A Closer Look at The Zoom R24 MultiTrack Recorder

When Zoom released the R16 a while back, it did so with plenty of features, tons of interactivity between recorder and computer and the ability for the R16 to be used as a standalone unit, all in a lightweight and portable package. It allowed for the recording of 16 tracks per project with up to 8 of them being simultaneously recordable while hooking it up to a computer via USB while using compatible DAW software (or the included software) allowed for the use of the R16 as a physical controller and audio interface able to directly manipulate your tracks. And now with the release of the R24, Zoom has brought back everything included with the R16 but now has 24 tracks and adds a built in sampler pad along with a few more features. So, for those of you who in the market for a portable multi-track recorder slash USB audio interface controller or simply want to know more about what this baby can do, read on and get a closer look at the Zoom R24.


The Main Features of the R24

Among the main features included in the R24 is the support for up to 24 independent tracks, although only 8 of those tracks can be recorded live simultaneously, much like its predecessor the R16, since both are limited to only 8 physical combo XLR/ ¼” input sockets in order to retain its portability. Eight sockets is still more than enough to record an entire band or even a full blown professional multi mic’d drum kit recording. And if for some reason 8 are still not enough, link a pair of R24s and you will have up to 16 tracks of simultaneously recordable tracks. You can also use the included Hi-Z input for direct connection with a guitar or bass.

The R24 also features two built in condenser mics making standalone stereo recording on the unit possible which should come in handy when needing to record a quick idea or an impromptu jam session. The built in mics sound good enough for modest recordings but for those looking for a bit more high fidelity, you can easily use better quality condenser mics as the R24 is equipped with phantom power for up to six of its mic inputs.

There are also plenty of effects to choose from included with the R24 such as compression and EQ which can be used on up to eight tracks simultaneously as well as over one hundred other studio effects, not to mention the amp simulators that feature 18 types of guitar amp models or six different bass amp models. The newly added feature of the sampler lets you choose from 24 different voices using 8 pads and three bank keys that allow you to assign sounds/samples to each pad and even create loops. The sampler pad can also be used as a drum machine to create original back beats or if you prefer, simply use the unit’s over 400 different rhythm patterns that include intros, fills and endings. The pads and their samples can all be used in real time during recording for added versatility. And of course, the R24 has a metronome for all your time keeping needs.

The standalone features of the R24 are only half of the story as the unit can be connected via USB and used as a music editing software controller for the included Cubase software or many other DAW programs. Using the R24 for this purpose lets you directly control several aspects of each track using the unit’s many physical buttons and faders, making software based recordings much more fluid. All in all, this feature was easy to set up and gives a much more natural and professional feel while doing software based recordings. The R24 also gives you the option to mix tracks straight from the unit instead of a music program as it uses a dedicated master track capable of implementing several mastering effects as well as panning, EQ and chorus/delay/reverb just to name a few.

The R24 is just as slim and portable as its predecessor and can easily be put in a back pack without it adding much noticeable weight. As far as power goes, you can use the included ac adaptor or six AA batteries for up to four hours of continuous recording, making the recorder capable of true standalone recording anywhere. As far as memory goes, the R24 comes with an included 1 gig SD card but can be expanded to 32 gigs using an SDHC card which should give you about 100 hours worth of recordings. As far as playback is concerned, the headphone jack uses a 1/4" input so you'll need an adapter to use standard headphones, but this should come as no surprise for anyone familiar with music equipment.


The Verdict

The Zoom R24 expands on everything that made the R16 a truly versatile, portable and affordable multi-track recorder. The multi-functionality of the R24, including its ability to act as an audio interface and a controller, add to the already fully functional standalone recording options. Add a sampler, phantom power, drum kit and hundreds of effects and you have yourself a truly capable piece of equipment that you can essentially use anywhere. All in all, the R24 is a great buy at a great price.



Recap of Notable features:

* Multi-track RecorderOver 100 studio-quality effects including guitar amp models and mastering effects

* Records on up to 32GB SDHC cards for maximum recording time

* 8 balanced XLR-1/4-inch combination inputs

* Records in WAV 48kHz/44.1kHz at 16-bit or 24-bit

* Easily viewable 4-segment LED meter bridge

* 48V phantom power available on 6 tracks

* Over 4 hours of operation using 6 AA alkaline batteries (AC adapter included)

* Sync two R24s via USB for 16 tracks of simultaneous recording

* Audio InterfaceHigh-definition 24-bit/96kHz recording capability using digital audio software

* 8 in / 2 out (8 x 2) via USB

* Control SurfaceFull mixing and transport controls for Cubase, Logic, Sonar and more!

* USB Control Surface uses Mackie Control emulation

* SamplerPad sampler with 24 voices (8 pads x 3 banks)

* Loop-based audio sequencer for music creation





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