The Best Multitrack Recorders - Digital

The Highest Rated Digital Multitrack Recorders
Sweetwater

Sponsorship Announcement

This gear guide is sponsored by Sweetwater and you can click through to their website to read customer reviews, check prices, or make a purchase, however all of the recommendations below have been made by the Gearank team.

The music production world was shaken in 1979 when TEAC came out with the first, mass-produced portable multitrack recorder that records on a standard cassette tape: The TEAC 144 Portastudio. It was followed by TASCAM, (a division of TEAC) with their Portastudio, the Tascam 414.

Manufacturers like TASCAM have returned to their roots by offering recorder/mixer hybrids like the "Model" series; offering great flexibility and portability with multiple inputs and outputs. Other manufacturers like Zoom also offer portable multitrack recording solutions.

Because of their "all-in-one" nature, most models are more affordable than a basic laptop / computer + Interface + DAW + software setup. Because everything is self-contained, hardware multitrack recorders are also more reliable and more "immediate" when it comes to getting ideas from your head, through your instrument, onto a recording. This is great for band jams and live performance recordings.

This guide is about multitrack recorders that have everything you need built-in for recording, mixing, and producing music - if you're looking for handheld multitrack recorders then please read our Handheld Recorder Guide.

For this September 2022 Edition, we updated our ratings for all qualifying multitrack recorders in our database which includes all the models widely available from American music gear retailers. To help you choose the best one for your needs, we have categorized our selections based on the number of tracks. This factor determines the unit's capability of handling projects of varying sizes from demos to theater productions.

Finding the best one for you is a matter of understanding what your projects will typically be and your budget.

For specificity, we chose to include items that are used primarily for music production, thus excluding recorders designed primarily for field recordings and podcasts.

The Best Digital Multitrack Recorders

Author & Contributors

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.

8 Tracks

TASCAM DP-008EX

91
GEARANK

91 out of 100. Incorporating 1100+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$229
TASCAM DP-008EX
At publication time this was the Highest Rated 8 Track Digital Recorder.

Cons

  • Can't function as an audio interface

Pros

  • Very portable
  • Great recording quality
  • Good built-in microphone
  • Affordable

TASCAM has a storied history of making portable multitrack recorders for use by musicians.

When they first released their Portastudio series for cassette tapes, multitrack recordings were limited to going to big recording studios. TASCAM continues this design philosophy of making multitrack recording hardware accessible with its current range of multitrack recorders.

The quality and clarity of its sound, its portability, and ease of use are features earn it a high rating. The built-in microphones are also worth noting for their quality.

One thing to note is that the DP-008EX does NOT function as a USB Audio interface. Tracks can however, be transferred to PC via USB.

For its price, you can't expect it to have many more features than TASCAM have already packed into it - if you need one that also works as an audio interface then look at some of the other options below.

The TASCAM DP-008EX is well suited to musicians on a budget that simply want a reliable portable device that records songs and allows for mixing down to a final stereo track.

Specifications

  • Simultaneous recording tracks: 2
  • Tracks playback/mix simultaneously: 8
  • Virtual tracks: 6 with undo/redo history function on all tracks
  • Inputs: 2 x balanced XLR with 48v phantom power & 2 x unbalanced mic/line/guitar
  • Outputs: 2 x RCA line, 1 x 1/8" stereo headphone + USB
  • Sample rate: 44.1kHz
  • Bit rate: 16-bit
  • On-board effects: 6 reverbs, 2-band shelving EQ, compressor, de-esser and exciter, mastering
  • Effects send: Internal
  • USB audio interface: No - USB is for transferring files only
  • Storage medium: SD/SDHC card - up to 32GB
  • Export tracks to computer: Yes

Rating Source Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
Sound On Sound Tom Flint 80/100
Gearspace 362343 85/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Demo

12 Tracks

Zoom LiveTrak L-12

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 750+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$650
Zoom LiveTrak L-12
At publication time this was the Highest Rated 12 Track Digital Recorder.

Cons

  • No solo and polarity buttons

Pros

  • Full featured production capabilities
  • Great onboard effects
  • No-compromise digital mixer functions for live use

Following up on the success of their R series recorders, Zoom released the Livetrak series in 2017 with new features previously unseen on any of their standalone recorder lines.

While the R series is still in production today, the Livetrak series offers an upscale experience and looks more in place in studios while the R series caters more to the "prosumer" market.

