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Microphone Month 5

Zoom R16 Reviews

4.0 stars based on 61 customer reviews
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Questions about the Zoom R16?

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Sweetwater Advice

  • 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

    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!

  • Tom
    from NY June 30, 2016

    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.

  • Manoj Kumar
    from Troy, MI January 14, 2016Music Background:
    Singer, Hobbyist

    Good Product

    I have this product for almost two weeks now. I really have good experience with it so far. It is up to my expectations. Also I had great shopping experience with Sweetwater.

  • Darin
    from southeast December 25, 2015Music Background:
    20+ year pro

    Great Recorder

    I`m giving it 5 stars because for this price, this thing does a superb job. I used it to its full potential and it stuck the tones and tunes like it was a thousand dollar recorder. The mics built in to this thing are also great, expecially using in conjunction with other mics and especially recording drum tracks. I sold mine a year ago thinking I could get a better one but even after spending bigger bucks, I now know that I made an error because the more expensive unit I bought can`t hold a candle to this one here. Can hardly wait to get my new one.

  • Dale Mortensen
    from AZ September 29, 2015Music Background:
    Professional Musician with several years

    Great Digital Recorder

    I found this recorder to do exactly what I was looking for. It replaced an older Yamaha recorder. I like the compact size of the R16. Operations seems fairly easy after using it for a few trial recordings. I like the SD storage card, too. All in all, I'm happy I purchased it. Sweetwater is a great company to deal with, too.

  • Deb ERNEY
    from Texas City, TX November 11, 2014Music Background:
    Pro guitarist, vocalist, live sound, recording.

    Can't be beat

    I've had this for a year and have used it quite a bit. I use it both at home and I haul it to performances and band practice. I hesitated getting this because it does feel light and "plastic". Zoom has a good warranty and their products always exceed in my expectations. I've also used the H4N,very nice. Zoom recorders tend to record on the warm side. I like the warm, full sound of the recordings. I've had Tascam recorders in the past and they tend to have brighter, more treble in the sound.
    This unit is extremely easy to use for a device of this kind. If your used to the layered menu systems this one is laid out in a way that makes sense and is easy to grasp. I've recently started using the usb computer interface and it records 7 channels at once with clean input, latency free in REAPER.

  • bigmeow
    from Columbia City, IN July 22, 2014Music Background:
    Musician / home recorder

    Yes, it works with Mavericks and GarageBand 10

    If you are looking at this and wondering if it it will work as an interface with GarageBand and OSX 10.9.4, yes, it will. I pulled it out of the box, hooked it up to my MacBook, and was recording 8 drum simultaneous tracks into GarageBand within an hour or so. By happy accident, I was missing the cord for my overhead condenser cymbal mike, so I turned on the 2 onboard condensers and panned them left and right, and they pick up the cymbals clearly. I haven't yet tried it as a standalone recorder, or any of the effects, but it does what I bought it for well.
    After installing the driver, you will have to choose the Zoom as your input device in the Control panels and GB Prefs. When you add a new track, a box will appear that lets you choose which channel of the Zoom that track is inputting from. At the bottom of the 'Track' menu, you will choose the 'Track Header' option and then go to the 'Show Record Enable' option. On each track you wish to record on simultaneously, make sure the red Record Enable button is lit up. With the Gate option in GB, you can get a reasonable amount of separation between the drums on each track.There are some good tutorials for all this on YouTube.

  • Lee Osteen II
    from Anderson, IN USA January 17, 2014Music Background:
    Long-time Musician, Engineer and Audiophile


    As soon as I opened it, I was impressed. Lightweight, portable, USB powered or batteries or AC... Standalone board or DAW interface... Comes with its own ASIO drivers! I love it! it works perfectly with Reason and Cubase, and upgrading to Windows 8.1 didn't phase it!

    Have yet to try out the onboard stereo mic...

  • Gary Barron
    from Eastman,Ga. March 31, 2013Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    Zoom R16

    I'm a multi talented musician and my experience with recorders have always ended with disappointment, not with this baby, with 16 channels i have more than enough to record horns, bass,guitar,keyboard,drums ,you name it, this has plenty of headroom so it's impossible to tell if it's recording or on playback.
    This is exactally what i was looking for, so for anyone looking for a multichannel recorder this is the one you're looking for, I'm extremely happy, Thanks Zoom & Marl at Sweetwater.

  • David Alan flaherty
    from Creswell, Or, March 26, 2013Music Background:
    I'm Irish and my soul needs music to survive.

    Zoom R 16

    David wills, Pro Audio DVDs and the Zoom R16 and absolutely no knowledge of mixing or even recording; I was not too hopeful about my success. With the extremely helpful advice (to the point of helping load the DAW software from Swseetwater and an hour looking at the teaching tape (bought separately) and I was up and running. Two weeks later, I have concurred most of the effects and while I don't require more complex skills, now, This machine runs itself. Again the tape translated computer speak into everyday language and demonstration and made things a lot easier. I rate this product with 5 stars for fun, quality and ease of use. David

  • Bill Lynn
    from March 15, 2013Music Background:
    Played Bass for 47 years and played live the hole time, I love music.

