ZOOM ARQ – From Recorders to Controllers


Japanese based company, Zoom, known for their high quality portable recorders, released a new performance based piece of equipment that allows the user to run free from the booth. The Zoom Arq is a sequencer, drum machine, synthesizer, clip launcher, looper, and a MIDI controller, packed into a portable ring.


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When looking at the ARQ, we notice two main components: the ring and the deck.


The base deck is essentially the brain of the machine, programmed with 468 different sampled drum sounds, 70 synthesizer sounds, and different types effect types. The samples are one shot samples meaning that what you hear is what you get. It is equipped with a 1/4 headphone jack, 1/4″ line-level outputs, a USB for MIDI, and an SD card slot which lets you save drum loops and synth sequences, and import your own sounds for use.


The Arq’s Ring is where the fun comes in. Built with 96 velocity and pressure-sensitive pads that can be used as a drum machine, a sequencer, or a clip launcher. The pads can be programmed with a number of preset scales, or it can be used chromatically. Most importantly, what makes the Arq, the Arq, is the fact that the Ring Controller is fully detachable and communicates with the deck via Bluetooth. You can use the arq as a live drum machine, looper, sequencer, or program it to MIDI to use as a wireless MIDI controller. This is what allows you to take your performance to the next level, allowing you to step away from the booth and face your crowd.


The controller has a grip detection technology which prevents you from mis-triggers or accidentally hitting notes/drums. The Ring is also equipped with dedicated buttons at the top to play, stop, and record, and effect dedicated effect buttons for reverb, delay, filter, and Master FX. Finally, 3-axis accelerometer controls MIDI effects allowing you to fully utilize the handheld device.

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Zooms Arq is an ambitious and innovative piece of hardware designed to get you out from behind the booth, out in front of your audience, maximizing your stage presence. It can also be used as an effective controller and could very easily make its way on to your bedroom studios table. The Arq is currently going for $599.00 and can be bought at these various locations.

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