Korg Zero4 review

By March 23, 2008 No Comments

The official tour mixer of Metaverse Album Release Tour is Korg Zero4. After a couple of gig experiences with the device, here’s a short review including the pros and cons mainly from the DJ’s point of view. DJ Orkidea has been using the mixer on the Tour for live gigs only, I’m sure we can read a full live performance review later on his website.

OK, the pros first.

+ The EQ system is very good. You can adjust the EQs – use them as different filters, isolators or normal EQs. As normal EQ the touch is very similar to Pioneer’s. If you’re used to DJM-600/800, you won’t notice much difference.

+ All the knobs are illuminated. It doesn’t only look cool but it’s big part of the experience. You never need to guess your mixer settings, even when the club is totally dark. Let this become a standard of all DJ mixers.

+ The master effect channel is different from Pioneer’s, but much better. X and Y settings on each effect and channel-like strenght/volume slider is very easy to use and the user interface is fast to learn. Pre-listening of the effect is as easy as it gets and choosing the effect just goes very intuitively. Loop sampling and running FXs on it is a thing you just never get bored with.

+ And all this is just the Master FX. You can still run effects independently for each channel and adjust the effects from the knobs placed next to the EQ. I didn’t try this out too much, but you can really have cool combinations with channel and master FXs together. The real difference with DJM-600/800 is that the effects on those are mainly annoying and add-ons for the played music when the Korg effects are mainly designed for (live) jamming and creating new soundscapes, loops and re-designing your music.

What about the cons, then? There are small things which I found not that attractive, which hopefully will be re-thought in the future.

– Booth volume is next to the Master volume. Same size knob, same colour. I’m happy it never happened to me while playing (even though I’m turning the Booth Vol knob on and off all the time) that I accidentally would boost Master Vol with 70%, but it really annoys me to worry about that when playing.

– Cue level isn’t loud enough, even when it’s max. I’m not deaf, my hearing is still 100% (lucky me:) and on live playing situations the Cue Vol on Pioneer is normally at 9 or 10 o’clock. Last weekend, when playing in Joensuu, the Cue Vol was all the time on max and I still had to boost the channel EQs to hear the track properly.

– I would love to see the places of Pan and Gain knobs changed. All you people used to play with Pioneer know why.

– The mixer has firewire input which works like charm (Orkidea can tell more about this). But when you plug in your firewire cable, it somehow resets the mixer, gives a short black-out and breaks the music for two seconds. You can guess our reactions when we experienced this for the first time on the live situation in Rovaniemi…

Anyway, the mixer is great and has very big potential of becoming a standard device on the clubs. If you have any questions concerning the user experience, feel free to ask.

Here are still a couple of links:
Full-res image of Korg Zero4
Official Korg Zero4 site
Korg Zero4 on Flickr
Korg Zero4 on Youtube

Leave a Reply