In spite of the emergence of many digital recording equipment like audio workstation and music computers, the multitrack recorder remains popular among musicians. From songwriters to singers and musical bands, the device is still widely used by many in the industry and this is all due to what it offers in terms of value. Being able to record several audio channels and mix later is something that can help tremendously, especially if you are the type of musician that likes to experiment with sounds.
For bands that have different instrumentalists playing at the same time, it can be a bit tough to deal with different tracks, takes and layers. A multitrack recorder will be incredibly helpful in laying down your creations. Most musicians and music producers that have the conventional recording equipment also include multi-track recorders in their hybrid-based setup of digital and hardware gear.
We’ve researched extensively to put together the best multitrack recorders that you can buy today. Check our comprehensive list below.
Top 14 Best Multi-track Recorders
This is a professional-grade multitrack recorder. This 32-Track Digital Portastudio can simplify recorder for any musician. It offers simultaneous 8 track recording as well as simultaneous 32 track playback. It also comes with an integrated 40-input mixer to mix down the 32 playback tracks with the 8 input or for bouncing.
There are lots of interesting features about this multitrack recorder. In spite of the high number of tracks, it is very easy to use. With its 20 track-faders and 1 master fader, tracks can be controlled with ease. The 3.5” full-color LCD and self-illuminated buttons, using this device can be very fun. During recording, such input processing as compression and limiting, as well as guitar amp simulation are available. This recorder comes with a 4GB SD card but you can replace it with larger cards up to 32GB. It also connects easily through USB, so transfer of recorded files is always easy.
2. Zoom R24
Zoom is known for making great products and this is a good example of what a great product should be. The 24 track recorder has everything you need to record a professional studio-quality files and it is quite portable. Actually, it is more than a multitrack recorder. This device is also a rhythm machine, a DAW control surface, a pad sampler, and a computer audio interface. It will let a musician record studio-quality songs on the go. Maximum number of simultaneous recording tracks is 2 while maximum number of simultaneous playback tracks is 8.
Zoom R24 Digital multitrack recorder has more than 100 onboard effects in addition to built-in metronome, chromatic tuner, and a variable playback speed with or without pitch change. It is the perfect solution for musicians/producers that work with DAW software but do not wish to mix with mouse and keyboard. This device records directly to SD cards up to 32GB. It can be powered through power adapter and can also be operated with 6 AA batteries included in the package.
A very simple product from Tascam, this portable multitrack recorder is one that musicians can use for home recording and also carry anywhere they go. Weighing just 2.9 pounds, the device has just the necessary features for on the spot recording. It can conveniently deliver CD-quality record thanks to the 2 stereo omnidirectional condenser microphones built into the front of the unit. The easy to use interface is superb with dedicated knobs included to make recording easier and faster. It is perfect for the busy songwriter/musician.
The DP-008EX is an 8-channel Pocketstudio that comes with built-in input and master effects. Each of the channels also have volume, pan, and reverb-send knobs. This device also has the capacity to supply two XLR inputs with +48V Phantom Power even when batteries are being used. You can record directly to the 4GB SD card included in the package. This card can also be replaced with another of higher capacity (Up to 32 GB). It can be powered by 4 AA batteries (included in the package). The device can also be connected directly to PCs through USB2.0 for file transfer and sharing.
Yet another wonderful device from Tascam, this is a highly versatile multi-track recorder: it features 6 XLR/TRS inputs with phantom power and a digital input. With the multiple mic it can support, you can record live music or even use the device for videography. It is even more helpful to the creative songwriter and instrumentalist. Weighing just 2.65 pounds, this smart recorder is portable. The included shoulder straps also makes it easy to carry.
Being an 8-track field multitrack recorder, you will expect this to be a very strong device. It doesn’t fail in this regard with its rugged and compact construction. This is also a new model of the product developed based on customer feedback so you can expect overall improved performance. The memory card slot, for instance, has been upgraded to accept SD cards up to 128GB. It is powered by 8 AA batteries and the battery life has been improved to last 150% longer than the previous model. It can also be powered by the included power adapter.
A good looking digital solution, this 8-track portastudio recorder can make the difference for most musicians. It is an affordable option in the very famous Portastudio line of products. It is also a good looking compact and lightweight device, weighing just 4 pounds. It has just the features you need for an easy and affordable recording including a pair of built-in stereo condenser microphones, built-in turner and metronome, as well as bouncing with an option to import a WAV file via USB. It supports simultaneous recording of 2 tracks and simultaneous playback of 8 tracks.
