Zoom R20 is one of the best multitrack standalone recorders in the music production world. It is widely used in recording studios.
But can Zoom R20 be used as a live mixer in concerts and other live applications?
Yes, Zoom R20 can be definitely used as a live mixer, but with limited features.
However, it is built for multitrack audio recording purposes you can optionally use it for live sound mixing.
Don’t expect from it the features of a dedicated live mixer because it does not have send channels, Aux outputs and some other live mixer features, however you can use it with basic functionality.
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What is Zoom R20 Used For?
Zoom R20 is a standalone audio recorder with which records upto 16 tracks. It has 6 XLR inputs and 2 combo inputs used to record 8 tracks simultaneously.
It has a touch screen which makes it easier to operate this standalone audio recorder.
Zoom R20 has all the necessary effects such as Compressor, EQ, etc to mix your songs. Along with the effects it has a built in synth with 150 rhythm patterns and 18 sounds.
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It has a built in multitrack audio interface. You can connect R20 with any Windows and Mac computer via the USB port given on the backside.
So you will get an overall recording package in Zoom R20.
But, Zoom R20 can also be used as a live mixer. It has 6 XLR inputs and 2 combo inputs which you can use to connect your instruments in the live shows. It has full range faders for all the inputs that you can use as a live mixer faders.
Also, you can record live sessions with this.
But, it does not have send channels and AUX outputs. So, you cannot treat this as a full featured live mixer.
Can You Use Zoom R20 as an Audio Interface?
Yes, you can definitely use Zoom R20 as an audio interface. It has a built in audio interface with USB-C port which supports Windows and Mac OS.
So you can connect R20 to any Windows and Mac computer.
However, it has only 44.1kHz 16 bit and 24 bit recording format available which seems disappointing if you want to record in HD quality audio.
You will find multiple audio recording formats even in entry level audio interfaces.
So, I think this is a disadvantage of Zoom R20.
Does Zoom R20 have MIDI?
Yes, it has MIDI which is used via the the same USB port given for the audio interface. You can connect a MIDI keyboard to R20 via USB port.
You can connect the MIDI keyboard to Zoom R20 and play the virtual synth given in this recorder.
You can connect Zoom R20 with R20 control app to get the full benefit of MIDI connection.
Let me tell you about it.
What is Zoom R20 Control App?
Zoom R20 control app is an app designed for iPad allows you to control this recorder wirelessly.
With the help of this app you can make your iPad a remote control and use it for record, mix, adding effects, and other settings.
You can also use iPadOS VoiceOver to control this through voice commands.
This app allows you to record even if you are recording solo.
Is Zoom R20 worth it?
Well, there is not set answer to this.
If you are a musician and want to record your sessions without messing with the computer’s keyboard then this portable recorder is perfectly built for you.
If you want to record a band session then this is perfect for you.
But, as a full time recordist I don’t like standalone recorders. Because they don’t give you the flexibility that your DAW and a dedicated audio interface gives you.
DAW and professional audio interface, you can do any type of recording, editing and mixing.
The workflow is faster in DAW recording. And, you also get multiple HD quality audio recording formats. You can use third party effects, VSTs etc.
Overall, there is always more to do with computer based recording.
However, if you don’t want to mess with computer commands and make it simple then Zoom R20 is best option for you.
What Are The Alternatives to Zoom R20 Multitrack Recorder?
Although, there are several other recorders out there, I have chosen 3 out of them as a an alternative to Zoom R20.
Zoom LiveTrak L-20 Multitrack Recorder
Zoom LiveTrak L-20 is a 20 channel multitrack recorder. It is built for serious and complex recordings.
Obviously it is costs you more then Zoom R20.
It is a complete mix console cum multitrack recorder which allows you to record, edit and mix complex projects.
You can record up to 24bit/96kHz audio to SD card as well as a 22in/4 out audio interface is given to connect with the computer.
TASCAM DP-32SD 32-track Recorder
TASCAM DP-32SD 32-track is one step further then Zoom LiveTrak L-20. It has 32 tracks along with effects, audio interface and HD quality audio recording feature.
It ahs a bigger display which is quite helpful when you are recording, editing and mixing complex projects.
But, the price is not affordable for musicians and songwriters. It is ideal for recording studios and live sound recording.
TASCAM Model 16 Multitrack Recorder
TASCAM Model 16 Multitrack Recorder is a 16 track hybrid recorder built for songwriters and musicians.
It has an audio interface built in along with several effects for sophisticated recording.
It is one of the best alternative to Zoom R20 as it is a portable recorder that you can use as record-on-the-go device.
So, I think you’ve got the answer to the question whether you can use Zoom R20 as a live mixer or not.
I have also given some other information to this portable audio recorder that people are seeking for.
Even the alternatives, that you can buy in place of Zoom R20.
Now let me know in the comment, what do you think about Zoom R20?