Best "Portable" Source - KORG MR 1000? - A Few Thoughts
Jul 3, 2008 at 9:20 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 21

BigEat

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Like many of you, I've been searching for a truly high end portable source for a while. I've tried a number of the better sounding suggestions we've come to know and love here at Head Fi (e.g., iMod, just to pick on one). I also know that we Head Fii'ers have some pretty conservative definitions of portable and are a pretty finicky group under most any circumstances. That said, on reccommendation of someone that many of us have come to trust, I bought the KORG MR1000 portable audio recorder. After some very preliminary testing, all I can say is well...wow.

Thus far, I've used the KORG as a audio player while taking advantage of its ability to support very high resolution audio files. The KORG comes with a conversion program (AudioGate) that will convert WAV (and other) files to very high resolution audio files designed to be played on the Unit. I have a large library of WAV Lossless files and have thus far converted several albums from WAV Lossless to Direct Stream Digital Interchange File Format (DSDIFF), or as many of you refer to it, DFF. As some of you also know, DSDIFF is the format typically used in the production of Super Audio (SACD) CD's. The AudioGate software converts WAV Lossless files to DSDIFF at 1 bit, 5.6 MHZ format.

Once converted, the files can be seemlessly moved onto the KORG MR1000's hard drive through a standard USB connection. The results are absolutely astounding. So far, I have listened to a number of albums with the Korg connected to my current portable rig. Using the Unit as a source, I've connected it via its standard RCA outputs to my iCube ampifier (Kimber RCA to Mini interconnect). I listen on my Edition 9's (Silver Dragon recable) with iCube on "high" gain setting. The soundstage, imaging, resolution, presentation and entire experience is sonically amazing. It vastly surpases most any source comparisons portable or otherwise (except for my Meridian 808.2). The imaging is spacious, liquid and very "airy". Separation of instruments and voicing is superb and easily appreciated by way of comparison to prior sources. It is tuly jaw dropping.

Couple of notes. The MR1000 also has Balanced XLR outputs and works along side my Ray Samuelsy B-52 with ease and equal grace. The conversion process to high resolution files is slow and at the highest output levels, requires conversion time comparable to the time taken to play the track itself. For example, a 4 minute track takes about 3.5 minutes to convert. Other conversion options are availabe. For example, you can convert to any WAV output level up to 24 bit, 192 kHz, which takes less time than DSDIFF. The files also take up considerable space on the MR 1000 and I can imagine quickly utilizing its 40 GB capacity with DSDIFF files at 5.6 MHz. Nevertheless, AudioGate will convert and export to any identified hard drive so storing converted files off of the MR 1000 is easily accomplished.

As far as portability, the Unit will operate on 8 (yes 8) AA batteries. In my experience with contnuous usage, the Unit will run for about 3.5 hours before exhausting the batteries. The Unit itself is slightly smaller than a cigar box and is very light weight even with the batteries on board. The case is nice, light weight aluminum. The MR 1000 comes with a convenient carrying case with a velcro "window" on the back that can be opened for access to cable jacks and recharging connections.

This unit in this application is a breakthrough in my opinion. In terms of high resolution, "portable" audio, this is just about as close to the "top of the mountain" as I can imagine. At $1200 (ish) it isn't cheap, but in my opinion is great value.
 
Jul 4, 2008 at 5:38 AM Post #2 of 21

BigEat

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Correction to prior post. Conversion times are equivalent to play times at high resolution.
 
Jul 24, 2008 at 2:51 PM Post #3 of 21

denis

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Sounds interesting to me but apparently no one else in this forum... I gave a look on this Korg thing. I discovered there was also a little MR-1 which could be a super Ipod (without the convenience, of course).

A little question: is it possible to connect your Korg directly to a DAC via the USB connector? If yes, have you tried it?
 
Jul 25, 2008 at 4:32 AM Post #4 of 21

BigEat

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Quote:

Originally Posted by denis /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Sounds interesting to me but apparently no one else in this forum... I gave a look on this Korg thing. I discovered there was also a little MR-1 which could be a super Ipod (without the convenience, of course).

A little question: is it possible to connect your Korg directly to a DAC via the USB connector? If yes, have you tried it?



Not that I'm aware of. The USB interface really allows only for the migratio of files to the hard drive (as far as I know). I agree with your assessment. The sound quality utilizing the large DSDIF files is well, superb. The smaller Korg works equally well and is a bit more portable. The size would be prohibitive to some.

I actually got turned on to this as a portable by one of the lead guys at Kimber Kable. He uses the MR as a portable when he travels, with a portable amp. He let me try it and the sound was shocking. I'm not sure why the tepid interest as in my view, it clearly aces any version of other portables. It may however be that it is not in many ways truly portable.
 
