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MGR/Dean Brewis 09/26/2004

Korg PX4 : MGR/Dean Brewis's user review

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Having had a good look around at what was available, this seemed to be the best option (price aside). I bought this from Sound Control in Bristol UK for £149. I've had it about 18 months and no problems and recently I have used it every day.

It is only after having 'outgrown' the PX4 that I can say just how good it is. I recently bought a Boss GT6 and a Pod 2, BUT having gone back to the PX4 I can state that the presets (the sounds/patches) it comes shipped with are truly exceptional. There are many sounds that my GT6 simply can't easily emulate and I find myself using the basic PX4 sounds for recording far more than anything else.
Its size is a great plus point, very small and portable, but don't drop it - it will easily break - a nice rubberised or armoured wrap-around guard would be a nice extra to have available and I'd even welcome more durability for a slightly larger footprint.

You must accept that this is not a gigging tool, you simply would not be physically able to switch any settings in the heat of a gig although you can attach it to your guitar strap and if you have cordless headphones, you can do an impression of EVH by playing around the house with no cables as the PX4 has infra-red output.

The built in tuner is excellent as is the phrase trainer - but there should be a timer that allows you to physically start the record mode. This is a real blip in that I might lay down a backing track (anything up to the full 32 seconds available, but having pressed the start button, the time it takes to get my hand up back on the fretboard means there is a second or two delay and if I wanted the sound to loop - it simply wouldn't.

Back to the sounds available - Melissa and Piezo are truly phenomenal, very atmospheric. I would say that the cabinet modelling is a bit gimmicky though - and all that 'Wet Air' and 'Hall' stuff is a bit daft.

I took it on holiday with me together with my Speedster Traveler guitar and to be able to sit anywhere, on the beach etc, and slap some headphones on and simply play was an experience.

EVERY electrical appliance that needs a seperate power supply should come supplied with one and not as an extra - the PX4 falls into this camp = pants. This said - this isn't really the unit as such.

Construction could be a trifle chunkier.

For the guitarist of any level - the PX4 is a great tool but not being a floor based effects processor, it is strictly a desktop recording device or garage rehearsal tool. I would say that as the presets are so good (really they are) - you could be pretty stuffed attempting to emulate the identical sounds on stage. So if you hit upon a superb sound that 'makes' a song really special - be prepared to not have that available when gigging. I found this when recording my own version of Fleetwood Mac's 'Green Manalishi' - I put a much softer down tempo section in the middle with congas with a solo over the top using the PX4. It took the song to a different place - but I was unable to reproduce the sound outside of my home studio setup. I could have taken the PX4 on-stage, but as I said earlier, this wasn't practical as things move at such a frenetic pace during a gig. I got close to the sound using my GT6, but no cigar.
Of course it depends on what you want an effects processor to do - it certainly creates a range of interesting, varied and in many cases unique sounds, plus the extras are useful and functional - but it does have its limitations.

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