New Music Gear Monday: Zoom R12 Multitrack Digital Recorder

Just about everyone has a computer with a DAW in their home studios these days, but not everyone has a laptop. Even if you do have one, you might not want the tech hassles that come with computer recording when all you want to get your ideas recorded before you forget them.. One of the many available portable recording devices will work this, but what if you need more than just a couple of tracks? That’s where the new Zoom R12 multitrack digital recorder comes in. It goes way beyond a recorder, packing a full studio into a small package.

Zoom R12 multitrack digital recording on New Music Gear Monday

The Stuff That You’d Expect

As stated above, the R12 is an 8 track digital recorder. There are 2 combo inputs, one that can be switched to high impedance that’s suitable for plugging in an instrument, and each have a gain control and peak indicator. Even though there are 8 tracks, you can only record 2 at a time, but if you’re using this as a scratchpad, that’s all you’ll probably need anyway. There’s a fader for each track, along with one for effects, and a master.

Each input has a built-in compressor, and each track has a 3 band EQ and pan control available via the display. The send effects channel has 4 options: Reverb, Delay, Chorus, or Guitar Lab preset, where you can choose up to 3 effects from the guitar effects collection including distortions, modulation effects, spacial effects, and much more. Yep, there’s a built-in tuner as well.

The stereo outputs have a level control at the top of the unit, as does the headphone output.

Some Cool Extra Features

But here’s where it begins to get especially cool. First of all, there’s a built-in click that you can send to either the master outs or the phones, along with a balance control to set the right level while recording.

In the center above the faders is a 2.4” full color LCD touchscreen display with touch and swipe editing, which is important to control some of more unique features of the R12.

To make it even more usable, there are 150 drum loops built in, plus an 8 voice polyphonic synth, complete with 18 sounds. Of course, you’ll need a sequencer to build up a track and the R12 has that too. The synth can be played with a keyboard through the USB-C port, which also acts as a connection to your DAW or to connect additional storage. There’s also onboard storage via a MicroSD card.

The R12 can be powered by either 4 AA batteries, the supplied AC power adapter, or via the USB buss power.

So all that is pretty cool, right? We would’ve have killed for something like this back in the old Porta-Studio days, and probably would have paid a few grand for it been happy. In these days of inflation and cost increase, the Zoom R12 retails for only $299!

Hard to believe there’s so much packed into this little box for such a reasonable price.

It’s not available yet, but you can preorder it from your favorite music gear retailer. You can find out more here, or watch the video below.

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