My week with a Zoom R24

flyingace

Active member
While I'm not a very prolific poster here, I read a lot and I really appreciate all the excellent threads and posts about everything under the sun when it comes to song craft, recording (both old school analog and new fangled tech), and technical gadget advice. So Thank You HR.com!

I wanted to post my perspective about my decision to sell my M-Audio Fast Track C600 and buy a Zoom R24 Recorder/Interface/Controller.

I worked in an analog studio from 1992-1995. It was set up with some great, albeit old, gear from the late 70s. MCI board, MCI 2" 24 Track recorder to match and much much more. I learned so much.

But since then, I've had a hard time getting back involved in recording using the computer. I am an admitted mac snob and have been using them since '87, they are all I know. So I obviously bought Logic Pro 9 to go with the C600 last year. I had used GarageBand before that, of course.

I just never bonded with that way of working and felt I needed something to bridge the gap, you know, some kind of control surface that gave me that tactile feel. I looked at the Zoom R16 the year before but ruled it out for a number of reasons: did I need 8 inputs? (Turns out YES!) Was Zoom a very good company? I had owned a G2 and thought it was dreadful. (Turns out YES, too!) Did it have good enough pre-amps? (Yup!) Would it be too hard to learn using a tiny screen, no visual on recordings like the computer, etc.? (Turns out NO, not hard & it also turns out that the lack of the "big picture" screen, I'm getting more intimate with my recordings, counting out beats, sequencing drums for the first time since 1992!)

So, last Wednesday, I had a day off and sat down with the zoom, the day after it arrived, to finally dig in and learn about this thing. Using only the Zoom forum, a pdf of the manual up on my screen, I was able to sequence a full song's drum track, lay down a guitar part, bass part and prepare a track for my daughter to sing on.

It took me 3.5 hours and it's the most I've been able to do in the past year of "re-learning" recording the digital way. Albeit, please keep in mind I rarely have days off or the free spare time to mess with this stuff with wife and two teen daughters. It seems my "Job #1" is the three D's: Driving, Dinner and Dad stuff. Don't get me wrong, I love them all and enjoy my time with them, but sometimes the things I want to do gets lost and by the time I HAVE time, I'm bushed! Yes, if I'd had the time to concentrate solely on recording via interface (C600) and DAW (Logic Pro) last year, I'm sure I'd be good, but as often it happens, I'm sure, the breadth and complexity of what a professional DAW can accomplish is intimidating and daunting!

How did it sound? Well...No grammy's in my future, but I was thoroughly impressed with how simple and easy it was to accomplish this. I was able to easily use the Send/Return effects for basic reverb and a chorus on the bass, EQ'd the tracks, Panned, set levels, etc. Another thing that makes this so understandable for the novice is the fact that if you're plugged into Input 1, you're recording on Track 1, Input 5, Track 5, etc. You can easily bounce tracks, or swap them to another empty track so you can use the same input. This allows me to have my Roland Juno-Gi attached to tracks 3/4 at all times, leaving 5/6 with phantom power (you can set it in the prefs to power on 3-6 or just 5/6) for mic'ing, and 7/8 for bouncing tracks...and that's all just using the first bank of tracks. With the push of a dedicated button on the control panel, you can switch to tracks 9/16 and 17/24. The built-in effects processor is really powerful with 100+ effects allowing you to apply reverb and chorus to all tracks without recording them, leaving a dry signal for you to tweak to your hearts content. There is also the ability to apply Insert Effects to 8 channels simultaneously (i.e. Compression for drums) and 9 different Algorithms set up for standard duties like vocals and distortion for guitars. I've yet to really dig into that yet. Not to mention the 8 pads that can used to trigger drums or samples, let alone the whole sampler… PLUS it has a sequencer and drum machine built-in! whoa, this thing will not bore me any time soon!

It records, as you would expect in a stand-alone unit, to SD card. I purchased two Sony SDHC 32gb fast write/access cards (2gb card was included). It also comes with a 4gb USB drive loaded with loops and a method to backup your projects.

Plus with the USB interface, you can plug it in to your computer and using Mackie Control Surface prefs in your DAW, you can use it as a 96khz 24bit interface AND control surface. I tried it out and it works! Complicated and it will take me some time to really get the hang of how it works with logic, but it does help give me that tactile feel I was craving. The built-in effects are still useful for recording as an interface providing you with a way to set up a headphone mix with Send/Return effects that do not get recorded, keeping the latency low. You can also download/export WAV files directly to your DAW and start working on them in there. Once again, nothing I have spent too much time with yet, but definitely there for my future growth and learning!

