Connection to your mixing console is exactly the same as any multitrack recorder
would be, except that there are only half as many inputs as outputs. If you
only have an eight bus console, or never record more than eight tracks at a
time, then this won’t make the slightest bit of difference. Connections
are on balanced jacks rather than XLRs, which would probably take up too much
room, or multipin connectors, some of which have a tendency to become unreliable
after repeated use. Sensitivity switches will will optimise the levels for connection
to pro or semi pro gear. Unfortunately, there isn’t a remote control available
at the moment, although one is promised for later this year, so the DR16 itself
will have to be positioned conveniently close to the console, and angled appropriately.
Otherwise you will find that operation isn’t quite as easy as you would
probably like it to be. Fortunately, Akai have either found a source of hard
disk drives which are quieter than that fitted to the DR8 I reviewed last year,
or they are using a resilient mounting of some kind. Some hard disk drives are
very noisy in operation, but the one in the review model is very much better.
I still wouldn’t be entirely happy to record through a mic in the control
Once your main connections to the DR16 and its location are sorted out, then
you’ll be ready to start using it straight away. There’s no need to
slot in a tape of course, just power up and you are ready to go. If you have
provided your own hard disk then you will need to format it, which takes a short
while, otherwise you have a minute’s worth of single channel recording
at your disposal for every five Megabytes of hard disk capacity. A one Gigabyte
disk would therefore provide about twelve or so minutes of sixteen track recording,
or more if not all the tracks are recorded for the entire duration of the material.
Amazingly enough, all you have to do to start recording is arm the tracks and
press record and play – a simple concept still largely unexplored by some computer
based hard disk system designers. To arm tracks 9 to 16, and to edit them as
well, you have to press the ‘9-16’ button since there are only eight
record ready buttons and lights. If you think about this a little you might
start to worry that it could be possible to set one or more of tracks 1 to 8
to record ready, then press the 9-16 button and at some later time hit record
and accidentally erase those tracks without being aware of it. It certainly
is possible to do this, but if you always fill up the first eight tracks before
switching over then it shouldn’t happen to you. The DR16’s instant
copying facilities will allow you to group your tracks in any logical order
at any time after recording, so I doubt if this would be a problem in practice.
There’s always an undo button if the worst comes to the worst!