, it's obsolete, dead, cumbersome, dopey idea in teh 21st century. Probably teh best thing for analog hounds is to put them onto a DSD like teh Korg, which is what this post is about, it's right.

dcstep
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Re: Korg MR1000 used to archive vinyl

Elk, I try to record brass almost exactly the same as you; however, I prefer a semi-circle setup (with a trumpet on each end, the horn to the left, tuba in the middle and bone to the right) and lower the mics to around 8 to 10". Unfortunately, if someone really moves their bell, then they may pop out and get spotlighted.

Perhaps we should talk to everyone about keeping their bell in the same plain. I've never done that. It always sounds good in the sound check and most of the recording, but then someone pops out.

On the Harry James D2D recording, they must all be pointing at the mics. It's a very direct sound. The lead trumpet almost knocks me off my chair. I've done this with a large trumpet ensemble and it works well, but doing it with a brass quintet would be problematic.

Dave

dcstep
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Re: Korg MR1000 used to archive vinyl

I'm with DUP in being excited about DSD digital. I can't detect any negative digital artifacts in the sound, and it's so easy to use. I'm using it to make my vinyl easier to use, by putting hi quality (not the highest) files into my car and office music systems. Archiving at the highest level is also a benefit, but not my main reason for buying the Korg.

IF I could buy all the content I'm now buying in vinyl as 1-bit 5.6 mHz digital, I'd do that and never buy another vinyl disc. However, I think that possibility is still a few years away. Until then, I'll keep buying vinyl, recording it in 1-bit and putting it out on my various systems at lower quality digital files. I think that's similar to where DUP is coming from.

Best regards,

Dave

Elk
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Re: Korg MR1000 used to archive vinyl

I'll try your method again, as it has been a while since I have recorded a quintet in the standard performance configuration.

In addition to the popping out problem, I have had problem with balance where the trumpets were way too loud in this configuration. However, the off axis sound blends well with the horn and lays in nicely. I happen to be recording tonight so I am glad to have the nudge to try something different.

Speaking of large trumpet ensembles, a local orchestra just performed Aram Khachaturian

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