As soon as I took the R8 out of its box, I was surprised by how light it was. Despite its low weight, however, the R8 feels really solid. All dials turn smoothly and the buttons make a loud 'click' when you press them. I love the fact that it has faders. I find them much more intuitive for mixing tracks than rotary controls. The screen is quite small but the user interface is very intuitive and easy to operate even without reading the manual. All recordings are stored in the included 2 GB SD card that contains 500 MB of prerecorded drum loops. The device has two inputs that can be used simultaneously. It also has a phantom power supply for a condenser microphone. At first, I tried to record using two built-in microphones and I noticed that they have a brittle top-end usually associated with cheap condensers. They are great for capturing some ideas but I wouldn't use them for serious recording. I also tried plugging my guitar directly into the recorder but the tone was too dry. I suppose it would have sounded better if I had used a speaker simulation. Finally, I plugged in my large diaphragm condenser and recorded some acoustic guitar. It came out surprisingly good and I was blown away by how low the noise floor was. Zoom R8 is a great tool for musicians wanting to get studio-quality sound in the comfort of their own home. It is small and light yet very versatile. And it doesn't cost a fortune either.
While I was shopping for new audio interface and external DAW controller for my project studio and a sound recorder for my field work I stumbled upon this device... and it obviously has it all.
The build of the device itself is very solid, the buttons, knobs and faders are responsive.
As an audio interface it does its job perfectly, I used it in Windows 7 and Windows 8 x64 with no issues at all. Latency is not a problem, even on a heavy loaded projects. I'm using it in both studio and on stage.
I also use it as a DAW controller with Sonar X2 Producer and it does everything you'd expect it to do. R8's driver installation package has a special option for installing a Sonar plug-in for easy integration. What I miss in this department is mute button for each channel (the buttons above faders seem to work for "solo" only).
For me, it really shines as a portable recorder. I use it mostly to record voice-overs on various locations, recording with a RODE NTG2 and SAMSON Q7. The phantom power switch comes handy. The interface is easy to understand, workflow is very smooth.
Although it's battery powered, it obviously wouldn't be handy for generic field recording due to its desktop nature.
The drum pads, though nice quality and playable, are a bit too small for my taste and I found the built in guitar effects medicore at best.
For the price, a device loaded with so many features is just amazing. It's so flexible that I soon realized I'm taking it almost everywhere the sound is concerned.
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