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Thread: **DETAILED Korg PXR4 Review!!!**

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    Darkness on the edge of Tone TwilightOdyssey's Avatar
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    Exclamation **DETAILED Korg PXR4 Review!!!**

    This review is mostly for guitarshredder, but hopefully others will benefit from this as well. I’m going to try to keep this review at 1,000 words, max, and let the sound clips have the final word.

    The KORG PXR4 is definitely overlooked, imo, when it comes to amp modeling. Included in this review will be the pros and cons of this great unit, sonic comparisons, sound clips, etc.

    OVERVIEW: Physically, the PXR4 is about 5” square by 1.5” deep. It resembles a miniature stand-alone digital recorder, which is exactly what it is: It has 4 tracks of recording, multiple inputs, built-in condenser mic, amp models and effects, as well as multiple outputs (analog and USB) and drum machine, tuner, and metronome. As far as a DAW, the PXR4 can do what any other workstation can: bounce tracks, virtual tracks, as well as mixing down to a 2-channel stereo track. Media is saved on Smart Media cards (more on this later, too). Finally, the PXR4 can operate with either AA batteries or wall wort power supply.

    AUDIO INPUTS: Of course, the PXR4 is primarily set up to be used with a guitar plugged into it, so it has a 1/4” input for guitar. It also has a stereo line input on a mini-jack, as well as a surface-mounted condenser mic (more on that later). You CANNOT select more than one input at a time, however, so unless you’re using the mic, you can only track one instrument at a time.

    The guitar input also has a switch beneath the unit for HI or LO impedence, so you can also use the ¼” input for line level sources as well, when on the LO Z setting.

    There is also a Trim control which controls the actual input gain to the PXR4. The miniature faders control the input to whichever track you’re recording on, as well as the output. Just like a any other DAW you have stacked input and output volume and gain conrols.

    AMP MODELING AND EFFECTS: This is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. If the modeling and effects suck, then what’s the point of going on with the other stuff? Well, there’s good news here – the modeling and effects are just as intuitive and thought out as any other aspect of the PXR4. For demo and jamming purposes, I haven’t even had the need to customize any of the 100 factory presets, even tho there’s room for 100 user-defined presets as well.

    There are presets for both guitar and bass, but I would say that 2/3 of the presets are for guitar users. I’ve been able to record some nice sounding bass tracks as well using the presets.

    The only other amp modeler I own is the best one you can buy: The Roland VG-88. How does the Korg compare? Of course, it’s not as flexible. Plus, it’s not using the same processing power. However, it’s battery powered, portable, and can fit on my lap when playing on the sofa, which the VG-88 cannot do!!

    According to Korg, there are 77 separate effects on the PXR4, although, in all honesty, they count amp and cab models under “effects” … however, there is still penty of flexibility, and all the major parameters are adjustable for delay, chorus, compression, reverb, etc.

    ** I WILL BE POSTING CLIPS TONIGHT AT http://korgpxr4.tripod.com **

    Continued ...
    Last edited by TwilightOdyssey; 11-08-2004 at 10:22 AM.
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    Darkness on the edge of Tone TwilightOdyssey's Avatar
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    Default Re: **DETAILED Korg PXR4 Review!!!**

    AUDIO OUTPUTS: There are essentially 3 sets of audio outputs on the PXR4. The first one is a stereo analog output, on a mini-jack. This is my biggest misgiving with the PXR4, because the output isn’t reinforced in any way. I usually run the output from a stereo mini plug to left and right ¼” plugs going into my YAMAHA AW 16G. However, the weight of even this small wire is enough to cause wear and tear to the plug. I predict that this will be the 1st thing to break on the PXR4. It hasn’t happened yet, and I’ve had it for 2 years, and took it on 2 short tours, as well as a bunch of gigs, and this hasn’t happened yet.

    The second audio out is the headphone out. Mini-plug, stereo; however, this one does have a reinforced collar, even tho I hardly ever use it. There is a separate headphone volume control as well. NOTE: The gain on the headphone out is sufficient, but not overwhelming – in other words, if you’re using inefficient headphones, like AKG studio ‘phones, you will probably never get it loud enough for your taste. On the other hand, I usually play back things L O U D, so this may not be a problem for you.

    The third output is USB. This is for exporting mix-downs of the songs. The biggest drawback of using the USB output is that the PXR4 stores things in MP2 format, to save space on the Smart Media cards. They sound OKAY, but I certainly would never release anything in this format. The high frequencies get smashed to oblivion. I have, however, used the mix-down/USB feature to capture most of my song ideas, and it works flawlessly!!


    DISPLAY AND INTERFACE: The best part of the PXR4, imo, is the display and interface. A VAST amount of thought and engineering must’ve went into this unit – it’s incredibly intuitive, and you have the ability to name presets as well as songs. It also transfers the name data through the USB when you drag and drop your mix-downs. My advice is to keep the manual within reach, as you will need it until you become comfortable with the interface. There are menus within menus, and until you learn where everything is, it’s easy to forget where some of those parameters are residing!

