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Boss BR600 vs Zoom HD8CD Recorders

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by archtopjazz, Jan 12, 2008.

  1. archtopjazz

    archtopjazz Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Has anyone tried both? If so, could you compare them?
    If you have only tried one how did you like it?

    TIA
     
  2. dorfmeister

    dorfmeister Member

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  3. frank62

    frank62 Member

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    A buddy just got a BR1200 off the bay for 450. Incredible faetures and sound quality. Has Bass, Drums, vocal pitch correction, and Boss effects.
     
  4. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe Member

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    I've owned the BR600 for a few months now, and love it. Small, very portable, long life on 6 AA batteries if I want to run that way. I usually just record my synth's audio output to the BR. I run all my instruments / mics / amps to a Yamaha MG16/4 mixer, and the stereo outs from the mixer to the mic inputs of the BR, which saves me from constantly swapping cables and adjusting levels on the BR.

    There's no midi, true ... but I pull the card and read it on the computer. Boss has a good utility to convert the recording to WAV (one, many, or all tracks at once) and then import the tracks into Cubase for post-production. I send my keyboard midi to the PC and into Cubase ... all post production happens on the computer, so the BR's lack of midi is not an issue for me.

    I play guitar (acoustic and electric), bass, keys, mandolin (just started on this), and harmonica ... and strong vocals. The BR's not a professional machine, but I didn't buy it for that ... it's more of a sonic notepad where I can try out arrangements, harmonies, etc and not have to assemble a band to do it.

    I'd have to spend a LOT more money to get something that would work better for me. And then I'd lose the portability and the "sonic notepad" aspect of the BR.
     
  5. archtopjazz

    archtopjazz Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Anyone else had a chance to try both or either of these.
     
  6. kselbee

    kselbee Member

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    I've never tried the Zoom, but I have experience with a number of recorders (including software) and personally LOVE the BR600. I've had it for nearly a year and have never been so productive. You can find my many posts here gushing about it (and you can hear some clips here http://idisk.mac.com/kselbee-Public) but suffice it to say that I love the thing. GREAT recorder especially for the money.... easily one of my favorite pieces of gear.
     
  7. archtopjazz

    archtopjazz Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Do you think the BR600 would be a good tool for playing along with tracks and posting on TGP?
     
  8. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe Member

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    I would think so. I often plug my iPod into it (via the line in), record the track onto a stereo channel, and then overdub the part I want to play. Sometimes bass, sometimes guitar, and now mandolin. Sometimes I play a track on the synth and add strings, horns, whatever. I don't take it any further, as it's just a scratch pad for ideas.
     
  9. GhostofJohnToad

    GhostofJohnToad Member

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    Just wondering about this exact comparison of recorders myself. I really like the idea of onboard mics of the br600 but the zoom has XLR and phantom power. The zoom also has MIDI in/out so I can use my SR16 with it. It also has a hard drive where the 600 uses CF which seems like it could be a limitation. The difference in price considered I wonder sound quality wise if there is any difference? I heard the BR600 may compress, any thruth to it?
     
  10. esxmac

    esxmac Member

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    My wife got me the Zoom HD8CD for Christmas. I recorded a set of music tracks for her for an upcoming singing recital she has.

    I found it pretty easy to use. I have the Boss Micro-BR (the baby brother of the BR-600--most of the drum loops are the same between the two). I found the Zoom more intuitive. The drums sound a lot more organic on the Zoom to me and I like the patterns better--the BR patterns sound good, but I just didn't like them as much as the Zoom (the Zoom also has a bass simulator on the Rhythm track, and the drums are in stereo). The Zoom has a FAST method of connecting together drum patterns into a song. It uses basic addition, multiplication, and parenthesis ("()") to order the song and takes about 10 minutes to figure out if you remember any pre-algebra from Jr/High School:)

    In one day, I was able to figure out how to make a custom rhythm track using both step-input and real-time input, and record my electric in stereo using my GT-8, which records very well. While it has on-board effects, I chose to use the GT-8 due to already having a good acoustic patch setup.

    While I didn't use the insert effects on the inputs while recording (other than a little reverb, I did use them during mastering--and they are great for multiple styles--I particularly like Live (very full and natural) and Rock Show (like a stadium concert). After running the aforementioned song through the Live mastering insert effect, my wife, and her singing teacher, loved how it came out--and I'm a newbie to recording!

