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  • Zoom R8 Multitrack SD Recorder

    Any reviews any of you guy's have for it or input? I'm thinking about getting it well because it's cheap for a recorder and has drum rythyms that come on it cause I only know one drummer and if I'm recording he might not be able to lay down beat for me, so that's when that option would come in handy. If any of you guy's know anything about it or have one please comment. Also had a question would the SD card in the Zoom fit in the Dell I3531 SD/MMC-MS1PRO slot

  • #2
    Hardware based recorders are only good for portability. They were popular during the changeover from tape to computers but have extreme limitations when it comes to mixing music. A laptop will be just as portable and blow its doors off when it comes to the numbers of tracks you can record.

    The thing with stand alones is you have a small screen and limited visibility when it comes to mixing. You have to use a handbook for just about everything you want to do and getting a decent mix after the tracks have been recorded. In comparison, I rarely ever need to crack a manual on a DAW because everything you need is right there in front of you.

    If you use the Stand alone for tracking then move the files to a computer for mixing you'd be allot better off. You may be able to mix some decent recordings worth listening to. If portability isn't a major concern then I suggest going to a daw and skipping the stand alone all together. You can buy a quality interface for less then $50 these days and you can easily download something like Reaper as a DAW program for free or buy it very cheap. There are others available for free and places like KVR list hundreds of free effects plugins, amp modelers and virtual instruments you can use for mixing. You'll be lucky if a stand alone has one very basic set of effects which can be very difficult to adjust.

    The Lexicon interfaces even include a lite version of Cubase for free. Drums are no issue either. There are plenty of virtual drum machines that have samples that will blow the doors off anything that boss unit has built in. Of course there is a learning curve with both, but the computer DAW is so much easier to learn. Just given the fact you posted here proves you have half the skills perfected already. The rest is just finding the right menus and setting things up to record. Music requires mostly right brain activity and the technical/analytical aspects of recording involve the left.

    The less technical hoops you have to jump through getting a good recording, the less distracting it is from the music. There's no way in hell I'd want to have to crack a manual to figure out how to move tracks or edit things while I'm performing. My setup requires 3 buttons when I track. A record button and a stop button and a button to arm the track I plan to record on. That's it. Mixing is nearly as simple. I click on the virtial mixer and it has all the sliders, pan knobs of an actual mixer. Adding effects is as simple as right clicking and choosing what I want from a drop down list. Once selected you move knobs just like you do with actual hardware devices. You play back the tracks and adjust the effects as needed till you have what you want then mix down to a wave or MP3 file.

    With a stand alone you'll have to upload the tracks to a computer in any case. you'll want to burn CD's or upload to the net. When you record to a computer that's another hoop you can forget about. Its on the computer already. If hands on moving sliders is your thing you can buy a controller. I bought an 8 channel Korg for $39 and it lets me adjust track levels or pan the tracks using manual sliders. I can control up to 16 tracks with a simple toggle button.

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  • #3
    Originally posted by WRGKMC View Post
    Hardware based recorders are only good for portability...

    The less technical hoops you have to jump through getting a good recording, the less distracting it is from the music...
    I think that for some people a simple, single purpose device that they can learn to use by rote, is the best way to stay focused on the music. I don't have any hands on experience with the R8 but I did research it for a singer songwriter friend of mine who specifically did not want the distraction of using a computer.

    For many of us, particularly if we have a technical background, using a computer is not a difficult task. Others may have a hard time setting the clock on their digital oven but have an instinctive ability to blend spices.

    I use a MacBook for my own recording because I don't want to have to think about the computer or drivers or any of that stuff when I am playing music. When I am recording others I can get as technical as need be to serve the project as long as I don't have to perform. I can understand the value of hardware based recorders to people who want to stay in the right-brain.

