The Zoom R4 takes the old-school 4-track cassette recorder and puts it in your pocket

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.

Zoom R4

(Image credit: Zoom)
Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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