    The display can be backlit, which I try not to use, as I can see the small incandescent light burning out fairly easily.

    SMART MEDIA CARDS: This is how the PXR4 stores all its information. I’m not a fan of these cards, but I’m a bit of a technical illiterate, so it may not pose any problem to anyone else. The price on these cards has dropped in recent years, as well, so it’s now affordable to get the biggest card which the PXR4 will take, which I think is 128MB – I advise doing this, or you will run out of room QUICKLY. I don’t know if the PXR4 will operate without a card inside it, either. However, Korg supplies you with a mercy card, at 16MB: Enough to get started, but not nearly enough to record anything.

    CONDENSER MIC: This is the secret weapon on the PXR4!! I’ve used it for recording (bootlegging? ) shows, as well as tracking percussion sounds when a mic wasn’t handy, and even recording vocals and acoustic guitar. It’s a great little mic, and surprisingly versatile!!

    IN CONCLUSION: I think that this just about sums up my review. I went a touch over 1,000 words here (about 1,200 right now), so I hope that this helps. The sound clips will be posted tonight, and you can compare all that I’ve said here to the clips. There are at http://korgpxr4.tripod.com.
    Last edited by TwilightOdyssey; 11-08-2004 at 09:06 AM.
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    Irish Flagologist PUCKBOY99's Avatar
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    Default Re: **DETAILED Korg PXR4 Review!!!**

    I've got one & in all honesty, I can't use it to save my A$$ !

    But that is all my fault, because I don't play around with it enough to quite grasp all the ins & outs. I tried recording vocals to a Jeff H. tune & somehow or other lost it in the transmission. Beats the hell out of me what I did, but I'm sure it was totally my fault.

    But I will concur, the effects/modelling is quite good. I mainly use it as a headphone amp. One of these days, I'll figure out its' proper uses....

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    Darkness on the edge of Tone TwilightOdyssey's Avatar
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    Default Re: **DETAILED Korg PXR4 Review!!!**

    Practically every clip I've done for this forum uses the PXR4.
    I admit, ya gotta use the manual, and know your way around an actual DAW. It's not just a modeling processor, it's a full-fledged recording device.
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    Default Re: **DETAILED Korg PXR4 Review!!!**

    bump
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    Default Re: **DETAILED Korg PXR4 Review!!!**

    One of these days I'll get into it..........now that I know someone that can help me!!!hahahahaha

    I've actually made a few recordings that turn out nicely, but I get in trouble when it comes to the mixdown & then the transfer completely threw me. But I've only tried the transfer once.

    As for anything along the line of doing a recording like the test track Korg has loaded in the machine (a little ditty called "Duck Teeth" or something like that), I'm completely lost. I'm at work right now but I'll check out your recordings when I get home.....and I'll pummel you with questions tomorrow!!!!
    Last edited by PUCKBOY99; 11-08-2004 at 12:02 PM.

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    Darkness on the edge of Tone TwilightOdyssey's Avatar
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    Default Re: **DETAILED Korg PXR4 Review!!!**

    Hehe ... I will try to help you to the best of my ability, PB!
    There's a killer track you can download for the PXR4 from Korg's site, as well, that was made by Steve Vai ... when you hear what he was able to do on the PXR4 you will be amazed!!
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    Default Re: **DETAILED Korg PXR4 Review!!!**

    Yeah I bet!!!!

    Maybe a little more playing with it & patience on my part will help, but in general, I don't even use it.

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    Default Re: **DETAILED Korg PXR4 Review!!!**

    I've had one for awhile now....

    I like it as I can take it along with me anywhere are record ideas down in a hurry.

    I also use it with headphones for practicing when on the road.

    My only qualms with it are it's low headphone output. I find it generally too quiet with "normal" headphones....

    I'd never use this for "real" recording purposes, but for taping jams, silent practicing, portability, ext, it's the cat's ass.

    P.S. - Ditch the 16mb card. It's too small to be useful for much of anything...
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    Darkness on the edge of Tone TwilightOdyssey's Avatar
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    Default Re: **DETAILED Korg PXR4 Review!!!**

    Clips are now posted!
    http://korgpxr4.tripod.com
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    Default Re: **DETAILED Korg PXR4 Review!!!**

    bump
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    Default Re: **DETAILED Korg PXR4 Review!!!**

    Quote Originally Posted by screamingdaisy
    P.S. - Ditch the 16mb card. It's too small to be useful for much of anything...
    I was thinking about that but decided not to bother until I actually figured the thing out.


    T.O., I'm back at work.....I'll check the clips out tonight.