    If I was looking for a stand alone unit the Zoom R8 would certainly be near the top of my list of contenders.
    "Isn't it a pity, isn't it a shame,
    how we break each other's hearts
    and cause each other pain"

    Comment


    • #4
      I can understand both sides of the argument. Tiny screen and menus within menus vs a virtual mixer on a computer DAW. The DAW is certainly likely to be more intuitive and easier to learn plus have deeper features and more versatility. But with more options the complexity increases and that can be daunting as well.

      the only reason I am considering something like the OP asked about is my luck so far with DAWs has not been good. First try was with an old IMac. Then later with a Dell Laptop. My interface was a 2 input Alesis USB. Tweaking till I went crazy, I could NEVER overcome the latency issue when overdubbing. I could never get my tracks aligned. I tried half a doz DAWs with the same crappy results.



      So if DAWs are so great, then exactly how much horsepower/processing speed is required if I buy a dedicated recording computer? I'd rather have a laptop but if necc because of cost vs computing power will consider a desktop. I'd like to be able to record more than 2 tracks at once so I'm assumining I'd have to spend quite a bit on a multichannel interface. But mainly I'd just like to record alongside an existing track and have the damn things play back IN SYNC! Just like my old Tascam 4 tri cassette does effortlessly without a degree in computer science.



      So let me have it, what do I need to buy that actually WORKS and doesn't cost thousands of $s?

      Comment


      • #5
        Originally posted by Pine Apple Slim View Post
        So let me have it, what do I need to buy that actually WORKS and doesn't cost thousands of $s?
        MacBook. It really is plug and play and it puts an end to the need for tweaking.

        A friend of mine bought a PreSonus Audio ox 1818VSL and a state of the art Dell Desktop. He asked me to help when he couldn't get it working properly. After spending a couple of days installing and updating drivers as well as reading many pages I suspected a hardware problem so I took the AudioBox home to try it out on my system.

        I plugged the unit into my MacBook, opened up Reaper and hit Record. Everything worked as it should have.

        I eventually bought the AudioBox from my friend who ended up getting a Tascam DP24.

        Apple's CoreAudio is a wonderful thing and, as long as your hardware is CoreAudio compliant, you will not have any issues.




        Last edited by onelife; 11-19-2015, 02:40 PM.
        "Isn't it a pity, isn't it a shame,
        how we break each other's hearts
        and cause each other pain"

        Comment


        • #6
          Originally posted by onelife View Post

          I think that for some people a simple, single purpose device that they can learn to use by rote, is the best way to stay focused on the music. I don't have any hands on experience with the R8 but I did research it for a singer songwriter friend of mine who specifically did not want the distraction of using a computer.

          For many of us, particularly if we have a technical background, using a computer is not a difficult task. Others may have a hard time setting the clock on their digital oven but have an instinctive ability to blend spices.

          I use a MacBook for my own recording because I don't want to have to think about the computer or drivers or any of that stuff when I am playing music. When I am recording others I can get as technical as need be to serve the project as long as I don't have to perform. I can understand the value of hardware based recorders to people who want to stay in the right-brain.

          If I was looking for a stand alone unit the Zoom R8 would certainly be near the top of my list of contenders.
          That's the whole point though. A stand alone recorder is not easier unless you have the gift of memorizing the entire manual. To me that's as technical and unmusical as it gets. Initially it may be easy to arm and record tracks but anything else becomes is actually more technically difficult to navigate then a computer.

          Just given the fact the OP posted here tells me he has some computer literacy. If you can browse the internet and open simple programs you can run a DAW. There is learning involved but most of that deals with audio engineering in general, not the program. If you understand the recording/mixing process, learning to do it on a DAW is ultra simple. Once a DAW is set up it only takes a few clicks to record. Mixing is no more difficult then using a hardware mixer.

          If you don't have a good idea what's involved in recording, a stand alone is going to be a headache. My buddy has one of the larger stand alone hard drive recorders. He wanted me to mix and master some live recordings he had done.

          Man I spent hours jumping from chapter to chapter in that manual trying to get those tracks to mix and I have nearly 50 years experience in audio recording. I never did figure out how to transfer the filers over so I eventually just played the tracks back in real time and recorded them onto my DAW and mixed them there.

