WNAMM04: Korg revives the Cassette Tape

New uses for old technology      31/01/04

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WNAMM04: Korg revives the Cassette Tape

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In one of the more unusual 'advances' in music technology, Korg unleashed a curious hybrid upon an unsuspecting world - a 4-track recorder with built-in amp modelling and FX based upon the cassette tape format. Bizarre, you might think, but actually it makes sense in a 'back to the future' kinda way. If you think about it, most recent developments have been all about getting more and more technology squeezed into the smallest digitally-based box. This is all well & good if you're willing (and able) to embrace the technology-based mindset neccesary to work the stuff. But, there are legions of folk out there who have big trouble programming their VCR, let alone getting to grips with the oddities of a menu-based GUI on some high-tech MI gizmo. Korg may have spotted an alienated (yet pretty large) sector of the music market and catered for them with a unit based on a very immediate and comfortable medium - the humble cassette tape. Well, just my take on it. Have a peek at the demo we shot and see what you reckon. And if you want the official line, here's what Korg themselves have to say about it... "Korg is debuting a 4-track, cassette-based recording system — the CR-4. It is unique among multi-track cassette-based recorders, as it includes amp and effects models, plus a built-in 5W stereo amplifier and a pair of 8 cm speakers, which allow the user to monitor an in-progress recording. The CR-4 can also be used as a practice amp or cassette replay system. The CR-4 features four track simultaneous recording and uses standard Type II high-bias cassettes, making it ideal for capturing rehearsals, creating high quality demos or simply as a “scratch pad” for recording ideas. Four 1/4" jack inputs enable mic and line/instrument level inputs to be fed directly into the unit. Included is Korg’s acclaimed REMS modeling technology. Utilizing a rotary control, the user can select from six essential guitar amp models, two bass amps, an acoustic guitar EQ, plus two vocal mic simulators. There are 11 ToneWorks effects (plus noise reduction), as well, including compression, chorus, flanging, phasing, tremolo, delays, reverb, and more. Gain, treble, mid, bass, and volume controls are provided for guitar, bass, acoustic, and vocal models. An effects depth knob is also provided, along with a tap tempo switch for setting delay time and modulation rate. The front panel features an easy-to-use, intuitive layout. Users simply dial in the desired effect and amp model, press the effect select switch on the active track, and start to record. Each track includes its own trim knob, level fader, pan control, and effects switch, for complete control over the recording process. Two speakers are mounted in bass reflex enclosures for greater frequency range. They can be used for practice, standard cassette playback, and 4-track monitoring. A speaker mute switch and two sets of headphone outputs provide maximum flexibility. Two main outputs (RCA, line level) are also included for mixdown to an external recorder. www.korg.com

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