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    Darkness on the edge of Tone TwilightOdyssey's Avatar
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    Default Re: **DETAILED Korg PXR4 Review!!!**

    Quote Originally Posted by PUCKBOY99
    T.O., I'm back at work.....I'll check the clips out tonight.
    Okay -- hehe, I didn't get done converting and posting the clips until midnight last night!
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    Default Re: **DETAILED Korg PXR4 Review!!!**

    Quote Originally Posted by PUCKBOY99
    I was thinking about that but decided not to bother until I actually figured the thing out.
    I made a 4.5 minute song on high quality, and it ran out of space halfway through the second track.
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    Darkness on the edge of Tone TwilightOdyssey's Avatar
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    Default Re: **DETAILED Korg PXR4 Review!!!**

    Quote Originally Posted by screamingdaisy
    I made a 4.5 minute song on high quality, and it ran out of space halfway through the second track.
    D'oh! That's why I put that into my review.
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    Default Re: **DETAILED Korg PXR4 Review!!!**

    Quote Originally Posted by screamingdaisy
    I made a 4.5 minute song on high quality, and it ran out of space halfway through the second track.
    D@MN that about blows!!! The minimal stuff I've done with it hasn't been on high quality, but they lead you to believe that you can make a recording like the stock one on the card, "Duck Teeth" which is pretty bada$$, but I have no idea how to program the drum track like that & it seems like there's half a million tracks bounced back & forth....which I have no idea how to do!

    Which leads me to Twilight's clips: Ben, you can definitely tell which genre you're most comfortable in by those clips. The 80s-90s-2001 clips just lit up. That aside, I take it they were all 1 track takes with no mix down & obviously, no drum track. That's where I got lost initially in trying to get a few tracks right, bounce it down, try to record a bass track & some vocals. When I tried to bounce it all down & mix it, I just got lost in the instructions...a few times running out of room on the card, but I think I didn't erase earlier takes, so it just got jumbled.

    Anyway........on the smart media cards: can you use any smart media card or are there certain ones for recording? (I too am technically illiterate when it comes to most things computerized!).

    I'll break it out soon & give it a good try on a simple melody...maybe rhythm/bass/lead & find a token drum track to play over. And when I get ready to transfer it to computer & send it somewhere, I'll try to send it to you & see if it works.

    Great review & a nice taste in the clips to give a good idea of what this little box can do.

    P.S. What needs to be done after transferring the data? I assume you can convert MP2 to MP3, but is quality lost in that conversion????
    Last edited by PUCKBOY99; 11-09-2004 at 05:57 PM.

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    Tone Member guitarshredder's Avatar
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    Default Re: **DETAILED Korg PXR4 Review!!!**

    Twilight, thanks for writing this review mainly for ME!!! Anyways, since I have a VERY CRAPPY, small practice amp, can I just just plug my guitar into the PXR-4 (once I buy it, for the time being...) to get COOL sounds until I get a REAL amp??? Oh yeah, is MP2 better than MP3, since MP2 is less compressed??? And do you think that I can SERIOUSLY use the PXR-4 to record a high-quality CD??? And what do you mean when you say the MP2 kills the highs???

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    Darkness on the edge of Tone TwilightOdyssey's Avatar
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    Default Re: **DETAILED Korg PXR4 Review!!!**

    Oooo, lots of questions to answer. Let's begin:

    - Yes, clips were 1st take, no thought process involved. Just pressed record and let it fly. The purpose of the clips was to demonstrate the quality of the models, so I ran it analog out to a Yamaha AW16G and saved 'em as WAV files, and then converted them to mp3 using iTunes.

    - It looks like in order to answer both of your questions fully, I will have to record an actual song using nothing but the PXR4. I may or may not use the drum machine that's internal to the unit; I may take a jam from my Boss DR-3 and just track everything on top of that, mix it down in the PXR4 and keep it as a "high quality" MP2 file. I will get on that this weekend, when I have a little bit more time; I have to track solos for my album tonight, and I don't think I will have a chance to do any further experimentation on the PXR4 until the midweek is over.

    - I purchased the SmartMedia card from Manny's Music, altho I know people that purchased theirs from camera places, too. I'm unware of any differences, but the manual for the PXR4 states which ones you should use, specifically.

    - I don't hear any difference between MP2 and MP3; IMO, they both sound like crap. Guitarshredder, if you're familiar with why MPG works, then you know that A: it will never rival WAV files for quality and B: that you can definitely use it to demo ideas, but "high quality"? Naaaah ... MPG and high quality are mutually exclusive in my book.

    - Can you use the PXR4 going into a practice amp? Sure, why not. I'm not sure how much effect the amp's colouration will have on the models, and you will have to turn off the amp/cab models, of course, and just run the FX, but I think it would work fine. If you're only interested in modeling, tho, I would get the PX4, which doesn't have the recording features, and use that instead: same processing engine, just without the fancy display and recording features.

    - Guitarshredder, if I were you , what I would do is use the PXR4 going straight into my soundcard and record using a cheap software program like Guitar Tracks. This, I can quarantee, will sound killer.

    Hope that answers your questions!
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    Default Re: **DETAILED Korg PXR4 Review!!!**

    Quote Originally Posted by TwilightOdyssey
    I may or may not use the drum machine that's internal to the unit;
    When I bounced my recordings down to a final edit, I couldn't find a way to "record" the drum track. It wouldn't layer the drum track with it....it seems the drums are only there for rhythm perposes....



    I could be wrong though. Maybe I missed something.
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    Default Re: **DETAILED Korg PXR4 Review!!!**

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