    Zoom R16

    It is a lot more than I was expecting for the price. It's easy to use and records with quality. I am very impressed and that does not happen a lot. I am very happy with the Zoom R16. The guys at Sweet Water is also great to deal with and they will go the extra mile to make sure that all of your questions are answered, no matter how long it takes.

  • cl
    from Reno NV March 12, 2013Music Background:
    Pro Musician.. Keyboards

    Great little machine

    Bought this last year, really hadn't had time to do more than basic 8 track recording of rehearsals.. (which really you can do from the quick start manual)... Here recently I needed to do some vocal/keyboard demos and multi-tracked myself adding each part as I went. Very easy and intuitive... only need to hit the manual to add in effects & such.
    I also have the little Zoom 2, and this, like the 2 takes some SERIOUS overloading without clipping... Not much to look at, built like a cheap Casio keyboard... but so far is holding up really well... no problems.

  • B. Jean Rose
    from Huntington Beach, Ca 92646 February 27, 2013Music Background:
    Professional keyboardist


    I'm not a technical person. I wanted something easy to use with high quality output. I found it right here! Had an earlier model Zoom that was more complex but still was happy even though I had some difficulty getting the max from it because of my technical limitations. Not so with this one. I will definitely stay with Zoom!

  • Jim Turner I I I
    from Macon, GA February 11, 2013Music Background:

    A Great Buy!!

    You will not be disappointed with this baby. I've used it many times to record live with drums through a seperate mixing board and everyone else direct in the recorder. With the DAW software it makes it easy for us amateurs to mix sound.

  • Jim Tunrer
    from Macon, GA August 28, 2012Music Background:
    Ex-Pro now just for fun

    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.

  • Don Wareham
    from SW Florida May 28, 2012Music Background:
    Guitar and Keyboards Studio Musician

    Zoom R16

    I purchased my R16 a few weeks ago and I'm so happy I got it. I've been having a ball composing and trying different styles track by track. It's a amazing mixer/recorder. I love the idea of no tape. My old mixer was a Tascam with cassette tape and very limiting (older technology).

    The Zoom R16 is perfect for what I'm doing and has allowed me to do things I could never do before.

    Thank You Zoom for such a great product. !

  • NormB
    from Seattle WA March 31, 2012Music Background:
    Musician, Producer, Independent Label

    This is the one that you want

    Most reviews bill this as an add-on for your studio. The R16 IS my studio. I do all my tracking on the R16. Preamps are quiet and sound good, monitoring is flexible. For simple pan-eq-reverb mixes, I do quick mixes to the R16's master track. For serious final mixes I pull the tracks into Pro Tools over USB.

    With 8 inputs at a time and 16 total tracks, plus the option of non-destructive bounces (you keep your original tracks when mixing down), there's nothing the R16 can't do. This is the best money I have ever spent on pro audio gear.

  • Nick
    from Texas January 23, 2012Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Hobbyist

    Perfect Purchase

    My brother and I are setting up a recording studio at his house and the interface we had was freaking horrid; just absolutely god awful. I got this and I could not be happier. The A/D in it sounds surprisingly good, the preamps are clean, and it has great head room. The unity markers and peak lights help a lot with gain structure but some products in this price range dont mark out unity on all the parameters, so that's definitely a plus. I recommend this if it's your first interface. You could get a cheaper one or you could save a few extra $ and get this. It's worth it.

  • Joe McElroy
    from Downingtown, PA August 23, 2011Music Background:
    Pro Bassist and hobbyist recording engineer

    Zoom R16 - great features

    This recorder has very clear recording capability, is intuitive to use and has great features. I use this recorder to record live gigs and practices and have gotten fabulously clean tracks and been able to manage while playing the bass. I like the SD flash drive compared to a hard drive, fewer things to go wrong. The mixing and mastering are easy to use and produce a high quality track. Reports were that it was a little flimsy, but I have not found it to bed so. I carry mine in a computer bag with all the supplies with no real risk to damage.

  • MTR
    from Minneapolis, MN July 1, 2011Music Background:
    Music Maker

    Zoom R16 is wonderful!

    Moving from a sub-par 2 channel AI to this was the right move. Not only are recordings easier, the pure quality of the audio that this thing captures is amazing.

  • Randy
    from Gainesville, FL December 11, 2010Music Background:

    Gator Rock

    I bought this unit earlier this year. I love it!! I use it as an interface for Logic. I am able to plug in my guitar and get fantastic sounds through Logic. In addition, I use this at every band practice to capture our work. The sound is great and very easy to use. Very portable unit.

