The quality of recordings is very good. An acoustic recording on this machine does sound digitized. I am sure that one might be able to hear the difference between a recording made on this and one made in a studio costing $1,000,000, but it's pretty damn good for the price. It has a lot of programmable effects to play with. I suppose they are pretty good, but this is not what led me to write this review. It has features like bending the pitch of a recording, or slowing down or speeding the tempo while keeping the pitch the same. This is where it started to sound bad. That feature needs improvement, but don't ask me how they made it.
The issue of reliability is why I decided to write this review. Do not buy this machine without an extended warranty, or, if you don't want a device that might just spontaneously stop working entirely for no apparent reason, then don't buy this at all. I have owned my Zoom MRS-1608 for six months, and used it occasionally at best during that time (other projects have taken priority). It has sat in a clean, dry room and has not been moved. I dust it off every couple of days. Just yesterday I turned it on, finally having time for my own creative musical projects for the time being, only to be greeted by the message: "HDD Error". No buttons will respond. I tried to reinitialize it using the various procedures mentioned in the manual - no change. I brought it to Sam Ash where I bought it from, brand new. The guy there said that their floor model experienced the exact same problem!!! So I am off on a 60 mile round trip trek to Bloomburg NJ, the nearest repair place to me. Not sure what happens next. It is still under warranty from zoom, but I already regret my purchase based on my experience and the statement from the Sam Ash guy. If you are looking for a reliable repair-free machine, apparently this ain't it.
I am a pianist and electronic keboardist. I bought this to do live recordings with my band and also to compose. I dig world-beat electronica as well as acoustic jazz and like to experiment with sequencers. I have been playing most of my life. I am 32 years old. I think that after today I might go for something else if I were to lose this machine, because it breaks for no reason. But I would miss a lot of the aspects that it offers. I like that it combines sequencer (drum machine with midi) with live digital recording. I compared it with some of the Yamaha and Roland digital studios which were a bit more pricey and didn't seem to offer many more features. Of course Yamaha stuff don't break. Roland is probably pretty reliable too. Boss is probably a worse option from what I have heard. I wish it had a better visual screen a la Pro Tools in order to see where things start and stop (especially handy in using the sampler). Up to yesterday it has been a help to me when I have had time to use it, now it is a hinderance, because I am without a working machine entirely.