I was looking for some old commentary tracks I recorded for a film I worked on a few years back and ended up having to dig this old beast out of the closet. Meet the Fostex VF-16 multitrack recorder. This monster is capable of recording up to 16 tracks of audio simultaneously (with optional adat interface) while saving everything to an 80GB hard drive. These stats aren’t as impressive as they were 6 or 7 years ago, but it still does the job and you can find them for pretty cheap on ebay.

The down side to the Fostex VF-16 is that the only way to export tracks is to save the wav files to a SCSI Jaz drive. Thankfully I still have an old Jaz drive with a few 1gb cards laying around. But once you get your files onto the Jaz drive, then you have to figure out a way to get them onto your computer. Luckily I have this handy dandy SCSI to USB adapter that still seems to work with windows 7. The adapter used to be around $20 and you can still find them used on ebay, but there are a few sites trying to charge almost $200 for these things so watch out for that.

If you’re a musician, podcaster, or just have a need to record more then 2  tracks this could be a very affordable option. It seems like a lot of these newer multitrack recorders only record 2 tracks simultaneously, which is fine for a single person recording. But if you need to record 4 or 5 people, a drum set, or anything else that requires a lot of microphones, something like this is the way to go.  If you’re looking for something a little newer, you might also want to take a closer look at the Zoom R16. It records 8 tracks simultaneously to SD cards and also acts as a computer interface. Although I will say there is something retro about using a Jaz drive to record something, I might have to put this thing to work recording a few songs before I pack it back in the closet.

Tags: , , ,