  • chris
    from uk January 10, 2010Music Background:

    Can't find better at this Price

    Let me just start by saying that you wont find better value for money as far as multi track recorders go, than the ZOOMR16. i really can't think of anything bad to say about it. The only thing i would say is to read the manual thoroughly, it is very easy to follow and will help you use the unit to it's full potential. Ease of use is very good, the sound is perfect, preamp's are "alright" but i use seperate ones anyway. Overall for the money, this unit is great for any songwriter looking to record their material using the Zoom r16 either as a stand alone recorder or as an interface for PC recording. Go buy it, you wont be disappointed!

  • Steve O
    from Amery WI December 9, 2009Music Background:
    Hobbyist. Drummer, Barbershop chorus and quartet singer, School and Church Chiors.

    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.

  • Case
    from Houston, TX November 15, 2009Music Background:
    Musician, Student, Recording Engineer

    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.

  • Terry Douds
    from Lancaster, OH August 28, 2009Music Background:
    Recording Engineer/Professional Musician

    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!

  • James
    from Florida March 14, 2017Music Background:
    Semi Pro Singer/Guitarist, Hobby Recording and Producing.

    Works Pretty Good Standalone and with Sonar X3

    I had a Tascom DP-03CD recorder a few years ago. In a rough patch I sold it. Decided to buy another one and found this instead. I liked it had 8 inputs, not that I need that many but I've had a couple situations where I wanted more than the 2 in my Focusrite Scarlett 6i6. I also liked the idea of using it with my DAW, which was Sonar X3. First thing I had a lot of trouble with was using it with the 6i6 connect. After a lot of research, that is normal problem with ASIO. You need special drivers to allow for two devices at a time. But, if I turn my 6i6 off, then it will connect no problem. I can still use it as a control surface with the 6i6, just not as an audio interface.

    The include mikes are SENSITIVE, which I quess is normal with condenser mics. The only noise in my room at the time I tried to record was the fan in my PC, and me breathing. Create a 1 bar noise floor so need to drop the gain, which takes away a lot of headroom. I don't remember having that problem with the DP-03CD, but maybe I did. It causes the recording to be lower than I usually like, but I can fix that on my PC. I figure I'll use the 6i6 most of the time and use the R16 for remote work and when I need a little more inputs.

    All in all, I like it and and figure it will grow on my as I use it. Oh, and 1 last thing which is why it got a 4.5 and not a 5. The only update prior to updating for windows 10, was in 2013. When I was searching for my problems most stuff was from 2014 and 2015.

  • Chuck Geber
    from Santa Rosa, CA May 31, 2016Music Background:
    experienced bass player / recording wannabe

    Amazing Little Box for Casual Recording

    Sure, the User Interface is a little cryptic and frustrating at first, but this little box is an absolutely amazing tool for informal recording! It doesn't have $1000-per-channel Studio Preamps but for casual recording of rehearsals or live performances it cannot be beat. Our band made a 4-song demo package whose quality is just short of a studio-version but much better than I would have dreamed. (The other band members were stunned by the R16 from the moment they first saw the product to when they heard the final mix-down.) The R16 will run for 3-4 hours on its internal 6-AA batteries, or forever from its included wall power supply.

    The included Cubase LE DAW software makes generating MP3s a snap (after you pay the additional $15 for unlimited MP3 encoding - the SW includes the first 20 or so encodings for free...;)

    The included 2GB SD Card is good for a few track-hours; get an additional 32GB card for much more recording capacity. (Note that the unit does not support 64GB cards.) The Gator 15"x10" 'pedal-effects' carrying bag is a perfect fit to carry and protect this Amazing Little Box!

  • Franco Nogarin
    from Fort Smith, NT May 26, 2016

    Great value and works great.

    Built a little on the weak side, the SD door broke off in the first 3 minutes, Now I treat it like it is made of plastic ;-) Practically in our rehersal space, it stays setup all the time and it works great as an in place recorder on our practice nights, does not need an export process to get tracks out to daw, simple, reliable and affordable. Love it. I avoid plugging and unplugging the XLRs and suspect it will live longer because of it. I have the baby brother R-8 and the Tascam DP32SD as well. I prefer the Zoom over the Tascam.

  • BigMeow
    from Columbia City IN December 22, 2015Music Background:
    Musician / home studio

    Update: With new driver software, r16 now works properly with GarageBand & OS X El Capitan

    You can delete the former review. With the new upgraded driver, available for download at the Zoom website, The Zoom R16 works just fine with OS X El Capitan. We used this as an interface to record our latest album in Garageband, and we got excellent results. The ability to record 8 simultaneous channels at once really helps to record great drum tracks. The onboard mikes are passable if you don't have overhead cymbal mikes yet.