The device comes with a 4GB SD card that you can use for recording and you have the option of expanding it. There is also 2 XLR microphone inputs with phantom power that can be incredibly helpful in many instances like live performances and rehearsals. You will also have switchable instrument-level input for guitar/bass. It connects easily with a computer (PCs and Mac) through USB2.0. It is powered by the external power adapter included in the package.
This is a professional standard multitrack recorder from one of the most trusted names in the industry, Tascam. It has all you need for a complete music production in a desktop. The 24-track device is more of a workstation: it allows for simultaneous recording of 8 tracks with a built-in mixer that has everything you need for a professional sounding-mix.
Though it offers so many track recording, this device is quite easy to use. With 18 track-faders and 1 master fader layer structuring is eliminated. Its 3.5” LCD screen and self-illuminated buttons helps to make the recording and mixing easier. There are 12 rotary knobs linked to the LCD for easy operation. You can record directly to SD/SDH cards up to 32GB. There is also a USB output that you can use to share files with a computer. It is compatible with PCs and Mac devices.
7. Zoom R16
Zoom is another well-known brand in the industry and their products are always top-quality. This good-looking wonder can transform any atmosphere into a 16-track recording studio. Weighing just 2.87 pounds, this is a true portable multitrack recorder with so many features to give you the ultimate recording and mixing. It supports simultaneous recording of 8 tracks and simultaneous 16-channel playback.
The Zoom R16 multitrack recorder features 135 types of digital effects for recording, mixing and mastering that are preprogrammed. These includes guitar amp simulation. There are also 8 balanced XLR-1/4-inch combination inputs that handles mics and line-level signals. This wonderful recorder supports SDHC cards up to 32GB for maximum recording time. It is compatible with different devices. This product comes in a bundle that contains the amazing recorder plus accessories like AC adapter, 1GB SD card, USB Cable, Cubase LE Install Disc, and the User’s Manual. The 4 AA batteries it can run with is also included.
8. Zoom F8n
This monster can best be described as the next generation of professional field recording. Coming from a trustworthy manufacturer like Zoom, this is one of the best recorders in the market at the moment. It is far more expensive than most other items in this list but the price is justified by what it offers. An 8-channel/10-track field audio recorder/mixer, this is the tool that can bring out your full creativity as a musician/producer. With some of Zoom’s finest preamps, it delivers the sort of sound that is hard to come by.
Some of the outstanding features of the F8n include advanced look-ahead hybrid limiters, Zoom Automix software, state-of-the-art time code, phase invert, high pass filters, and mid-size decoder. For memory, dual SD/SDHC/SDXC card slots can accept up to 512GB each. There is a zoom F8 app that you can utilize to control the device wirelessly from your iPhone or iPad. Your power supply options include 8 x AA batteries, external DC battery pack with Hirose connector and 12V AC adapter. Power options can be switched automatically from DC to batteries at user-defined voltage level.
This is one of the most unique multitrack recorder in terms of design: it has a very modern design that is compact, simple and pleasing to the eye. Though it looks fanciful, this is a professional-quality instrument. Weighing just 1.6 pounds, it is your perfect mobile studio if you are the type that likes to record whenever the inspiration hits you. It is an all-in-one device with simple user interface: the simple LED touchscreen lets you perform lots of functions instantly. No set-up is required. Once you are wirelessly connected to the Spire app in your smartphone, you can record, edit, mix and share your tracks from your phone.
The iZotope Spire studio has a built-in professional microphone that performs excellently. The iZotope software is one innovation that helps creative musicians take advantage of inspiration whenever or wherever it hits them. The all-important app works with Android 7.0 or higher and iOS 10 or higher.
10. Zoom FRC-8
This device is specifically meant for individuals that use a Zoom F8 or Zoom F4. The control surface can make your job a lot easier by working intuitively with your system to simplify location sound mixing. It also has 12-segment LED meters that can be used to monitor channel and output levels. This is a versatile control surface with 9 faders; 8-track faders and 1 master fader. It offers hands-on input/output control for trim, pan, and track arming.
The Zoom FRC-8-Control Mixing surface will help you to organize your recordings. It will not clutter up your setup as it can connect to your F4 or F8 via a single USB cable. It will also help you to record faster and make mixing better.
11. Tascam DP-24SD
Another multitrack recorder from the industry giant, Tascam, the DP 24SD Digital Portastudio recorder. This 24-track workstation allows for simultaneous recording of 8 tracks and simultaneous playback of 24 tracks. It is well constructed and boasts of a friendly user interface. It also has a built-in mixer that has everything you need for professional sound-mixing.
