MATRIXSYNTH: Zoom ARQ-96 (synthesizer sampler sequencer)

Friday, January 15, 2021

Zoom ARQ-96 (synthesizer sampler sequencer)

via this auction

You can find some demos of the Zoom ARQ-96 in previous posts here.

"Here’s what I think the pros are: 1) Sounds amazing. The sound quality is great, competitive with Roland gear. I was quite surprised at how hi-fi this machine sounds. 2) The round shape is effective. Takes up very little space, and really works well for sequencing. 3) Depth. This is a full featured synth with plenty of tricks up its sleeve. You will be able to record complex, full songs with this. 4) Price. For what I am asking, it’s an unbeatable amount of power for the money.

Now for the cons. 1) You will need a MIDI keyboard. For sequencing, the ring thing is fine. Try to play it like an instrument, it’s awkward and tricky. If you jiggle it too much (and you will) it will think you are detaching the ring and there will be an interruption. This is not wear and tear to this unit, it’s inherent to this design. It really demands that you play it with the ring detached, which is awkward. And to be clear: this controller design is not great for playing. Break out the trusty Keystep. That’s the biggest flaw I have found. 2) Menu diving. All that power comes with a learning curve. The menu is deep. This thing does a lot. You will be downloading a big old PDF and spending some time. (Nobody gives you a full print manual anymore, it seems.) This kind of learning curve is a hurdle for all of these do-a-lot devices. I just want to be clear that this is not an exception. 3) Zoom orphaned the line. You can find some tutorials, there’s a manual available, but that’s it. Zoom bailed on it."

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