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Measurements of Korg MR-2000S Professional Digital Recorder

amirm

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#1
This is a detailed measurement of a Korg MR-2000S digital audio recorder. It is an older product which I think came out in 2009. But as you will see, its performance is anything but stale. This unit has tons of functionality but I am only testing the DAC portion of it. Later I may be able to measure its ADC features which includes recording to DSD formats.

upload_2018-2-16_9-54-53.png

All of my testing here is done at 24-bit/48 Khz. I did not utilize the USB port. Please read my tutorial on my setup and how these tests are conducted: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/understanding-audio-measurements.2351/

Measurements
Let's start simple with frequency response:

Korg S2000S Frequency Response Measurement.png


There is a bit of peaking near cut off frequency no doubt due to digital filter. It is only +0.2 db though so inconsequential. There is also a blip around 100 Hz but that may be due to scalar in Audio Precision.

Next let's look at jitter over its S/PDIF input (which is what I used for all of my tests):

Korg MR-2000S jitter Measurement.png


This is at the limit of my measurements and is therefore excellent. You can read the few other graphs I have also turned on as a comparison (with "x" mark).

Next let's look at my favorite measurement, linearity:

Korg MR-2000S Linearity Measurement.png


Just using my limit of 0.1 db we get about 17 bits of resolution. But this is one of those cases where we need to look at the full graph past that point. When we do we see that the error backs down and never gets out of control. Maximum error at 120 dB (20 bits of resolution ) is just 0.36 db. So very good performance here.

Let's look at some distortion measurements starting with SMPTE intermodulation:

Korg MR-2000S SMPTE Intermodualation Distortion Measurement.png


We see that it almost matches the Topping DX7. So very good but not the best I have seen.

Here is THD+N:

Korg MR-2000S THD+N Distortion Measurement.png


Distortion is best above 3 Khz but below it loses to both Topping DX7 and Exasound E32. But it never gets worse than -100 dB. So again very good showing.

Conclusions
This is another competently designed DAC/ADC. It has no obvious flaws and is either at the top of the class or close to it. I am not sure what it sells for. I see one listed on Amazon for $899. I have no reservations on the DAC portion of Korg MR-2000S. Recommended!

If you are thinking about buying one though, do look in the manual. This is primarily a recorder and I had to actually record content with it to get it to output analog version of what is sent to it over S/PDIF. If so, it does not make for a usable DAC. The device is also complicated to program and use. So not recommended based on usability.

Bottom line, Pro guys seem to know what they are doing. :)

As always, I welcome comments, corrections, questions, etc. And appreciate the member who loaned it to me.

If you like this review, please consider donating funds for these types of hardware purchase using Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/audiosciencereview), or upgrading your membership here though Paypal (https://audiosciencereview.com/foru...eview-and-measurements.2164/page-3#post-59054).
 
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Jimster480

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#2
This looks pretty cool, would it be able to be used for measurements with its ADC?
I'm in for a test like that as $899 is a reasonable price for something with a great ADC (assuming that it does have one).
 

amirm

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#6
??? No. If you look at the green cursor you see that it is at -120 db and then if you look up the error on vertical axis on the right you see 0.35 dB of error?

Did I address what you were asking?
 

RayDunzl

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#7

DonH56

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#8
120 bits (20 dB of resolution) should probably be 120 dB (20 bits of resolution)
 

DonH56

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#13
I've used superconducting filters but they were the cheap high-temp liquid nitrogen type, no SQUIDs that needed liquid helium. Which I assume you meant to say; never seen liquid hydrogen used in a cryogenic system, seems rather sporty. Frozen Hindenburg? :)

But, yeah...
 

Dayz

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#15
This is amazing. 1) That I found this site through age old proven "web surfing" and 2) what it offers and how it offers it informationally speaking and purpose wise.

My work is in the pro audio world, mostly around production etc.

After reading this review, and a few others, quick questions -

1. What about external clocking? In pro audio worlds, we spend endless it seems piles of money on clocks (this is what got me partly re-interested in this world of testing the science (so to speak), and use external clocks sometimes and sometimes not (recording vs. mixing). And huge people in the industry, like Dave Hill (Crane Song) maintain any and most AD, DA or ADDA systems, devices all come down to the quality and manner of how MASTER CLOCKING is determined or where it's derived. So, tests being theoretical (say revealing 7hz low end bumps) and something being either a) neutral or b) color'ed or c) intentionally color'ed sounding is where this stuff gets horribly fascinating. Even in reviews on low end consumer DACs (some reviewed here) are always interesting because the enemy is always JITTER. But, routinely I am finding (or totally confused or dumb) what we zero in on is the DAC and not the clocking (technology, approach, what, where) - and so...

2. Isn't JITTER more a byproduct of clock signal "quality"? A Dave Hill I am pretty sure says this... of course, all things are not equal, and consumer vs. audiophile vs. pro audio - intentions and needs for sound quality are so vastly different. Consumer stuff completely chucks this out the window though, and (Sorry) my limited knowledge is like PLL and such takes care of the horridness of all things clocking together, where as in pro audio we spend hours chasing why everything isn't clocking together, ridding of digital noise from a problem of a bad setup or gear problem, cable, which clock is better - internal one here or there, or this $5000 external clock source that doesn't even use crystals etc. leading me to...