          I know quite a few people who have done good work on a stand alone units, but every one of them have long since moved to DAWs.

          From what I understand the Zoom 8 can be used as an interface or a stand alone. It would likely be the best choice if you're going that route. I'd probably choose the R16 or 24 however. I believe the R8 only lets you record 2 tracks at a time, not all 8 so its pretty useless for any kind of live work. The others allow multichannel recording which is what you'd want. If you take it to rehearsals or tap into a live PA you want to be able to record individual instruments, not a stereo mix.

          Comment


          • #7
            Originally posted by WRGKMC View Post
            Hardware based recorders are only good for portability. They were popular during the changeover from tape to computers but have extreme limitations when it comes to mixing music. A laptop will be just as portable and blow its doors off when it comes to the numbers of tracks you can record.

            The thing with stand alones is you have a small screen and limited visibility when it comes to mixing. You have to use a handbook for just about everything you want to do and getting a decent mix after the tracks have been recorded. In comparison, I rarely ever need to crack a manual on a DAW because everything you need is right there in front of you.

            If you use the Stand alone for tracking then move the files to a computer for mixing you'd be allot better off. You may be able to mix some decent recordings worth listening to. If portability isn't a major concern then I suggest going to a daw and skipping the stand alone all together. You can buy a quality interface for less then $50 these days and you can easily download something like Reaper as a DAW program for free or buy it very cheap. There are others available for free and places like KVR list hundreds of free effects plugins, amp modelers and virtual instruments you can use for mixing. You'll be lucky if a stand alone has one very basic set of effects which can be very difficult to adjust.

            The Lexicon interfaces even include a lite version of Cubase for free. Drums are no issue either. There are plenty of virtual drum machines that have samples that will blow the doors off anything that boss unit has built in. Of course there is a learning curve with both, but the computer DAW is so much easier to learn. Just given the fact you posted here proves you have half the skills perfected already. The rest is just finding the right menus and setting things up to record. Music requires mostly right brain activity and the technical/analytical aspects of recording involve the left.

            The less technical hoops you have to jump through getting a good recording, the less distracting it is from the music. There's no way in hell I'd want to have to crack a manual to figure out how to move tracks or edit things while I'm performing. My setup requires 3 buttons when I track. A record button and a stop button and a button to arm the track I plan to record on. That's it. Mixing is nearly as simple. I click on the virtial mixer and it has all the sliders, pan knobs of an actual mixer. Adding effects is as simple as right clicking and choosing what I want from a drop down list. Once selected you move knobs just like you do with actual hardware devices. You play back the tracks and adjust the effects as needed till you have what you want then mix down to a wave or MP3 file.

            With a stand alone you'll have to upload the tracks to a computer in any case. you'll want to burn CD's or upload to the net. When you record to a computer that's another hoop you can forget about. Its on the computer already. If hands on moving sliders is your thing you can buy a controller. I bought an 8 channel Korg for $39 and it lets me adjust track levels or pan the tracks using manual sliders. I can control up to 16 tracks with a simple toggle button.
            Well Said. Well I was wanting to get the R8 because I can use a DAW on my computer and mix the tracks down. It comes with cubase so I can install it on my computer. I was going to record on the R8 and mix it down on the computer. I can really only afford the R8 not the R16 or 24, but I would love to have them. I will just have to record guitar and drums then bass again if I want

            Comment


            • #8
              For the same price as the R8 you can get the PreSonus AudioBox 44VSL which is a four channel interface and comes with recording software.
              "Isn't it a pity, isn't it a shame,
              how we break each other's hearts
              and cause each other pain"

              Comment


              • #9
                Originally posted by onelife View Post
                For the same price as the R8 you can get the PreSonus AudioBox 44VSL which is a four channel interface and comes with recording software.
                I'll definitely look that up and check that out then. Thanks

                Comment


                • #10
                  Originally posted by TeleSmasher View Post

                  Well Said. Well I was wanting to get the R8 because I can use a DAW on my computer and mix the tracks down. It comes with cubase so I can install it on my computer. I was going to record on the R8 and mix it down on the computer. I can really only afford the R8 not the R16 or 24, but I would love to have them. I will just have to record guitar and drums then bass again if I want
                  If you use it as an interface then you have virtually unlimited tracks available multitracking. The unit will only allow you to record two tracks at a time as a stand alone or connected to the computer.

