Anyone use the Zoom R16 for a audio interface??

Discuss the Zoom HD and R series. Please don't "post and run". Participate in the discussion. Thanks.
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musicianvw
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Anyone use the Zoom R16 for a audio interface??

Post by musicianvw » Sun Aug 20, 2017 12:41 am

I was thinking of getting a zoom r16 to use as a audio interface and wondering how good is it? I could also use it as a control surface too. I am going to be using Cubase Artist 9. Thanks.
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Re: Anyone use the Zoom R16 for a audio interface??

Post by mikethebass » Sun Aug 20, 2017 4:43 pm

I've used the R16 for some years as a stand alone recorder with good results.

I've used the R16 as an interface with Windows 7 and Windows 10, Reaper and Audacity DAWs.

I can't fault it. I've not used it as a control surface, it hasn't been a priority.

My only comparison has been when I worked in a studio where we used the Prism Orpheus interface and Focal monitors. That set up sounded a lot better but we aren't making a fair comparison. The Prism Orpheus interface is over £1,000. It should sound better.
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Re: Anyone use the Zoom R16 for a audio interface??

Post by hoodoo voodoo » Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:38 pm

I use it as a control surface with Reaper...it works well for scrub wheel moving of the cursor, jumping forward and back to marker points, and most importantly the faders all work for both playback volumes and also for writing automation.

The most annoying aspect though is when jumping ahead in banks of 8, if your recording project has more than 8 tracks.

Say you advance the fader of channel 2 to -1 dB, then jump ahead to the second bank and adjust the same physical fader (which is now controlling track 10) to -7dB.

When you switch back to bank 1 and touch fader 2 again, it will immediately jump (on the screen) to -7dB (ie the last touched value) It will do this ditto for all faders that have been moved between the 2 banks !

I can barely convey how frustrating this is....welcome to the reality of non-motorized, non-touch sensitive faders !!

So if you can do all your mixing in strict banks, and don't switch between banks, all will be well. If you do otherwise....mayhem !!

Here's a list of how to get it working in Reaper, and what the various controls will do...it should be similar-ish for Cubase too, some of the settings might even be similar ? :http://wiki.cockos.com/wiki/index.php/Zoom_R16_R24
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Re: Anyone use the Zoom R16 for a audio interface??

Post by Jim_Fogle » Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:23 pm

A version of Cubase ships with the Zoom R16. Zoom has a video demonstrating how to use the R16 as audio interface and control surface with Cubase on the R16 webpage. Here is a link: https://www.zoom-na.com/products/produc ... ller#media
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Re: Anyone use the Zoom R16 for a audio interface??

Post by jack o-trades » Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:48 am

I have been using my Zoom R16 as an audio interface in Linux, in combination with Audacity. That worked well for a while - until it didn't any more. I yet have to find out why. But my home studio needs radical overhaul anyway, so I'm now considering pros and cons of my R16 as stand-alone recording unit, in my next set-up.

An added advantage may be that this probably cuts out a great deal of external wire spaghetti (a source of perpetual frustration to me, ever since switching from analogue to digital). The more so since R16 has also been equipped with an SD card reader. Conveniently, my regular Lenovo laptop has one as well. Therefore, SD card data can easily be transferred to Audacity (for editing, reverb and mastering), in my case on my Linux laptop. And, if necessary, to my Linux desktop as well (with the aid of a USB card adapter).

As to whether this approach will work in Cubase as well I really don't know: I don't have any personal experience with it.

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Re: Anyone use the Zoom R16 for a audio interface??

Post by hoodoo voodoo » Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:57 am

jack o-trades wrote:
Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:48 am
I have been using my Zoom R16 as an audio interface in Linux, in combination with Audacity. That worked well for a while - until it didn't any more. I yet have to find out why. But my home studio needs radical overhaul anyway, so I'm now considering pros and cons of my R16 as stand-alone recording unit, in my next set-up.

An added advantage may be that this probably also cuts out a great deal of external wire spaghetti (a source of perpetual frustration to me, since switching from analogue to digital). The more so since R16 has also been equipped with an SD card reader. Conveniently, my regular Lenovo laptop has one as well. Therefore, SD card data can easily be transferred to Audacity (for editing, reverb and mastering), in my case on my Linux laptop. And, if necessary, to my Linux desktop as well (with the aid of a USB card adapter.

jack o-trades
That's what I do now too, record directly onto the R16 and then take out the SD card and put it in my Lenovo laptop's card reader (or transfer via USB cable R16>Lenovo in 'Card Reader' mode of R16). If you can do without the visuals of seeing the waveforms on a screen during recording, it's a more efficient way of recording ...and you can implant on-the-fly markers while recording to help navigation anyway.

At least it's equally as valid an approach as using the R16 as interface, and many find it faster and more intuitive to run it as a standalone recorder...then transfer to computer for the editing and mixing (which is not R16's strong suit anyway)
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Re: Anyone use the Zoom R16 for a audio interface??

Post by Jim_Fogle » Wed Aug 23, 2017 12:46 pm

When you have a choice, I suggest placing the R16 into card reader mode and transferring files over the USB connection instead of physically moving the SD card between devices.

Moving the SD card between devices adds wear and tear to both the SD card, and SD card reader, contacts. The contacts can wear out causing file transfers to take a long time and eventually cause file transfers to fail. No big deal if you lose only the files on the SD card (unless the files are the tracks for your million dollar masterpiece that you've worked on for years) but a real big deal if the card reader inside your digital recorder fails to work.
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Re: Anyone use the Zoom R16 for a audio interface??

