Zoom knows more about making standalone multitrack recorders than most, so the launch of the new R12 isn’t exactly a surprise. However, what will cause eyebrows to raise – and perhaps even the odd jaw to hit the floor – is the news that this portable device also contains an FM synth.
18 FM sounds are included, and you can play and record them by plugging in a MIDI keyboard via the USB-C port. Alternatively, synth parts can be programmed via the touchscreen, which can also be used for track editing purposes.
The inclusion of these sounds makes the R12 a very intriguing one-box mobile studio, promising everything you need to record and mix songs without a computer.
There are two XLR/TRS inputs (both have phantom power, while input 1 has a Hi-Z option) and room for eight tracks of audio. A send effects channel offers reverb, chorus and delay and a dedicated return fader, while effects from Zoom’s Guitar Lab are here, too.
Each channel also includes pan and 3-band EQ controls, and inputs 1 and 2 both feature a compressor.
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We mentioned that the R12 is a mobile studio; its portability is made possible by the fact that it can run for up to five hours on four AA batteries. Other power options include the supplied AD-17 mains adapter or a USB battery pack.
To help you get a song started, the R12 comes preloaded with 150 drum loops that are spread across a variety of genres, and you can also import your own audio files.
If you’d rather start by playing to a click track, you’ll be pleased to know that you get one of these, too – you can balance the level of this against your playback audio and route it to your headphones or the main outputs .
The 12 will also play nice with your computer, serving as an audio interface and controller for your DAW.
While, on the surface, the R12 looks to be a trimmed-down version of Zoom’s R20, its unique feature set almost seems to put it in a category of its own. We don’t have a price or release date just yet, but it’s expected to start shipping later this year.
Find out more on the Zoom (opens in new tab) website.