                  The key here is the number of channels available. All interfaces or interfaces have a limited number preamps and converters. Two channel means you have two converters which will convert analog to digital at the same time. They are also full duplex so you can record and play back at the same time. Its essentially not that much different then a computers sound card except it uses high speed ASIO drivers instead of windows drivers. This minimizes latency multitracking and the interface has zero latency monitoring so the new tracks being recorded are heard in real time along with the tracks playing back already recorded. Many new computers have cards that will record 24/96 so that could be used recording, just not multitracking.

                  A windows card also consists of a $2 chip so doesn't usually produce the best sound quality, and the plugs on the card don't accommodate XLR and 1/4" jacks used in recording. For two tracks you really cant tell the difference between a windows card and an interface very easily. I used to use a Sound Blaster type card to mix down audio from Tape for CD burning and it did a pretty decent job making CD's

                  Many Pro interfaces consisting of 2 channels are way over priced. You need to decipher the shinola from the actual gear you're purchasing. If a 2 channel windows card cost $2 to manufacturer, a 2 Channel recording interface may cost $20 to build with the added jacks, pots and case. You can buy Lexicon interfaces new with Cubase LE for around $50. It doesn't have phantom power but even if you had to buy a separate phantom supply its still inexpensive.

                  I bought my three M-Audio 1010LE cards on EBay used for $50 each. They have 8 analog channels and two Digital each. The cards sold for around $250 each new so I got $750 worth of interfaces for $150. The only drawbacks are they only have two mic preamps and the rest are line level. That wasn't a big deal for me because I had preamps already from my analog tape gear setup and the changeover was easy. The other item is they are PCI cards. PCI was the fastest before Thunderbolt. Its still faster then USB and Firewire but computer manufacturers are switching to PCIe so this is likely may last DAW with these cards.

                  When I upgrade it will likely be to something like the TASCAM US-16x08. I have 24 channels now but use 16 tops recording a live band. 8 drum mics and the rest are used for Guitar, Bass and Vocals. The Tascam has 8 mic channels and 8 line level channels and would do the job.

                  They make a 12 channel for around $160. I could probably snag one of those on EB for $100. It's got 12 channels to the Zooms 2.

                  I cant get by with less then 4 channels doing my own stuff multitracking. I often used a stereo drum machine and stereo guitar effects on the first tracking session. From there I would only need two channels to go back and add addition stereo guitar parts, Mono Bass and vocals.

                  The convenience of having additional channels is you don't have to constantly swap chords every time you want to record another instrument. I leave my Vocal mic set up on channel one, Lead Guitar, 2&3, Rhythum or keyboard on 4&5, Bass on channel 6, and electric drums on 7&8.

                  I use a patch bay for these channels. When I record with the full band, I unplug from the front of the patch bay and the rest of the studio is rired for 16 channels. Channels 1, 2&3 are vocals. 4&5 are dual/stereo Lead guitar amp mics. (I run 2 amps for each guitar) 6&7 are two mics for the rhythm guitar, 8 is Bass, and 9~16 are the 8 mics on the drum set. I have an extra 8 for "other things I may want to use. DI from guitars, Keyboards etc. I can leave all of that connected all the time and just plug into the patch bay and bypass those items.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by WRGKMC View Post

                    If you use it as an interface then you have virtually unlimited tracks available multitracking. The unit will only allow you to record two tracks at a time as a stand alone or connected to the computer.

