Zoom R16

16-track Portable SD Recorder, USB Audio Interface, and DAW Control Surface with 8 Microphone Inputs, Built-in Stereo Condenser Microphones, Built-in Effects, 1GB SD Card, and USB - Mac/PC
Zoom R16 image 1
Zoom R16 image 1

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Zoom R16
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Gives You 3 for 1: Recorder, Interface, and Control Surface

With Zoom's R16 in tow, you've got a full mobile recording and studio recording solution! This affordable and portable device lets you record the whole band at once, thanks to its 16-track recording system with eight XLR microphone inputs. You've got your choice of recording straight to SD cards (up to huge 32GB SDHC cards!) — perfect for mobile recording. Or, you can connect the R16 to your computer via USB and use it as an audio interface to record to your DAW — very cool. But there's way more packed into the Zoom R16.

With the way-portable Zoom R16, you'll be ready to capture band practice, lessons, moments of inspiration, all-out gigs — whatever you want. Not only does this 16-track recorder give you eight XLR/line inputs, so you can plug in your own gear and get to recording — the R16 also features built-in stereo condenser microphones. All you have to do is press record, and you'll be capturing great-sounding audio (up to 24-bit/44.1kHz), straight to SD cards. And don't worry about running out of space: the Zoom R16 supports SDHC cards up to a whopping 32GB.

Want to connect your Zoom R16 to your computer? Use the USB connector in a couple of handy ways! First, you can connect it up to your computer and use it as a standard USB storage device, so you can quickly transfer your SD-recorded tracks straight to your computer for mixdown, archiving, e-mailing, or posting online. But the R16 also doubles as a USB audio interface - how cool is that? Just load up your favorite DAW and you can record eight tracks at time, using the R16's onboard inputs.

Once you've recorded the tracks, the R16 also gives you everything you need to polish them up — whether you're at your computer or out on the road. For starters, the R16 features over 100 built-in studio effects plus amazing guitar amplifier and effects models. You can shine up your tracks with reverb, delay, distortion — whatever sounds right for the mix. Plus, it's loaded with professional-grade mastering effects, so you can finalize your songs for publishing. Even slicker, though, when you have the R16 connected to your computer, you can use it as a hands-on control surface. The R16 uses Mackie's control emulation, which works with popular DAW software — including Cubase, Logic, Digital Performer, and more. You'll have the real mixing experience of riding faders, so you can get levels just where you want them.

If you're ready to get serious about recording, the R16 gives you the whole package: a USB audio interface, a hands-on control surface, and an included software package. It comes with Cubase LE DAW software for immediately getting to work laying down your ideas and building them into professional tracks.

Zoom R16 16-track Portable SD Recorder/USB Audio Interface Features at a Glance:
  • Gives you everything you need for on-the-go 16-track SD recording (8 tracks simultaneously)
  • Built-in stereo condenser microphones for a one-button recording solution
  • USB connectivity for file transfer or for straight-to-computer recording
  • Eight XLR microphone inputs, so you can record an entire band
  • Tons of built-in effects and guitar amp/effects models for polishing tracks
  • Doubles as a hands-on control surface, so you can mix down tracks
  • Comes with Steinberg Cubase LE software so you can start right away
In the studio or on the road, you've got a complete recording solution with the Zoom R16!

Additional Media

Audio Interface Buying Guide
Digital Workstation Buying Guide
R16 Compatible SD Cards
R16 User Manual

Tech Specs

Simultaneous Rec Tracks 8
Simultaneous Play Tracks 16
Sample Rate 44.1kHz
Bit Rate 24-bit
Effects Yes
EQ Yes
Compression Yes
Phantom Power Yes (2 Channels)
Number of Mic Preamps 8
Audio Interface Yes
Computer Connectivity USB
Built-in Mics 2
Analog Inputs 8 x XLR Combo
Analog Outputs 2 x 1/4"
Storage 32GB SDHC (1GB SD Card Included)
Faders 8 + 1 Master (Fader/Encoder)
Fader Throw Short-throw
Power 6 x AA, USB Bus, AD-14 AC Adapter
Height 2.05"
Depth 9.33"
Width 14.8"
Weight 2.87 lbs.
Manufacturer Part Number ZR16

Customer Reviews

Based on 61 reviews
Write your review

Zoom R16

I really like this for my home studio, works great with Logic Pro. Easy to use and operate, looks great and I like that the inputs and outputs are in the back of the unit. The only bad thing is the 1/4" inputs are really hard to pull out after plugging into them. (I got some adapters to solve this problem) I've tried many other interfaces and this is my favorite. One board to do 3 things and not a bad price.

This rocks!!

I glanced through the manual online prior to receiving my Zoom R16. I opened it and recorded that night using a mixer (on drums) and seven other inputs. Then I used the INCLUDED CuBase software to mix it down and everyone was blown away with the results.
Music background: Ex-Pro now just for fun

The answer I've been looking for

I wanted a solid state recorder, but I really didn't want just a 2-track. Obviously they're everywhere, and made by everyone, although Zoom certainly was one of the early adopters out of the gate with the H4, H2, and H4N. I almost bought an H4N at Gearfest...somehow, I missed the Winter NAMM report saying this unit was on the horizon. Thank goodness I waited! I'm actually surprised that it's taken this long for someone to bring a unit like this to market. Having only had the R16 for about a month, I've hardly touched all of its abilities - but for one who often drug out the HD24 in its rack case, accompanying headphone amp, mixer, and assorted goodies to do a quickie 8 track recording, this thing's a dream! It weighs next to nothing, no moving parts!, and with a $1.98 SD card reader I purchased from my local computer seller, I can transfer tracks very quickly to the computer for mixdown. I never tried transferring directly from the unit via USB, so I can't say it's slower or faster than the external card reader - your mileage may vary. I've done three recent multitrack sessions that went flawlessly, and a live 2-track reference recording with the built-in mics was incredible...it's done all I wanted and more, and for the price, it's totally insane! I bought a 4GB and an 8 GB card right after I got it, from different manufacturers, and have had no problems with media at all. As usual, terminology vs. translation is a bit different (we now divide tracks rather than splitting or editing them), but that's always an issue - learn the terms, and it's no problem at all. It's an easy to use unit, and your back will thank you!
Music background: Recording Engineer/Professional Musician

