Korg Zero 4 & 8

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
audiovoid
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Post by audiovoid » Thu Oct 04, 2007 10:51 pm

1st off, for the past 3 weeks I've been using the Zero4 with my Macbook Pro and Ableton Live when I play out and it's absolutely tits. Tons of fun. I use all 4 channels in Audio/midi mode, mixing the seperate tracks from Ableton as if I was using a traditional dj mixer or mixing desk and assign the free (green) midi controls to various Ableton fx, parameters, etc.
It's definately a joy to use and gives me the absolute hands on control that has been impossible with my previous midi controllers because of inevitable latency.
So...
I DO have a few gripes about the thing though and I'm actually quite suprised nobody else has mentioned yet.

1st problem is with the Isolator and Filter eq Settings.
With any eq knob (bass,mid,treb) set at 0 (middle) it is fine. But Turn it the tiniest bit either way and the result is WAY too drastic.
Basically with any knob turned down to about half way the frequency is gone. It's like, a quarter of the way down should actually be the volume of the thing when its half way down (or more). It seams all off kilter or somthing.

2nd Thing (and it's small) and audible soundgap/dropout when changing the Input selector knob from Audio to Audio/midi. It's just annoying if you are using and switching back and forth between both modes to take advantage of the CHannelFX AND some midi controlls.

3rd thing (and I'm very curious about this) VERY Low master Output level.
This is the deal. I've taken this thing out for 3 gigs so far and at two of them I had major Master Volume issues when running the rca-record out (Unbalanced I know, but is supposed to be identical to the master output) into the house mixer. All 3 times the house mixer has been a dj mixer of some sort, not a mixing desk.
I know for a fact that the ideal situation is to run Balanced xlr outs into a mixing desk but in most dj'ing (ecspecially club) situations this is just not an option.
And It would be pointless to get Xlr to quarter inch cables with Rca adapters on them because that would just turn the signal back into unbalanced anyways.

So I've been running my RCA outs into a free Line/CD channel on the venue's House DJ mixer and (like I said) 2 out of the 3 times, Had to crank my korgs Master Volume Up All The Way, AND the Dj Mixer's Channel Gain All the way just to get my level close to the taht of the dj that was playing cd's before me.
Suprisingly the gigs ended up sounding good with minimal digital distortion like I thought would be there, but the thing that just blows my mind is that my Macbook Pro's Built in 1/8th inch output spits out a Hotter signal than my Korg with the Master volume all of the way up.

I'm actually considering buying a hardware compressor/limiter that I can insert between the korg's master out and any venues main mixer just so I can get some extra gain if needed.
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Thinktanx
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Post by Thinktanx » Fri Oct 05, 2007 1:28 am

audiovoid wrote:1st off, for the past 3 weeks I've been using the Zero4 with my Macbook Pro and Ableton Live when I play out and it's absolutely tits. Tons of fun. I use all 4 channels in Audio/midi mode, mixing the seperate tracks from Ableton as if I was using a traditional dj mixer or mixing desk and assign the free (green) midi controls to various Ableton fx, parameters, etc.
It's definately a joy to use and gives me the absolute hands on control that has been impossible with my previous midi controllers because of inevitable latency.
So...
I DO have a few gripes about the thing though and I'm actually quite suprised nobody else has mentioned yet.

1st problem is with the Isolator and Filter eq Settings.
With any eq knob (bass,mid,treb) set at 0 (middle) it is fine. But Turn it the tiniest bit either way and the result is WAY too drastic.
Basically with any knob turned down to about half way the frequency is gone. It's like, a quarter of the way down should actually be the volume of the thing when its half way down (or more). It seams all off kilter or somthing.

2nd Thing (and it's small) and audible soundgap/dropout when changing the Input selector knob from Audio to Audio/midi. It's just annoying if you are using and switching back and forth between both modes to take advantage of the CHannelFX AND some midi controlls.

3rd thing (and I'm very curious about this) VERY Low master Output level.
This is the deal. I've taken this thing out for 3 gigs so far and at two of them I had major Master Volume issues when running the rca-record out (Unbalanced I know, but is supposed to be identical to the master output) into the house mixer. All 3 times the house mixer has been a dj mixer of some sort, not a mixing desk.
I know for a fact that the ideal situation is to run Balanced xlr outs into a mixing desk but in most dj'ing (ecspecially club) situations this is just not an option.
And It would be pointless to get Xlr to quarter inch cables with Rca adapters on them because that would just turn the signal back into unbalanced anyways.

