Old 18th October 2006
  #1
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Exclamation Korg MR-1000 / 1bit-5.8MHz DSD portable recorder

I have been working with Korg on this new 1bit recorder that has been designed by Koji Oishi under the supervision of Dr. Yoshio Yamasaki at Waseda University in Japan.
Dr. Yoshio Yamasaki invented 1bit recording and licensed the technology to Sony (who does not give him credit for it). This new recorder will be a milestone for the recording studio, the MR-1000 will most likely retail for under $799.
The MR-1000 records at 5.6MHz (2x the rate of SACD) and comes with software (Audiogate) for Mac & PC to transfer files to your computer and convert to PCM.
At the recent AES show, a informal listening test of the prototype unit had high end mastering engineers & audiophiles floored, and i can vouch for that as i have been using it for a few months now, it sounds fantastic!

Before you say "nobody cares about SACD or 1bit", please read the explanation of why 1bit recording sounds better and is a much more accurate & future proof recording & archival technology. Once you understand what 1bit is, it will all make sense why it is a smart move forward.

Read this explanation of it:
1bit Explained

Korg Site Info:
MR-1000
Old 18th October 2006
  #2
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This reminds me of a product looking for a customer.

Tell me why I'm wrong.
Old 18th October 2006
  #3
Emi
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And what about a digital input and output with up/down sampling options in order touse the unit as a stand alone converter?....I can not see at least one I/O of SPDIF...

Cheers

PS: Like the sound of DSD though....
Old 18th October 2006
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emi View Post
And what about a digital input and output with up/down sampling options in order touse the unit as a stand alone converter?....I can not see at least one I/O of SPDIF...

Cheers

PS: Like the sound of DSD though....

I Believe it has only DSD converters so the usual PCM digital inputs will not be there, and also it is a machine for final mixdown not a stand alone converter, but i believe you can record directly to it from an analog source.
Old 18th October 2006
  #5
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Up to now, getting into 1bit recording was very expensive, i think now that the price is rational, once people hear it and realize that they can store everything in 1bit 5.6mHz and easily convert them to any PCM format very easily with the included software.
The software alone to do 1bit used to cost $2000 and up. The MR-1000 comes with software to convert & playback on your Mac or PC.

The reason that there is no digital in is, if you already have a 1bit converter with a digital out, then you probably are not going to need this unit, so it keeps the price down. The idea is to record pure 1bit, so recording PCM digitally into the unit via spdif is what we are trying to avoid, record 1bit and convert later as needed to any PCM format.

You can drag & drop files to/from the unit via USB 2.0, then use the included Audiogate software to convert you 1bit files to "i.e.-16bit/44.k. or 24bit/192k, etc, etc" and leave your masters untouched at 1bit.

Also, the Audiogate software will sync to your system (core audio, etc) and play 1bit files out of your audio hardware (Audiogate will dither the output to sync with your audiocard). This works either as a standalone or with the MR-1000 plugged in, no need to transfer files to your computer if you do not want to. This works on laptops as a standalone program as well.

Since 1bit recording eliminates the decimation encode and decode filters, it eliminates the "this converter sounds better than that converter" issue.
Typically the weak link in PCM recording is the filtering and algorithms (and available DSP) used to do it.
Actually most AD and DA starts as 1bit, but then has to be run through filters and decimation filters to store the information to conform to PCM, which is from 1981 when storage and throughput was a issue. Since storage & throughput are not as much of a problem anymore, 1bit recording make much more sense now.

Please take a moment and read the AES document that we did that explains the science of PCM & 1bit in a somewhat easy to digest paper.

Link to the article:
1bit recording explained
Old 18th October 2006
  #6
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I am somewhat surprised at the 20G drive. I didn't even know they made those anymore. The Masterlink (from 1999?) came with a 40G drive and, even at 24/48, it was considered woefully small.

I am curious to know how fast you eat up a drive at 5.6M sampling. What's the record length in stereo of that 20G drive? I assume larger drives will be optional. Is there a way to record via USB to an external drive or array without having to swap the drives? I think that would be critical if you are serious about uses for live recording gigs.

I'm not trying to be a trouble maker here, just raising issues here that others will certainly raise when the units ultimately hit the market.

Also, there is no mention of media for the MR1. Flash memory would be assumed. Is that correct? Or can it record to external media as well?

Please know that I am genuinely interested.
Old 18th October 2006
  #7
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One other thing.

Whose idea was it to call the software "Audiogate?"

The only product name that I can think of that's worse was Buzz for a high-end preamp company. Of course, Buzz has redeemed itself and earned its high quality reputation.