  • David Hamilton
    from United States February 20, 2015Music Background:
    Part time band member

    excellent small recorder

    We bought this recorder just to record some basic tracks we are using for rehearsals and to record some song snippets for the web site. It is very easy to use and has a lot of versatility and features for an inexpensive recorder.

  • Chris I.
    from Dallas, TX USA October 26, 2012Music Background:
    Music Student and Recordist

    Sweet simplicity

    Not getting a 5 due to some klutzy user interface issues. That being said, if you have ever wanted the simplest way to track on the go, this is it. Sound quality is great, no spinning disk, battery powered, built-in mics. If you are like me and have ever used a 4-track cassette... you will consider this one of the best little recorders ever actualized.

  • Jake Keasling
    from Mosheim, TN April 26, 2012Music Background:
    Southern Gospel Musician

    Zoom R16

    After calling Tech Support, I was able to use the effects. I mostly use effects that are not onboard to record. I now make CD's from my recliner since I make all my music from a laptop. It is almost too easy to get almost the same quality as you can from a real studio. There should have been a way to erase the master track without using a computer and maybe there is, but it is no trouble to erase just the master track from a card reader. You still have the other tracks to redo the master mix-down. Overall, I am well pleased with the quality.

  • Dennis Mehaffey
    from Pasadena, CA July 27, 2011Music Background:
    Songwriter, Musician

    A Beautiful Piece of Equipment

    I would have given this five stars, but the manual is so poorly written, so badly organzied, so confusingly laid out, that I had to knock my rating down just a notch. What I found amid incredible frustration trying to go through the manual is that this is actually a simple, beautifully designed recorder that does an awful lot for the price and is actually organized very thoughtfully and in most cases, logically. You wouldn't know this from trying to go throught the manual. Anyway, so far I've mostly been transferring old cassette tapes to the R16 for preservation and hoping to add tracks and master for possible future release and it has been a pleasure to use. Also, after a bit of hair pulling, I did manage to install Cubase LE 5.0 on my conputer and get the R16 connected and configured to use as an audio interface and DAW controller and I must say it works very well. I would definitely recommend this machine to anyone who wants a simple, portable recorder for a small project studio or for location recording. Just having 8 simultaneous inputs puts it way above the other devices in its league. And the fact that it records on SD cards makes it a dream to save and organize multiple projects. So, to sum up, I love the machine - hate the documentation. Oh, and Sweetwater has been very helpful with support. Kudos to them.

  • Danny T
    from Central Illinois November 12, 2010Music Background:
    Professional Musician, Recording Hobbyist

    Finally, I can focus on the Music!

    Multi-track recording can be a big pain. Especially for a musician who just wants to play the music and avoid the headaches. I've owned this unit for 8 months and it has actually made multi-track recording fun for me. I only needed to spend a short time with the owner's manual to get up and running. I don't need a degree in computer science to operate it. In fact, you don't need a computer at all to use this thing. The only time I plug it into the computer is to transfer the final master to a CD.

  • mike
    from ny July 21, 2010


    pretty easy to use once you get the hang of it it's really fun to play around with. mosly b/c im a solo acoustic kinda guy but with this i can lay down 4-5 diff. tracks and make it sound like a whole band. the FX are easy to use and are ok more fun then good the only reason it gotta 4.5...I would tell ppl to buy this. it's kinda basic but thats what i like about it. you get good sound good fx and a sweet combo recorder/soundboard for live shows its really light and the onboard mics work really nice to....if you into recoarding your stuff and dont have a whole bunch of money this is the way to go....buy from sweetwater as well love this site.

  • Mel Birch
    from Alaska June 28, 2010Music Background:
    Musician, Song-writer

    Zoom R16 Lives Up to Reputation

    Just a few days in to owning the Zoom R16, I am very pleased with its performance. I have recorded a multi-track project using the on-board microphones for multiple acoustic guitar and vocal tracks, and the HiZ capability to record electric bass. I'm very impressed with the sound, and the owner's manual and directions.

  • Jerry
    from Siver Spring,Md August 16, 2016Music Background:
    Sound and recording Engineer

    Zoom R16

    Zoom R16 can record 8 tracks of audio at the same time. The 8 remaining tracks can be used for overdubbing or stereo mix downs. It comes bundled with Cubase so mixdowns can be done on a pc or mac.
    I recommend mic splitters if recording live. this means sources can feed a sound console and the zoom recorder at the same time, This makes remixing more flexible and more precise

  • John Biehl
    from Phoenix, Az. November 21, 2013Music Background:
    40+ Years as an Audio Engineer/Producer.

    Zoom R-16 - keep a good suppply of batteries available

    Works as advertised. Batteries don't seem to last very long though, Mine clocked out at a little over an hour.

