Top Digital Multitrack Recorders

Multitrack recorders help you record multiple audio sets on separate tracks. This lets you create a larger and more complex musical combination.

They were used to lay down vocals on one track, drums on another, and so on before the existence of computers.

The advantage of these multitrack recorders is that they are relatively easy to use when compared to DAWs and computers. You can use them for mobile recording or as an alternative for computer recording.

Another advantage of digital multitrack recorders over computer-based mixing is that they lead to using your ears as opposed to using your eyes while watching a computer screen.

TASCAM DP-008EX

Main Features:

  • Two simultaneous recording tracks
  • Eight track simultaneous mix
  • Six virtual tracks with redo history function on all tracks
  • 1 kHz Sample rate
  • 16-bit bit rate
  • Six reverbs, compressor, 2-band shelving EQ, de-esser and exciter, mastering as onboard effects
  • Internal effects send
  • Can export tracks to computer

Pros:

  • Comfortable and portable.
  • Quality and clarity of sound are extraordinary.
  • Easy to use.

Con:

  • Does not work as a USB audio interface.

This device is well suited for musicians on a budget. It is a reliable portable device that allows recording of songs and mix down to create a final stereo track.

Read our review here!

Zoom R8

Main Features:

  • Two simultaneous recording tracks
  • Eight track simultaneous mix
  • Unlimited virtual tracks
  • Sample rate of 44.1/48 kHz for recording and 96 kHz for USB audio interface
  • 16/24-bit bit rate
  • 150+ DSP effects
  • Internal effects send
  • Can export tracks to computer

Pros:

  • High quality
  • Great clarity of recorded sound.

Con:

  • You have to assign the onboard rhythm patterns to tracks. So in case you use two tracks for this, you only have six playback tracks left for usage.

The Zoom R8 is versatile mainly because it records well, is portable, and is a good USB audio interface.

Read our review here!

Boss Micro BR BR-80

Main Features:

  • Two simultaneous recording tracks
  • Eight track simultaneous mix
  • 64 virtual tracks
  • Sample rate of 44.1 kHz
  • 24-bit bit rate
  • 40 amp models, reverb, EQ, mastering tools, harmony effects, vocal processing including doubling, pitch correction and much more as onboard effects
  • No effects send
  • Two channels for USB audio interface
  • Can export tracks to computer

Pros:

  • Clean sound.
  • Portable.
  • Great device for catching musical ideas.

Con:

  • Difficult to use the export function and the control wheel.

If you are looking for something portable to record ideas with anytime, then the Boss Micro BR BR-80 fits the bill perfectly.

Zoom R16

Main Features:

  • Eight simultaneous recording tracks
  • 16 track simultaneous mix
  • Unlimited virtual tracks
  • Sample rate of 44.1 kHz
  • 24-bit bit rate
  • 135 types of onboard effects including mastering and amp and cab simulations
  • Internal effects send
  • Two channels for USB audio interface
  • Can export tracks to computer

Pros:

  • Gives excellent value for money as you can use it to record eight tracks simultaneously.
  • The sound quality is also comparable to recording devices with much higher specs.

Con:

  • Does not come with an input for a footswitch which would allow you to punch out while recording. Light plastic construction.

The Zoom R16 provides good value for money, and if you treat it carefully, you should be able to make it last for a long time.

Read our review here!

TASCAM DP-24SD

Main Features:

  • Eight simultaneous recording tracks
  • 24 track simultaneous mix
  • 192 virtual tracks
  • Sample rate of 44.1 kHz
  • 16/24-bit bit rate
  • Onboard effects include reverb, exciter, compression, and more
  • Can export tracks to computer

Pros:

  • Good audio quality.
  • Easy to use.

Con:

  • You cannot use multiple dynamic effects on a single track simultaneously.

This is a well-liked and an all-in-one recorder for live use as well as in home studios.

Things to look for in a Digital Multitrack Recorder

Simultaneous Recording Tracks:

Make sure that the recording system you pick provides sufficient recording tracks for the kind of work you do.

Total Tracks for Mixing:

A digital recorder listed as 16 tracks means you can mix a maximum of 16 tracks at any one time regardless of how many you record at once.

Virtual Tracks:

A lot of digital multitrack recorders have additional virtual tracks. These are very handy as they allow non-destructive editing.

Effects:

Adding plugins is not possible so you will either have to select one containing all the effects you want or one that has an external effects loop which you can use for outboard signal processing.

Export Functions:

Choose a device that lets you export your tracks to the computer so that you can do some editing on a DAW.

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