It functions threefold as a digital mixer, an audio interface, and a standalone recorder. The Livetrak L-12 is a direct upgrade to the brand's previous R series thanks to its its newer preamps and converters.

The onboard effects enable better polish on tracks if used as a primary recording and mixing unit.

For the cons, the lack of dedicated solo and polarity buttons, common features on even the most basic mixers, is a critical omission. Both are essential functions for mixing. Filenames are also named similarly and can confuse when transferring the project to a computer for further mixing.

A solo button is included on each channel in the LiveTrak L-20.

If you're looking for a jack-of-all-trades multitrack recorder that can help you keep track of rehearsals or live, small venue events, the Zoom LiveTrak L-12 is a great choice.

Specifications

  • Simultaneous recording tracks: 14
  • Tracks playback/mix simultaneously: 12. 4 if used as audio interface
  • Virtual tracks: 0
  • Inputs: 8 x XLR, 2 Stereo 1/4" TRS - Phantom power on 8 channels
  • Outputs: 2 x XLR Master Out, 5 x 1/4" TRS Headphone Monitor outs, 2x 1/4" unbalanced LR Monitor out + USB
  • Sample rate: 44.1khz, 48khz, 96khz (switchable)
  • Bit rate: Up to 24-bit
  • On-board effects: 16 onboard effects including delays and reverbs
  • Effects send: Internal
  • USB audio interface: 14 channels
  • Storage medium: USB 2.0
  • Export tracks to computer: Yes

Rating Source Highlight

Website Source *Rating Value
Sound On Sound Sam Inglis 94/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Demo

16 Tracks

TASCAM Model 16

90
GEARANK

90 out of 100. Incorporating 125+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$799
TASCAM Model 16
At publication time this was the Highest Rated 16 Track Digital Recorder.

Cons

  • Has a bit of a learning curve
  • Would have been perfect with motorized faders

Pros

  • Great routing options
  • Hybrid mixing workflow and analog summing a great plus
  • Enough inputs for a full band

The Tascam Model 16 expands upon the Model 12's features by adding additional inputs and outputs.

The control room outputs add flexibility for use with larger studios while the additional inputs enable miking up more tracks, especially drums or full band setups.

60mm faders, classic 3 band EQ, inline compression for select channels, and flexible aux and fx routing give a familiar feel for those used to analog mixer workflows. The HDDI Preamps ensure great quality captures with low noise.

As with all Model series mixers from Tascam, you can rout the audio from your DAW into the mixer and back into the DAW for analog mixing and summing.

The Model 16 strikes a good balance of inputs and portability compared to its 12 and 24 track siblings. One change over the model 12 is how the inputs are on top rather than behind. This makes it easier to plug XLR cables in and out.

One thing to note is that there is a slightly steep learning curve which is expected since it requires people used to digital workflows to adapt to analog workflows and vice versa. Another thing I wish it had are motorized faders so it could function as a full-fledged DAW controller.

The Tascam Model 16 has been gaining more traction as the favored "middle child" of the Model series. Get it if you feel that the Model 24 might be too much and the Model 12 might be too restricting.

Specifications

  • Simultaneous recording tracks:14
  • Tracks playback/mix simultaneously: 8 Mono, 3 stereo
  • Virtual tracks: 0
  • Inputs:2 x 1/4" (line/Hi-Z), 6 x 1/4" (line), 4 x 1/4" (2 x stereo), 1 x 1/8" (stereo), 1 x Dual RCA Stereo
  • Outputs:2 x XLR (main), 2 x 1/4" (control room), 2 x 1/4" (L/R subgroup)
  • Sample rate: 48kHz
  • Bit rate: 24-bit
  • On-board effects: 8 x Channel Compressor, Reverbs, Delay, Chorus, Flanger
  • Effects send: Internal
  • USB audio interface: Yes
  • Storage medium: SD Card Slot, SDHC (4GB-32GB), SDXC (64GB-512GB)
  • Export tracks to computer: Yes

Rating Source Highlight

Website Source *Rating Value
YouTube Guitar Interactive Magazine 90/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Demo

20 Tracks

Zoom LiveTrak L-20

91
GEARANK

91 out of 100. Incorporating 225+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$1000
Zoom LiveTrak L-20 Multitrack Recorder
At publication time this was the Highest Rated 20 Track Digital Recorder.