Sweet and Versatile

I've had my r16 for a couple of weeks now and it is really amazing. It's so versatile and easy to use. I wasted a lot of time reading the manual because as I was reading i was doing stuff physically and kept thinking "well that was obvious." This is one of those things that you use now and read about later. I love it as an interface because I can get great cue mixes without affecting the recording audio. Anyway, get one. And talk your friend into getting one too so you can borrow it to gang together and half 16 tracks simultaneously.
Music background: Musician, Student, Recording Engineer

Perfect so far.

I am not a professional by any means and I don't have any experience with other products like this....but so far this ZOOM R16 is doing exactly what we needed it to do. I am a member of a Barbershop Chorus and we put together learning CDs for the members. In the past we would get the music over a few months and introduce them one at a time to the chorus. But the recording didn't happen until our main guy had time for us..sometimes...weeks or months after are last song was introduced. We would go to his house on a Saturday and sometimes the people singing on the learning CD were not in the original learning/presenting quartet. Now with the Zoom R16 I am able to bring this to practice...set it up in two minutes....and record the original learning/presenting quartet before we even sing in front of the chorus. We are excited about the ease of use and the ability to travel with it. By the time we introduce the last song I should have learning a CD for every member of the chorus. We are not using the Zoom R16 to its full potential. I am amazed at the options it has. Sweetwater has been a pleasure to work with on this and other purchases. They have a fantastic group of people working for them.
Music background: Hobbyist. Drummer, Barbershop chorus and quartet singer, School and Church Chiors.

Sweetwater Advice

Dontae Harris

Inspiration comes at random and you can't always count on being near your studio when it hits. The Zoom R16 gives you quick access to field recording or capturing that hook without having to wait for your computer to boot, your DAW and plug-ins to load, and having to set up your gear to lay down that one riff. You turn on the R16, plug in your guitar or keyboard, or use the built-in condenser mics and hit record. Then, plug in the USB cable to your computer and export your track into your DAW, use the R16 as your audio interface to record additional tracks, and mix it down with the R16 as your control surface. PLUS! It comes with Cubase LE so you have all that you need to start your own personal studio!

Marcos Sanchez

Zoom has done it. They've found a way for a home studio owner to get eight simultaneous inputs, a portable recorder, and a controller for your DAW...and they've put it all in one box! I love the R16 - it's a great solution for getting eight simultaneous inputs into your computer as an audio interface - and that alone is worth the cost of it. When you throw in that it works as a control surface, AND a standalone portable recorder as well?! Zoom has really knocked it out of the park with this unit. Along with Zoom's famous guitar effects and overall effects on the whole recorder, this is an affordable way to get your home studio up and going!

Dontae Harris

Once getting this out of the box, it was difficult to be impressed by the low profile Zoom R16 at first glance. I found, however, the more I looked it over and read through the manual, the more I found myself saying, "Oh wow, that's pretty cool." After reading about what the R16 was capable of, I just had to see it for myself. I first pulled out my acoustic and started recording through the built-in condenser microphones. To be honest, I was skeptical of these mics being, at best, sub-par. After testing levels, I threw on my Extreme EX-29 headphones, set the metronome and hit record. I belted it out pretty loud and figured I'd test out how high of a tolerance they had. Wow, they held up nicely and they are incredibly sensitive! At one point between takes, I heard my neighbor approaching my door and thought it was something that I tracked by mistake. At another time, I could hear the slow drip of run-off after a short rain, which happened to be in time with my metronome and thought my headphones bled into the mix. Next, I tried running a bass guitar and an electric direct in to test the Hi-Z inputs and played around with the built-in effects. I was surprised to find the number of effects available for a unit such as this. It's not a modeler or anything extravagant. But it does have simple effects-based signal processing that modifies the tone and allows you to get a rough idea with on-the-fly recording to determine what the finished product could sound like. I had fun playing around with the various bass and guitar effects as well as the vocal delays and reverbs. Plus the built-in tuner and metronome saved me from having to search out additional hardware and makes life more convenient if I'm wanting to do field recording or have an idea I need to get down quick. I found it real simple to be able to mix down, master and bounce tracks to audio and import them into a DAW on my computer. A lot of the controls are pretty intuitive, which is nice for someone like myself who might not get as far as opening the manual before getting so anxious that I have to put it down and get to work. So, you have all of this, plus, you can use it as an audio interface through USB in any DAW. While doing this it can also function as a control surface. Having the ability to multi-track directly into the unit is pretty awesome as it is but this is an added value in consolidating a lot of gear into a single device, which is great for anyone just breaking into the idea of starting a studio. With all that this is capable of, I have to say that impressive would be an understatement in describing the Zoom R16. You have a multi-track recorder, audio interface and control surface all in one little device about the size of your average laptop computer. What more could you ask for?
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See also: USB Interfaces, Zoom, Zoom USB Audio Interfaces, Zoom Digital Multitrack Recorders