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This simple digital eight-track might appear a bit feature-light, but it could have hidden appeal for DAW users wanting a flexible multitrack audio capture machine. What's quite unusual about it is that it has been designed to look and feel like an eight-channel analogue mixer rather than a state-of-the-art digital recording device.
Digital-multitrack designers usually include no more than a few task-assignable channel parameter knobs for all hands-on EQ and effect adjustments, yet the D has a knob for every EQ band, effect-send buss and channel pan, all laid out in traditional mixer style.
Korg have even been crafty enough to give the recorder something to my eyes of the look of a Mackie mixer, using white screen-printing on a charcoal-grey chassis. Appearances aside, the D has enough recording and editing features for the production of good demos, or even for relatively unprocessed album material, and certain of its features make it well suited for capturing material on location, which is then transferred to computer for further processing.
Making use of a hefty 40GB internal hard drive, the D simultaneously records and plays back eight tracks of bit uncompressed audio at The internal signal path is rated at bit, so there's plenty of headroom in the system for mixing and processing.
Each record track has seven additional virtual slots for storing alternative takes, and there's the option of saving the final mix as multiple stereo WAV files. These can be transferred to a computer via USB 2. The D does have on-board effects, but the options are limited to a collection of 11 reverbs and echo effects, with the only editable parameter being reverb or echo time.
Even Korg's diminutive D4 multitrack included modelling algorithms for processing guitars, plus a selection of other common effects, such as flangers, choruses and tremolos. It seems that Korg have followed analogue mixer protocol, where it's common to have some general reverbs and delays on board, but all other effects are left up to the musicians and their choice of outboard.
MIDI spec, again, is quite basic. Encouragingly, the D's metal chassis is very robust, as is the fixing of all the connector sockets, but the feel is let down a little by some rather flimsy knobs and faders. All the channels are identical, so it doesn't matter that Korg have avoided implementing a patching matrix by hardwiring every input to its numerical equivalent record track.
However, it can't be selected individually, so if it were being used to power a set of condenser mics, any dynamic mics would have to be connected via the jacks to avoid damage. During record monitoring, the results of effects or EQ settings can be heard, but these are not 'printed' to disk until the signal is bounced or mixed. The most unusual characteristic of the D, and possibly a big selling point, is the way the analogue output section has been designed. Their level can be adjusted by turning a dedicated gain pot, enabling the signal to be attenuated when fed to studio monitors.
Outputs 3 and 4 perform in exactly the same way, but have no gain control and are more suitable for use as Master outputs. The remaining sockets, numbered , output the signals from channels 5 to 8 respectively.
Nothing too remarkable so far, but when switched to Individual mode, the Monitor and Master pairs become outputs for tracks — so, together with outputs , they provide an output for every track, which is potentially extremely useful. For example, you could use the D to make some high-quality recordings for demo purposes, then, if at a later date the chance arose to remix the project using a bigger and better system, the individual tracks could be fed simultaneously into the relevant DAW.
It would also be good for making live recordings of a band, say which could similarly be transferred to computer. Having direct outs from every track is very nice, and unusual, to find in a digital multitracker design. It's worth noting that the signal is output before it reaches the channel fader, effects send, pan or master fader control, so if the EQ is set flat, the output provides an exact copy of what's on the hard drive, plus one stage of D-A conversion.
It wasn't so long ago that CD-RW drives were a must-have feature for any half-decent digital studio, but USB has gradually begun to take over as the primary method of performing backups. The first recorders to be given USB facilities performed rather slowly, because the proprietary formatted audio data required decoding.
Now it's becoming common for multitrackers to record in the WAV file format, which speeds things up considerably. However, WAVs tend to be relatively large files, so a single CD-R's capacity is often too small to store a complete song once a few virtual tracks have been recorded. In reality, when hooked up to a PC or Mac, the D performs just like any other digital device, such as a digital camera, scanner or hard drive, enabling the user to access the file structure directly from the computer.
While discussing the features that exist, it's worth noting that the D is missing a few facilities we've come to expect to find in a digital 'studio'.
For a start, there's no automation of any kind and no on-board dynamics processors, and what effects there are have been made available as sends only, and cannot be inserted into channels during recording or mixing. In its role as a mixer the D also lacks some features. There are also no insert points in any of the channels, making it impossible to use a compressor or limiter after the preamp to protect the A-D converters from signal peaks that might cause clipping — although you could, of course, patch one in-line between the sound source and the D input.
It too has USB, records bit audio at Tascam's machine has better MIDI facilities, digital editing options and more on-board effects and processors. The BR eight-track from Boss has an impressive collection of features too, including modelling effects, a rhythm machine, 64 virtual tracks and a Phrase Trainer, but it's short on control knobs and track faders, and it substitutes the hard drive for Compact Flash media.
Although it only records two tracks simultaneously and hasn't the hands-on control of the D, it manages to include a drum machine, mastering effects, good editing facilities and a basic sampler. When reviewing a multitracker, I often find myself moaning about the screen size. Indeed, the D's LCD is not much bigger than that of a mobile phone, but this time it really isn't much of a problem, as the demands placed upon it by the design are not huge.
