Adventures In Audio
Akai DR16 Hard Disk Multitrack Recorder (part 1)

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of Adventures In Audio.

Saturday October 21, 2006
FREE EBOOK DOWNLOAD ►

I don’t think any recording musician can complain of lack of choice when it comes to picking a new multitrack recorder. Assuming that you have decided that analogue is old fashioned and not worth considering (a good point for debate perhaps?), then you can choose among a small but growing number of Alesis ADAT compatible machines, Tascam or Sony Hi-8 digital eight tracks, Fostex, Roland and Vestax hard disk multitrackers and of course the Akai DR4d and DR8. If none of these take your fancy, then you could even consider a computer based multitrack recorder such as Digidesign Session, Pro Tools Project, OSC Deck, one of the MIDI sequencer 'audio’ softwares... the list could go on. Two distinct advantages tape based systems have had over hard disk systems until now are the quantity of tracks available, and quantity of inputs and outputs. The purchase of two ADATs to give sixteen tracks is an affordable option for many, if not for the masses. Similarly affordable hard disk systems however have found it difficult to get beyond the eight track barrier, and most of those who use the power of a personal computer to achieve more tracks will only have access to the computer’s stereo inputs and outputs, which is a severe limitation.

But now we can include the Akai DR16 on our multitrack short list. It provides sixteen tracks of hard disk recording at a value-for-money price. What’s more it has sixteen individual outputs, so mixing can be achieved in the analogue domain using the console of your choice. Inputs are only eight in number, but you can record from any input onto any track and the only limitation in this is that you can’t record more than eight signals at once, which isn’t a factor for many styles of recording. The DR16 is in fact amazingly similar to the DR8 in appearance and operation. If you turn to your library of SOS back issues you will find it very hard to spot the difference between the two in the photographs. There is only one button with a different label and function, and of course metering for all sixteen tracks. And if you already know how to operate a DR8, then you will understand the DR16 in about five minutes. If you read this in conjunction with the DR8 review, then be assured that the DR16 is everything the DR8 ever was, and more.

Come on the Audio Masterclass Pro Home Studio MiniCourse - 60 great hints and tips to get your home recording studio MOVING

It's FREE!

Get It Now >>

How to choose the best key for your song

What is comb filtering? What does it sound like?

NEW: Audio crossfades come to Final Cut Pro X 10.4.9!

What is the difference between EQ and filters? *With Audio*

What difference will a preamp make to your recording?

Watch our video on linear phase filters and frequency response with the FabFilter Pro Q 2

Read our post on linear phase filters and frequency response with the Fabfilter Pro Q 2

Harmonic distortion with the Soundtoys Decapitator

What's the best height for studio monitors? Answer - Not too low!

What is the Red Book standard? Do I need to use it? Why?

Will floating point change the way we record?

Mixing: What is the 'Pedalboard Exception'?

The difference between mic level and line level

The problem with parallel compression that you didn't know you had. What it sounds like and how to fix it.

Compressing a snare drum to even out the level

What does parallel compression on vocals sound like?

How to automate tracks that have parallel compression

Why mono is better than stereo for recording vocals and dialogue

Clipping and compressing a drum recording to achieve an exciting sound texture

What can we learn about room acoustics from this image?

Can you hear the subtle effect of the knee control of the compressor? (With audio and video demonstrations)

What is the best studio microphone?

What is the Neve sound? (Using the Slate Digital FG-73)

What is the difference between recording, mixing and mastering?