Jul 25, 2008 at 2:43 PM Post #6 of 21

zotjen

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Quote:

Thus far, I've used the KORG as a audio player while taking advantage of its ability to support very high resolution audio files. The KORG comes with a conversion program (AudioGate) that will convert WAV (and other) files to very high resolution audio files designed to be played on the Unit.


I'm not sure I understand the purpose of this. You can't take a WAV file and convert it to a higher (i.e. better sounding) resolution. You're limited by the current resolution of the WAV file. By converting it, aren't you just creating a bigger file with the same sound quality? It's like taking a 96k mp3 file and trying to make it sound better by converting it to WAV.
 
Jul 26, 2008 at 5:02 AM Post #7 of 21

BigEat

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Yes and no. The software can actually convert via a "rerecording" to a higher resolution deeper bit file. Thus a 44.1 kHz WAV file can be converted to a DSDIFF file at 1 bil, 2,822,400 kHz, effectively SACD quality.
 
Oct 6, 2009 at 3:26 AM Post #8 of 21

MA Recordings

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MA Recordings congratulates you, although belatedly on putting your faith in the Korg recorders. They are amazing and not expensive when considering the gear out there that is far, FAR more expensive. All "philes" should realize the potential in these items at least for the following reason:

It is now possible for everyone into analogue to record his/her valueable LPs at 5.6 and preserve his/her priceless collection without worry of degradation. One can also immediately compare needle drops with different cartridges, if one likes.

The most recent MA Recordings were done at 5.6 MHz on the MR-1000 and MA is now making available Hi Rez recordings on DVD-ROM discs (not DVD-R as the organic material will not last as long as a pressed DVD-ROM) Please feel free to contact us regarding the DVD-ROM discs or check out our website later this month.

The KORG MR-1000 or MR-2000 items are VERY HIGHLY recommended! For anyone interested, please go to the KORG site here for the MR-1000:

Korg Product Details

here for the MR-2000:

Korg Product Details

This is where it is at!

tks
ma recordings
 
Oct 6, 2009 at 9:23 AM Post #10 of 21

Edwood

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While the MR 1000 is technically battery powered, I would really classify it as "Transportable" rather than "Portable".

Would make for a nice Office rig to transport back and forth from home.

The thought of having to convert all my FLAC files pretty much took it off of my list.
But for someone with a lot of SACD's it could be a great transportable solution. But I highly doubt the Audiogate software will allow ripping SACD's.

-Ed
 
Oct 6, 2009 at 12:04 PM Post #11 of 21

GreenLeo

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I've two questions:

1. How large would a 650MB CD be after the highest rate conversion?

2. For a 16/44.1 file, what is the point of 'upgrade' it to 24/192? Artificial data must have been created in between. This is like using Photoshop to increase the number of pixels of an image.
 
Oct 6, 2009 at 1:05 PM Post #12 of 21

shamu144

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I remember looking into this unit when the idea of ripping my SACDs grew in me, but finally couldn't justify its purchase.

The main limitation for me was the imposibility to transfer digitally my current SACD disks to the KORG hard drive and preserve them in their original DSD format. I was also unsure if my current computer would handle the resulting DSD file.

Of course, the KORG is probably a fantastic "portable" player. However, may I suggest increasing significantly the very limited 40GB hard drive to at least 120GB like the classic iPod, so it would make more sense and be able to store 3 times as much music.

I am also wondering how the user interface looks like on the KORG
wink.gif
...

Now if DSD digital transfer are made available, that would be another story
biggrin.gif
 
Oct 6, 2009 at 3:05 PM Post #13 of 21

qusp

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it works just like a hard drive, you do not have to resample it if you have already ripped the DSD file, but its up to you to find a way to rip the SACD to DSD. also the HD can be upgraded to 120gb without problem
 
Oct 6, 2009 at 3:08 PM Post #14 of 21

GreenLeo

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Quote:

Originally Posted by shamu144 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I remember looking into this unit when the idea of ripping my SACDs grew in me, but finally couldn't justify its purchase.

The main limitation for me was the imposibility to transfer digitally my current SACD disks to the KORG hard drive and preserve them in their original DSD format. I was also unsure if my current computer would handle the resulting DSD file.

Of course, the KORG is probably a fantastic "portable" player. However, may I suggest increasing significantly the very limited 40GB hard drive to at least 120GB like the classic iPod, so it would make more sense and be able to store 3 times as much music.

I am also wondering how the user interface looks like on the KORG
wink.gif
...

Now if DSD digital transfer are made available, that would be another story
biggrin.gif



If all the files are 24/192, 120 G is not that much. It will hold about 30CDs only.
 
Oct 6, 2009 at 3:18 PM Post #15 of 21

GreenLeo

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Quote:

Originally Posted by qusp /img/forum/go_quote.gif
it works just like a hard drive, you do not have to resample it if you have already ripped the DSD file, but its up to you to find a way to rip the SACD to DSD. also the HD can be upgraded to 120gb without problem


Any idea of the size limit?
 

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