7 Reasons Why Zoom R8 Is the Easiest Multitrack Recorder to Use

With the market buzzing with a multitude of multitrack recorders, each more expensive and intricate than the last, making a decision about which one to go with becomes a complex mess. As a practicing musician with over 4 years of experience, I will shed some light over what separates the Zoom R8 from the mulch.

What do you look for in a multitrack recorder?

With a mind-numbing array of multitrackers on the market right now, it’s very difficult to single out one decent entry-level workstation from the rest. People wanting to step into the formidable world of music recordings are daunted by the sheer choice and the fear of making mistakes by choosing wrong equipment. Most of them end up buying a workstation that compromises

– User experience, with 74,000 different modules and a manual the size of a dictionary.

– Sound quality – because the unit could not deliver, or they didn’t know how to “dial in” to their sound.

The worst part about this is that they shell out thousands of dollars on these wrong choices.

What should an ideal workstation offer?

For the sake of this article, I will distil 4 years of recording experience and tell you that you can analyze an entry level multitrack recorder on the following points:

– Usability and user interface

– Sound Quality

– Price

Why Zoom R8 is heads and shoulders above the rest

These 7 features of the Zoom R8 make it immediately evident that it stands out; and it delivers on what it sells.

1. Usability

In terms of usability, the Zoom R8 boasts of an extremely easy-to-understand, intuitive UI. The acid test I put it through when I purchased mine was to break into the functions of the unit – without reading the manual. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that most features were very straightforward and intuitive. I could apply send and return effects with a little trial-and-failure. I only got stuck when I reached the drum machine programming portion.

Usability: 9/10

2. Features

One thing that the Zoom R8 does not lack is features. For a machine with the footprint of a standard A4 sheet of paper, the unit is crammed full of features that would take months to explore fully. Yes, the most basic of these can be mastered in a very short time, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. With an amp simulator, a drum machine, sampler and inbuilt control surface, this packs a major punch.

Features: 8/10

3. Sound

The sound on the Zoom R8 has sparked rabid praises around the Interweb with people raving about the crisp sound quality and the amazing dry tracks that this machine produces.

Sound: 9/10

4. Sound FX and Presets

The unit is a powerful effect engine as well. With around 150 DSP effects and 370 guitar patches, guitarists like me are spoilt for choice. I especially love how this can emulate the G2 Nu Guitar Effects processor.

FX: 9/10

5. Samplers and the drum machine

The drum machine has 10 kits to choose from. It takes very little effort to recall presets, or even to make your own drum tracks. The drum tracks sound as organic as possible, but I was a little disappointed with the overall barely-organic tone of the drums.

Drum Machine: 6/10

6. Easy USB setup with Cubase

This workstation also functions as a DAW Control surface. With Cubase bundled along with it, connecting and using it with your computer becomes a piece of cake. This gives you a high degree of control over your tracks and final mastering.

Ease of USB Setup: 9/10

7. Price

One of the most competitively priced units on the markets; it packs the most punch for its price. It’s one of the best under $500 multitrack recorders out there.

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