Re: [Harp-L] digital FX in the studio, amp-less

Robert Hale wrote:
<Took my Korg Pandora FX into the studio recently, but the engineer said it
<was a little too noisy to use direct to the board, so we went another route.
<My patches for harp don't use a lot of distortion and compression, so I was
<looking for the cause of s/n ratio.

Korg never intended the Pandora to be a stage or studio device; they promote it as an inexpensive, highly portable practice device.  (After I wrote that sentence, I went to to check the thing out, and the word "practice" appears 5 times in Sweetwater's product page at; among other things, the Pandora is described as "this micro-sized practice tool"). As such, it doesn't have to exhibit stage- or studio-grade performance or durability.  Maybe they overengineered it and it's way more capable than intended at the price point; I always liked the sounds Brendan Power got out of his.  However, I don't think I've heard a recording of Brendan through the Pandora that wasn't recorded live in performance, meaning that it was mic'd, not straight into the board.    

The thing sells for $99, and my guess is that the digital to audio converters aren't very high-end, so there's noise at the audio output.  Were you recording from the audio outputs?  The product description says it has a USB computer connection, but it doesn't say what it does, e.g. whether the device functions as an audio interface to the computer, as opposed to just being able to save its settings or patches.  Did you try to record using the USB connection?  The Digitechs act as 24-bit USB audio interfaces; most USB audio interface devices I've seen in the $100 range are 16-bit 44 kHz, which is a bare minimum format with a noticeably higher noise floor.  You have to make sure your input signal is at a high level to get a decent sound with 16 bit audio, and that increases the risk of peaks pinning the meters.  24-bit audio depth is what makes the Digitechs work so well as USB audio interfaces; in fact, the RP155 is the only 24-bit stereo audio interface selling at $100 that I can think of offhand--just about all the rest are in the $150 range. However, the Digitechs only have a mono input.  The Digitech is a good interface for anything electric that connects to an amp with a 1/4" plug: guitar, keys, harp. It probably wouldn't be my first choice for recording acoustic instruments, given for starters that it doesn't have phantom power for condenser mics or XLR mic inputs.      

What did the engineer do? I would have tried putting the Pandora through an amp and micing the amp--any noise from the Pandora would probably be masked by the amp's inherent self-noise, and if you used noise reduction on the amp, it would cover the Pandora too.

Did you have the output on the Pandora cranked up?  Low output on analog outs would be noisy for sure. 

Regards, Richard Hunter  

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