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Thread: VF160CD--->Zoom R16

  1. #1
    Paj is offline Force of Nature
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    VF160CD--->Zoom R16

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    I've started using a Zoom R16 as my stage recorder (a single, three 1-hour sets gig). Some observations:

    (1) Lightweight package---about the size and weight of a PC keyboard (the major difference in weight being the 6-AA batteries that can be placed inside the R16).

    (2) Solid insertion of line inputs.

    (3) Just as easy to make a direct recording as on the VF and works a lot like the VF for live multitrack recording.

    (4) 4-segment LED monitoring (in addition to peak indicator) for each input and for the master.

    (5) Small 'wal-wart" power supply that is reasonably unobstructive.

    (6) I like to record dry, from insert sends on the stage mixer, so I haven't used the insert effects (but they do allow 8 channels of compression/eq/limiting at the recording input).

    (7) The sound is good---24-bit 44.1 HZ for 8 simultaneous recording tracks.

    (8) Offloading tracks (WAV files) to computer/DAW: Here's one of the main reasons I went with the R16---three ways to do it:

    -----(a) plug a USB flashdrive into the side of the R16 and store files onto it or pull files off of it. This is the slowest and clunkiest method because, as far as I can see, this has to be done one track at a time. Maybe I'm missing something---or maybe an entire "Project" (that's a "Program" in VF parlance) USB flashdrive option will be in a future software update.

    -----(b) Plug one side of the supplied USB cable into the R16 and the other side into a USB port on your computer. The R16 acts as a USB card reader and The SD or SDHC Card in the R16 appears as a drive in "My Computer". Just drag&drop (or any other way you do) the project folders and/or individual files to move, copy, delete, etc. For a Project folder that contained 8 approximately 1-hour long WAV files (tracks), the transfer time over USB in the card-reader mode was about 20 minutes. On the VF, this transfer would have probably involved burning 4 CD-R disks, each one taking about 15-20 minutes (longer if CD-RW disks were used). Then there would have been the subsequent reading of the CDs by the computer. All in all, via the USB Card-reader mode, WAV file transfer, from start to finish, is probably at least 5 or 6 times faster with the R16 than with the VF160CD. Also, it's absolutely easier and less demanding to transfer WAV files with the R16.

    -----(c) Popping out the SD/HC card (just like with a camera) and putting it into a card reader is the fastest method of transfer. I used a $5 USB SDHC card reader, plugged it into my computer and got a whole project transferred in about three minutes! 5 to 6 times faster than using the R16 as a card reader (note that, the SDHC card I had was a Class 6 card). This literally turns hours of transfer time into minutes with drag&drop (or however you do) ease. All three sets (24 one-hour tracks) transferred in about 10 minutes. I have noticed that the new Fostex LV2424-MkII is going this route.

    (9) R16--->DAW/computer--->DVD (or CD or BlueRay) archiving of multiple projects; no more individual CDs for each program/project.

    (10) Unlike the VF160CD, a DAW/computer is necessary to burn an audio CD from the R16. There appears to be no automated equivalent of the VF's "Event Enabling" (splitting a long program into separate songs during the burning of an audio CD from a marked Internal Mixdown program). Tracks can be split---but not programs. So, it appears that the R16 is not the tool for breaking long sets into shorter songs.

    (11) If you use one master mix/scene, internal mixdown on both machines is similar. If you use multiple scenes and the event map, forget it---there are no "scenes" and "scene sequencing" (automation) on the R16. It has a different approach to mixing when it comes to the application of effects.

    (12) The R16 can copy whole Projects/Programs and pass on settings and tracks from one program/project to another.

    (13) No MIDI, ADAT or S/PDIF capabilities are built into the R16.

    (14) Absolute timing information/location is more precise and capable on the VF.

    (15) The three, 1-hour, 8-track sets used up about 7GB of an 8GB SDHC (Class 6) card. This capacity/speed card currently goes for about $20; a 16GB, about $40; a 32GB, about $90.

    I'm glad that I have both units, but the R16 is an interesting, easy to transport/setup/use alternative that can save a LOT of time archiving and getting your files into your DAW. So far, the quality of the preamps and recordings appears to be at least as good as the VF.


  2. #2
    Terfyn's Avatar
    Terfyn is offline Senior Member
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    Feb 2008
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    Zoom on a Fostex site!!! Ooooooooooooh the shame of it. I have the H2 - its great.

  3. #3
    Paj is offline Force of Nature
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    Well, like I said---I'm glad I have both machines. My VF160CD has been a freakin' tank and as faithful and reliable piece of equipment as I've ever owned. Still runs the original hard drive and every off-the-shelf drive I purchased since. It doesn't owe me a thing. The most frustrating thing has been CD burns, but I traced that to a crimped ribbon connector (and only after about 4000-5000 CDs being burned in the drive).

    The reason I mentioned the R16 was because it also has the capability of recording 16 simultaneous channels (via the provided standard USB cable, with the addition of a second R16). I'm sure that other VF owners will be interested in that, especially at the price point of the R16. Here's a link for some user insights:


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