Zoom R20: 16-track portable multi-track recorder with touchscreen
Zoom has announced the R20, a new multi-track recorder with touchscreen editing. About a month after pics and specs of the R20 surfaced on the company’s Japanese website, Zoom has now officially announced the new recorder in the Western hemisphere. The R20 is a compact all-in-one studio with 16 tracks, integrated effects and a touchscreen for DAW-style editing.
The Zoom R20 is an all-in-one digital multi-track studio with 16 tracks, eight of which can be recorded simultaneously. It records in 44.1 kHz and 16/24 bit. Two of its eight input channels feature XLR-1/4” combo jacks, while the other six are equipped with XLR connectors. Phantom power is available on inputs 5-8. Each input channel offers a gain control, record arm button and level fader.
The only other hardware controls are the six transport buttons. That’s because the Zoom R20 features a 4.3” touchscreen for DAW-style multi-track editing, a first for Zoom portable MTRs. The screen displays audio regions just like your favorite DAW software, and you can split, copy, paste, loop and move regions at the touch of your finger. The tracks are color-coded and correspond to the colors of the input channels.
Integrated effects, rhythms, and synth sounds
According to Zoom, the recorder is equipped with a selection of studio-quality effects, such as a 3-band equalizer, compressor, limiter, noise gate, and reverb, as well as guitar and bass amp modeling.
If you like to use a portastudio to build backing tracks for practicing, you’re going to like the 150 integrated rhythm loops and 18 synth sound sources, which can be played via MIDI and edited on a piano roll interface.
The R20 records onto SDXC cards with a capacity of up to 1 TB. Next to the card slot, there’s a USB-C connector for using the R20 as an audio interface for your computer or iOS device. On Windows and Mac systems, it functions as an 8 in / 4 out audio interface, while providing 2 inputs and outputs each on iOS devices.
Another USB port allows you to connect an optional Bluetooth adapter for establishing a wireless connection to a smartphone and remote-controlling the recorder using the R20 Control app.
Price and availability
Zoom says that the R20 will ship in the first quarter of 2022. You can order it at Thomann* for €399.
More information about the Zoom R20
- Zoom R20: Zoom
- Rear connectors: Zoom
- The R20 records onto SDXC cards: Zoom
With highly portable audio interfaces and recording on tablets well-established, many might think this redundant. But as someone’s who a bit old school and feels like a bit of a slave to the DAW… I like this!
Depending on price, what format audio files it uses and whether you can export them for the flexibility of editing elsewhere (if necessary) I’m quite tempted.
(Then again, maybe I’m just seduced by the pretty colours)
Looks amazing – just the right next step in these dawless recorders
I’ve worked with R8 and R24 and liked both. I am not yet convinced that a touchscreen instead of hardware knobs will do as good. On the other hand the options to connect R8 and R24 with a laptop and DAW-Software are a bit outdated by now – this might get better with this new device.
Also i wonder if it’s still possible to directly plug in an E-Guitar – a feature that was highly appreciated on the R8/24. Dome goes for the rythm/drum engine.
I wish they’d include midi sync like on the mrs-1608, which makes editing electronic tracks so much easier.
Zoom R24. You can modify it to send CV sync out of the headphone jack. Instructions are on the internet. You use track 24 as the syncing track and the headphone jack as the CV sync output (by setting track 24 as the metronome). It works to sync CV devices flawlessly. If Zoom are reading this, add a CV/MIDI sync output to the R20 and it will sell like hotcakes to the DAWless, computer-averse electronic bods.
Hey Zoom! The R series recorders are great, but…
Add 2 or 3 knobs to realtime control the Insert/Send FX. You could then bounce a track to an empty one and record effects changes onto the new track with it. Imagine recording a flat 303 line, then bouncing it to an empty track while adding delay and reverb with the knobs in realtime. We don’t just want to record stuff on these units, we want to give them some human feel too. If you want to take on Ableton……..
They nixed a ton of potentila buyers by not including any midi or sync support. I would for sure have bought this, sync’d it to my eurorack and multitracked ambient godness just to capture it without a DAW. Have to go back as far as the roland VS series to get multitracking with MIDI clock. Tascam Neo didnt cut it, the Midi was buggy then they just stopped including it on their later multitrackers (24/32). The Dp02 never worked right. Somehow I wonder how you can develop a product in this era without midi.
I want to love this. But sadly this is not a device for me:
All jacks should be combo jacks.
At least one more high impedance port (where is the daughter supposed to plug in? :).
Needs more headphone out ports.
And, where are the knobs? Or at least one assignable knob to provide some finer/tactile control over a param.
Finally, and this is pure speculation, but a 4.3″ screen seems small and fiddly especially for the regular DAW like UI shown in the screenshots. I might be wrong there.
So, not a device for me. Zoom, please make a LiveTrak with a larger screen version of this recorder bashed in.
I agree with what you say. The live trak with a big screen and with this built in sounds the perfect match.
Midi sync would be great!
At first I was like *Finally!!* and then I saw there’s no midi sync. Like… what is this!?
Here’s an idea: the R24 & R16 but with a goddamn midi sync. Do they even know who is out there making music?!
Just wanting to add my voice to those calling for midi sync! Leaving it out excludes a really appealing option for DAW-less recording that is hard to achieve in today’s market without resorting to expensive all-in-one units that themselves aren’t great for the purpose. Zoom, please respond to your (potential) customers.
MIDI sync please!!! Would be a no-brainer… Very strange to leave it out…
Totally agree with the above. Midi sync is needed. I want to run an outboard drum machine but with no midi sync this impossible. Also needs a punch in\out parameter.