So I've been running my RCA outs into a free Line/CD channel on the venue's House DJ mixer and (like I said) 2 out of the 3 times, Had to crank my korgs Master Volume Up All The Way, AND the Dj Mixer's Channel Gain All the way just to get my level close to the taht of the dj that was playing cd's before me.
Suprisingly the gigs ended up sounding good with minimal digital distortion like I thought would be there, but the thing that just blows my mind is that my Macbook Pro's Built in 1/8th inch output spits out a Hotter signal than my Korg with the Master volume all of the way up.

I'm actually considering buying a hardware compressor/limiter that I can insert between the korg's master out and any venues main mixer just so I can get some extra gain if needed.
Thanks for the review-ish thoughts. I'm really trying to gather opinions on these things. Overall, it seems the positives outweigh the negatives, and no piece of gear is perfect. I'm leaning towards definitely picking up the Zero8.

In regards to your gripes, I would think the first one could be solved in a firmware update. Hopefully that happens and other things like this will be perfected to a degree. We have to remember these units are brand new.

To me the second one is not surprising really. A bit annoying, obviously, if you want to change modes. Out of curiousity, is there that much need to change modes during a set? I guess there would be less with a Zero8 since you have twice as many channels to begin with.

The third one sucks. But I'm surprised we haven't heard anything about it before. Or maybe I am misunderstanding. Are you not using the main outs, and if not, why?

Cheers. :)
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audiovoid
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Post by audiovoid » Fri Oct 05, 2007 3:40 am

Thinktanx wrote:Thanks for the review-ish thoughts. I'm really trying to gather opinions on these things. Overall, it seems the positives outweigh the negatives, and no piece of gear is perfect. I'm leaning towards definitely picking up the Zero8.

In regards to your gripes, I would think the first one could be solved in a firmware update. Hopefully that happens and other things like this will be perfected to a degree. We have to remember these units are brand new.

To me the second one is not surprising really. A bit annoying, obviously, if you want to change modes. Out of curiousity, is there that much need to change modes during a set? I guess there would be less with a Zero8 since you have twice as many channels to begin with.

The third one sucks. But I'm surprised we haven't heard anything about it before. Or maybe I am misunderstanding. Are you not using the main outs, and if not, why?

Cheers. :)
Yes! The postives definately outweigh the negatives. No Doubt.
And yes I'm aware that this is not only a 1st gen product but that it's Korgs 1st attempt at a dj mixer (type of thing) and they came pretty damn close to nailing it on the 1st try.
There is talk about firmware updates but who knows what kinds of things they will actually fix or include.
Thinktanx wrote:Out of curiousity, is there that much need to change modes during a set? I guess there would be less with a Zero8 since you have twice as many channels to begin with.
CHeck it. In audio only mode you can use Korgs built in channel fx but no midi. And in Audio/Midi mode it's vice versa. So of course I want to change modes during a set so I can have the option of using the built in channel fx or switch over to controls that are assigned to ableton parameters.
To tell you the truth I've been getting along just fine so far with leaving it in Audio/Midi mode and just using the Korgs master fx and abletons assignments.
Thinktanx wrote:Are you not using the main outs, and if not, why?
I'm using the unbalanced RCA out (labled "Record Out") which is supposed to mimic the master output.
I do believe (and will try this out) that I can get a hotter signal running the balanced XLR to quarter Inch out but the problem is that most venues won't have quarter inch in's on the house. Then I would have to use two QuarterInch to RCA adapters and as far as I know this will make the signal unbalanced again, so I mine as well just run straight out of the Rca out in the 1st place and bypass all the adapter/connector to connector business.
Thinktanx wrote: I'm leaning towards definitely picking up the Zero8.


My friend owns one and it's nice for sure. Though WAY too big to even consider trying to bring on a flight.
Also one thing i noticed about the built in Kaoss-(ish) Pad is that it's nowhere near as responsive as a real kaoss pad and that you have to press on it pretty hard for it to work. It's not as smooth and easy for you to glide fingers across. But it's still iLL. And being able to draw in eq curves with your fingers is great.
The only other thing that I didn't like was the placement of the eq-frequency Knob. It's right in between the High and the Mid which kept throwing me off when going to adjust the highs. I guess some older desks are set up like this but I definately was not used to it.