With each of the 8 XLR mic/line inputs provider phantom power for condenser microphone, you can be sure of obtaining the best sound quality. There are so many built-in effects including delay, reverb, compression, guitar amp modeling and more.
12. Zoom H4N Pro
This digital device is an improvement on the older H4N model. According to Zoom, an industry leader, all the things musicians and creators love about the older model have been taken to the next level in this new product. This is actually a fact: the H4N PRO is superior in every conceivable way. The 4 track recorder features redesigned stereo X/Y microphones that can handle up to 140 dB SPL. There is also a new low-noise preamps.
Other features you may love about the H4n Pro recorder include 2 XLR/TRS inputs with secure locking connectors, the remodeled FX Processor with different effects, and the brighter backlit LCD screen. There is SD card slot that can accept up to 32GB SD/SDHC cards. The Alkaline battery can offer 6-10 hours of continuous recording.
This is a handheld 6-Channel DSLR recorder that offers the highest level of recording you can obtain with portable multitrack recorders. Weighing just 1.19 pounds, this compact device is lightweight but offer is a complete professional-grade DSLF recorder. In addition to its sensitive stereo microphone arrangement, it also has a superior solid-state recording process. As a reliable field recorder, it is common among journalists and researchers but musicians also find it incredibly helpful.
The Marantz Professional PMD-706 multitrack recorder is ideal for situations where no-compromise recordings are required. This can be in your home studio or during video shoot. It comes with standard file encryption ability to keep your recording safe. You can record directly onto SD/SDHC flash memory. The battery can offer up to 5.5 hours of recording with phantom power off.
This is a portable 8-track recorder that can reliably serve as your battery-powered studio to go. Weighing just 3 pounds, the lightweight multitracker has a very sleek design that will appeal to you. It matches good look with impressive performance thanks to a number of features that are not common among recorders of its size. It allows for simultaneous recording of 4 tracks and simultaneous playback of 8 tracks. There is an additional stereo track dedicated to the built-in rhythm generator.
The BOSS BR-800 has a powerful onboard effects processor that includes GT-10/10B effects, VE-20 vocal effects and harmonies, as well as COSM-based acoustic guitar body modeling. It also features a built-in stereo microphone for instant ‘Song Sketch’ which will let creative musicians quickly record in WAV format anytime, anywhere. It functions as a USB audio interface and/or DAW control surface, connecting easily to computers. It is powered by 6 AA batteries that can offer hours of continuous recording.
What Is Multitrack Recorder?
Multitrack recorders are devices that record multiple pieces of audio on separate tracks, making it possible for users to create larger and more complex combination of sounds. Before computers and music software became common in the market, multitrack recorders were the major instruments used by musicians to lay down vocals on one track, pianos on another, drums in another track and so on. These devices are still considered very significant today. They have been modified over the years, and there are currently some that are designed as self-contained, having the ability to process internal effects and offer flexibility in terms of signal routing and power in terms of editing features.
There are several advantages of having a multitrack recorder as part of your setup. For a start, it offers a very convenient means of recording. It also gives the musician enough control over sound, delivering exactly what it is supposed to deliver. Unlike computer programs that can bring up some nasty surprises, multitrack recorders stay true to their functions, letting you get exactly what you need. The number of features that come with current multitrack recorders have also improved over the years. Such features as onboard guitar FX, studio condenser mic, built-in drums and others come with some multitrack recorders.
What are the different types of multitrack recorders available in the market?
Though they generally serve the same purpose, multitrack recorders are of different types. It is important that we talk about these different types at this point:
Small format multitrack recorders
This type of multitrack recorders are ideal for home use and are reasonably priced to fit the budget of most songwriters and individual musicians. Generally, they include a feasible amount of tracks. They also deliver decent audio quality, are technically portable, and are compatible with several other digital devices that are found in home studios.
Large format multitrack recorders
These recorders may look like racks on the first look but they are definitely multitrack recorders and are very useful in big studios. They are known for their exceptional sound quality and advanced features, as well as lots of connectivity options. They are most ideal for professionals who need full-format station as part of their studio setup. Though they can still be used at home studio, their price may be too high for individual home studios.
Field multitrack recorders
These are the types that are specifically made to serve those that intend to record outside the studio (in the field). They deliver top quality sound and are reasonably priced. These recorders can be used during rehearsals and live performances. Music bands find them most useful and they come in ways that are ideal for the field. Some have built-in tripod connectors, built-in mics, and more.