    As far as comparing it to the BR-600, I know the Zoom does not compress and the sound quality is CONSIDERABLY better than my Micro-BR, which I read somewhere has the same COSM models as the BR-600. In addition, the Zoom feels pretty solid. I really like the level meters (you can see them across the room easily) and how the display is at an angle so you don't have to look straight down on it. I really comes down to what is more important to you: portability or a big harddrive in a retro package? The big selling points for me were: 80 gig harddrive, works as a DAW control surface, and comes with recording software (Cubase LE) and a drum patter/song editor. It may not matter much to you, but I also found the Zoom manual considerably easier to digest for the first-timer than the Micro-BR, ie, I retained a lot more of what I read.

    My only regret with the HD8CD is that I didn't get the HD16CD. Once you start recording in stereo (with the stereo channel or 2 mono channels linked together), you only have 4 stereo tracks + Rhythm, so most likely, you will have to bounce tracks, which I probably wouldn't have to do with the HD16CD. However, I can (and will) copy each track to a computer and mix there if I run out of tracks. I will be keeping the HD8CD--it was a present from my wife after all:)
     
  11. betterdays

    betterdays Member

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    All of my band's recordings were done with the built-in condensors of the Boss BR600. I love it. :)
     
  12. archtopjazz

    archtopjazz Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the review.
     
  13. GhostofJohnToad

    GhostofJohnToad Member

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    Definitely - thanks for the review esxmac. After doing a little more research and some approved funding by my wife it looks as though the Zoom is the way to go. Hopefully in a couple weeks I'll have one, I can't wait!
     
  14. esxmac

    esxmac Member

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    Glad the review helped! For a lot more on the HD8CD/HD16CD, check out this forum--very informative and a nice group of people, plus clips if you look for them:

    http://www.2090.org/zoom/bbs/viewforum.php?f=17

    I should note that I have had one possible issue with the HD8CD and that has to do with scratchy pots when turning the Gain knobs on either input, however, this issue only comes up when Phantom Power is on and only when turning the pots (goes away when you turn both inputs off and Phantom Power off for about a minute)--I have a post in the aforementioned forum and they are helping me troubleshoot it. If this isn't a design issue, but a defect, I will return the HD8CD--either for another HD8CD or a HD16CD.
     
  15. kselbee

    kselbee Member

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    Just a few comments I should add.... I used to have the BR1200CD and "downgraded" to the 600 and am much happier. Personally I prefer flash drives over hard drives.... they're MUCH faster (loading songs, copying, etc) and it's easier to organize things because I can group them on a card. And to be fair, the MicroBR probably isn't the best thing to compare against as it's more of a toy. And no, the models and drums are not the same as the 600... the 600 is much better. I'm a big fan of the 600 so just wanted to add those things!!!
     
  16. esxmac

    esxmac Member

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    I was in a store that had both the Micro-BR and BR-600--the exact same names were used for both sets of rhythm patterns and arrangements (just verified this by downloading both manuals). Since Roland/Boss has continually reused technology from product group to product group, and the BR-600 came out long before the Micro-BR, it goes to reason that they are the same. I listened to both patterns and arrangements on both products through the same studio monitors in a music store and IMHO they sounded the same, but YMMV:)

    Regarding the effects, the BR-600 has more effects than the Micro-BR, but my GT-8 sounds better than both of them, however, it isn't really a fair comparison since the GT-8 is a tweak monster:)

    I do agree with you on the flash key vs HD issue, however, the big benefit for me there is that the HD8CD records in 16-bit linear, ie, no compression, while the BR-600 and Micro-BR records in 16-bit compressed since they are both limited to 1 gig flash cards--and on that note, come on Boss; keep up with technology already! I can pick up an 8 gig CF card (BR-600) for less than $150 and a 16 gig SD card (Micro-BR) for under $175! Why they limit it is beyond me, since it is completely unnecessary....well, unless you are trying to force consumers into HD based units (sorry for the tangent).
     
  17. kselbee

    kselbee Member

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    I've heard some MicroBR recordings and the modeller is definately not the same.... but to me it's still a modeller and only used for real quiet practice or jotting down quick ideas. I do agree on the Boss technology though... I wish the 600 was SD, but more than anything wish it could accept larger capacity cards. The 1 gig are getting harder to find! But none the less, my 600 is one of my favorite pieces of gear!
     

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