But Audiogate for an editing program that works with a continuous 1-bit data stream? Obviously someone who has no idea what a "gate" does to audio.
Old 18th October 2006
  #8
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maybe a dumb question but if you record @ 5.8MHz and want to 'drop down' to SACD is there a downside as opposed to recording directly to 2.8MHz? from the graphs in the paper i see even @ 5.8MHz you don't get a perfect representation of a square wave. does anyone know what it would take theoretically to get a perfect representation?
Old 19th October 2006
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Fuston View Post
One other thing.

Whose idea was it to call the software "Audiogate?"

The only product name that I can think of that's worse was Buzz for a high-end preamp company. Of course, Buzz has redeemed itself and earned its high quality reputation.

But Audiogate for an editing program that works with a continuous 1-bit data stream? Obviously someone who has no idea what a "gate" does to audio.
It was Henry J Blackman......oddly he was the former grand wizard of the KKK
Old 19th October 2006
  #10
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A 20gig drive is all part of getting a cost effective unit that can have a affordable price. Since you can drag your files to any drive as soon as they are recorded, it won't be a problem in the studio. I can assume that there will be larger drives available later.
Putting Burr-Brown & Cirrus Logic chips in it was a more important choice to make in the design vs. cost.

The focus right now is to get a high quality 1bit recorder to the masses of people who have their own studios to do recording / mixing in 1bit. If the retail price gets too high, most people won't justify the expense, even though they know its a great upgrade.

As far as the "Audiogate" software name ....... i've heard worse.....i.e. "Minnetonka-Disc Welder"

The Japanese language thought process is, Audio Gateway to convert your files.
Old 19th October 2006
  #11
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For me this sounds ideal. I don't have the money for high end convertors and have been considering the Tascam DV- RA1000 (now HD) so if this beats the tascam, I'll be very interested.
Thanks for posting the info here...
Old 19th October 2006
  #12
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not bad..this is the 3rd announcement about the product here on GS, but it is all good!

and as far as product names..

Pro-tools??how cheesy is that? sounds like something in a kmart blue light isle..



or dont get me started on roger nichols stuff..

the dynamizer uniqu-erizer, frequelizer..
Old 19th October 2006
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Fuston View Post
I am somewhat surprised at the 20G drive. I didn't even know they made those anymore. The Masterlink (from 1999?) came with a 40G drive and, even at 24/48, it was considered woefully small.

I am curious to know how fast you eat up a drive at 5.6M sampling. What's the record length in stereo of that 20G drive? I assume larger drives will be optional. Is there a way to record via USB to an external drive or array without having to swap the drives? I think that would be critical if you are serious about uses for live recording gigs.

I'm not trying to be a trouble maker here, just raising issues here that others will certainly raise when the units ultimately hit the market.

Also, there is no mention of media for the MR1. Flash memory would be assumed. Is that correct? Or can it record to external media as well?

Please know that I am genuinely interested.

At the end of the day you have a company that is trying to put into the hands of us small guys a technology that has been for the most part woefully expensive, and because of that has brought about a lot of misinformation and unfair criticisim about the technology.
i think for those who are intrested they should support it or any other machines that do the same, you won't get every feature that you want but in time if the device does well it may spawn others, whose knows a korg multitrack DSD recorder may be around the corner.
Old 19th October 2006
  #14
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Quote:
The Masterlink (from 1999?) came with a 40G drive and, even at 24/48, it was considered woefully small.
To be fair, when the Masterlink first came out the drive was much smaller...for some reason I'm thinking it was either 2.6 GB 3.2 GB. I know at one point it was bumped up to about 6 GB, then 20, and more recently 40...and even though that's relatively small by today's standards I don't know if I'd consider it "woefully small"...that's about 24 hours or stereo recording at 24/96...

Quote:
I am curious to know how fast you eat up a drive at 5.6M sampling. What's the record length in stereo of that 20G drive?
Should be about 67.2 megabytes per minute, or about five hours.

There were a couple things in the Korg paper that seemed a little odd to me...

Quote:
"surprisingly, most current 24-bit converters already use 1-bit conversion at the front end"
As I understand it, most current converters moved to a multi-bit front a few years back...

Quote:
"and these 1-bit SACD's have been commercially available since 1999 with over 4,000 titles available"
No mention the fact that most have effectively abandoned the format and that the number of titles and players available is constantly decreasing...

-Duardo
Old 19th October 2006
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duardo View Post
No mention the fact that most have effectively abandoned the format and that the number of titles and players available is constantly decreasing...
In my opinion, both SACD and DVD-A are effectively dead at this point, or breathing their last. With HD-DVD and Blu-Ray already here, any advantages they offered sonically are either moot or just passé.

