Zoom R8 Review – Unlike many stand-alone digital multitrack recorders, the Zoom R8 is designed to work alone but also as a complement to computer-based DAW systems. This unit is very small and light but packed with features such as individual-level sliders for all eight tracks plus a master fader, multi-function play/mute/record buttons, transport controls, jog wheel, cursor buttons, 24-/48-volt phantom power for the microphones that need it, two combo XLR/1/4-inch input jacks, a 1/4-inch stereo output jack, headphone output, and more.
The R8 can record up to two tracks simultaneously and provides a maximum of eight tracks. Audio is recorded to a removable SDHC card (up to 32GB) in WAV format at 16-bit/44.1kHz or 24-bit/48kHz resolution. If you calculate the duration, one hour of 24-bit/48KHZ stereo audio will take up about 1 GB of memory. This unit also functions as an audio interface with two-input and two-output high-speed USB 2.0 and can be connected to a computer via USB. Another function is as a controller for DAW software, such as Cubase LE5, which is usually bundled with the R8.
You can also use the sampler function to easily create backing tracks, accompaniments, and other foundation tracks that have high sound quality. These features can be used to create a wide variety of music, from demo songs to produced recordings. The sampler section provides eight pads for loading up to eight samples, including drum sounds provided on the included 2GB SD card.
As previously described, power can be obtained from four AA batteries, or via a USB cable and power adapter. Given that the size of the Zoom R8 Review is smaller than A4 paper and its thickness is no more than a sandwich, the R8 is very easy to carry, it should even be easy enough to fit in a backpack. The body material is quite sturdy and definitely resistant to hard impacts, as long as it’s not thrown on purpose from the second floor, it’s definitely strong.
It may be small, but the Zoom R8 is packed full of recording options. A pair of combo jacks give you the option of connecting any microphone you have (even a condenser mic), or directly. Plus there’s a pair of built-in microphones, so you don’t need to bring any extra gear to record on the R8. If you’re looking for effects, the R8 also has over 140 built-in studio-style effects that you can use to enhance your sound. Best of all, even with its many recording options, the R8 is still incredibly easy to use!
The R8 is also a sampling tool and has 472 rhythms presets that can be edited, saved, and managed to create backing tracks. The presets and drum sounds played by the sequencer depend on the selected kit. You can choose kits such as basic, studio, live, rock, pop, funk, jazz, acoustic, techno, or urban.
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Most significant is that there are no dedicated tracks for the sequencer or sampler, so each individual loop or pattern must be assigned to its own track or operated using a pad. The problem with this setup is that if a number of patterns are used, then eight tracks will feel like it’s not enough. Therefore, if you do this as much as possible, the track is prepared in advance so that it can be time-efficient. For bands that require additional tracks, the R8 provides 8-channel playback, so your band can play backing vocals, guitar, bass, and other things that have been previously recorded.
In conclusion, the R8 is not without its flaws, but for musicians who are just getting into music technology for the first time, it could potentially be a pretty good buy. The sequencer and sampler features allow budding musicians interested in hip-hop, dance music, and other electronics to replicate the basic production techniques they hear. While the recording facility will help novice musicians in the magic of multi-tracking and mixing in the easiest way. -Zoom R8 Review-