  • Russell McKenzie
    from September 17, 2013

    Zoom R16 a winner

    My new Zoom R16 is great value and a super useful piece of kit. It does everything it says it does without any issues. The manual that comes with it though is poor and unintuitive. There is a market here for someone to write "The Users' Guide to the R16"

  • Sam Milow
    from March 7, 2013Music Background:

    Very cool combo that works, but you might need an exernal preamp

    If I had known about this device before, that it is also an audio interface into DAWs, I wouldn't have gotten my Scarlett 8i6 because the Scarlett doesn't feel as portable as this, nor does it have as many inputs, nor does it on USB or battery power, nor is it a standalone recording device, nor is it a DAW controller. This little system is really cool. And, it works great with Ableton 8.

    My one complaint is that the built in 2 preamp inputs only created weak and thin voice recording. (Scarlett wins in the builtin preamp category.) However, when I used my own mic preamp on my condenser mic (Behringer MiniMIC MIC800) I got a really nice sound. I will also say that I can't stand the complexity and lack of good doc on the Scarlett mixer software. Zoom's software is super-simple; just set the bit rate and sample rate, and let the DAW manage the rest.

    The two builtin stereo mics are just okay, not at all studio, but not horrible, just a little better than a Tascam handheld, and sufficient for quick mobile recording and quick ideas when you're not packing around other gear.

    My suggestions on improving this would be better builtin preamps (although I don't mind using my own), and perhaps make the stereo mics rotate up to help test with different positions.

    Also, my fault that I didn't see the model above this, the R24, which adds another 8 tracks, drums, and sampling. (I'm going to assume the additional preamps on that one are the same as this one though).

  • Cootdog
    from NH, USA January 21, 2013Music Background:
    Drums and Bass

    USB - DAW software - CD production

    Connect USB, set the channels and record. Its a very nice system. I found the comunication between the R16 and my computer difficult to enable. Registration of the DAW was also difficult for me. But once I got it figured out, Man, the R16 is GREAT. Don't let the "Upgrade of the DAW" bug you ... just use 8 MOMO in and one STEREO out.... get ready to record school and local rock groups, wind and birds :-)

  • dewayne austin
    from san francisco, ca June 8, 2011Music Background:
    filmmaker, home studio recording engineer, composer

    Good things in small packages

    This replaces my previous 16 track recorder, VF160.
    It is remarkably small and light weight - great for my use since i have to carey it between recording studio and home editing computer.
    Has a small footprint and is fairly easy to use. The menu is not totally intuitive. So you might have to glance at the manual.
    THe best device for recording 8 simultaneous tracks for its size!

  • Bruce
    from California May 27, 2010Music Background:
    Band member, studio hobbiest


    This box had exactly the specs i was looking for. Small, low cost and could flexibly record to digital media or direct to a DAW --- 8 tracks at a time.

    Standalone - this was so simple to set up and use. I inserted the SD card, hooked up some instruments and was off and running. I pressed the usb button and the SD card contents showed up in Windows 7. Copied them to Sonar and viola - edit time.

    Connecting directly to the DAW took a bit of messing around with the driver. First, they just released the windows 7 64 bit driver. As usual with Sonar it took some research and monkey business to configure it but once i did --- 8 tracks in. NICE!!! Still working on configuring the controller parameters. I tested this in Cubase and it was awesome but as usual Sonar is fighting me.

    All in all I think this unit hits the nail on the head. for $400 you are set up. Its not the highest quality sound but for cutting demos, composing, and DAW control you would have to pay much more.

    PS - Sweetwater was great. Great price and AMAZING support. Patrick in customer service - YOU ROCK!!!

  • Danny R Mayle
    from Clarksburg West Virginia May 25, 2010Music Background:
    40 years as a club musician

    Buy this product!

    If you're looking for a good sounding product that you can afford, stop looking. This is an excellent record.
    The SB card works flawlessly. However, I have never been a big fan of cue base le4.
    The main reasons I would definitely buy another product through Sweetwater is because of the service after the sale.
    When I had a problem with my Cubase software, I just contacted Sweetwater, (Mikey Seltzer) and you would not believe how helpful he was. I am disabled and can only use one hand. I had to keep going down the phone in order to type something on my computer so you can imagine how slow I was. Mikey spent at least an hour on the phone with me.
    You will not find a more dedicated company or employee.
    Whatever your musical needs are, trust Sweetwater!

  • DC Patterson
    from Northlands, New Zealand May 11, 2010Music Background:
    Recording Engineer for music, film and web.