I picked mine up using a 15% off coupon and was a little worried about spending $400+ on another device (for fear I might be asked to sleep on the couch for buying more equipment!), but now that I have it and have used it, I'm impressed and have NO REGRETS! The rest of the family has seen the value in this neat little device, as well, and I hope to teach Corey and Stacey how to use the basic project set up, track selection, recording functions so when we travel to see our friend in Gainesville, MO, we can "lay down some tracks, man!" It's battery powered for chrissakes! And the built-in stereo condenser mics actually sound quite good.

All in all, a great purchase, quality gear, better than I expected and, well, I really just love this little thing for the freedom it's giving me, the encouragement to learn more and dive in, and eventually even tackle that DAW at home for bigger and bigger projects in the future. But even if I never do more than just use it as a scratch pad, it's already paid for itself in ease of use and portability!
 

Doctor Varney

Cave dwelling Luddite
Hey, Flyingace... I've been considering buying an R24 myself, since becoming disillusioned with today's reliance on computers. I'm from a PC users background and have never tried a Mac. I really enjoyed reading your post and want to say thanks for taking the time to share your experiences with the Zoom R-24.:thumbs up:

Regards

Dr. V
 

flyingace

Active member
Thanks Doc for your kind words.

I forgot to add that I just purchased the Tutorial from ProAudioDVDs.com for the Zoom R24. David Wills company helped me learn my Juno G a few years ago, so I took a chance on this one. I've already learned to do a lot with just the excellent folks at the Zoom Forum and the manual, which is actually not bad for a japanese translated thing!. But only watching the first 30 minutes of the 2.5 hr dvd and I discovered all kinds of things. It started out pretty basic for total newbs but still worthy of intermediates like me.

If M-Audio and Avid had offered this much support for their C600 I might have kept it but the software was buggy and never up to date with the latest mac os. The control panel crashed all the time. and the unit made a few popping noises too. Plus they made the awful mistake of putting a shiny piece of plastic on the top of the unit that scratched the first time I brushed away a spec of dust. After a year of ownership, I'll be lucky to get $50-100 out of it (I paid $375)!

I hope it encourages you to embrace the portable recorder option, it's really helped open my eyes and make it feel more accessible for me rather than learning yet another application.

Good luck!
 

flyingace

Active member
Also, here is a pic of the zoom at my desk setup. That's part of the ProAudioDVDs.com tutorial on my screen at the moment.
mystudiosetup.jpg
 

namnibor

New member
Wanted to post a thanks to Flyingace for his very similar perspective and experience and the review! I too, was absent to music due to military career and two years ago put together a home synth-based studio and purchased Avid/M-Audio Fast Track C600, which also came with Pro Tools MP9. Have a pc and had nothing but problems with software AND control panel of C600 crashing. Avid's support was ALWAYS nothing short of "we will not give you any help/support until I had a pc that was supported on their list...", and were rather snarky and rude on forum as well. Not a way to treat people that shell out money in a dire economy, but personally do not think they gave a rat's @ss!
I have since went the Reaper DAW route and loving it. Also, the Zoom R24 works great for what I am using it for, as a musical 'sketch-pad', however, it's interesting that the C600 has no issues at all playing nice with Reaper DAW, but will be a cold day in hell before Avid gets a cent from me again in future. The Zoom folks have been updating the audio driver and firmware. The reason continue to use C600 as an audio interface is because it has midi, although record primarily audio but having sister track for midi automation is pretty useful. Had Zoom included Midi on the R24, it would solve standalone timing/sync issues (those issues are not present when used as an audio interface though), and would be just about perfect.
 

saxdude

New member
Hi There,

I though everyone should know that the ZOOM R24 has some has some severe issues when using condenser microphones - have read most of the online threads/posts pertaining the condenser mic and pre-amp issues. I too can confirm that the ZOOM cant handle condenser mics very well. My conclusion is that the pre-amp on the R24 is unstable and poor and I am now considering making a compliant to the ombudsman. But before doing so, maybe I can get some feedback/help from this forum?