Cons

  • EQ affects monitor mix

Pros

  • Individual monitor mixes great for live performances
  • Enough inputs for larger bands
  • Solo button added (L-12 does not have it)

The Zoom LiveTrak L-20 is Zoom's flagship Multitrack Recorder / Digital Mixer hybrid. It features functionality more akin to dedicated digital mixers while balancing recording and mixing functionality.

The L-20 also adds a solo button for each channel -- a feature that I and a lot of people were missing on the L-12.

One feature that stands out is the ability to provide 6 separate personalized headphone mixes while recording. This is a boon to bands and singers that need individual mixes on their monitors. This makes it an excellent live recording mixer for venues and production studios.

Note that the EQ channel also affects the monitors. Front-of-house (FOH) mixes going out through the monitors is usually a recipe for feedback and there might be trouble from finding a compromise between having a good audience mix and a good monitor mix.

The LiveTrak L-20 is great for recording and monitoring live sessions which are increasing popular these days as YouTube content. It may not be optimal for live sound because of the linked channel EQ for both the FOH mix and monitor mix. For your rehearsal space, studio, or radio station, the LiveTrak L-20 is a handy tool for capturing performances.

Specifications

  • Simultaneous recording tracks: 22
  • Tracks playback/mix simultaneously: 20
  • Virtual tracks: 0
  • Inputs: 16 x XLR/TRS combo jacks, 2 x Stereo Line in
  • Outputs: 2 x XLR Master out, 2 x TRS phone jacks Monitor speaker out, 6 x Headphone monitor mix out, 1 x Headphone out
  • Sample rate: 44.1/48/96 kHz
  • Bit rate: 16/24-bit, mono/stereo
  • On-board effects: 20 Types of Reverb, Delay and Modulation
  • Effects send: 2
  • USB audio interface: 22 Channels In, 4 Channels out
  • Storage medium: SDHC/SDXC
  • Export tracks to computer: Yes

Rating Source Highlight

Website Source *Rating Value
Sound On Sound Sam Inglis 90/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Demo

24 Tracks

TASCAM DP-24SD

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 1000+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$499
TASCAM DP-24SD
At publication time this was the Highest Rated 24 Track Digital Recorder.

Cons

  • Only one effect at a time per track limits workflow
  • Need to bounce to virtual tracks to use more than 1 effect

Pros

  • Familiar workflow a nice mix between DAW and digital mixer
  • Included effects a good enough substitute for DAW plugins
  • Decent amp simulations

The TASCAM DP-24SD is designed to be a stand-alone audio workstation. While this means that it does not offer any DAW controller or USB audio interface features, the design approach allows you to do all of your music production onboard and also lets you export tracks to your computer via USB.

It also features a complete suite of internal effects, 24-track simultaneous playback, and having 8 takes on virtual tracks on the ready for compositing.

Going DAW-less usually means you have to leave behind your VST's and amp simulations. The Tascam DP-24 has them built in and they sound decent. The workflow feels like you're working between a mix of a DAW and mixing live music with a digital mixer. Familiarity with both makes the DP-24SD a lot easier to transition to.

One limitation is that you can't use more than one dynamic effect on a single track simultaneously - for example, you can't use the de-esser and compressor, or compressor and noise suppression, simultaneously on one track. The same applies to time-based effects since you can't have reverb and delay at the same time. You can work around this utilizing bouncing and virtual tracks, but it would have been better if you didn't have to. Motorized faders would be the icing on the cake but would definitely hike the price up.

Overall this is a good all-in-one recorder for both live and home studio use. Get it if you want to go DAW-less and want a workflow similar to mixing live with a digital mixer.

Specifications

  • Simultaneous recording tracks: 8
  • Tracks playback/mix simultaneously: 24
  • Virtual tracks: 192 - 8 virtual track per actual track
  • Inputs: 8 x Combo XLR/TRS - 1 channel switchable between line and guitar - Phantom power on all 8 inputs
  • Outputs: 2 x 1/4" balanced TRS, 2 x RCA unbalanced, 1/4" TRS headphone jack, 1/4" TRS jack for effects send + USB
  • Sample rate: 44.1k/48k
  • Bit rate: 16/24-bit
  • On-board effects: Many including 3-band EQ, reverb, compression, exciter, de-esser, noise suppression, amp models, mastering tools, and more
  • Effects send: 2
  • USB audio interface: No
  • Storage medium: SD/SDHC card - up to 32GB
  • Export tracks to computer: Yes via USB