Post by hoodoo voodoo » Thu Aug 24, 2017 6:29 am

While it's true there is potential for contact wear on both cards and reader pins, the typical cycle life quoted by manufacturers of SD cards seems to be 10,000...that's a lot of removals and insertions ! With contacts like RCA phono plugs and XLR plugs, leaving them permanently connected can cause corrosion between the mating metal parts, particularly accelerated if the 2 mating parts are dissimilar metals...so it's good to remove and reinsert such connectors, as the action of wiping the metal faces together shears off any corrosion. Also products such as Caig ProGold (DeOxit) are valuable in giving a protective coating to such surfaces.

However SD card contacts are typically gold (it's impossible to say whether the reader pins are similarly gold plated) so corrosion shouldn't be an issue...and the corrosion issue highlighted above with XLR/RCA connectors left mated shouldn't arise with SD cards. A bigger risk with SD card removal is likely to be flexing of the plastic body and the circuitry within, as well as the chance of static electricity affecting the data within the card. Accidents (and loss) can happen during transfer from one device to another. So it's probably a matter more of belief/religion than solid facts guiding whether SD cards should be left in the device (and read from it) but as always YMMV :lol:
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Re: Anyone use the Zoom R16 for a audio interface??

Post by Jim_Fogle » Thu Aug 24, 2017 12:22 pm

I'm not as worried about the SD card contacts as much as the SD card reader contacts inside the digital recorder. I have early generation cards I can use as needed. I recently obtained a MRS-8 for spare parts. The previous owner replaced the MRS-8 with a R8 because the SD card reader no longer works.

The Zoom MRS-8 uses first generation SDSC cards up to 1 GB. Try to use a larger memory size card and the card database will become corrupt or the card will not be read at all. This article has a very good description of why this occurs: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_Digital. Look for the heading "SDSC cards above 1 GB" about 3/4 the way down the webpage.
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Re: Anyone use the Zoom R16 for a audio interface??

Post by hoodoo voodoo » Sat Aug 26, 2017 12:33 pm

I don't believe that even quite large (32GB) capacity SD cards pose a problem for the R16...here is Zoom (North America's) mid 2011 list for the "R16 Operation Confirmed SDHC Cards"

https://www.zoom-na.com/sites/default/f ... _cards.pdf


Had there been substantial problems with high capacity cards it would likely have been documented in this forum before now ?
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Re: Anyone use the Zoom R16 for a audio interface??

Post by Jim_Fogle » Sat Aug 26, 2017 1:40 pm

My MRS-8 is an older, obsolete unit discontinued by Zoom when it was replaced by the R8.

The MRS-8 originally shipped with a 128 MB SD card and will read SD cards as small as 16 MB. While the current R8 records lossless WAV files the MRS-8 is able to accommodate the use of smaller cards by using a proprietary, ZAF, file format. The ZAF file format is extremely efficient for data storage and is lossless (I believe) but a conversion utility is required to convert a ZAF file to a WAV or AIFF file format that computer operating systems can read.

My understanding is the ZAF file is an audio file that uses an internal look up table to indicate the distance and polarity of the next sample value. Forum member CodeKidde likely better understands how the ZAF file stores data than I do because he has written a file conversion utility program that in many ways is better than the file conversion program provided by Zoom.

Even though current generation Zoom devices can accept SD cards up to 32 GB that will not be enough in the future. The Secure Digital eXtended Capacity (SDXC) format, announced in January 2009 and defined in version 3.01 of the SD specification, supports cards up to 2 TB (2048 GB), compared to the limit of 32 GB for SDHC cards in the SD 2.0 specification. Sandisk presently offers the SanDisk Extreme PRO UHS-I SDHC/SDXC memory cards in capacities of 512GB, 256GB and 128GB.
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Re: Anyone use the Zoom R16 for a audio interface??

Post by hoodoo voodoo » Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:50 am

Jim_Fogle wrote:Even though current generation Zoom devices can accept SD cards up to 32 GB that will not be enough in the future. The Secure Digital eXtended Capacity (SDXC) format, announced in January 2009 and defined in version 3.01 of the SD specification, supports cards up to 2 TB (2048 GB), compared to the limit of 32 GB for SDHC cards in the SD 2.0 specification. Sandisk presently offers the SanDisk Extreme PRO UHS-I SDHC/SDXC memory cards in capacities of 512GB, 256GB and 128GB.
A 32 GB card is big enough for any projects I'd entertain using a single card for in my Zoom...but then I'm happy for them to commute between R16 and computer. I'd want to back up anything of the size you're mentioning (up to 2TB) frequently, rather than think of any SD type card as a 'hard (or SSD) drive' substitute. Smaller cards keep me on my toes back-up wise !
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Re: Anyone use the Zoom R16 for a audio interface??

Post by Jim_Fogle » Wed Aug 30, 2017 12:44 pm

There's no way I would pay the current prices for a SDXC card even if I had any equipment that could use one. While the card is extreme, the price is even more extreme. On the other hand I've seen 32 GB card prices ranging between $15 to $20 US which I consider reasonable. At that price you can afford to have several but my MRS-8 is limited to ! GB so it's a moot issue for me.

I try to have multiple song project back ups. I tend to use my MRS-8 mostly as a digital recorder. As I record new tracks I back up the SD card to a Zoom Projects folder on my desktop, copy that folder to cloud storage and back up the individual song project folders onto a second SD card. On the desktop I convert all the Zoom ZAF audio files to WAV audio files prior to DAW import.
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Zoom MRS-8
Gibson acoustic 12-string, Peavey Predator, Line6 Variax, Yamaha keyboard and digital drums

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