    A Great Recorder

    Let's get over the price point first - it's built to one, so there are compromises...it's not made of steel, the preamps are ordinary, and that darned lack of phantom power on 6 out of 8 ch...
    It works very well, is fast to learn (do read the instructions, at least the first 2 pages) and does what it does very well.
    The included copy of Cubase is (as usual) very picky about how you install - make sure you have the R16 drivers installed FIRST, then keep the R16 connected, and Cubase will install smoothly - the instructions are a little vague here.
    The R16 is very quiet - no self noise in recording or playback. I used a pair of SDC tube mics for ambience in a hall and got a very clean recording at high gain.
    The pres sound very like most cheap chinese mixers - not a great dynamic range, a little rounded - kinda sleepy - but they are up with the Roland VS gear (at least) and clean.
    Everything I recorded (AKG + Sennheiser dynamics) a pair of tube mics, and even the built in mics (usable for ambience, conference table catchall) take Eq well.
    I got mine with the free bag which I found to be very good quality and I actually keep the R16 in it - better than you could hope for in a freebie.
    Most importantly, this gets you a way better quality recording than any video camera I've used (broadcast). For location sound for films or video work, it's a big step up in quality and flexibility.
    And it's killer for multi mic podcast recording. Use dynamics, they work wonders with the R16
    Thanks to Richard Whittington, my rep for helping out.

  • Melvin McSnatch
    from Springboro, OH February 28, 2010Music Background:
    Songwriter, guitar, bass, home recording

    Zoom R16 FIXED DRIVERS!!! USB Interface Review.

    I originally gave this product 3.5 stars before the device was Windows 7 compatible... but now that they've fixed the issue (in a timely manner! great looking out for the customer!) I can update my review.

    This R16 is great at simultaneously multi-tracking @ 44.1k via USB.

    Recordings are coming out fairly well, except anything over 48.8k is pushing my computer fairly hard. I lose some data every 30 seconds or so (ACER Aspire 5600 piece of junk). But it just sounds so much better at 96k!

    Minor, yet annoying, interface issues: Locks up Cubase if you shut down the R16 before exiting, having to reselect ASIO drivers, loss of input bus presets...

    After 2 months of use, I still can say you don't want to use the built-in effects for recording. I used some voice effect for a song, but that's about it.

    Someone said Cubase was a different animal... but it's more like what the animal left in your yard. However, it's much more R16 friendly than my DAW of choice, Sonar 7, and has become the most used program on my computer.

    The price isn't bad for all the use and quality I'm getting out of it.

  • Mark Ham
    from DFW, TX December 14, 2009Music Background:
    Hobbyist with pro background.

    Cheap but effective!

    I spent over a month considering USB interfaces before I settled on the Zoom R16. For the money, is simply cannot be beat.
    Sonically, the pres are servicable...not great, but not horrible...certainly usable. The drivers are unbelievably poor. I preparing to box the unit up for return but I decided to give the ASIO4ALL drivers a shot. Downloaded them and it works flawlessly now.
    Overall functionality is very good. Menu architecture is a bit wonky, but not distractingly so. The control surface option was a nice bonus and it works very well, but it is limited compared to other, dedicated surfaces. Again, for the money, it's quite a bargain.

  • Kuykendall
    from Cypress, Ca USA August 2, 2009Music Background:

    Sweet unit

    Nice unit - finally something truly portable...but watch that battery life... With NEW batteries - I only got 45 minutes recording time (granted I had the backlight on) - but that shouldn't change the recording time from advertized 4.5 hours to .75 hours.

    Overall this unit is slick... once you've thrown away the 1Gb card (200min/8ch = 25 min record time) and gotten something more substantial (I chose 16Gb SD - but you can go upto 32Gb) My 45 min recording session = 466Mb - using 2 ch in stereo.

    Linking to computer is fairly easy - but could be frustrating to someone whose life doesn't revolve around the things.

    Cubase software... now that's another animal... pretty rough start, but once you get used to it - it'll do the job... being able to link the R16 as a controller certainly helps.

  • Melvin M.
    from Springboro, Ohio December 30, 2009Music Background:
    Songwriter, guitar, bass, home recording.

    Great for price, low compatability

    As advertised, the 8-in XLR-1/4" sound just peachy at 44.1k, 24-bit recording. It's great as a stand alone unit. Even the built in condenser mics sound good.

    It's built in effects are fun, but low quality. I wouldn't buy this unit if you're relying on this unit to do good compression or reverb. (Personal favorite: 'Jet Riff'. Think flanged distortion from the song "Barracuda").

    However, the biggest let down is it's lack of audio inteface compatability with Windows 7, or 64 bit Vista. It just plain does not work. Rumors say they are working on a fix for 2010.

    Even on my XP system (P4 2.4g, 1gig RAM) I've only gotten a single track to record at a time at 48.8k with 'clicks'. It won't let me up to the specs advertised. It may be my crappy computer, but it won't even give me the option.

    SD Card support helps overcome its interface problems, as long as you have a card reader.

    Control surface function takes some setup and will not match your DAW programs commands exactly, but I really like it.

    I'm not regretting my purchase of the R16, in fact I'm enjoying it alot. Just realise what it does and does not do well.