Rating Source Highlight

Website Source *Rating Value
Sound On Sound Tom Flint 80/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Demo / Review

The following review by Andi Picker of the previous model provides an excellent overview of its features and functionality - note that it no longer has a CD burner - you can export to your computer to do that:

32 Tracks

TASCAM DP-32SD

91
GEARANK

91 out of 100. Incorporating 750+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$649
TASCAM DP-32SD
At publication time this was the Highest Rated 32 Track Digital Recorder.

Cons

  • Newer gear has better optimized workflows

Pros

  • Great for larger projects
  • Perfect for venues and studios that favor traditional workflows

The TASCAM DP-32SD is designed to be a standalone recording workstation similar to its ancestor, the TASCAM Portastudio Tape recorders. While it does not offer USB recording and DAW control features, it was designed with people used to computerless recording workflows in mind.

The DP-32SD offers a similar experience as recording to tape or early digital recordings where outboard gear is still favored over plugins. So those familiar with that workflow will feel right at home with the DP-32SD.

However, past the nostalgia and familiarity, it is a slower overall workflow compared to recently released units that have a more optimized workflow. Even though the DP-32SD has more available tracks and can handle larger projects, the TASCAM Model series is a bit more updated in terms of spec and function.

TASCAM's reputation for offering standalone multitrack recorders goes back decades. The DP-24SD is a modern take of the old Tascam Portastudios of the past. For artists or performers that require multiple inputs that prefer having the ability to record large projects and mix without using a DAW, the DP-32SD is a perfect choice.

Specifications

  • Simultaneous recording tracks: 8
  • Tracks playback/mix simultaneously: 32
  • Virtual tracks: 256 - 8 virtual track per actual track
  • Inputs: 8 x XLR/TRS balanced combo - 1 channel switchable between line and guitar - Phantom power on all 8 inputs
  • Outputs: 2x 1/4" balanced TRS, 2 x RCA unbalanced, 1/4" TRS headphone jack, 2x 1/4" unbalanced jack for effects send + USB
  • Sample rate: 44.1k/48k
  • Bit rate: 16/24-bit
  • On-board effects: Many including 3-band EQ, reverb, compression, exciter, de-esser, noise suppression, amp models, mastering tools, and more
  • Effects send: 2
  • USB audio interface: No
  • Storage medium: SD/SDHC card - up to 32GB
  • Export tracks to computer: Yes

Rating Source Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
Equipboard _josh_sutton 100/100
MusicRadar** Jon Musgrave 80/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.
**This review is for the previous version that didn't have an SD card.

Demo

Things to Consider When Buying a Digital Multitrack Recorder

Channels vs Tracks

Take note of the distinction between "Channel" and "Track". Channels refer to your inputs (including the preamps and line inputs) and the accompanying set of controls (the channel strip). Tracks refer to a recording done in its discrete area on the tape. In the case of digital multitrack recorders, these are your files that are recorded from a specific channel. Over the years, they have been used interchangeably but clarifying the distinction helps to keep you from buying the wrong item.

Simultaneous Recording Channels

When multitrack recording was done on tape machines you could generally record tracks on all channels simultaneously, however, digital systems usually only permit recording on a limited number of channels at the same time - make sure the recording system you choose provides enough recording channels for the kind of work you do. A recorder can have 8 simultaneous recording channels but could be capable of recording 16 or more tracks. Make sure you check all the specifications before purchasing.

Total Number of Tracks for Mixing

If a digital recorder is listed as 8 tracks that means you can mix a maximum of 8 tracks regardless of how many you can record at once.

Virtual Tracks

Many digital multitrack recorders offer additional virtual tracks which are very handy because they allow for non-destructive editing. For example, if you have 8 virtual tracks per track you can do 8 extra takes without 'recording over' previous takes. Alternatively, you might have drums on 8 tracks and bounce them down to 2 tracks to free up tracks for other uses, however, if you need to change that mix later you'll still have access to the original 8 tracks which you can reload then remix.

Effects

You won't be able to add plugins so you'll either want to select one that has all the effects you need or one that has an external effects send/loop so you can use additional outboard signal processing.