                    The key here is the number of channels available. All interfaces or interfaces have a limited number preamps and converters. Two channel means you have two converters which will convert analog to digital at the same time. They are also full duplex so you can record and play back at the same time. Its essentially not that much different then a computers sound card except it uses high speed ASIO drivers instead of windows drivers. This minimizes latency multitracking and the interface has zero latency monitoring so the new tracks being recorded are heard in real time along with the tracks playing back already recorded. Many new computers have cards that will record 24/96 so that could be used recording, just not multitracking.

                    A windows card also consists of a $2 chip so doesn't usually produce the best sound quality, and the plugs on the card don't accommodate XLR and 1/4" jacks used in recording. For two tracks you really cant tell the difference between a windows card and an interface very easily. I used to use a Sound Blaster type card to mix down audio from Tape for CD burning and it did a pretty decent job making CD's

                    Many Pro interfaces consisting of 2 channels are way over priced. You need to decipher the shinola from the actual gear you're purchasing. If a 2 channel windows card cost $2 to manufacturer, a 2 Channel recording interface may cost $20 to build with the added jacks, pots and case. You can buy Lexicon interfaces new with Cubase LE for around $50. It doesn't have phantom power but even if you had to buy a separate phantom supply its still inexpensive.

                    I bought my three M-Audio 1010LE cards on EBay used for $50 each. They have 8 analog channels and two Digital each. The cards sold for around $250 each new so I got $750 worth of interfaces for $150. The only drawbacks are they only have two mic preamps and the rest are line level. That wasn't a big deal for me because I had preamps already from my analog tape gear setup and the changeover was easy. The other item is they are PCI cards. PCI was the fastest before Thunderbolt. Its still faster then USB and Firewire but computer manufacturers are switching to PCIe so this is likely may last DAW with these cards.

                    When I upgrade it will likely be to something like the TASCAM US-16x08. I have 24 channels now but use 16 tops recording a live band. 8 drum mics and the rest are used for Guitar, Bass and Vocals. The Tascam has 8 mic channels and 8 line level channels and would do the job.

                    They make a 12 channel for around $160. I could probably snag one of those on EB for $100. It's got 12 channels to the Zooms 2.

                    I cant get by with less then 4 channels doing my own stuff multitracking. I often used a stereo drum machine and stereo guitar effects on the first tracking session. From there I would only need two channels to go back and add addition stereo guitar parts, Mono Bass and vocals.

                    The convenience of having additional channels is you don't have to constantly swap chords every time you want to record another instrument. I leave my Vocal mic set up on channel one, Lead Guitar, 2&3, Rhythum or keyboard on 4&5, Bass on channel 6, and electric drums on 7&8.

                    I use a patch bay for these channels. When I record with the full band, I unplug from the front of the patch bay and the rest of the studio is rired for 16 channels. Channels 1, 2&3 are vocals. 4&5 are dual/stereo Lead guitar amp mics. (I run 2 amps for each guitar) 6&7 are two mics for the rhythm guitar, 8 is Bass, and 9~16 are the 8 mics on the drum set. I have an extra 8 for "other things I may want to use. DI from guitars, Keyboards etc. I can leave all of that connected all the time and just plug into the patch bay and bypass those items.
                    I would love to have a 12 channel, but I can't find an affordable one with drum tracks. Has to have drum tracks so I can record a beat behind it, and I don't really want to have to get a drum machine to hook up to it. To much hassle for me, built in is way better for my stupidity when It comes to recording. I have one more question. Do you know if the SD card from the R8 will fit into the SD card slot in the Dell I3531? It has a slot right in the front of it, but it's pretty big, but again I have no idea how big the sd cards are with the R8 either

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      I own a Zoom R16 because I don't do computer music and record straight to the R16. As a recording device it's simple & easy, it doesn't have drum beats like the R8 but it has the same effects patches which some of them are OK & some are semi crappy. It's a good workstation that doubles as an interface.

                      Good luck

                      Comment

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