Korg D1200CD - The Songwriter’s Choice

Korg’s easy-to-use D1200CD is the digital recorder of choice for songwriters and guitarists.
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Korg’s easy-to-use D1200CD is the digital recorder of choice for songwriters and guitarists.

A D V E R T O R I ALThe Korg D1200CD's frontpanel controls are arranged to follow the recording process from startto finished CD. The angle of the backlit 240 x 64-pixel LCD display canbe adjusted for comfortable viewing.The D1200CD's simple,clean rear panel includes master and monitor outputs, optical S/PDIFdigital I/O, MIDI I/O, and a USB port for connection directly to a Macor Windows PC.

The D1200CD is a new 12-track hard-disk recorder offering 16- and24-bit uncompressed recording, a full-featured mixing section, a 40 GBinternal hard disk, USB connectivity, and a built-in CD-RW drive.It’s designed to make the recording process as easy as possibleand includes the professional features found in the D1600 digitalrecording studio. The D1200CD lets you effortlessly take your musicalideas all the way to the CD master using just one piece of gear!Although it can be used in any recording application for any musician,it is quickly finding its way into the hands of many guitarists andsongwriters, thanks to its many guitar-friendly features and ease ofuse.

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Icons and Knobs
The D1200CD’s front panel provides an uncluttered,easy-to-understand user interface with the priority on simple andintuitive operation. Track faders, pan knobs, and transport controlsare right at your fingertips. The input connectors and trim knobs areon the top panel so that you can easily see and work with instrumentpatching and input levels, and the friendly, icon-based LCD display canbe angled to the exact position you need.

When you first power it up, you’ll notice the stunning clarityof the D1200CD’s new display. Next, you’ll notice the BlueZone, a silkscreened guide that takes you through the entire recordingand CD-mastering process. Three silver knobs below the display accessthe exclusive Resonant-structure and Electronic-circuit Modeling System(REMS) modeling mode. We’ve created a collection of guitar, bass,and microphone models with simple icons for user-editable parameters,which are controlled with the knobs. Recording begins by choosing amodeling effect and tweaking it as needed. You can save your tweaks asInsert effects—and recall them instantly—even after theD1200CD is powered down.

Modeling Mode
You connect your guitar and headphones to the providedfront-panel jacks, and then press the Modeling button to display iconsfor each of the three modeling categories. Select Guitar Modeling asthe first step in this simple process. Pressing Enter automaticallyarms tracks 1 and 2 for recording and leads you instantly to Drive(knob 1), Tone (knob 2), and Cabinet (knob 3) settings, where you canput together your own amp setup.

You begin with the first knob, selecting from ten stompboxdistortion units and renowned amplifier-head models. The second knobcontrols tone, providing a tube-preamp model, which adds a unique,nonlinear distortion to modify the overtone structure of the sound. Tocomplete your new amp setup, you can use the Cabinet knob to selectfrom eleven cabinet configurations. After this, you can choose threeadditional edit parameters for each, again using icons and knobs forimmediate access. Available parameters include Level and NoiseReduction for Drive settings; Bass, Middle, and Treble controls forTone; and Room Ambience, Level and Presence for your Cabinetselection.

That was easy! Now you’re ready to prepare for tracking, butbefore you do, you’ll find a top-panel Tuner button that accessesthe built-in auto-chromatic tuner. Right next to it is a Rhythm buttonthat provides you with over 300 metronome and Pulse-Code Modulation(PCM) rhythm patterns—a great collection you can record to tracksor use as a rhythm guide. You can chain rhythm patterns together tocreate song-length performances, complete with intros, fills, andendings. Once you’ve tuned up and selected a pattern, use thefamiliar Record and Play buttons to record, and you’ll be guidedin perfect sync by the rhythm pattern you’ve selected.

You might decide that your first take just didn’t cut it.Don’t worry: the D1200CD provides you with up to 99 undo levels,as well as eight virtual tracks for each of the 12 available tracks.That’s 96 tracks! The Track button instantly takes you right tothe Virtual Track page.

You can store four locate points, and 100 Mark points are availablefor every song. The D1200CD lets you store up to 100 scenes per song toprovide snapshot automation of fader, pan, and effect settings.

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The Fast Track
At 1 p.m., your rhythm guitar track is complete. The doorbellrings, and in walks your bass player and lead vocalist. The bass playerreturns after raiding your refrigerator at 1:15 p.m. and, with yourassistance, selects a bass-modeling effect and tweaks it to taste.Somehow, your bassist gets it right on the first take.

It’s 1:30 p.m. and time to lay down a scratch vocal track.Unfortunately, the only mic in the apartment has been used as a hammerand appears to be growing moss in the equipment case. Somehow it stillworks, and it sounds halfway decent. You plug it into one of the twoXLR inputs on the D1200CD’s top panel. There’s no need toswitch on phantom power for this session, although it’s there forboth mic inputs if necessary.

Again, Modeling mode comes to the rescue. You select from six roomtypes, seven world-class microphone simulations, and three dynamicsprocessors, and voila! You’ve put a new face on that old mic! Aswith the guitar and bass models, mic modeling allows you to choose andedit three parameters each; in this case for Studio, Mic Sim, andDynamics selections. After you record the first vocal track, you opt tohave the singer lay down four virtual tracks. You’ll pick thebest one later.