For your information - I have the ZOOM R24 unit but have major difficulties getting my condenser microphones to work. I use the AT2020 and RODE NT1, respectively. I also have a dynamic microphone which actually works fine and is used for vocal. Likewise, guitar/bass inputs are also working fine. The frustration think is that I can't get the condenser mics to work at all, only dynamic microphones seem to be working. Also, there is always a humming noise coming from my monitors when using the R24. The good news is that the noise doesn't effect my recordings, it just sound very unprofessional when you are with other professional musicians making recordings - it doesn't do the brand any good.

However, when using the condenser mics I make sure the phantom is turned 'on' and 48V has been selected as per the spec. I am running the R24 directly from the wall power so there should be enough juice (mA, etc) to drive the mics. In addition, I have also changed the batteries on the back on the unit and replaced my cables and a million other things, but the truth is that I still haven't been able to resolve the problem with the condenser mics. The AT2020 and RODE NT1, have been tested in external recording environments and are working fine, but when they are connected to the R24 they mics fail. Clearly there is an issue with the R24. I have also liaised with a couple of owners of the R16, they have similar issues.

Judging from the various forums, there seem to be a lot of unhappy ZOOM customers out there. Also, it is not possible to post a thread on the ZOOM forum either, great support! Anyway, I am wondering if the manufacturer is going to do something about this know issue - I noticed they are now also releasing the ZOOM TAC-2. Lets hope this unit doesn't have the same problem with the phantom/pre-amps. I wonder how the manufacturer can keep producing new units when they know there is a serious problem like this in the market place. No updates or feedback has been given from the manufacturer which is very disappointing.

I am thinking buying the DPA 4400S for sax recordings and the DAD6001-BC (MicroDot to 3-pin XLR adapter w. Belt Clip). The DPA mic is to be used for recording but it is a $800 investment. Since I can't get the R24 to drive my other condenser microphones I have doubts about investing in a any new condenser microphones. Can someone tell me if there is a list of any condenser mics that doesn't work with the ZOOM R24? At least this way I know what to stay away from. As you can appreciate, I am getting somewhat concerned and rather frustrated about this - I thought Zoom product was reliable brand.

I am considering filing a compliant with the ACCC and the ombudsman - however, before doing so I wanted to find a resolution to this problem. I am reaching out to you in this forum, hoping you will be able to provide some assistance.

On a final note - I was wondering it it would help connecting a MicroPower - PS400 to the R24, do you think that can be done and would that resolve the problem with the condenser mics? Alternatively, although I am hesitant buying any ZOOM brands in the future - would anyone know if the ZOOM TAC-2 can be bridged with the R24 and that way the problem will be resolved - has anyone tried this?

All I want to do is to be able to connect my condenser mics to the R24 unit so that I can move on with my projects.

Can anyone assist me with my issue - I have tried everything under the sun with no positive outcome... Any advise is appreciated?

I am running version 1.12.
iMac V 10.7.5
Processor 3.06 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo
Memory 4GB 1067 Mhz RAM
Recording Software: Logic Pro

Thanks in advanced - from a desperate Zoom customer in Australia. :(
 

mixsit

Well-known member
Interesting stuff. Maybe this is what you are running into?
Zoom Gear & Home Recording Forum • View topic - Phantom power problems with R24
The Zoom R16/R24 are USB powered.

This means that there's only 5V, 500 mA or 2.5 W available for the entire machine. Just imagine the number of LED's, each needing 2 to 3 mA and there's very little juice left for phantom power. Also, the 5 V from USB needs to be transformed to 48V, resulting in loss. With approx. 50 LED's, consuming 25 to 30% of the available power, it's almost a miracle this thing works.

That"s also the reason why only two channels have phantom power.

I can imagine some mics drawing too much power. The same problem appears with some other battery powered gear.

I'd love to have seen phantom power on all eight channels and more juice available for power hungry mics. But it's not that easy if this thing has to work on USB power. I'd also be happy if Zoom decided to drop USB power in favor of more solid phantom power, but that would affect battery life too.

BTW. A phantom powered mic should only draw 4 mA, according to phantom power specs. Some of my mics draw 10 mA, which is 2.5 times the phantom spec. I see no one complaining about these mics not following the specs...
 

rayc

retroreprobate
Sax dude,
You have to careful about whether the item is compliant before making a complaint.
have you considered using an external preamp for your mics? that'd be way, way cheaper than the otehr options you're considering.
 

Armistice

Son of Yoda
The ACCC aren't going to help you and there's no recording device ombudsman that I'm aware of. In any case, no ombudsman ever hears a complaint until the supplier of service/gear has been contacted and given a chance to resolve it.

