by Robin Vincent | Approximate reading time: 2 Minutes

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NAMM always produces some weird and wonderful things. Zoom may have an early entry into the WTF category and the show hasn’t even started yet. The Zoom ARQ looks either amazing or mad depending on your taste but it is packed full of interesting features for the performing musician. Zoom says “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.” That was the bit that got me. In the video below you’re thinking yeah ok, that’s interesting and then they take the ring off and start playing it like a tamborine – mind = blown!


It’s got more features than you can shake a circular stick at.

  • 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

It’s one of those things that has to be seen to be believed and I think it might create a bit of a stir.


From the features list and an expected price of 599 USD it’s certainly supposed to be a serious piece of performance gear.

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