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Zylia ZR-1

Zylia ZR-1 recorder alongside the ZM-1  ·  Source: Zylia

Zylia, maker of the innovative ZM-1 microphone array, has introduced the field recorder to match. The new Zylia ZR-1 is a portable recording device specifically for the ZM-1. It lets you record immersive 360° audio on the go, without having to carry a computer.

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Zylia ZR-1 portable recorder

The Zylia ZM-1 has been around for a few years now, and while its technology is without a doubt fascinating, it has yet to have its big break. Maybe that will happen with the new ZR-1 recorder, which turns the ZM-1 into a computerless 360° field recording setup.

The ZR-1 records 19 tracks simultaneously with a 48 kHz / 24-bit resolution. It can only be used with the Zylia ZM-1 microphone array and always records on all 19 tracks, which correspond to the ZM-1’s 19 capsules. The recording media is an SDXC card with a capacity of up to 2 TB. The ZR-1 supports recordings in Wave64 and WavPack formats, with the former topping out at 200 hours of recording with a 2 TB card, and the latter at 300 hours. That’s more than 12 days of continuous 360° recording!

Zylia ZR-1

Zylia ZR-1 portable recorder

In terms of controls, the ZR-1 has a gain control for the ZM-1 and a volume knob for monitoring via headphones. It supports on-board stereo playback with transport buttons. The ZR-1 can also be controlled via Bluetooth with a mobile app.

USB and battery power

In addition to a USB connector for the ZM-1 and a Micro USB power supply port, the ZR-1 offers a 3.5 mm headphone jack for monitoring. If you’re nowhere near an outlet to plug in the USB power supply, the ZR-1 can run on eight AA batteries, which last a minimum of 2.5 hours, Zylia says. That’s a far cry from the maximum recording time, so if you’re really planning to record non-stop for a week, you’d better be near a power source.

The form factor is similar to other portable recorders like the Zoom F6 and F8n, which is no surprise since it’s a tried-and-true design for field recording applications. It has two metal handles to which you can attach a strap, and all buttons and connectors are easily accessible on the front panel.

Price and availability

Zylia hasn’t announced a release date for the ZR-1 yet. But you can now pre-order it as part of the Zylia PRO package for USD 1,999.99. The bundle also includes the ZM-1, as well as the Zylia Studio software, Studio Pro plug-in, Ambisonics converter software, and Ambisonics converter plug-in. As of now, it doesn’t seem like there is an option to buy only the ZR-1, which is a bummer if you already own a ZM-1. But once it comes out, I’m pretty sure Zylia will let its ZM-1 customers buy the ZR-1 without having to get another mic array. Anything else just wouldn’t make any sense.

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