But don't confuse SACD and DSD. I think that DSD, or DXD, are both viable options still for master recording and, at least to my ear, offer advantages over PCM.
Old 19th October 2006
  #16
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Looks like a very nice field recorder, the one with preamps etc. (or do they both have mic preamps?).

I don't picture too many studios buying one to mix to though.

It's a bit advanced though even for field recording, as you will still need to process things down to 44.1/24 pcm for cd use etc.

It may have a hard time finding many customers, but I could definitely see some use in field recording for those who are attracted to the "future proof" aspect of it.

?

War
Old 19th October 2006
  #17
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Lynns right SACD is dead, to bad because it sounded pretty good. Funny thought at this thing is 2 channel 6 might have breathed some life back into SACD (biggest problem was most releases were record , mixed PCM and simply remastered DSD os they all had that PCM sound).
Old 19th October 2006
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
Looks like a very nice field recorder, the one with preamps etc. (or do they both have mic preamps?).

I don't picture too many studios buying one to mix to though.

It's a bit advanced though even for field recording, as you will still need to process things down to 44.1/24 pcm for cd use etc.

It may have a hard time finding many customers, but I could definitely see some use in field recording for those who are attracted to the "future proof" aspect of it.

?

War
I like mixing down to something! My MCI JH110 is fine but I still need to make it digital at some point
I could go for some decent convertors and go into my Mac, although I just prefer 1 box for 1 use, so surely this is a great box for me. I have been thinking of the Tascam (which now has a HD) but if this sounds as good, surely it's going to find other people like me?
Old 19th October 2006
  #19
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It's barely on the radar, but it will be interesting to evaluate it.
Low price usually means crappy analog section, so I'm skeptical.
I calculate 2.5 hrs. running time with a 20GB drive.

It is a way to get a cheap DSD mix to take to a real DSD house for editing and making SACD master.

SACD is, however, pretty much a corpse lying in repose.

Product might be 5 years too late.
Old 19th October 2006
  #20
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Not wanting to get into a "is SACD dead " discussion i am still surprised when people say stuff and it may not entirely be true , a lot of audiophile companies are either crazy to have invested so much time and money in DSD/SACD or they know something we don't, just because the major labels may not have picked up SACD and the lesser Audiophile labels has does not mean it's dead or dying, it may end up being a niche product.
October this year SACD tiles reached 4000 (i think it was a chesky product ) it may not seem significant but when you think that last year around this same time the number was 3000 . It took a number of years for it to reach 3000 and in the space of 1 year it rose to 4000, i don't know if it means that things are starting to pick up or it may mean nothing at all.
China has taken an interest in DSD/SACD and you know that China has a huge market, will it be enough to save SACD i don't know, but the fact that Channel classics of the netherlands is doing work there and Pyramix has sold a couple of DSD work stations may mean it has potential.
Even if SACD dies i believe that there is sufficient interest in DSD to make it progress, DSD seems to make better red book CD's.
Old 19th October 2006
  #21
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has anyone heard one? price?
Old 20th October 2006
  #22
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SACD is basically 4.7gig of storage, but the advantage of having a CD and SACD layer.
My guess is that it failed due to the cost of making one (for a producer/artist/studio).
If you come out with a product that forgets to include the people who actually MAKE THE RECORDS, how could it succeed. Sure Pink Floyd & Barbara Streisand can make SACD's, but how about the other 99.9998% of the artists?

If youre going to rag on a format, how about CD?
700mb of data .......... almost nobody even includes the Artist / Song Title / or Mixed data mode. What not even lyrics?.....

Even iTunes now does CD-Text....... CD's have been around since 1984 (22 years).

Lets face it, the music industry doesnt really keep up like the movie, TV, sports or video games (all going or are now HD). Nobody carries the flag for us, not even NARAS.... Where's the audio education to the consumer? The consumer does not care, because they don't even know they have a choice besides CD or MP3 or AAC.
I can go into Best Buy and see a HDTV side by side with a regular TV. Not to mention that they post the specs/quality difference right next to it. I'm not sure how much the public will care about HD audio, but when you pay the same price ($1 for a CD track or $1 for a AAC 128k) shouldn't we mention it to them that one is better than the other? I think its up to us, lets not wait for Steve Job's to bail us out.

Let's hope that Blu-Ray follows thru, but then again it's up to us audio pro's or it will die too. You are 100x more likely to want to publish a high resolution record..... IF YOU RECORDED ONE!

