Multi-Track Digital Recorder
I actually wanted to get the Zoom MRS 1608. I suppose like some of you out there, I was reading about it and wanting to get it, but the price always had it on the wish list. Then I finally was ready to purchase it, and it became obsolete because of the Zoom HD16. Electronics and technology moves by so fast that, ya know what? This is now obsolete by the R16 and R24, but I think I’ll keep mine.
Zoom products, for as long as I can remember, have always been a quality product with more features than a man or woman can use. When I was looking for a home studio recorder I naturally looked at prices. Their price initially drew me in, but after checking out the features, I was sold on it even if it would have cost more.
Like the MRS 1608, this is a workhorse. I must admit that if you have never used a multi-track recorder before, there is a bit of a learning curve to getting all of the operations down. And that is why I started this series. Not only will you learn how to use the Zoom HD16, but you will also learn how to use a multi-track recorder in general. They truly are easy to use once you know what to do and how to do it.
Before we go through the features, here are the links to the walk-through videos that I have made. Just in case you already read the review and want to get to recording. It will be an ongoing project so bear with me, there’s a lot in there.
Now, let’s take a look at the HD16, and HD8 since they are similar:
Both the HD8 and HD16 have an impressive 80GB hard disk. That’s approximately 240 hours of recording time. They use a 16-bit/44.1 kHz sampling in WAV format.
Each track has ten virtual tracks, so you can record multiple takes without losing any one of them.
The HD16 allows recording on (up to) 8 tracks simultaneously to capture a live performance. Or you can record a complete drum kit, all on separate tracks! You can record live or in your home studio on multiple tracks with multiple takes. How convenient is that?
It has a “Bounce” feature. Once you have captured individual tracks, push the mix-down key to bounce your tracks to a stereo track. In addition to your audio tracks, you can also include rhythm tracks and effects. This feature frees up tracks so you can record additional instrumental or vocal tracks. Even large ensembles that exceed the default number of tracks can be managed this way. And you don’t need an external master recorder for the final mix.
Both the HD8 and HD16 have fantastic editing capabilities. In addition to standard copy, move, and erase functions, you can also trim the length of the recorded data, adjust the tempo with time stretch, create precision fade-ins and fade-outs, and even reverse the contents of a track. With tools such as pitch correction and a harmonized pitch shifter, your vocal tracks will sound like you recorded in a Professional Recording Studio.
You can access any point on any track using up to 100 specified markers.
A-B repeat makes repeated playback or recording of a specific sequence quick and easy.
Auto punch “in/out” ensures that you get the exactly what you want and where you want it.
You can build tracks from looped material using the phrase loop function. You can build a full-fledged loop track simply by lining up audio phrases, whether they are vocals, bass, guitar, keyboard, or drums.
By specifying the playing sequence and repetition count, you can create the backing for an entire song with just a few keystrokes, . Use parts of recorded data or WAV/AIFF files as loop material, or you can get sources from a computer via USB or from the CD-R/RW drive. The HD8 and HD16 both come with 96 ready-to-use preset loops that containing drums, bass, and guitar phrases that you can use to build your song around.
You probably think that this is a pretty fantastic recorder, huh? But we’re just getting started! There’s a lot more that comes with the Zoom HD16!
The HD8 and HD16’s faders, control knobs, and level meters are arranged like mixing consoles that are found in the best studios. Each track has a rotary encoder that quickly adjusts parameters like, 3-band LOW / MID / HIGH EQ, two effect send actions, and panning. There is a solo function called “Scene Memory” where you can save your recording settings to be called up manually or automatically, to save time with the mixing process. You can save up to 100 of these “Scenes” for quick recall.
The input lines are combination XLR-1/4″ line inputs that connect to an internal preamp with phantom power to provide flexibility for your recording set-up. This means that you can plug in a 1/4″ guitar cord , or a microphone’s XLR cord in the same plug. So if you use one more than the other, it’s no problem. The HD8 has two and the HD16 has eight of these connectors. Because the HD16 features individual phantom power on/off switches, you can configure a multi-mic environment with a combination of up to eight dynamic and condenser mics. A high-impedance switch allows a direct connection of sources such as guitars, basses, and keyboards. Master outputs are also available as analog RCA jacks or an S/PDIF optical output.
Two headphones jacks are provided so a performer and an engineer can separately monitor the recording and playback. The HD16 even lets you create a monitor mix that is separate from the master output.