Export Functions

You may want to record on a multitrack recorder, then later export your tracks to a computer so that you can do additional mixing / editing / processing on a DAW.

Additional Features

Many models come with additional features such as drum machines or allowing you to use them as a USB audio interface with your computer.

Which is the Best Budget Multitrack Recorder?

Selecting which Multitrack Recorder within your budget needs some special consideration. Since most recorders increase in price the more inputs you need, you have to consider how many inputs you will use. As a general tip, choose a recorder with around 2-4 more inputs than you need. Then when you have identified how many inputs you need, check our guide as we have categorized our selections according to the number of inputs and then price.

For small bands that don't need to record simultaneously, the TASCAM DP-008EX is a safe pick with 2 inputs if you don't need it as an audio interface.

Multitrack recorders with fewer inputs require a different workflow since you won't be able to simultaneously record your entire ensemble. If you need to record multiple sources simultaneously, the 12-16 track recorders would be a good place to start looking at a slightly higher cost.

Important Note About Digital Multitrack Recorder Memory

Many recorders only ship with a 1 or 2 GB SD card installed, and some don't ship with any at all, so you'll probably want to get some bigger SDHC memory cards. They're fairly cheap so you may as well go for the ones with bigger capacities beyond 32GB. You can buy them at a local store or online from Sweetwater.com.

Best Multitrack Recorder Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in 2016 an the current edition was published on September 13, 2022.

We looked at all multitrack recorders available from major online American music gear retailers, excluding handheld, dedicated podcast and field recorders. We came up with a shortlist of 16 products and entered all of them into our Music Gear Database. We then analyzed forum discussions and reviews by users, owners, and audio engineers and processed that information, which included over 9,800 sources, with the Gearank Algorithm to produce the rating scores out of 100 you see above. We selected the highest rated options in each sub-category of track numbers to recommend above. For more information about our methods see How Gearank Works.

About the Author and Contributors

Here are the key people and sources involved in this guide's production - click on linked names for information about their music industry backgrounds.

Lead Author & Researcher

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.

I'm a big fan of old-school "to tape" recording. Having the option to record without a computer frees up a lot of possibilities especially for live recordings. For permanent setups like bars and venues, having a multitrack recorder that doubles as the house mixer enables you to record live performances to sync up with video footage. A great way to get your venue or event out there since live performances on YouTube tend to get a lot of views. I highly recommend this type of content creation and multitrack recorders make it a lot more convenient to do so.

Contributors

Alden Acosta: Product research.
Jason Horton: Editing and illustrating.

Media

Main/Top Image: Compiled using photographs of the TASCAM Model 16 and Zoom LiveTrak L-20.

All the videos above have been embedded in accordance with YouTube's Terms of Service.

The individual product images were sourced from websites, promotional materials or supporting documentation provided by their respective manufacturers.

Comments

i have been using a boss

I have been using a boss br1200Cd for several years and it has now broken. Is there anything on the market comparable to this machine with guitar/bass effects, amp modelling etc etc and also has an inbuilt rhythm section that can do basic beats fills etc.

Try the zoom R24 it does all

Try the zoom R24 it does all those things independantly and doubles as a computer audio interface. Also much better effects than the Tascams.

Hi Brian,

Hi Brian,

Unfortunately, the only thing remotely similar to the Br1200CD is the Boss Micro BR BR-80 and its interface is not as extensive as the BR1200CD.

Majority of music producers have moved from all-in one products like the BR series to either a computer-based workflow with DAWs and MIDI Controllers or an analog workflow with separate drum machines and synthesizers.

Your best bet would to scour the used market for another BR1200CD but that would mean that if it inevitably breaks down again, you'll have to look for another one, possibly at an astronomical price or bad condition.

Adapting to new music production methods is still the way to go. It will take a lot of work but it's worth studying.

-Raphael

Publication of our August

Publication of our August 2021 Edition resulted in the following recorder coming off the recommended list above:

Hi Andrew,

Hi Andrew,

The DP-03SD is decent at best. Many users who gave it a high rating just wanted a simple recorder that does the job. However negative reviews note that the unit itself is unintuitive, the lack of an input db pad also turned off some users. The screen is also small and doesn't show all the information you need. For the price, there are better options. For just a little more, The Zoom Livetrak L-8 is a good pick.

Personally, I'd save up even more and get the Tascam Model 12. It's an amazing piece of kit that I had the pleasure of using a while back.

