Zoom R16 Multitrack 16-Track Digital Recorder - DAW Controller - Audio Interface


87 out of 100. Incorporating 1250+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

Zoom R16

The Zoom R16 provides allows you to record 8 tracks simultaneously for a total of 16 total tracks.

All 8 inputs can take microphones or line-level inputs. Phantom power is only available on two tracks and one track can take a Hi-Z instrument (guitar) level input.

You can also use it as an 8 channel USB audio interface and it comes bundled with Cubase LE.

You can also transfer any tracks you've recorded directly on the Zoom R16 to your computer via the USB connection.

It has a built-in stereo condenser mic making it easy to use as a portable recorder.

It comes with an A/C adapter but can also be USB Bus-powered or you can use 6 AA batteries.

Main Features:

  • Simultaneous recording tracks: 8
  • Tracks playback/mix simultaneously: 16
  • Virtual tracks: Unlimited (actually limited by storage space)
  • Inputs: 8 x XLR and 1/4" TRS Combo with Hi-Z input for guitar - Phantom power on 2 channels
  • Outputs: 2 x 1/4" + USB
  • Sample rate: 44.1kHz
  • Bit rate: 24-bit
  • On-board effects: 135 types including amp and cab simulations and mastering
  • Effects send: Internal
  • USB audio interface: 2 channels
  • Storage medium: SD/SDHC card - up to 32GB
  • Export tracks to computer: Yes


The most commonly mentioned attributes in positive user reviews are that the Zoom R16 provides excellent value for money given that you can use it to record 8 tracks simultaneously to the onboard SD card or your computer and that the sound quality is comparable to much higher spec'd recording devices. In their review, Music Radar said, "Having the simplicity of a standalone recorder is one of its strengths, and the R16 manages to combine said simplicity with many more advanced features that make it a great portable recording solution as well as a handy addition to your computer setup."


One issue that has been pointed out by a few reviewers is that it doesn't come with an input for a footswitch to allow you to punch in/out when recording. A few owners also gave negative comments about the light-weight plastic construction, but given that many reviewers are still using this device years after they bought it that's probably not too much of a concern - just treat it carefully and you should be okay. It appears that not many people use it as a DAW controller as it seems on average they would only give it about 3.5 out 5 for this feature. If you're serious about wanting a hardware DAW controller then you might want motorized faders which this doesn't have.


Although the Zoom R16 is a great piece of recording gear and was previously on our recommended list, there are now more highly rated options available which you can see in our guide to The Best Multitrack Recorders.

About the Author

Raphael PulgarRaphael Pulgar

I've been an audio engineer for 20 years specializing in rock and metal recordings, and also I play guitar and produce original music for my band and other content creators.