Portable multitrack recorders
As the name implies, this are portable devices that you can use for recording in different places. Though many multitrack recorders are technically portable, these type are truly small and can be carried around with ease. They produce decent sound quality and can be used for field recording, concerts, and also in home studios.
Multitrack Recorder Buyer’s Guide
Like every hot digital product for musicians, there are different types and models of multitrack recorders you will find in the market. Many manufacturers have different models and you may have some sort of headache trying to figure out which of them will be best for you. For musicians and record producers looking for the right multitrack recorders, there is often not enough time to embark on the sort of research that will give them all the right information to buy right. To make the process easier, this section will guide you on how to make informed decision when shopping for a multitrack recorder for any purpose at all.
Factors to Consider While Shopping For Multitrack Recorders
As we have discussed above, there are different types of multitrack recorders even though they have the same function. Even within a specific type, there are so many models in the market to choose from. Finding the right deal means you have to consider some really important features that will matter to you. Actually, we considered these significant features in selecting the products featured in our review, but you still need to know the most important features to look out for so that you can narrow down your choices and land the multitrack recorder that will serve you best. Here are some of the factors you must keep in mind:
Your Specific Need
This should define what you should target in the market. If you are an individual musician that needs multitrack recorder for your home studio, you will have to narrow your choices down to portable recorders or small format multitrack recorders. If, on the other hand, you are a professional producer in need of a multitrack recorder to include in your professional studio set-up, a large format recorder with the right sound quality and features will be the right choice.
The kind of multitrack recorder you will get will ultimately depend on how much you are willing to pay. Thankfully, these devices are not too expensive. The most important thing is to figure out what you need exactly and consider what the money you plan to spend can buy. Cheaper is not always better so you should aim for quality and budget just enough for it. They do not cost so much these days.
Number of Tracks
From the onset, you should have an idea of how many tracks you want before checking out for the best multitrack recorder to buy. It all depends on your specific need and the type of project you expect to handle in the near future. Most multitrack recorders offer 6, 8, 16, 24, or 32 tracks. It is up to you to know your need based on the project you expect to handle with the device. For individuals interested in recording a standard band, it is ideal to get a multitrack recorder that offers at least 16 tracks/channels as drums alone can take up so much channels. It is always better that you have some spare channels than cut out some parts of your recording due to limited number of channels.
Another important thing you need to pay attention to is the memory capacity of the multitrack recorder. You wouldn’t want the device to be short of storage space when you are in the middle of recording important tracks. Even if you intend to transfer most of your recording to other devices, it is always helpful when you have a device with adequate memory to accommodate large files. While some have large internal, some other multitrack recorders have limited storage that can be expanded to a large extent. Just make sure that the device you will purchase can actually accommodate the amount of recorded files you will need it to accommodate, either by internal memory or external options.
It is always a terrible experience to be interrupted in your recording sessions by battery issues. You will want a multitrack recorder that will offer you extended battery life to record as long as possible. While some come with rechargeable batteries that can offer long hours of continuous recording, others depend on traditional AA or AAA batteries to power them. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. While using devices with rechargeable batteries means you won’t have to buy new batteries every now and then, it can be inconvenient to stop and have them recharged before resuming recording. Using normal batteries, however, means you will have to buy new ones once they run down but being able to replace them immediately and start recording at once can be very cool. Make sure you are comfortable with the type of battery used by any device and its performance before buying.
You will use your multitrack recorder with other devices and it is important that you buy one that can easily connect with what you have already. Firstly, the device has to be compatible with those devices you want to connect them to. Means of connecting them should also be easy. USB connection is one of the best and easiest ways to connect devices and transfer files in a speedy manner.
Other Important Features
There are some other important features that you should consider while shopping for multitrack recorders. These are variously referred to as additional features, but to a large extent, they also determine the overall experience you will get using the device. Such features as built-in stereo condenser mic, switchable instrument-level input for guitar/bass; track editing; effect; onboard rhythm machines and loop-based audio sequencer; full control surface functionality are all important. You also need to pay attention to extra features that actually deliver result against some fancy features that are just there to make the recorder pricier.
This is a point many reviewers fail to mention. It is quite important that you buy devices that are made by reputable manufacturers. This is one simple way to make sure that you are buy a good quality product. There are probably some good brands that are unknown to you but you can always conduct a background check before buying any product from a company you haven’t heard.
There are lots of multitrack recorders in the market. What you have above is a selection of the very best ones as well as a complete guide on how you can make the right decision regarding the one to purchase. There are links to buy this products directly from Amazon, consider your options carefully and order with confidence.