-Raphael

Are there any recorders that

Are there any recorders that have an HDMI output for a monitor? Those tiny displays are so tough to see. I know some of the old Roland VS-2400s had a VGA output. Thanks.

Hi Eric,

Hi Eric,

To my knowledge, only the Tascam DR-701D Field recorder has an HDMI out that I've encountered. However, It is not a multitrack studio recorder. I'm afraid there aren't any other options in the market today.

-Raphael

On the DP-32SD & DP-24SD, do

On the DP-32SD & DP-24SD, do they record both main out on separate channel like the ZOOM L12? thank

Hi Mario,

Hi Mario,

The DP-32SD and DP-24SD are both capable of rendering a stereo mixdown aside from individual multitracks. Tascam made an official video about this feature:

I hope it helps!

Thanks for the article. I

Thanks for the article. I would be interested to know about the drum programming that each one offers

The Zoom R24 has up to 6

The Zoom R24 has up to 6 phantom-powered inputs. The R24 page is still out-of-date in this respect. Also, I found the R24 (and presumably R16) preamps inadequate for distant acoustic sources, e.g. group of unamplified singers or room mic for a solo piano, even with condensers. After adding a FocusRite Scarlett into the gain chain, everything worked much better though.

As a result of our August

As a result of our August 2019 update the following recorder came off our recommended list above, but you can still read our analysis of it: Zoom R24.

Why in the world would these

Why in the world would these companies start eliminating midi when most of the old AND new music devises do?
A deal breaker for many. The world is creeping more and more towards the insane Common sense is out the door!

It seems crazy to me that

It seems crazy to me that what used to be standard features are no longer incorporated on the latest models, e.g. MIDI, mixing automation/scene memory, punch in/out footswitch.
We should be getter more features, not less.

The missing of Midi is a real

The missing of Midi is a real hoax . Homerecording is the use of sequencers and Drummachines !
Maybe it will come back if the army of reissues of Vintage drumboxes and synths will enter the market ... Catched a Tascam dp24 Vers. 1.0 for me !

Just tried a Tascam 008.

Just tried a Tascam 008. Kinda quiet, no FX, unimpressive reverb. MY biggest problem: it displays time m/s/fr when i need Measure/beat, for accurate editing. Some ads don't specify. RRRRR!!!

Why no mention of Roland? Don

Why no mention of Roland? Don't they compete in this market anymore. I have several that work pretty well.

Does any one know of you can

Does any one know if you can use the r24 and the r16 together as a slave to the r24?

Yes..I have both and use the

Yes..I have both and use the R24 as the master...40 tracks and works great!

I have the Tascam DP-24 and

I have the Tascam DP-24 and it's amazing after 20 years of Sonar on PC, these work flawlessly EVERY time I use it. Saves on crash.(Even saves last 10 undos after crash:)

Should mention the Roland. If anyone aver makes one with automation and automated faders(with memory after crash) that would be the perfect machine.

I tried using digital multi

I tried using digital multi track recorders.very frustrating to me and I wished 4 -8 track tape recorder make a comeback! Recording life was easier for me...

I'm a Huge Tascam fan - got

I'm a Huge Tascam fan - got lots of their products and recorders throughout the years. Currently using the 32sd primarily - nice unit. There are going to be some limitations due to price point, and that's ok. I still enjoy playing around with the old tape machines though.

You can synchronize two Zoom

You can synchronize two Zoom R16's via a simple USB cable for 32 tracks of playback and 16 tracks of simultaneous recording. The R16 can also run on batteries. No midi input or rhythm machine on the R16 was a deal breaker for me, at the time, and I ended up paying more for the older Zoom HD16 which had both.

Does the tascam dp32 sd have

Does the tascam dp32 sd have the capabilities of panning the stereo tracks to different locations in the mix?

It was a good machine about

It was a good machine about 14 years ago - still worth considering if you find one second hand for a good price, but it uses a built-in hard drive and CDRW drive rather than the SD cards that current ones use.

Great information here, I am

Great information here, I am glad I popped in to check things out. Am in the process of getting a multi track recorder, and for me, and me needs, the Zoom r16 is the one I will get for sure, thx again!!

I have a Zoom R24 and it's a

I have a Zoom R24 and it's a great bit of kit for the price. However I still feel I get better results from my Boss BR1600 which I prefer to use.

