If our teenage selves could see the new Zoom R4 Multitrak - a handheld 4-track recorder - we’d probably choke on our low-cost lager. This takes the old cassette-based home recording paradigm and not only digitises it, but enhances the quality and adds more features.
As well as the four main tracks - each of which comes with possibly the world’s cutest volume fader - you also get a further bounce track so that, in true ‘80s-style, you can mix your music down to free up space for further tracks. There are two XLR/TS combo inputs so that you can plug in guitars, bass, keyboards etc, and if you don’t have a microphone to hand, you can make use of the built-in omnidirectional one.
There are effects, too (EQ, reverb, compression and guitar FX) and 32-bit float recording. Track levels can be monitored on the LCD screen, and there are dedicated transport controls. This being a portable device, it can run on batteries (either 4 AA ones or an external USB-C power pack) and will also function as a USB audio interface.
Cynics might say that you could get a more comprehensive portable recording setup just by buying an audio interface for your phone and using an app, but there’s something about the R4’s old-meets-new aesthetic that makes it seem very appealing. At just €219, it’s pretty affordable, too, though you’ll need to wait until December before you can get your hands on one.
Find out more on the Zoom website.