If the machine doesn't work as it's meant to, take it back (assuming it's new) and get your money back. If you want to persist with it get a preamp with phantom power.

Or you can get an audio interface and use your computer as a recording device instead.

Any particular reason why you're going down the standalone recorder route?

You've also resurrected a dead thread and added your problem to it. Better to open your own thread, and in the appropriate forum - you're not recording with a computer, thus this is the wrong place and people may not see it here.

And where in Australia are you?
 

Reginaldsnoo

New member
Ditto re Avid / M-Audio

Avid's support was ALWAYS nothing short of "we will not give you any help/support until I had a pc that was supported on their list...",
Thank you for the interesting post. Just wanted to chip in my similar experience with Avid / M-Audio. No support whatsoever. Have not bought their products for over 5 years already as a result, and recommend anyone to steer clear of them
 

Smastro

New member
hey flyingace,
great info there. I too created a drum sequence for a song on the r24 and am taking up 12 (6 stereo as you know) tracks. When you did your drums were you able to bounce the stereo tracks to on stereo pair? I just wonder if it isn't working because the sequenced tracks are only orange and never turn green. Maybe I'm missing something. Any thoughts?
thanks
smastro
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
Smastro, I doubt you will get a response, since the thread to which you replied is some 7 years old, and the member hasn't been active since 2017.

You might get a better response by just posing your question as a new topic in the Zoom subforum. There are a few of us who use the R24. (I haven't used the drum tracking so I can't help much, sorry).
 

marinelapasca

New member
While I'm not a very prolific poster here, I read a lot and I really appreciate all the excellent threads and posts about everything under the sun when it comes to song craft, recording (both old school analog and new fangled tech), and technical gadget advice. So Thank You HR.com!

I wanted to post my perspective about my decision to sell my M-Audio Fast Track C600 and buy a Zoom R24 Recorder/Interface/Controller.

I worked in an analog studio from 1992-1995. It was set up with some great, albeit old, gear from the late 70s. MCI board, MCI 2" 24 Track recorder to match and much much more. I learned so much.

But since then, I've had a hard time getting back involved in recording using the computer. I am an admitted mac snob and have been using them since '87, they are all I know. So I obviously bought Logic Pro 9 to go with the C600 last year. I had used GarageBand before that, of course.

I just never bonded with that way of working and felt I needed something to bridge the gap, you know, some kind of control surface that gave me that tactile feel. I looked at the Zoom R16 the year before but ruled it out for a number of reasons: did I need 8 inputs? (Turns out YES!) Was Zoom a very good company? I had owned a G2 and thought it was dreadful. (Turns out YES, too!) Did it have good enough pre-amps? (Yup!) Would it be too hard to learn using a tiny screen, no visual on recordings like the computer, etc.? (Turns out NO, not hard & it also turns out that the lack of the "big picture" screen, I'm getting more intimate with my recordings, counting out beats, sequencing drums for the first time since 1992!)

So, last Wednesday, I had a day off and sat down with the zoom, the day after it arrived, to finally dig in and learn about this thing. Using only the Zoom forum, a pdf of the manual up on my screen, I was able to sequence a full song's drum track, lay down a guitar part, bass part and prepare a track for my daughter to sing on.

It took me 3.5 hours and it's the most I've been able to do in the past year of "re-learning" recording the digital way. Albeit, please keep in mind I rarely have days off or the free spare time to mess with this stuff with wife and two teen daughters. It seems my "Job #1" is the three D's: Driving, Dinner and Dad stuff. Don't get me wrong, I love them all and enjoy my time with them, but sometimes the things I want to do gets lost and by the time I HAVE time, I'm bushed! Yes, if I'd had the time to concentrate solely on recording via interface (C600) and DAW (Logic Pro) last year, I'm sure I'd be good, but as often it happens, I'm sure, the breadth and complexity of what a professional DAW can accomplish is intimidating and daunting!