  • Cleaver
    from NYC September 14, 2009Music Background:
    Live Sound

    field recordings

    I love the unit and the idea, I have waited for something that meets my long list of demands for a portable device thats not a handheld piece, the zoom r16 pleased me EXCEPT the main reason I got it, portability. I needed something that was battery powered and truly portable since I recored in remote areas with no electricity, this unit worked for just about 60min on Ni-Mh rechargeable batteries running on a full charge, then died, then developed some type of system problem where it repeatedly crashed, upon close examination of the manual it suggest 1.5v AA batteries which mine was 1.2v AA, I guess this is a major hurdle most overlook, myself included.
    Other than that I love it and what it can do.

  • BigMeow
    from Columbia City IN December 5, 2015

    Does not work with OS X El Capitan yet

    I was getting excellent results using the Zoom as an interface for Garageband recordings. That is until I upgraded the Mac OS to El Capitan. Now, I have $400 boat anchor in my studio - it no longer works. Tech support from Zoom says they will have a driver update in early December. I'll keep you posted

  • Walt Schilb
    from Antwerp Ohio December 11, 2012Music Background:
    Musician. Keyboard, bass, guitar, banjo

    Zoom R16

    Haven't had it long enough to really tell. Only used it as a recorder so far. Will know more in a couple of months

  • Michael
    from Florida March 25, 2010Music Background:


    The only reason i am giving this unit 3 starts is because the trim pots are noisy on mine, and it sounds like there is a noise gate on the inputs which pumps on/off during recording.

  • Danny Mayle
    from Clarksburg West Virginia December 15, 2009Music Background:
    40 years as a musician

    On second thought

    You may have read my review on the R16 and I would like to update it. I've had it now for a couple of weeks and am learning more about the unit. Although I'm still having problems trying to use R16 as a control surface/interface, I am getting a much better sound than I originally did.
    Even though this is not a "professional" unit, for $400 you can't go wrong. If I could get the R. 16 to work probably as a control surface so I could record directly into my computer I would be Completely Satisfied! The SD chip however works flawlessly.
    More important to me however is the support that I received from Sweetwater representative Andrew stryffelen. He is a true professional. I would definitely deal with Sweetwater again because of him. I am reconsidering whether or not I would buy another zoom product. Upon further reflection, I probably would. This would make a great Christmas gift for the price. Good luck Big Dan.

  • Mike Morgan
    from Normal, IL USA July 23, 2009Music Background:

    Cheap & Sexy

    It does what it says it will do! It is built so incredibly cheap, I was almost afraid to plug anything metal into it. It weighs nothing. As a recorder, it slams eight tracks onto it's miniscule 1gb SD card with ease. (I bought a 32gb card withing hours) Transfering these files to DAW has been easy. The manual is abrupt, but accurate. The USB interface is the slowest I've used, and quite dodgey getting recognized by XP. Some of my programs refuse to use it's driver at all. It works well with Sonar, but seems to really attack my CPU. I WAS hoping to record onto a laptop with this and use it for a front end to Guitar Rig. Not gonna happen. But the SD card thingy works pretty well and only adds a couple extra steps. It's the cheapest way I've found to digitally record 8 simultaneous tracks. The manual is good about helping you set up DAW control for your favorite software. I had sliders moving in Sonar within minutes.

    I do wish they had allowed controlle
    r messages from the gain pots, making this a "controller only" option. The thing that baffled me was the knob that pans back and forth between R16 output and computer output which actually allows you to "mix" the two signals.

    I'd have to say I'm mostly dissapointed with the USB drivers which hopefully will improve with software updates.

  • Sonny Harris
    from Georgia, USA May 2, 2012Music Background:
    Evangelistic Blues Write & Perform

    ZOOM BamaLam

    The recording aspect of the Zoom R16 is as advertized. However, the Cube Base LE6 interfacing with it is far from accpetable! In fact myself nor 370 Indians in Dehli have gotten it to interface with my DELL which I also bought for the recording deal. Dell says it should work, The Universtity in Savannha Ga says it requires a 32 bit and a 64 bit will not work. So I have attemtped to reach someone to help everywhere for this problem. While the Zoom records well you can forget the Cube Base LE6..I've spent more money on instructions videos etc...what a bummer !

  • Robert
    from Billings, MT November 17, 2010Music Background:

    Not Impressed

    I'll say right off that at best, this unit works okay as a stand alone recorder, it's not great, it looks, feels and sounds cheap... like it would break if you farted on it. Now the bad part, (my personal experience) with this unit... I could not get this unit to work on my PC with XP as a control interface, I even tried it on other PC's at my work and had the same errors come up. So I thought maybe I had a bad unit, so I returned it and got another unit but had the same problems. I would get my DAW software to recognize it for one start of the application but none of the control commands from the unit would take in the software then I'd quit the software and I'd get a USB error saying that the device could not be recognized. So I'd reinstall the drivers and start over and this process went round and round a few times before I finally gave up... tech support from Zoom was mostly useless. I finally got rid of the Zoom and bought the Boss BR-800... I installed the drivers & software on my PC and bam! the Boss worked right out of the gate with no issues thus far... It doesn't have as many inputs as the Zoom but the Zoom didn't work, for me...