This powerhouse has 529 drum sound sources.The HD8 and HD16 has percussion options that are truly amazing. It has from rock, funk, and jazz drums, to pretty much every kind of acoustic and electronic drum sound you can imagine. Not only that, but they have 21 pre-assembled drum kits with 27 sounds each (3 banks × 9 pads) that are on-board. Both the HD8 and HD16 include vintage drum machine sounds with numerous auxiliary percussion and special effects sounds.
There is a 66 second sampler that lets you assign any part of an audio track, or an imported WAV/AIFF file, to the on-board pads; allowing you to build as many as 1,000 different and distinct drum kits. There are eleven bass sound sources; including electric bass, acoustic bass, and synthesizer bass.
There are 475 preset rhythm patterns. The rhythm patterns cover a wide range of styles from rock and pop, to jazz, funk, and more. You can choose from a wide variety of intros, fills, and ending patterns that you can link together to quickly create a rhythm track for your project.You can also invent your own patterns with the nine “touch-sensitive” pads for real-time rhythm programming. Up to 511 original patterns can be created and stored. The Hd8 and the HD16 has standard MIDI Files (SMF) that can be imported and used to play internal rhythm sounds as well as external MIDI sources. A software plug-in for programming and editing patterns is also included.
At any time, you have access to 130 types and 370 patches of DSP effects. The effects are configured with seven modules featuring various settings for guitar, bass, and vocals. Two types of send/return effects are ideal for fine-tuning the overall ambiance of a song. And all three effect types can be used simultaneously. Then you can optimize the dynamic range with a compressor / limiter and minimize noise with “Zoom Noise Reduction” (ZNR). You can choose from a wide variety of studio-quality effects; including chorus, flanger, phaser, delay, and reverb, or you can synchronize delays or modulation to the song tempo with BPM effects.
Still not enough for your money? Well, how about this…
The HD16 also offers the “8×COMP EQ” effect for use on up to eight inputs simultaneously to individually optimize dynamics and frequency response when recording multiple tracks at once.
Achieve professional-level results with mastering effects
It has a multi-band compressor, normalizer and other mastering effects to assist you in the control of dynamics, and listening level of your final mix. With 21 mastering presets on-board, you can achieve professional-level results. The final mix will actually rival quality of the major labels. You can also use these tools when importing analog sources such as LPs or cassettes.
There are 18 different guitar amp models (such as Fender, Marshall, Vox and Mesa Boogie), and 6 bass amp models (such as Ampeg, Bassman and Hartke) that you can connect your guitar or bass to and get a distinct power amp and speaker cabinet characteristic.
There is even a built-in chromatic tuner to keeps your instrument ready for your recording session.
Quick connection to a computer ( WIN & MAC ) via USB cable
There is a 2.0 USB port that supports high-speed data transfer of up to 480 Mbps. Simply drag and drop audio files in WAV format recorded on the HD8/HD16 to the computer. You can fine-tune song arrangements with DAW software, or convert files to MP3 for uploading to your web site or sending by email. The possibilities for personal recording projects virtually are endless. Data backup, restore and importing of WAV files are also quick and easy.
You’ll find the studio recording console features so convenient and intuitive and you can keep on using them when the HD8/HD16 is connected to a computer. Using either USB or MIDI, the HD8/HD16 can act as control surface for a DAW application. The faders, keys, and rotary encoders can be assigned to control the mixing functions of the software. This is a really great feature because it makes transport control and mixing operations (such as fade, pan, and EQ adjustments) much more “physical”. Adjustments that are difficult to do with a computer mouse (such as using multiple faders simultaneously) are a breeze with this control surface. The HD8 and HD16 also come with Steinberg’s Cubase LE 4, so you can use your computer for sophisticated graphics-based mixing and arranging right away. But this software is the trial version and if you want to continue using it, you will have to upgrade that, or get another software to use.
MIDI time code and MIDI clock’s output capability lets you synchronize playback operation with an external sequencer or recorder. Or you can set up a larger system to coordinate the HD8 and HD16 with other computer DAW software or additional multi-track recorders.
The HD8CD and HD16CD comes with an on-board CD-R/RW drive to let you burn audio CDs or backup data CDs quickly. Disc-at-once writing is supported, which is great for producing live albums or mixes without gaps between tracks. Capturing the audio data of a CD for use as V-takes is also possible.
So, what do you think? Do you think you’re getting your money’s worth?
And I know you are thinking that it would be difficult to operate, but it isn’t. All you need to know is how to use it. the functions are quick and easy once you know where to find them. I had such a hard time at first because I couldn’t find any information on how to use it. That is why I am going to make these videos, because once you see how easy it is, you’re going to want one!
Well, I hope this was informative and I’m sure I left some stuff out (I can’t think of everything). Just bear with me and you’ll see how easy it is…