How did it sound? Well...No grammy's in my future, but I was thoroughly impressed with how simple and easy it was to accomplish this. I was able to easily use the Send/Return effects for basic reverb and a chorus on the bass, EQ'd the tracks, Panned, set levels, etc. Another thing that makes this so understandable for the novice is the fact that if you're plugged into Input 1, you're recording on Track 1, Input 5, Track 5, etc. You can easily bounce tracks, or swap them to another empty track so you can use the same input. This allows me to have my Roland Juno-Gi attached to tracks 3/4 at all times, leaving 5/6 with phantom power (you can set it in the prefs to power on 3-6 or just 5/6) for mic'ing, and 7/8 for bouncing tracks...and that's all just using the first bank of tracks. With the push of a dedicated button on the control panel, you can switch to tracks 9/16 and 17/24. The built-in effects processor is really powerful with 100+ effects allowing you to apply reverb and chorus to all tracks without recording them, leaving a dry signal for you to tweak to your hearts content. There is also the ability to apply Insert Effects to 8 channels simultaneously (i.e. Compression for drums) and 9 different Algorithms set up for standard duties like vocals and distortion for guitars. I've yet to really dig into that yet. Not to mention the 8 pads that can used to trigger drums or samples, let alone the whole sampler… PLUS it has a sequencer and drum machine built-in! whoa, this thing will not bore me any time soon!

It records, as you would expect in a stand-alone unit, to SD card. I purchased two Sony SDHC 32gb fast write/access cards (2gb card was included). It also comes with a 4gb USB drive loaded with loops and a method to backup your projects.

Plus with the USB interface, you can plug it in to your computer and using Mackie Control Surface prefs in your DAW, you can use it as a 96khz 24bit interface AND control surface. I tried it out and it works! Complicated and it will take me some time to really get the hang of how it works with logic, but it does help give me that tactile feel I was craving. The built-in effects are still useful for recording as an interface providing you with a way to set up a headphone mix with Send/Return effects that do not get recorded, keeping the latency low. You can also download/export WAV files directly to your DAW and start working on them in there. Once again, nothing I have spent too much time with yet, but definitely there for my future growth and learning!

I picked mine up using a 15% off coupon and was a little worried about spending $400+ on another device (for fear I might be asked to sleep on the couch for buying more equipment!), but now that I have it and have used it, I'm impressed and have NO REGRETS! The rest of the family has seen the value in this neat little device, as well, and I hope to teach Corey and Stacey how to use the basic project set up, track selection, recording functions so when we travel to see our friend in Gainesville, MO, we can "lay down some tracks, man!" It's battery powered for chrissakes! And the built-in stereo condenser mics actually sound quite good.

All in all, a great purchase, quality gear, better than I expected and, well, I really just love this little thing for the freedom it's giving me, the encouragement to learn more and dive in, and eventually even tackle that DAW at home for bigger and bigger projects in the future. But even if I never do more than just use it as a scratch pad, it's already paid for itself in ease of use and portability!
Hi, do you know if I can use the Zoom R24 internal reverb, EQ, effects for tracks recorded in my DAW (Ableton)? Also, does it work as a mixing unit for the tracks in the DAW? I’m looking into buying this unit, but I really need the functionality mentioned above.
 

flyingace

Active member
hey flyingace,
great info there. I too created a drum sequence for a song on the r24 and am taking up 12 (6 stereo as you know) tracks. When you did your drums were you able to bounce the stereo tracks to on stereo pair? I just wonder if it isn't working because the sequenced tracks are only orange and never turn green. Maybe I'm missing something. Any thoughts?
thanks
smastro
Sorry Smastro, I am back involved with this forum now but had a hiatus due to family health Issues and life ensuing. I’m back to my hobby now. I long ago sold the R24, although I have fond memories of it and loved it for what it was. If I remember correctly, aren’t the sequenced drums internal only? Not using up tracks? If not, I likely didn’t need all 24 anyway and set them up on the first 8 faders, then worked bass, guitar and vocals on the next eight. I might have bounced them with compression to 2 (stereo) tracks but I didn’t burn in the effects, I know. I really was quite a little marvel and still is.
Now I’m into analog gear, about to set up a 16 track 1” tape and 20 channel console situation in my home studio. Seeing the pic of my “desk” in this thread cracked me up… and that I was worried that I’d be sleeping on the couch for spending too much $$… ha ha Oh man, if she is still putting up with me going analog, she’s a keeper for sure! Cheers and good luck!
 

flyingace

Active member
Hi, do you know if I can use the Zoom R24 internal reverb, EQ, effects for tracks recorded in my DAW (Ableton)? Also, does it work as a mixing unit for the tracks in the DAW? I’m looking into buying this unit, but I really need the functionality mentioned above.
I’m not sure, I never used it as a controller (no midi) and only used it as an interface direct into the daw, but still had to control the daw with the mouse (which I really hate working in daws These days). Good luck, hopefully the Zoom forum can be of help. Nice folks over there too!
 
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