NAMM 2016: ARQ - A New Electronic Instrument From Zoom
Combined drum machine, sequencer, synthesizer, looper, and MIDI controller for electronic music production and performance 21/01/16
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Zoom says that music is a voyage of discovery - One that now goes much further with the creation of the ZOOM ARQ Aero RhythmTrak. They say that ARQ brings a completely new, revolutionary experience to not only music producers, but performers as well.
A spokesperson told us, "ARQ is a drum machine, sequencer, synthesizer, looper, and MIDI controller with a built-in accelerometer. Even more, ARQ is freedom. The ARQ allows music producers to create drum patterns, sequences, synth sounds, loops, launch clips, and control MIDI, while performers can detach ARQ's wireless Bluetooth Ring Controller to get out of the booth and in front of the audience."
Micah Eberman, Vice President of Brand Experience at Zoom North America, told us, "Zoom has a long history of working outside of convention to bring new technology with never-before-seen features that inspires and empowers creators--and the ARQ is no exceptionIt opens up a world of new production options while also empowering artists to reinvent their performance."
Here's Zoom's own description...
The ARQ consists of two powerful components--the Base Station (AR-96) and the detachable Ring Controller (AR-96c).
The Base Station The ARQ Base Station houses 468 drum/instrument sounds ("one-shot" sampled waveform sounds), 70 types of synthesizer sounds, and dozens of digital effects. Dual 1/4" line-level audio inputs enable phrase recording and looping. There are also stereo 1/4" line-level outputs, as well as a dedicated 1/4" headphone jack with its own volume control. A USB port allows connection to your computer, and an SD card slot lets you save patterns and loops, import prerecorded audio, and update firmware. The Ring Controller The detachable Ring Controller communicates with the Base Station, as well as DAWs, via wireless Bluetooth. It offers 96 velocity- and pressure-sensitive pads for clip launching and playing drum sounds, instrument sounds, and sequences. Phrases and sounds can be played chromatically, or you can choose from dozens of preset scales in any key. Its unique Grip Detection automatically prevents accidental triggering of the pads under your hand. There are dedicated buttons at the top and bottom of the Ring for REC/PLAY/STOP, as well as Filter/Delay/Reverb/MASTER FX on/off. An onboard 3-axis accelerometer generates MIDI control messages to alter sounds and effects in real time. Its internal Lithium-Ion battery automatically charges when the Ring is placed on the Base Station.
The Only Drum Machine for Performers Not only does ARQ allow you to create incredible drum parts and patterns, you can also use the Ring Controller as a live instrument. Play it while mounted to the Base Station, or remove it to take your performance to the front of the stage. ARQ comes with a multitude of editable PCM drum and instrument sounds organized into 50 genre-specific kits, and you can also develop 50 kits of your own, complete with effects. Once you perform with ARQ, you'll never use another drum machine again.
It's a Circular Sequencer--No Computer Necessary Traditional devices take a linear approach to sequencing, but ARQ is anything but traditional. For the first time, you can visualize your music as a true loop, up to 5 parts at a time.
Individual patterns or complete songs can be constructed one step at a time or by recording a real-time performance, with an onboard mixer for setting volumes, muting, and soloing. Instruments can be assigned to single or multiple pads and up to 3 parts can be created at a time. Up to 33 parts can be played back simultaneously, and the timbre or note of each part can be changed with the touch of a button. 400 patterns can be combined in any order to form a complete song, then flattened into an audio loop that can be played back from a single pad--all without the use of a computer. It's a Comprehensive Synthesizer ARQ's powerful sound engine offers 70 preset "one-shot" sounds--sampled waveforms that can be pitch-shifted as they are played over multiple pads--as well as an onboard synthesizer that allows you to build completely original timbres. Choose from 531 different oscillator types for sonic variety, then add digital effects such as filtering, delay, and reverb, along with sound-shaping controls like envelope generators and stepped or smooth modulation.
It's a Loop(er) ARQ allows you to create completely original loops from onboard sounds or patterns, or by capturing external audio. Set start and end points, change the pitch if desired, choose between forward or reverse playback, then assign each loop to a different controller pad. Up to 32 loops can be played simultaneously and synchronized to the same tempo. ARQ makes creating loops a lot more fun.
It's a Wireless MIDI Controller Use the Ring for wireless control of all your MIDI instruments and devices connected to your computer--samplers, synths, and drum machines, as well as MIDI-enabled effects processors. Its 96 pads are velocity-sensitive and can also send aftertouch (MIDI messages generated based on the pressure applied to the pads once they are being held down).
Accelerate your Performance The Ring's onboard 3-axis accelerometer can be used to change sounds and effects in real time. Wave and tilt it to alter onboard effects parameters and to generate MIDI control messages. You can even link it to your digital mixing console and use the accelerometer to fly sounds around the room. ARQ utilizes wireless Bluetooth LE for low power consumption, giving you lots of performance time between battery charges.
Break Out. Break Free. Break Away. Take your performance to places you've never been before. Express yourself and get closer to your audience. Open up a world of new options for music production. Create in ways that were simply not possible until now.
The Zoom ARQ--see how instrumental an instrument can be.
Features At A Glance
Drum machine, sequencer, synthesizer, looper, clip launcher, and MIDI controller in one device
Includes 468 drum/instrument sounds ("one-shot" sampled waveform sounds), 70 types of synthesizer sounds, and dozens of digital effects
Ring Controller can be used wirelessly as a handheld aerial instrument and to launch audio clips from DAW software
96 velocity- and pressure-sensitive pads and 160 programmable color LEDs
Grip Detection to automatically prevent accidental note triggering
3-axis accelerometer for altering effects parameters and sending MIDI control messages
Dedicated buttons for sequence REC/PLAY/STOP and for effects on/off
Use up to 5 effects simultaneously, applied to overall drum kit or individual drum sounds
Split mode allows one instrument to be assigned to multiple pads for ease of input
Onboard mixer for setting volumes and muting/soloing parts
Flexible precount, quantize, swing, and beat settings
Audible and/or visual click
Dual 1/4" inputs for phrase recording and loop creation
Audio capture from patterns and songs, from SD card, or from incoming audio signal
Create up to 99 mono or stereo loops, play up to 32 simultaneously
Loop start and end points can be set on the fly or adjusted manually
Loop tempo synchronization, pitch change, and reverse playback functions
Programmable synthesizer engine
531 oscillator types and 16-voice polyphony
Sound-shaping controls include effects, envelope generators, and stepped and smooth modulation
Play sounds chromatically, or choose from dozens of preset scales in any key
Adjustable pad velocity and pressure sensitivity
Dedicated tap tempo button for synchronization
Selectable LED light-show animations
Dual 1/4" line outputs and separate 1/4" headphone output with dedicated volume control
USB port and SD card slot
Bluetooth LE for low power consumption and extended usage times
Pricing and Availability: In stores April 2016. $599.99.