Zoom R16 (or similiar) vs Scarlett 2i2



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Zoom R16 (or similiar) vs Scarlett 2i2

Postby Errant Tiger » Thu Sep 16, 2021 1:44 pm

So I've found that I'm REALLY reluctant to use my laptop for anything other than work these days, and that has been hindering my recording. I've been seriously thinking about getting a Zoom R16 (or something similar) to use for recording - I realize I'll still have to work in my DAW (GarageBand) to edit and mix down and stuff, but that'll be OK - and what I'm wondering is how the sound quality of the Zoom (or whatever) compares to going through the Focusrite. I'm just recording guitars and Yamaha Reface synths.

Also interested in alternatives to the Zoom within the same price range, if anyone has any strong feelings.

Thanks in advance, everybody!
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Re: Zoom R16 (or similiar) vs Scarlett 2i2

Postby Heraclitus Akimbo » Fri Sep 17, 2021 10:14 am

I can't comment more than to say I rented a Zoom R16 for some recording and it was plenty easy to use/understand on a casual basis, so I suspect it'd be even sweeter with some time invested into it. I recorded a combo synths of vocal mics (in fact, it was the Our Way to Fall album linked in my sig) and got what I needed to mix down in audacity.
solo (mostly ambient): https://heraclitusakimbo.bandcamp.com/
band (spontaneous kosmische): https://stargoon.bandcamp.com/
trio (tapes/voice/clarinet/synth/poems): https://ourwaytofall.bandcamp.com/
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Re: Zoom R16 (or similiar) vs Scarlett 2i2

Postby Errant Tiger » Fri Sep 17, 2021 10:55 am

Heraclitus Akimbo wrote:I can't comment more than to say I rented a Zoom R16 for some recording and it was plenty easy to use/understand on a casual basis, so I suspect it'd be even sweeter with some time invested into it. I recorded a combo synths of vocal mics (in fact, it was the Our Way to Fall album linked in my sig) and got what I needed to mix down in audacity.


That's good to know! It sounded good?
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Re: Zoom R16 (or similiar) vs Scarlett 2i2

Postby Heraclitus Akimbo » Fri Sep 17, 2021 11:28 pm

Errant Tiger wrote:
That's good to know! It sounded good?


Yeah, I can say it was a pleasantly neutral element in the process, like the good and bad parts weren't at all on the recorder. From a workflow point-of-view, I managed to get a good multitrack recording from a session where I was busy playing, so that's a big plus.

Sonically, we were fairly mid-fi, so I can't attest to crystalline clarity but my experience (and even moreso with with handheld zoom recorders) is clean sound in = clean sound out.
solo (mostly ambient): https://heraclitusakimbo.bandcamp.com/
band (spontaneous kosmische): https://stargoon.bandcamp.com/
trio (tapes/voice/clarinet/synth/poems): https://ourwaytofall.bandcamp.com/
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Re: Zoom R16 (or similiar) vs Scarlett 2i2

Postby coldbrightsunlight » Tue Sep 21, 2021 2:09 pm

As long as you're happy with the stereo output of the R16 and aren't looking to track 8 things at once and actually get those into your DAW then I don't see a disadvantage. Not used this specific model but their recording gear usually sounds ok. I assume bouncing more than a stereo track to PC is possible through fiddling around and outputting 4 hard panned pairs of tracks... but this seems like a pain. Given you're comparison was the 2i2 I assume this is fine :) I'm a little tempted by these ones myself sometimes.
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Re: Zoom R16 (or similiar) vs Scarlett 2i2

Postby friendship » Wed Sep 22, 2021 3:15 pm

coldbrightsunlight wrote:As long as you're happy with the stereo output of the R16 and aren't looking to track 8 things at once and actually get those into your DAW then I don't see a disadvantage.


You can do this with the R16. Arm all 8-tracks, and when you're done, put the R16 in card-reader mode with the USB hooked up to your computertron and import the files.

They can also be linked to double your inputs. A friend of mine has one too, and we linked ours together to record 16 tracks of a live band at his wedding.
actualidiot wrote:12-bit's almost analog, right?
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Re: Zoom R16 (or similiar) vs Scarlett 2i2

Postby Errant Tiger » Wed Sep 22, 2021 3:20 pm

I'm actually thinking about the bigger one, the R24, because of the effects. Pretty sure this is going to solve my laptop-related anti-recording issues... it's just a matter of pulling the trigger. And financing.
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Re: Zoom R16 (or similiar) vs Scarlett 2i2

Postby friendship » Wed Sep 22, 2021 4:16 pm

The R16 also has effects--the same as the R24 as far as I know. But personally, I wouldn't get either for the onboard DSP effects. They sound fine, but not great, and they're less fun to use than hardware or even plugins (unless you like programming by menu). If you were doing your mixdown directly on the Zoom, they would be pretty handy, but it sounds like you're going to do that on your computer (I do this, too).

On the other hand, the R24 has 6 channels of phantom power instead of the R16's 2 channels. It also has a sampler, sequencer, and 8 drum/sample pads. I've never used the R24, so I don't know what they're like to use. This review calls the experience "frustrating process at first...but ultimately there is a fair amount that can be done" https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/zoom-r24 . But if they're usable that's a pretty dope feature IMO.

Also just to note that on both units, if you're using the onboard mics they take up two of your inputs and you cannot select only one--they're both turned on at the same time. Just something to think about if that effects your workflow.
actualidiot wrote:12-bit's almost analog, right?
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Re: Zoom R16 (or similiar) vs Scarlett 2i2

Postby Errant Tiger » Wed Sep 22, 2021 4:38 pm

friendship wrote:The R16 also has effects--the same as the R24 as far as I know. But personally, I wouldn't get either for the onboard DSP effects. They sound fine, but not great, and they're less fun to use than hardware or even plugins (unless you like programming by menu). If you were doing your mixdown directly on the Zoom, they would be pretty handy, but it sounds like you're going to do that on your computer (I do this, too).

On the other hand, the R24 has 6 channels of phantom power instead of the R16's 2 channels. It also has a sampler, sequencer, and 8 drum/sample pads. I've never used the R24, so I don't know what they're like to use. This review calls the experience "frustrating process at first...but ultimately there is a fair amount that can be done" https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/zoom-r24 . But if they're usable that's a pretty dope feature IMO.

Also just to note that on both units, if you're using the onboard mics they take up two of your inputs and you cannot select only one--they're both turned on at the same time. Just something to think about if that effects your workflow.


Thank you! That’s all really helpful. It was the sampler/sequencer/drums I meant, actually. And yeah I saw that same review.

We’ll see!
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Re: Zoom R16 (or similiar) vs Scarlett 2i2

Postby coldbrightsunlight » Mon Sep 27, 2021 3:08 pm

friendship wrote:
coldbrightsunlight wrote:As long as you're happy with the stereo output of the R16 and aren't looking to track 8 things at once and actually get those into your DAW then I don't see a disadvantage.


You can do this with the R16. Arm all 8-tracks, and when you're done, put the R16 in card-reader mode with the USB hooked up to your computertron and import the files.

They can also be linked to double your inputs. A friend of mine has one too, and we linked ours together to record 16 tracks of a live band at his wedding.

Oh shit! This was not at all clear to me from the advertising and product page - guess it is yet another example of why it's good to Read The Fucking Manual. :picard: The advertising of "stereo out over USB" presumably only means live streaming as an interface, but I hadn't realised there was a card reader mode!! :snax: :snax: :snax: :snax:

Thanks for the lesson! :thumb:
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