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If yer thinking about buying a little digital 8 track...

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Joe Nerve, Mar 17, 2005.

  1. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I MUST recommend the ZOOM MSR-8.

    I am totally freaking out! Just bought it 2 days ago at American Musical Supply, it arrived yesterday and thus far this has been my best recording investment in about 10 years.

    My experience:

    Started with a 4 track Tascam when they were just invented. Did lots of recording on that. Graduated to one of the first computer based sequencers when they came into existence - Cubase for windows (hard disk recording didn't exist yet). Then spent a little fortune (around $5000) on one of the first hard disk recorders. Session 8. It was great, but became obsolete in about 3 years and I couldn't replace my scuzzy drive with another compatible one - I literally threw the whole thing in the garbage. It was worthless and useless.

    Decided I needed a compact digital studio and bought a KORG D16. After 6 months of getting dizzy with the owners manual, it sat on my desk for the next 2 years. I was terrified to go near it because there were 16,000 menus, tons of addendums to the owners manual, and... arrrgh!!! It was a horror to try and figure out. Instructions would assume you knew steps 1, 2 and 3 and would jump to step 4 without telling you that you needed to do the other stuff first. I sold it.

    Got Nuendo and an M-audio soundcard. Have a latency problem that I can't fix for crap, plus as great a program as nuendo it - if you're a musician and not an engineer, yer screwed.

    I took one more chance - with the ZOOM above. I've only been using it a day. It has a fully programmable built in drum machine with way better sounds than the Korg, it's 24 bit, it's easy to use, the manual makes sense. The effects are astounding and have an unbelievable amount of control - the presets are all incredibly usable and they've already inspired some neat stuff. This little thing is a steal! 3 payments of $116. I have to buy an adapter to hook it up to my computer still (about $12), but once I do - if my excitement keeps up I'll post some stuff.

    Taking off work tomorrow to have some fun. :)

    I'll write more as I grow with this thing if anyone seems interested at all.
  2. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Yes please, keep us posted. It's not common to get such a glowing review about user-friendliness with these types of devices. I actually clicked on it expoecting that you were ging to tell us how crap they are. I'm glad to see that's not the case.
  3. jusaplaya


    Dec 14, 2004
    Houston, TX
    I am also interested in your experiences with the 8-track. I will be in the market for one by the end of the year, so I will be eager to see how it works for you.
  4. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I was just PMed about this thread and this was my response...

    I'm still lovin it. There's a little bit to learn, but it's nothing lke the D16. All seems fairly doable. The effects are amazing and are really inspiring some cool stuff. They inspired a complete song last night and after I take a walk to Staples right now I'm going to give my first shot at programming the drum machine. It may take a while, but I'm determined. Hopefully I'll have my first song completed within a week.

    The adapter is an SD reader/writer. The memory on the machine is the same as in some camera's and in order to download them on a computer you need the adapter - which I don't have. I believe they connect with a USB cable. They should include it with the recorder but oh well. I've seen them for $12 to $20 bucks.
  5. MichaelScott


    Jul 27, 2004
    Moorpark CA


    I am in the market for a new recorder/studio tool. I am just getting started and am kinda lost as far as which equipment to buy. Do you still recommend this?
  6. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Absolutely. I haven't actually put it to as much use as I'd have liked to, but broke it out again last week and IMO it seems light years away from the other gear I've owned in this price range. The only thing I'm not TOO crazy about is the number of tracks you get. 2 of the tracks are stereo only, so without bouncing it's actually more like a 6 track recorder. I think a lot of 8 track recorders are like that though. Just takes a little extra fiddling around if you want to record 8 or more tracks. You can also dump anything you do into a computer program and mix stuff there. Tracks then become unlimited.

    There's a link at the top of the page linked below to "Hey Joe" if you want to hear the first demo-ish thing I recorded with it. Used nothing but the recorder, a fretless acoustic bass, an old gibson guitar and my voice. Disclaimers: I am not the lead singer of The Nerve!, don't like singing and just do it when I have to :), and disregard the other pix as I use this page to host stuff I post here and at various other forums.

  7. MichaelScott


    Jul 27, 2004
    Moorpark CA
    Thanks for the reply!

    I think I might end up fishing for this. I really only want to do a few tracks. Drums, bass, guitar, and maybe piano.