I hope some of my info is helpfull. And i know that It seams like I'm just knit-Picking every little problem so let me say again that BOTH of these machines are absolutely incredible and very well thought out from beginning to end
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Post by Thinktanx » Fri Oct 05, 2007 7:27 am

audiovoid wrote:
Thinktanx wrote:Thanks for the review-ish thoughts. I'm really trying to gather opinions on these things. Overall, it seems the positives outweigh the negatives, and no piece of gear is perfect. I'm leaning towards definitely picking up the Zero8.

In regards to your gripes, I would think the first one could be solved in a firmware update. Hopefully that happens and other things like this will be perfected to a degree. We have to remember these units are brand new.

To me the second one is not surprising really. A bit annoying, obviously, if you want to change modes. Out of curiousity, is there that much need to change modes during a set? I guess there would be less with a Zero8 since you have twice as many channels to begin with.

The third one sucks. But I'm surprised we haven't heard anything about it before. Or maybe I am misunderstanding. Are you not using the main outs, and if not, why?

Cheers. :)
Yes! The postives definately outweigh the negatives. No Doubt.
And yes I'm aware that this is not only a 1st gen product but that it's Korgs 1st attempt at a dj mixer (type of thing) and they came pretty damn close to nailing it on the 1st try.
There is talk about firmware updates but who knows what kinds of things they will actually fix or include.
Thinktanx wrote:Out of curiousity, is there that much need to change modes during a set? I guess there would be less with a Zero8 since you have twice as many channels to begin with.
CHeck it. In audio only mode you can use Korgs built in channel fx but no midi. And in Audio/Midi mode it's vice versa. So of course I want to change modes during a set so I can have the option of using the built in channel fx or switch over to controls that are assigned to ableton parameters.
To tell you the truth I've been getting along just fine so far with leaving it in Audio/Midi mode and just using the Korgs master fx and abletons assignments.
Thinktanx wrote:Are you not using the main outs, and if not, why?
I'm using the unbalanced RCA out (labled "Record Out") which is supposed to mimic the master output.
I do believe (and will try this out) that I can get a hotter signal running the balanced XLR to quarter Inch out but the problem is that most venues won't have quarter inch in's on the house. Then I would have to use two QuarterInch to RCA adapters and as far as I know this will make the signal unbalanced again, so I mine as well just run straight out of the Rca out in the 1st place and bypass all the adapter/connector to connector business.
Thinktanx wrote: I'm leaning towards definitely picking up the Zero8.


My friend owns one and it's nice for sure. Though WAY too big to even consider trying to bring on a flight.
Also one thing i noticed about the built in Kaoss-(ish) Pad is that it's nowhere near as responsive as a real kaoss pad and that you have to press on it pretty hard for it to work. It's not as smooth and easy for you to glide fingers across. But it's still iLL. And being able to draw in eq curves with your fingers is great.
The only other thing that I didn't like was the placement of the eq-frequency Knob. It's right in between the High and the Mid which kept throwing me off when going to adjust the highs. I guess some older desks are set up like this but I definately was not used to it.

I hope some of my info is helpfull. And i know that It seams like I'm just knit-Picking every little problem so let me say again that BOTH of these machines are absolutely incredible and very well thought out from beginning to end
Thanks again. Diggin some of your music there too. Cheers to that.
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ytsek
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Post by ytsek » Fri Oct 05, 2007 1:18 pm

audiovoid wrote: 1st problem is with the Isolator and Filter eq Settings.
With any eq knob (bass,mid,treb) set at 0 (middle) it is fine. But Turn it the tiniest bit either way and the result is WAY too drastic.
Basically with any knob turned down to about half way the frequency is gone. It's like, a quarter of the way down should actually be the volume of the thing when its half way down (or more). It seams all off kilter or somthing.
Agree to this. It's much to sensitive this way. Remind me to send a mail to Korg. :)

audiovoid
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Post by audiovoid » Sat Oct 06, 2007 1:38 am

So, I've figured out what was going on with the master volume level issue.
The RCA"Record Out", even though it's supposed to mimic the Master, has a significantly lower output level than the Main XLR or Booth Quarter inch outs.
I guess maybe they do this so if you're really recording out of the rca's And even if the master is clipping then you still might get a clean lower (unclipped) recording.
Also I was having alot of fun today messing around with Routing the headphone out Into my Kaoss pad and then back into my 4th mixer channel as a send/return deal. It's very nice and easy to keep track of whats going on.
All you have to do is hit the cue button of what ever channel you want fed to the Pad and then swap it's fader with the 4th channe(dry/wet) fader.
ALternatively you could use the cross fader to fade between the Unaffected and the effected channels.
Definately thanks alot to the guys on the prodj forum that 1st mentioned that idea.