No Content = No Chance of a Future

These new advances and lower cost to create content just might help, but its easy to be skeptical..... but i want to help to be part of the future of audio, not a complacent & passive part of the past. It's really up to us audio pro's to guide the way.
Old 20th October 2006
  #23
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Also, i have heard PCM masters upsampled to DSD (using high end oversampling converters) that sound much better than the PCM master did. Thats another benefit of 1bit recording now.
You can have Bob Ludwig take your PCM master and run it thru his incredible DCS system and really hear a difference, then capture it to 1bit. Many mastering houses have incredible PCM playback converters which really will make a difference.
I plan on doing that with some of my masters now that i can manage the 1bit files myself. I can also charge again for the 1bit files one day again when some of the stuff is re-released in HD.

also, the analog section of the MR-1000 was designed from the ground up by a renown designer, its not a off the shelf or from another unit's analog section, it was built to meet the HQ demands of 1bit recording.
Old 20th October 2006
  #24
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PMoshay

NONSENSE!

as to upsampling a pcm stream to DSD for better sound

as to the cd is dead (not in the rest of the world outside the USA)

as to your stated reasons why SACD failed.
(it failed because the tools to edit and post-produce the DSD recording were not offered in time.)

Stop reading the lunatic fringe hi-fi magazines.

We'll take a look and listen to the Korg when it comes out--until then, all is gaslight.
Old 20th October 2006
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
as to your stated reasons why SACD failed.
(it failed because the tools to edit and post-produce the DSD recording were not offered in time.)
Well, there was the other reason.

Customers didn't care. Nor did they buy it.

Buy it? Heck, most didn't even know what it was. I'll never forget going to a CD superstore and asking where their SACDs were. The employee thought SACD was a rap group.
Old 20th October 2006
  #26
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Buy it? Heck, most didn't even know what it was. I'll never forget going to a CD superstore and asking where their SACDs were. The employee thought SACD was a rap group.
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Old 20th October 2006
  #27
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One thing is that PCM and Sigma-Delta modulation is not like opposite side of the world...

PCM and Delta modulation was invented almost same era... in France...

Sigma-Delta modulation has some advantage over PCM like filtering and such...

Anyway, Sigma-Delta modulation uses much higher sampling frequency to overcome the 1 bit amplitude step...

Even some PCM converters uses Sigma-Delta modulation to acheive better conversion.

It is alomst funny that people do not know shit about Sigma-Delta modulation but say something nonsense like the technology is dead...

Sony and their SACD thingy will be dead I am sure. However, you need to read some books about digital audio to understand what is Sigma-Delta modulation, DSD, and SACD...

There is not too much variation of digital conversion system...

T...
Old 20th October 2006
  #28
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Just to be clear...the only reason I even brought up SACD's is because they're mentioned in Korg's paper. I realize that there are valid reasons to use DSD for recording...I just thought it was odd that they'd mention SACD as one (and, as pointed out, that they implied that it was healthy from a commercial standpoint).

Quote:
Let's hope that Blu-Ray follows thru, but then again it's up to us audio pro's or it will die too.
Don't think so...nobody cares about us audio pro's. CD's still sell strongly, but the main thing that's taking away from CD sales are digital downloads...it's really up to the consumers.

Quote:
Also, i have heard PCM masters upsampled to DSD (using high end oversampling converters) that sound much better than the PCM master did. Thats another benefit of 1bit recording now.
How do you know it's not just the higher-end converters themselves that sound so much better?

Quote:
Even some PCM converters uses Sigma-Delta modulation to acheive better conversion.
Right, but who's still using 1-bit converters on the front end?

-Duardo
Old 20th October 2006
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duardo View Post

Quote:
Let's hope that Blu-Ray follows thru, but then again it's up to us audio pro's or it will die too.
Don't think so...nobody cares about us audio pro's. CD's still sell strongly, but the main thing that's taking away from CD sales are digital downloads...it's really up to the consumers.
This is very true. If people cared what pro audio engineers thought, we'd all be listening in surround now. Or to HiRez audio formats. Has that happened? On the Surround Mixing panel at AES, someone said that we as engineers have to sell people on surround.

Sorry. We don't have that kind of impact or outreach. The only people who care what audio engineers think is the folks that are trying to sell us stuff. The pro audio manufacturers. Apart from that, nada. Not even the labels or artists care what we think.

The simple rule is follow the money. We as audio engineers are only significant to the section of the industry who wants our money. Gear manufacturers.
Old 20th October 2006
  #30
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Quote:
We as audio engineers are only significant to the section of the industry who wants our money. Gear manufacturers.
I feel so used
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