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Photos: Korg MR-1

The Korg MR-1 portable audio recorder applies some serious science to maximizing the quality and compatibility of your recordings. The Korg MR-1 is very expensive, however, and its assets as a portable recorder will only appeal to a small fraction of audio professionals.

CNET Reviews staff
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All of the Korg MR-1's audio inputs and outputs are crammed into the top edge of the device, along with switches for line/mic gain and microphone power. Adapting the Korg MR-1's 3.5mm microphone inputs for use with standard XLR-type microphones or mixing board output takes special cables that are not included.
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The delicate clip-on stereo condenser microphone included with the Korg MR-1 does an adequate job, provided that it is never handled or moved, or used in windy situations. If you plan on using the MR-1 for field recording, expect to shell out some extra money for a higher quality microphone with a windscreen.
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The Korg MR-1 packs a lot of recording power into a pocket-size gadget. With only 2.5 hours of useful battery life, however, don't expect to keep the Korg MR-1 away from a wall socket for long.
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Our staff photographer had to work hard to keep her reflection out of these photos, since the Korg MR-1's faceplate could double as a makeup mirror. There are probably some advantages to having a portable audio recorder that can double as a disco ball, but the glare coming off the MR-1 on a bright day can be intense.
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The five buttons on the front of the MR-1 take care of standard recording deck functions such as record, play/pause, stop, and track skip. On the right side of the Korg MR-1, you'll find (starting from the top): a power switch that doubles as a hold button; a menu button; a multifunction scroll wheel; and a volume control.
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The Korg MR-1's monochrome screen does a good job presenting critical information such as recording levels and track duration. The display contrast can be adjusted to make the most of bad lighting situations.
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The Korg MR-1's microphone includes a detachable metal L-bracket stand for hands-free recording. The bottom of the stand includes a hole that allows it to be mounted on a camera tripod. The small circular cutout beneath the microphone is used to keep the cable pulled back and out of the way.
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Aside from the customary manual, warranty card, and software CD, here's what you get in the Korg MR-1's box. Clockwise from the top: Korg MR-1 with case; stereo condenser mic with detachable stand; three-pronged power cable; USB cable; and AC power adapter block.
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Korg includes a protective case for the MR-1 with a clear plastic window on the face and cutouts for all the ports and controls that line the sides. With a price tag hovering around $800, you'll probably want to keep your investment as protected as possible.
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The left edge of the Korg MR-1 includes a port for the included AC power adapter and a USB port for transferring recordings to your computer. With only 2.5 hours of battery life, you'll be seeing a lot of the MR-1's power adapter port. As of January of 2008, Korg is now shipping the MR-1 with an external battery pack that plugs into the power adapter port and doubles the battery life (at the expense of extra bulk).

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