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Sound Quality

I mostly use the device for live recording of young bands (from FOH DO). Don't fool yourself - MRS-1608 is a 44.1k/16bit device. If this format is suitable for the attempted work, go ahead! Practically, it means that the headroom choices are rather tough. Therefore, if the sound engineer will compress a little the lead and some drums, it is absolutely easier to manage the headroom. The A/D converters are Asahi Kasei AK4552 also used in Roland SP-404 and elsewhere. But once again, you get what you paid for. It's not Apogee or even Presonus, OK? While recording beginners, there are so much noises and instrument handling errors on the stage that the quality of MRS-1608 is not limiting the records anyhow. I use no onboard effects for most of my work (except once for the second guitar, to elliminate 50Hz caused by cheap 9V stage blocks). The channels 1 and 2 (these whith guitar jacks) are more noisy than other channels. I first noticed the artefacts while connecting analog to a Yamaha 01 series digital desk. Probably 44.1 and 48 kHz were beating. But then I discovered that the artefact is also present while working with analog desks. The solution is - forefront GUITAR VOLUME pots should be approx 60% clockwise for the minimum noise. Most probably the signal lines for these two channels are more complex than for other 6 channels. If possible, I use XLRs, because cheap TRS could cause clicks, especially with unbalanced input signals. From some band members I have heard that when mixing live, the digital delay passing the MRS-1608 is TOO long to work conveniently. I had not verified this claim seriously.


I made a special luggage unit with soft foam where I put MRS-1608 into. The device has travelled thousands of kilometres and so far no problems. Usually I set the volume during soundchecks and then let the MRS-1608 run unattended, switching Projects for each band on the stage. MRS-1608 has never failed during a gig, except one occasion when the disk was 95% full and it stopped the recording during the sound-check. Fortunately I got the point and was able to fast erase some previous projects. The device is made from BARE METAL and shows no durability issues. And, while open-air gigs or abnormal gig drinking is expected, I always cover it with a waterproof bag.

General Comments

It took for me some year to decide which device I will buy and I have not regretted my decision for 3 years. It seems to me that MRS-1608 is the only semi-pro device really enabling the cheap 8-track recording of long festivals. The only limitation is the channel count which presribes the heavy use of drum group mix.


I mostly do the recording for hobby and self-education, and MRS-1608 has been a good starting point for me. However, I am already building a new 24-ch setup based on Hammerfall HDSP 9652, Linux Ardour and 3x 8-channel A/D converters.


What I hate - that the schematics of MRS-1608 is not available on the Net ;) What I really love - the way Zoom provided the standard Windows file system - ensuring the low cost repair.


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