There is one menu where main system setup information is edited, but even when that's being scrutinised the Cursor key enables the user to scuttle quickly up and down the list, selecting or changing the options that appear by the side of each menu item. Most of the other top-panel buttons are traditional transport functions, including marker storing, editing and navigation. Other buttons include one for calling up a metering page and one that flips the record mode between Rehearsal, Auto-punch and Repeat.
The D has a traditional and very clear control layout. Features to the right of the panel include the small LCD, the rotary effect-selector knob giving access to one of 11 effect treatments, the transport section, and Marker storage and editing facilities. Most facilities have a dedicated front-panel control, minimising menu-surfing. Across the back edge of the front panel are the channel inputs, each with an XLR and a jack socket, and the output section.
In one mode, the latter jack sockets can be configured as direct outputs for the D's eight tracks. A nice touch is two headphone outputs with individual level controls. The same procedure is necessary for establishing pre- and post-roll times; unfortunately, the D doesn't have a time-saving default setting of something usable like five seconds.
Applying the effects is extremely simple. One button turns them on or off, while a large rotary knob is used to select one of the 11 treatments so obviously only one treatment at a time can be used. Two further knobs provide hands-on control of the parameter value and the effect return level.
Exact values can be monitored via the Effects option in the Menu page. The lack of modelling effects and dynamics processors is a bit limiting — although it is better to have a few good effects than loads of mediocre ones that are of little practical use. The on-board reverbs are indeed effective and likeable when used in a mix, but also have a rather irritating artificial quality that becomes evident when their decay is exposed during quiet moments, indicating a lack of effect-processing power.
The delays, by their very nature, don't suffer nearly as much from the same artifacts and actually have a rather pleasing feel to them.
Accessing song files saved on the D's hard drive proved extremely easy on my PC. Making a connection is simply a matter of plugging in the appropriate lead and pressing the D's dedicated USB button. The song folders and WAV files are easy to identify and I experienced no delays in copying songs or viewing data. The preamps, in particular, perform well, providing a clean, full and natural sound. The EQ is effective and seems to mimic the analogue equivalents in a way that digital EQs rarely seemed to achieve not so many years ago.
The machine noise generated by the hard drive is low, and not problematic, even when using a mic close by. Perhaps one criticism would be that a little more level should be available from the headphone amps.
It's commendable that Korg have kept this product as simple as they have, while still providing a useful set of basic mixing features.
Technophobes who have kept their analogue mixers and recording devices separate may well be tempted by the recording abilities of this machine, particularly as it replicates the layout and setup of a typical small eight-channel mixer in many respects. I would say that the D is possibly the easiest-to-use mutitracker I've tried so far. Its user-friendliness is partly contributed to by the fact that it's a bit light on features, but those that do exist are very neatly organised.
Even the thin manual makes everything appear more complex than it really is. Having so many physical controls, as opposed to virtual ones, certainly cuts down on menus and button-toggling, but Korg could perhaps have added one or two more options. Typical of many small mixers, there's no EQ bypass switch, making it harder to compare processed and unprocessed signals.
Not having a PFL button is less of an issue, but Korg probably should have included another auxiliary send path from each channel so that an external effect could be used to support the basic internal processor. Internal dynamics or insert points would also have been useful.
However, the very fact that the onboard effects are basic and that there's no internal dynamics or automation facility, coupled with the unusual presence of individual track outputs in one configuration, may indicate that Korg are thinking of this machine as a multitrack location-recording adjunct to a computer system. They seem to have preferred to give the facility to capture eight uncompressed bit tracks and then output them individually, rather than loading up on internal DSP features.
As a result, the D is not as polished a 'one-box' self-contained studio as some others on the market, but is arguably more flexible, given the way in which many people work these days, as well as being easy to use. The last factor, in addition, may mean that it will have extra appeal for analogue mixer aficionados who would prefer their music recording to remain fast and simple.
A unique product that could be seen as a slightly under-spec'd but easy-to-use 'studio in a box', or as a useful and cost-effective location-recording companion to a computer.
Pros Good preamps and recording quality. Can output all eight tracks individually and simultaneously. Solid chassis and connectors. Logical layout. Two headphone sockets with independent volume pots. Easy to use. Cons No internal dynamics or inserts for patching external dynamics into channels.
No EQ bypass. Summary A unique product that could be seen as a slightly under-spec'd but easy-to-use 'studio in a box', or as a useful and cost-effective location-recording companion to a computer. Buy PDF version. Previous article Next article. New forum posts Re: The analogue-summing '3D' effect: what actually is Recent topics The analogue-summing '3D' effect: what actually is it?
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Korg D888 Musical Instrument User Manual
Quick Links. Download this manual. Owner's Manual. Table of Contents.
KORG manuals. Musical Instruments. Complain wrong Brand wrong Model non readable. Checking and connections Connecting your monitoring equipment Turn the D on
Korg D888 Owner's Manual
Keep these instructions. Heed all warnings. Follow all instructions. Do not use this apparatus near water. Printing conventions in this manual Handling of the internal hard disk Do not apply physical shock to this device. In particular, you must never move this device or apply physical shock while the power is turned on. This can cause part or all of the data on disk to be lost, or may damage the hard disk or interior components.
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