    What is your set up for recording? Do you mic your amp? DI box? What software do you use to mix your music?
  8. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I went direct for everything there. Even used the mic in the unit. I have Nuendo on my computer, but I haven't a clue how to use it.
  9. Really considering buying this and this thread has all but sealed it - so thanks for that! Just one question though, and probably a very stupid one, the SD reader, can I just get any one? Do you recommend one certain make?

    Thanks a lot
  10. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I believe you can just get any one - the one I got I think was the cheapest and when I got home I got a little nervous cuz it only said it was for pictures (didn't notice in the store). It worked fine. I also found the forum linked below helpful. You can't use just any card though. I called and they said most of them work, the only ones they had problems with were sans disk cards. Ya might want to double check on that though because my memory is fogged by things I did to my brain in my late teens.

  11. Thanks a lot. I saw your thread on that Zoom forum and yeah it was SansDisk. Guess I can order it now!
  12. Im also seriously considering moving from recording with my M-audio card and magix to one of these - I have had no end of trouble with latency and tracks skipping, and files not playing back at the right speed etc - its been a nightmare trying to record! Admittedly the results can be great with a pc setup, and the editing potential is enourmous, but my setup obviously isnt that great...

    I just want a simple life... so I think one of these may be the answer...
  13. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Same deal with me. I have enough software on my computer to do major label releases, but the amount of headaches I've gotten from it, and my inability to create with it makes it all useless. There is absolutely no reason I should be experiencing latency problems - I even had some pros come and check out my setup - but I do. I've a feeling it's the M-audio card I have, and it's way too late to return it.

    Another thing I realized. I really DON'T know all that much about recording - yet I always want lots of control. The more control I have the crappier my recordings come out. Give me 4 parametric EQs on each channel and I guarantee my mixes are gonna sound like crap. Give me a bass and treble control and let whoever made the recording device figure the rest - and I come out with some pretty good stuff. and a hell of a lot quicker. I think the guys at ZOOM nailed a lot of the settings. The effects all sound good and thoroughly useable, the frequencies they chose for EQs work. Yeah... you get the idea.

    If I want to record a major release I'll go to the studio. If I want to write, make Demos and put out my own decent sounding recordings - I'll use this.

    Last note for anyone considering buying one of these. THERE IS SOME READING AND LEARNING YOU'LL HAVE TO DO. I think I may have given the impression that this unit is a no-brainer. I just think it's light years away from KORG D-16 (who'd owners manual was a complete joke), and a whole lot easier than my computer based software. The instructions are clear and I was able to record and do some neat stuff within the first days of having it.
  14. Do what I did, and sell your m-audio card on ebay! Paid £120 for it new, got £90 back. Not too bad (thats £90 towards one of these babys anyhow!)
  15. Edwcdc

    Edwcdc I call shotgun!

    Jul 21, 2003
    Columbia MD USA
    I'm trying to sell my Zoom MRS 1044. I have it up on Ebay right now but I would rather sell it to a TB'r. It's 10 tracks, built in drum machine, usb upgrade, 15GB hard drive.
    Sorry for the hijack. I have recently gone the computer-based route.
  16. Mcrelly


    Jun 16, 2003
    Minnesota, USA
    Joe, I can't find the song? I'm must be blind. where is it again. found "abducted" and "really" though...
  17. Pruitt


    Jun 30, 2005
    Danbury, CT
    I've had my Zoom MRS-8 for about five months now and absolutely love it! In my opinion, for the price, it's tough to beat. I can't recommend it enough! I gotten involved in Online Collaborations recently and I do all my bass and vocal tracking on the mrs-8. It's just so easy to use and sounds excellent! :)
  18. I've recently bought a ZOOM PSR Digital recorder, and am pretty pleased with it. Can anyone tell me if I can get software to edit it on the pc? There is software i can download fron zoom.com but all i can do with it is convert it to .avi and toggle the volume.
    I know i'm not quite on topic, but I thought there might be some universal program or something...

    thx ahead
  19. jomahu


    Dec 15, 2004
    Bos, MA
    link? link!

    i have a MSR-4 and it works wonderfully. this whole bouncing of tracks and v-takes is messing with my head, tho'.... :eek:
  20. Does it have just 2 Xlr inputs and 2 1/4" inputs?