Now it's just a matter of time untill I incorporate my ESX into my setup. That shit will be Murder. Ha ha
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Post by Thinktanx » Sat Oct 06, 2007 2:52 am

audiovoid wrote:So, I've figured out what was going on with the master volume level issue.
The RCA"Record Out", even though it's supposed to mimic the Master, has a significantly lower output level than the Main XLR or Booth Quarter inch outs.
I guess maybe they do this so if you're really recording out of the rca's And even if the master is clipping then you still might get a clean lower (unclipped) recording.
Also I was having alot of fun today messing around with Routing the headphone out Into my Kaoss pad and then back into my 4th mixer channel as a send/return deal. It's very nice and easy to keep track of whats going on.
All you have to do is hit the cue button of what ever channel you want fed to the Pad and then swap it's fader with the 4th channe(dry/wet) fader.
ALternatively you could use the cross fader to fade between the Unaffected and the effected channels.
Definately thanks alot to the guys on the prodj forum that 1st mentioned that idea.

Now it's just a matter of time untill I incorporate my ESX into my setup. That shit will be Murder. Ha ha
Nice.

I'm thinking my new live setup is gonna be...

KP3 ---> Korg Zero 8 / Ableton Live / Macbook Pro <--- Machinedrum

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Post by Euklid.fox » Fri Dec 21, 2007 1:38 am

For those who d like to purchase this gear I would suggest to wait for and update or be awered of folowing:x

I, (like said before ,and as many i suppose) want to mix in audio 8 tracks from my computer on the zero, then send the mix back to computer, put my VST's on it, and output it to the master. actually that's not possible
we can't put VSTs on master (ie limiting, mastering).

or, suppose you work internally (ie in midi)on your computer, and want to send a cue bus to the cue bus of the zero to listen to your headphones, thats not possible. that's a basis of Dj ing.

THE MAJOR ISSUE IS :

WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO SELECT THE CUE/PFL AND MASTER in the 16 I/O possibilities,
(AS THE ECLER EVO5 DOES!), THAT's A BASIC MUSIC WORKFLOW!!!!

mailed to korg with no answers

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Post by ytsek » Fri Dec 21, 2007 8:48 am

An update is available.
Zero 4:
1. Better Integration with NATIVE INSTRUMENTS’ TRAKTOR Scratch.
2. Automatic MIDI Clock Slave Function
3. Re-trigger Loop Sampler
4. Higher gain on Line Inputs
5. The Cue balance curve has been adjusted for more consistent monitoring.
6. When CUE SPLIT is ON, the MASTER side of the level meter has been changed to Pre Fader.
7. MUTE operation has been changed when AUDIO+MIDI is selected.

Zero 8:
1. Better Integration with NATIVE INSTRUMENTS’ TRAKTOR SCRATCH.
2. An INPUT TRIM function has been added.
3. A SEND SETUP menu has been added.
4. A Transport button has been added to the BPM page.
5. Selectable MIDI Clock slave function
6. All effect programs can be selected in the SEND effect mode.
7. A Bypass function was added to the 8-bar type and knob-control type effects.
8. The Cue balance curve has been adjusted for more consistent monitoring.

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Post by audiovoid » Sat Dec 22, 2007 12:22 am

Nice to see that they finally released an update. Allthough, it has no mention of fixing the evil hiss problem that the machine has. It's a great gigging machine (despite the size, and weight) but has WAY too high of a noise floor to ever even consider using in a studio setup.
The other day I decided to try and replace my old mackie desk that has multiple blown out channels on it, with my Zero4. Thats when I noticed the extreme hiss, and even with all faders and master volumes down. Just a loud constant hiss out of the thing. I guess I had never heard the problem b4 because I had always had it running a very hot signal through another mixer.
After replacing the Mackie desk and plugging the zero4 Back into a channel I did a test recording of some audio just to see how bad the signal to noise ratio was out of the thing. It's Bad! You basically HAVE to have the gains and faders Up and the meters SLammed Way into the red b4 you can get a descent ratio.
Absolute Bullshit, for a supposed Pro piece of gear.
It still IS a Very fun gigging toy though, I must say.
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Post by Gin2 » Fri Dec 28, 2007 2:29 pm

audiovoid wrote: I guess I had never heard the problem b4 because I had always had it running a very hot signal through another mixer.
It still IS a Very fun gigging toy though, I must say.
i've got the zero8 and have the same problem re: the hiss :?