3. I have a bunch of PRO type clocking devices I was looking to test, and looking for a rig to learn basics (maybe using a QA 401)... but maybe I will just send them to you @amirm :) they would be massively fascinating to judge - externally clocked, internally clocked, just testing the external clocks... and finding ways that the PRO audio world has yet to even figure out how to judge one vs the other, where better becomes about "someone's golden ears" which is partly true, but really it's digital, math, science... how and what someone does around the ADC or the DAC is what is vital in this world, and such - but, then you come back to the consumer low end DACs and I read, "this unit jitter is cleaned up with this other device" (or not), and I am thinking... well, yea, maybe... but, there must be more to the story in some of these cases? And all I read today - YOU ALL ARE THE ONES REVEALING SO MUCH about all this, fantastic content and posts and community here vs. nastiness on forums elsewhere...

That is all for now - nice to find this place... WILL DONATE.

I am clearly listening to mostly euphoric stuff these days, just didn't realize I was actually so advanced up there at 120bits, always feel like I am still trying to grapple with 16 --- or 14.05 and maxing out to 16...

Thank you

Dayz
 
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amirm

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#16
Welcome to the forum and thanks for good questions!
1. What about external clocking? In pro audio worlds, we spend endless it seems piles of money on clocks (this is what got me partly re-interested in this world of testing the science (so to speak), and use external clocks sometimes and sometimes not (recording vs. mixing). And huge people in the industry, like Dave Hill (Crane Song) maintain any and most AD, DA or ADDA systems, devices all come down to the quality and manner of how MASTER CLOCKING is determined or where it's derived. So, tests being theoretical (say revealing 7hz low end bumps) and something being either a) neutral or b) color'ed or c) intentionally color'ed sounding is where this stuff gets horribly fascinating. Even in reviews on low end consumer DACs (some reviewed here) are always interesting because the enemy is always JITTER. But, routinely I am finding (or totally confused or dumb) what we zero in on is the DAC and not the clocking (technology, approach, what, where) - and so...
That is a good point. I tested the product in the context of consumer use, not professional. Unfortunately I do not have an external clock to test with.

Note that when we measure the analog output of the DAC, we implicitly measure any clock jitter.

2. Isn't JITTER more a byproduct of clock signal "quality"? A Dave Hill I am pretty sure says this... of course, all things are not equal, and consumer vs. audiophile vs. pro audio - intentions and needs for sound quality are so vastly different. Consumer stuff completely chucks this out the window though, and (Sorry) my limited knowledge is like PLL and such takes care of the horridness of all things clocking together, where as in pro audio we spend hours chasing why everything isn't clocking together, ridding of digital noise from a problem of a bad setup or gear problem, cable, which clock is better - internal one here or there, or this $5000 external clock source that doesn't even use crystals etc. leading me to...
It is but causes of jitter are numerous. Most often what I see impacting jitter is internal activities in the DAC bleeding onto the clock and causing jitter. In other words, it is NOT the jitter in the oscillator but what is induced into it due to lack of perfect engineering and isolation.

On consumer vs pro, I find that both domains care about such things. What is different is that in consumer we don't care about synchronization and hence external clock.

3. I have a bunch of PRO type clocking devices I was looking to test, and looking for a rig to learn basics (maybe using a QA 401)... but maybe I will just send them to you @amirm :) they would be massively fascinating to judge - externally clocked, internally clocked, just testing the external clocks... and finding ways that the PRO audio world has yet to even figure out how to judge one vs the other, where better becomes about "someone's golden ears" which is partly true, but really it's digital, math, science... how and what someone does around the ADC or the DAC is what is vital in this world, and such - but, then you come back to the consumer low end DACs and I read, "this unit jitter is cleaned up with this other device" (or not), and I am thinking... well, yea, maybe... but, there must be more to the story in some of these cases? And all I read today - YOU ALL ARE THE ONES REVEALING SO MUCH about all this, fantastic content and posts and community here vs. nastiness on forums elsewhere...
It would be interest to test the effect of external clocks on DACs. Some people think external clocks improve on jitter, others think it makes it worse. But I have yet to see any data.

I am in the process of purchasing RME ADI-2 Pro. I think it has external clock input and if so, I could test them with your external clocks. Start a "conversation" with me if you are interested and I will provide the shipping address.

And yes, I find that there is a dearth of objective data/measurements in pro world just as much as there is in consumer. Hopefully we can address some of that here.
 

RayDunzl

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#17
What about external clocking?
I'd think external clock in the Studio is there mainly to maintain master sync among different devices that might otherwise be free-running (prone to fall behind or get ahead of each other, eventually by some milliseconds) when relying on their own timebase.

I can see that here, when a test signal is played by the CD transport, and the (non-master-clock-synced-with-the-cd-player) clock in the PC/USB microphone causes the sent and received waveform not to occupy the same set of samples, with the difference increasing with time.

Isn't JITTER more a byproduct of clock signal "quality"?
I can't see any "clock" jitter in my room measurements, but the ceiling fan, moving the mic, somebody walking through the room, or even just waving my hand around all can be easily seen with effects similar to jitter (sidebands) on my meager analytical device.
 
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#18
Note that I have NOT managed to get it work as a DAC without recording. If there is no way around that then it is NOT good as DAC.
Hi There,

You absolutely can use the DAC without needing to record anything. Just push the record button once and it will flash (red) to indicate 'record-ready' status. This allows you to directly monitor SPDIF input via the analogue output. Also, the USB input is not for streaming audio; it's only for file transfer.

The ADC is very, very good, especially at DSD128 (and no slouch in PCM.)

Cheers,

Graemme
Zen Mastering
 

amirm

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#19
Thanks a bunch Graemme. That should make it easier to test.

On USB, does it look like a mass storage device so I can just grab the files in Windows or do I need their software to access them?
 
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