  • Big Dan
    from Clarksburg West Virginia November 25, 2009Music Background:
    Club musician for 40 years

    You get what you pay for!

    I purchased the R. 16 about a week ago.
    It's made of plastic and weighs about 3 pounds. Although the recorder itself works okay, the sound quality is just fair.
    I have worked with Cubase LE4 before, and it is wracked with problems.
    I had to call tech support let them take control my computer and it took them about 40 minutes to correct the problems with the software. If you just want a recorder to play around with and put your ideas down
    then this recorder would probably work fine for you. The sd chip seems to work well.
    If however, you want to do some serious recording I would pass this one up.
    Keep in mind you get what you pay for!
    Good luck, Big Dan.

  • Customer
    from August 4, 2016

    Not durable in the slightest

    Worked fine for about 6-8 months and then just totally deteriorated. Interior components / connections became so "loose" (for lack of a better term) that the device would not record properly without squeezing the left side of the unit together with your hand or applying weight on top of it. The device was never totally "broken" as it would go in and out of sometimes working properly and other times either not recording at all or producing terrible scratchy, distorted signal from the inputs.

    It's housing is just very cheap plastic that does not inspire confidence at all. Really flimsy and not durable whatsoever. I should note that this wasn't seeing heavy use either - back and forth to a handful of band practices and shows inside a padded laptop carrier.

    The above issue is on top of the fact that general recording workflow is very clunky and navigation through the menus rather tedious. Save your money and get something that is constructed with better materials and is built to last.

  • Kenny
    from August 28, 2010Music Background:
    Hobbyist Recording Engineer/Singer-Songwriter

    Super low Headroom

    I bought this little peice of gear in an attempt to fix a problem I was having with a lack of preamps and mixer at the same time. To be honest, it looks nice, but it just didn't turn out that way for me.

    First thing, it is extremely light. I don't know if that is good or not, but i would be a little bit afraid to break this little guy. In my two day experience with it before i returned it, i didn't have any problems with the thing breaking. The main problem I had was that when i plugged any mic into it, even at the lowest gain, it immediately caused feedback. This happened on every channel, so I assume there was something really wrong with this unit. I replaced it with a mackie 24.8 from ebay, and it's done a good job since.

  • Megan Fischer
    from Lufkin, TX August 22, 2014


    There are some features I like about this recorder, but I have had endless frustrations with "File Access Errors," which supposedly have something to do with the SDHC memory cards, though I think it has got to be the machine. I am happy with the recordings I have completed, but every once in a while, during a recording I will get the message "File Access Error." This message interrupts the recording and makes the file unusable. You could be happily recording a take you're really proud of, and not know until the end that none of it was recorded. Once you have this error, you can no longer record or mix anything on file. So even if you were happy with just the tracks you do have, you cannot master those tracks (maybe you could with a computer program, but not the machine). I was told that the card is the problem, not the machine, but I have spent a lot of money trying to get the best cards, and I have had this problem with all of them.

    I also do not like that the tracks are not editable on the machine. There are a lot of effects--most of them sound too digital to me--but you cannot cut any part of the track. I used to have a TASCAM, which wasn't perfect, but I could easily cut out the first few seconds of a take. Or, I could record three songs in a row, cut out the middle one, and still have the other two back-to-back. This is impossible on the Zoom R16. To do this, you have to use a computer program with the eight track, which for me involves a little too much technology.

    I hope mine is under warranty still. I think I have had it for about six months. Maybe I just got a lemon, but this "File Access Error" is a nightmare.

  • Marc Daine
    from New York City, NY, USA November 13, 2012Music Background:
    Full time, lifelong professional musician

    There's no foot control punch-in/out!

    If you intend to perform and record your own music, this is not the right recorder for you-unless you can confidently do perfect takes in one pass. Yes, there is a way to manually pre-program a punch-in, but the reality? You want to fix a note? Ok, first put down your instrument and find the exact punch in point -get the magnifying glass to read the tiny LCD print, then push the button once for punch-in. Next you need to find the exact punch out point (you can't just play out to the end) push the same button again -make sure the tiny LCD says "punch out." Next rewind to a point before the punch in point, get your instrument back on-by now you'll need to check your tuning and try to remember what it was that you wanted to fix.. OK press play and record make sure the red light is blinking-you don't want to accidentally record over the wrong part. Still feel inspired? The sad part is that in all other ways it's an easily usable machine at an amazing price. I would have gladly paid twice as much for this machine with a foot controller-but without it, it's useless to me. I would not buy it again.

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