i was actually thinking of taking the zero8 to my next gig.... how hard is it to hook up through another mixer?

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Post by pussErox » Sat Dec 29, 2007 3:40 pm

glad i found this before buying. i saw the review for this in remix mag. it still seems like the best solution out there... in theory. too bad all these reports of hissing, poor audio, bad eq's. that sux. the evo5 looks dope too, just not enough channels. thanks for all the info doods... I also agree that this has been an issue for way too long... as far as everyone still looking for the perfect Live DJ/midi controller.... still waiting
Last edited by pussErox on Sun Dec 30, 2007 2:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by audiovoid » Sat Dec 29, 2007 10:28 pm

It's not hard to hook the zero to anotgher mixer but I WILL advise to use the quarter inch Booth outs and just set your booth volume level to the same as the master level. I was running out of the rca record outs which I had assumed would mimic the master output but I was wrong. There's a big volume decrease, probably so if your clipping the master out then the recording MAY still get a little headroom.
And, of course you can run xlr's out of the main, but to me xlr cables are overkill if you're just going to be converting it to rca to plug into a gig's house mixer. If the gig has a desk to plug into then it would make more sense to bring xlr's.

I noticed mention of the Ecler Evo 5. I havn't seen one in person yet but I would say that if someones trying to decide between a zero8 and an evo5, I'd definately go with the evo5. The zero's are korg's 1st real attempt at making mixers and even though they nailed it with some great features, there's still many obvious flaws (the main being Sound quality!/Hiss?Noise!!!).
Ecler mixers are solid, through and through. And it looks like the evo5 has the most in depth effects that have ever been integrated into a dj mixer. + that vector-looking Color screen looks Damn sexy. ha

I really want one but I think my next step is to just get my ass a motu ultralite, and just hard plug multiple channels into the gigs' house mixer. Lugging an extra mixer to a gig is always a pain in the ars.
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Post by thelike5 » Sun Dec 30, 2007 7:49 am

audiovoid wrote:It's not hard to hook the zero to anotgher mixer but I WILL advise to use the quarter inch Booth outs and just set your booth volume level to the same as the master level. I was running out of the rca record outs which I had assumed would mimic the master output but I was wrong. There's a big volume decrease, probably so if your clipping the master out then the recording MAY still get a little headroom.
And, of course you can run xlr's out of the main, but to me xlr cables are overkill if you're just going to be converting it to rca to plug into a gig's house mixer. If the gig has a desk to plug into then it would make more sense to bring xlr's.

I noticed mention of the Ecler Evo 5. I havn't seen one in person yet but I would say that if someones trying to decide between a zero8 and an evo5, I'd definately go with the evo5. The zero's are korg's 1st real attempt at making mixers and even though they nailed it with some great features, there's still many obvious flaws (the main being Sound quality!/Hiss?Noise!!!).
Ecler mixers are solid, through and through. And it looks like the evo5 has the most in depth effects that have ever been integrated into a dj mixer. + that vector-looking Color screen looks Damn sexy. ha

I really want one but I think my next step is to just get my ass a motu ultralite, and just hard plug multiple channels into the gigs' house mixer. Lugging an extra mixer to a gig is always a pain in the ars.

When you spend $1,800 on a mixer you shouldn't have to even be thinking about spending money on ANOTHER mixer...

Too bad. I really almost just bought one yesterday but after reading this (and other) forums reagrding the Zero series shortcomings, I decided to hold off.

It's Korg so I'm sure version 2.0 (either of the mixer or hopefully just the firmware) will address these issues. I sure hope so. They almost got my money...

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Post by D@VE! » Sun Dec 30, 2007 7:53 am

I heard they are making a fix for it so hope it's true; the Zero4 doesn't have the his problem so it has to be updated.

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