Korg D-1200 MKII
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Korg D-1200 MKII
MGR/Derek Mok 11/09/2004

Korg D-1200 MKII : MGR/Derek Mok's user review

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My Korg D12 was running out of drive space after only one album's worth of recordings, and add-on Glyph drives to increase its storage cost at least $400. Hardly seemed worth it, then, to upgrade an obsolete unit. The D1200mkII sold for $849 on Musician's Friend and Music 123. Guitar Center stores in Hollywood and Sherman Oaks were willing to match the price.

Compact enough to do mobile recording -- a must, since it allows me to record drum tracks at any location I wish. Huge array of features, 40GB internal drive (over six times the storage of my old D12) with USB connectivity. The interface is nearly identical to the D12's and I didn't have to relearn a whole new system of operations. Much faster CD burner than the D12, and it now comes pre-installed on the unit, rather than as an extra acquisition as on the D12. The XLR inputs can now provide phantom power to microphones, and this unit still gives good sound quality.

The build seems flimsier than on the D12, and the buttons are definitely stiffer. The soft rubber-padded buttons on the D12 were extremely responsive, superior to the plastic ones on this D1200mkII. The layout of the input jacks is more conventional, but I now realize the advantage of the D12's unusual, front-access jacks: The input jacks on the D1200mkII are so close to the trim knobs and other controls that you can no longer use certain types of cable jacks on them. Data access seems slower; it takes longer to stop a track and access marked points. Finally, the packaging is crap -- since there is no carrying case available for the D1200mkII, I always pack it back into its original box for protection, and this box was designed so that you can't close it back up completely. Since the D1200mkII is a portable recorder, I think Korg should really make a specially tailored carrying case for it.

One last, substantial gripe: As on the D12, the click track is far, far too soft! I always use a click track when I record rhythm tracks, and even at the top volume setting, this click track can barely be heard over a drum machine that's far from peaking. Korg should have erred on the side of too loud rather than too soft here.



Doesn't feel quite as solid as the D12. This unit has a larger surface but thinner edges, so it will suffer more from impact. But a device such as this one is meant to be handled gingerly, so I don't count this as a major flaw.

I was blown away by the D12 when I got it years ago; the D1200mkII didn't quite have the same jaw-dropping effect. That could conceivably be because I've already been spoiled by the D12's features. But the D1200mkII adds some invaluable features (the USB connector and enlarged hard drive being the chief ones) that patch up many of the D12's weaknesses, and most assuredly makes the D12 obsolete. I'd recommend the D1200mkII as much as I once recommended the D12 -- this is simply one of the best mid-level, portable digital recorders.

This review was originally published on http://www.musicgearreview.com