At 2 p.m., you add a lead guitar track after selecting one of the 98effect chains; this one includes a Wah effect, which you control viathe D1200CD’s expression pedal input!

Ten minutes later, the singer’s two cousins arriveunexpectedly, each with an idea for backing vocal parts. Withinminutes, you’ve recorded four more harmony parts—two tracksat a time—using different mic models on the cousins. The singershave asked for different types and amounts of reverb in their cue mix.No problem: you have two master effects to choose from, each with 32preset and 32 user effects available, and separate send levels to themasters for every track.

Time to recap: tracks 1 and 2 provide rhythm guitar, with leadguitar on 3 and 4. Bass is on track 5, lead vocal on 6, and backingvocals occupy pairs 7-8 and 9-10. That leaves tracks 11 and 12 open.Just then, your keyboard player (carrying a Korg Triton, of course)knocks at the door.

At 2:30 p.m., the Triton is plugged into channels 3 and 4; with theD1200CD’s easy input patching, signals are routed internally totracks 11 and 12. A couple of rehearsal passes, and your keyboardplayer lays down a nice stereo piano track. It’s now 3 p.m.: acouple of hours of work, and your entire demo song has been tracked!Now to edit, mix, burn it, and get it downtown before 6 p.m.

Change Is Good
Too bad that last chorus didn’t repeat for another eightmeasures at the end of the song. And it would have been nice to copythe guitar lead to the end choruses, as well, only with a different EQand Insert effect applied, maybe even with the track reversed. Noproblem: you can do all of that with the D1200CD. Just select theregion of audio you want to edit, and in the Track Edit page, copy theaudio data to the destination tracks you’ve set. You can evenscrub the audio with visual waveform editing to zone-in precisely on asection of audio. Track editing lets you copy, insert, normalize, swap,reverse, expand or compress, and more!

Time to add some insert effects. First, a quick mix is saved as aninitial scene. Next, return to the Blue Zone, where an arrow leads youto the Insert Effect button, with up to eight inserts available foryour song. It’s easy to route tracks to specific inserts, andedits made to preset effects can be saved as user Insert effects. Youhave 106 effect types and 384 effects program locations to workwith!

Now to add some EQ to the keyboard tracks. Fortunately, the D1200CDprovides 3-band EQ for every track.

Next, it’s on to the Master effects, which feature twoprocessors and 32 preset and 32 user programs, with independent sendlevels for every track. You apply a bit of Smooth Hall on the backingvocals and send the rhythm guitar into a Bright Room reverb.

The next arrow leads you to the Final effect for putting thefinishing touches on your song. There, you can select one of the 32preset or 32 user dynamics effects, including stereo compressors,limiters, gates, and parametric EQ. The Master and Final effectsaren’t printed to the internal 40 GB hard disk until you actuallybounce tracks with effects applied, or when you master to external gearthrough the Master outputs or the S/PDIF optical output. All in all,the D1200CD provides up to 11 simultaneous effects per song.

Ready For a Final Mix?
You add a few more scenes during the song, with changes to fader andpan and with a few effects adjustments on the backing vocals during thechoruses. Now you’ll want to bounce all 12 tracks down to a finalstereo mix. Guess what? Another arrow leads you to the Bounce button,where you can select up to eight virtual-track pairs to do multiplemixes and then select your favorite mix.

Your song is mixed and ready to burn. With the included CDRW1x8burner installed, you’re ready to go! Follow the Blue Zone guideto the last step in the process: the CD button. Pressing it allows youto select the stereo source tracks for burning. Also included is a newfeature: Disc At Once is useful when you want to burn and finalize yourmultisong CD in one automated process or when you record your band inlive performance. You can record the entire show as one long track;later, you can set Marks for each song, and the Disc At Once functionwill use those Marks to create separate tracks automatically.

You have your CD master, and you’re ready to deliver it ontime. Before you take off, it’s nice to know that the D1200CDauto-saves everything at power-down, and it can import and exportmultiple tracks as WAV files. Imagine loading your audio tracks intoexternal digital-audio applications for additional editing and forconversion to MP3 format for Internet distribution! Of course, you canback up your songs and user effects to CD-RW media, and it’s asnap to use the built-in USB interface to connect your D1200CD to a PCor Mac. Best of all, no additional software needs to be installed inyour computer; a D1200CD icon automatically appears on your computerdesktop once USB mode is selected in the D1200CD; you’reconnected and ready to back up song and effects data!

The Bottom Line
Think of the D1200CD as a professional recording studiofilled with great amps, effects, and microphones. It’s easy touse, yet it is packed with powerful features. Best of all it’samazingly affordable. Still not convinced that the D1200CD is perfectfor you? Check it out for yourself! You can find a dealer in your areaby visiting www.korg.com/D1200CD, where you’ll find lotsmore information plus D1200CD tips and tricks and MP3 demos.

For more than 12 years, Korg USA’sTomNortonconducted product training, demonstrations, andworkshops teaching retailers and end users how to get the most fromtheir Korg keyboards and recorders. He is now Manager of ProductTraining, and oversees the entire team of Product Specialists for allKorg USA-distributed products.

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portable digital studio

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tel. (516) 333-9100
Web www.korg.com