And yet none of those

And yet none of those recorders supports MIDI. You can't sync multiple passes from a drum machine or sequencer, etc. Deal breaker for some of us. :'(

No solution fills all the

No solution fills all the requirements, but - I opted, last year, to purchase a used Yamaha AW-1600, and because I have a dedicated Studio PC (not connected to the internet)for mixing and mastering, I've bypassed some of those issues common to the stand-alone DAW. In addition, it features full midi sync-ing. Again, not perfect, but 'perfectly fine' for my needs...

I contacted a few of the

I contacted a few of the manufactures to see if there were any undocumented features that might enable syncing - both Zoom and Tascam got back to me but external syncing isn't possible with their current recorders.

Tascam did point out that the original DP-24 and DP-32 had the ability to MIDI sync with external devices, but that was removed in the 24SD and 32SD models.

If you want to sync you'll either have to get one of those older Tascam models, or do what we did in the old days of tape machines where we'd record SMPTE time code on one of the tracks and sync via that - this is what my band used to do.

Here's an article explaining syncing with audio recordings using SMPTE: Getting Recording Devices In Sync: The Basics Of Timecode And Synchronization

There is a work-around for

There is a work-around for MIDI sync on the Zoom R8 and Zoom R24 (not the Zoom R16) using a striped track for time code (the old fashioned way) on a 'hidden' output via one channel of the headphone socket. This is not the original article where I read about it, but it still covers the basic idea of how to do it.

http://www.henkybacker.com/2011...

Hi Deano, which is the best

Hi Deano, which is the best device that is compatible with pro tools 12? Would have loved to have got the Zoom R16 but it doesn't work with Pro Tools.

Hi there I notice that the

Hi there I notice that the Boss BR-800 Multitrack Digital Recording Studio is not mentioned in your review. Please can you provide me with the pros and cons....I thought it was a great bit of kit?

Hi Deano,

Hi Deano,

The Boss BR-800 was included in our research but it didn't have high enough scores to be included in this guide when it was published.

It didn't miss by much so there is a chance it might be included when we next update this guide - in the meantime you can see its Gearank score in our Music Gear Database here.

Thanks Jason, it looks (as a

Thanks Jason, it looks (as a layman) the easiest to use, I am a not sure what to buy as this is the 1st time Ive bought a recording device. Thanks for the link BTW.

The Tascam knobs and faders

The Tascam knobs and faders are from a material that after two years of use starts to fall apart. Bought a DR24SD in 2013 en after 3 years of use the rubber starts to like melt or crack away.

I do like the tascams alot,

I do like the tascams alot, but i've had lots of issues with the buttons failing because little switches inside wear out fast.
really frustrating..

Hi, nice article. The Zoom

Hi, nice article. The Zoom R16 is actually an 8in/2out usb audio interface (same as the R24),
Cheers

I got my R16 to record 8

I got my R16 to record 8 tracks simultaneously into the computer using Reaper.

I've been using the Zoom R16

I've been using the Zoom R16 for awhile, now I need something better.
To record music on.
It's Time for a better way to Record Artist and Bands.
I always thought to be a Recording session Engineer.
It's a fun Job.
Bless you all.

Just a quick correction as it

Just a quick correction as it was made me upgrade from the Zoom R16 to the R24 - the latter has SIX phantom powered channels, not four! It should also probably be noted that the bit rate is either 16 or 24 - mostly pertinent because at 24 you can't use the built-in effects features.

I want to note for buyers to

I want to note for buyers to be aware the Zoom recorders, either 16 or 24 track recorders do not have the ability to use a footswitch. Therefore for punching in and out is a deal breaker and I chose the Tascam 24 for this reason. Who wants to set auto points everytime to fix a spot? I use punch in tool for writing solos and experimenting so it's an important tool for me.

I had the same issue with my

I had the same issue with my Zoom 24... if there was only ONE thing more I wish it had... it would be a foot-pedal punch in. This mark in/out thing gets old right off the bat. Otherwise it's a great recorder!

Thank you Rob - I have

Thank you Rob - I have updated the Zoom R24 description to show that it has 6 inputs with phantom power.

According to the R24 manual, the limitation on effects is when using it as an Audio Interface - you can only use the effects in this mode with the sampling rate at 16-bit/44.1 kHz.