Easy to Learn and Use, Great Tool
I only just recently picked one of these up. I have an old Tascam 414 4-track tape recorder and another old Tascam DP-01 8-track digital recorder. Both of these units were and still are great, but I wanted to upgrade to a newer multitrack recorder. I decided that I needed at least a 24-track recorder, and was looking into the Tascam units, but was very disappointed with the amount of "actual" tracks. I play the instruments myself and don't need a lot of stereo tracks that are automatically linked. I came across the Zoom R24 on the internet and began to research the reviews on it. I have used Zoom's guitar pedals for the past 19 years and have been very pleased with them. I was also interested in the drum machine and sequencer, as I can not play the drums myself, and had been looking into a stand-alone drum sequencing unit, but with this built-in unit, I don't need one now.
After my research, I found an R24 for a great price, bought it, and as soon as it was in my hands was up and recording. I was able to find "How-to" videos on YouTube for things that I could not understand in the manual, and have been very pleased with the performance and sound of this unit. I was a little concerned when I received it, mainly because of how light the unit is. Compared to my DP-01, it must weigh about 5 pounds less, but the DP-01 has an internal hard drive for memory, while the R24 has an SD drive.
With my past knowledge of the Tascam units, there was only a slight learning curve to begin with this. I recorded a whole song in about an hour, using a drum loop that I had already had. I decided to try to sequence a complete song's worth of drums, and after about 3 hours of compiling and re-working, I had a great-sounding drum part, exactly as I had imagined, that went completely with a song that I was in the process of writing. I was able to record the entire song in another hour, including 3 guitars, bass, and 3 vocals, and still had another 8 tracks to work with if I needed them.
The effects on this unit seem to be great also, right in line with the guitar pedals I already have. I used 2 different distortions for recording 2 guitars, a bass effect, and different vocal effects, and even a mastering effect also. It is my understanding that most recordings are done dry, but I usually record with the effect on the track, mainly because that is what I'm used to doing. On this machine, you can record either way. If you record dry, then want add an effect other than reverb or chorus, you just bounce the track to another, with the effect on the new track's input, and you are left with both the wet and dry tracks.
Some others have issue with swapping the tracks after recording, and this is done so you don't have to switch inputs, but it's so easy to do, it's not really an issue. The only time this becomes an issue is if after swapping you find that you're not happy with the track, but all you really need to do is swap back and fix what you don't like. The punch in and out works just as it should. I haven't fooled around with trimming tracks yet, mainly because I haven't needed to do so, but this is where the YouTube videos that I found will come in handy.
The built-in mics work well for what they are, and I have used them to lay down ideas very quickly so I don't forget them. It only takes a few seconds to get everything set up and record with them. I have not used the built-in pre-amp yet, as I have an external unit. In my research, I read that the built-in unit needs more power, but I have not and will not confirm this because I like the way my external one sounds.
I have not attempted to work with this on the computer, as I have no interest in it. My other recorders are standalone, and this can be also. I know other reviews state that there is no MIDI link, and this is true, but I don't need that anyway, and only mentioned it for the sake of others doing research. The SD memory is pretty quick (I used the maximum 32G SDHD card) and the USB drive (I copied the files from the included 1G drive to a 16G drive) makes converting the WAV files to MP3 on the computer a snap. It's pretty straightforward in the manual that you don't want to remove the SD card while the unit is powered on or you may lose what is on it.
I am completely happy with the R24, and if someone is out there doing the same research I did, if you are on the fence, pick one of these up. I also want to give credit to topdazzle on YouTube for assisting me, and I'm sure countless others, with the features that this little machine has and actually explaining and showing how to use them.