Korg MR-1 review: Korg MR-1

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CNET Editors' Rating

2.5 stars OK
  • Overall: 5.7
  • Design: 5.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 5.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The Korg MR-1 handheld audio recorder has an uncluttered interface and boasts stellar recording quality and file support for its size.

The Bad The Korg MR-1's poor battery life, fragile hard-drive storage, long charge times, awkward input and output jacks, gigantic power adapter, and delicate microphone betray its portability.

The Bottom Line Given the Korg MR-1's high price and poor suitability for the rigors of mobile recording, we only recommend it to discriminating audio archivists willing to accept practical limitations for increased recording resolution.

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We've seen our share of consumer MP3 players with built-in voice and line recording capabilities--but they never seem to offer everything we want in a portable recording device. The Korg MR-1 ($899) handheld audio recorder lives at the opposite end of the spectrum, offering a dedicated portable recording solution with incredible recording flexibility and audio quality.

Design
Measuring 4.75 inches tall by 2.5 inches wide by 0.8 inch deep, the Korg MR-1 has the chunky feel of a first-generation iPod. Five well-spaced buttons dot the mirrored face of the Korg MR-1, providing intuitive control over recording and playback. The left edge of the Korg MR-1 includes jacks for the power adapter and USB 2.0 connection, while the right edge features a multifunction scroll wheel, controls for playback volume, a menu button, and a power switch that doubles as a button hold. On the top edge of the Korg MR-1, above its monochrome 2.2-inch screen, are four crowded 3.5mm jacks that act as a stereo headphone output, stereo line output, and separate left and right recording inputs.

Features
The Korg MR-1 lacks many of the features we've come to expect from competing products, such as built-in microphones, RCA or XLR inputs, or flash memory expansion. Korg's golden feature with the MR-1 (and its bigger brother, the MR-1000) is a trademarked Direct Stream Digital 1-bit high-definition recording technology (documented by Korg in this PDF whitepaper). The gist of Korg's justification for the DSD recording feature (and for the MR-1), is that recordings made using DSD are versatile for stepping down into whatever format you later choose, with minimal loss in audio quality. For audio archivists reluctant to record using today's CD-quality standard of 16-bit/44.1kHz, fearing that the format may become outdated, DSD recordings offer a new recording option that may hold up better over time and meet the demands of bouncing down master recordings to mediums with different audio requirements (DVD, CD, MP3).

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Where to Buy

Korg MR-1

Part Number: MR1 Released: Apr. 27, 2007
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Apr. 27, 2007
  • Built-in Display LCD
  • Weight 7.1 oz
  • Type digital voice recorder