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Roland R-88 Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 31st January 2014
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JonesH's Avatar
Originally Posted by The Listener View Post
the sound department can have some issues too, no?

Old 2nd February 2014
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Why does the headphone monitoring drop out momentarily when adjusting the outer knob sensitivity? It doesn't affect the recording but its not confidence inspiring either
Old 3rd February 2014
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The Listener's Avatar
Originally Posted by KEL View Post
Why does the headphone monitoring drop out momentarily when adjusting the outer knob sensitivity? It doesn't affect the recording but its not confidence inspiring either
Ehm, it's a switched gain rotary switch, that's how it behaves, it is not a drop in the headphones output... that's good to have to be able to precisely match gains for stereo recordings, but it is not good for switching between recording... that's what the whole debate about the inner knob being post ADC, and that you can't control incoming gain with it... not a problem in praxis though - you set your levels safely and ride the gain with the inner one slightly when needed...
Old 3rd February 2014
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yea, but don't make an outer knob gain adjustment during a recording...there is definitely an artifact that gets tracked. odd
Old 26th January 2018
Originally Posted by JonesH View Post
I don't think there are any proprietary means to sync a 44 with an 88, the R-88 doesn't have the same Sync feature that the 44's have. And the 44's don't have either TC or WC connections so I think we are in trouble in that case.

However any other professional recorder with TC and WC can of course be used, or another R-88.
I realize there's a standard for the SMPTE TC and all, but I was just wondering if anyone has any experience sync'ng two R-88's. I too own one, and I have some R-44's as well (which I will probably sell soon, and pretty cheaply at that - both in great condition). Anyway, eight channels is my sweet spot for most of my live gig stuff, but on occasion I have needed as many as four more. I used the R-44 for this (asynchronous of course) and this then meant that I had to account for the accrued error. That is, cut a few milliseconds after each song. Fortunately, these were pop shows - not classical pieces etc, so the cut-and-shift-left process works (just have to find two recognizable peaks etc).

Anyway, as I understand it, if I set the main (master) R-88 to the "REC-RUN" position and the second (slave) R-88 to teh "EXT SYNC" position this should work.

Is this correct ?

Honestly, I would care less about an offset in the slave channels as it would be easy to re-align those 8 channels relative to the first eight channels in a DAW. And yes, I get the point that the whole idea of SMPTE is to source a common clock, but not having done that with this recorder before, I just want to make sure that they will sync perfectly (i.e. no drift of one relative to the other) or within some acceptable offset (constant).

So I am at a crossroads. The R-88 has been discontinued, and I kind of get why - it is a bit large as compared to a Zoom F8 (which also supports SMPTE) but at the same time, now that I know the menus of the R-88, dealing only with one set up approach (not having to deal with two different recorders) is preferred. I like the R-88. IT has served me well and the link sensitivity and link input gain option has been helpful as one of the mics I often track with is a Sennheiser AMBEO soundfield, and level calibration (each relative to the otehr) is important for proper decoding into B-format (I don't really use it for VR...I just like the idea of having orthogonal M-S signals that allow me to define patterns in post production - you just have to think of the WXYZ signals as the components of your vector...but I digress).

OTOH I could get a new F8 for about what I would pay for a used R-88.


I could sell the R-88, the two R-44's, and buy two F8 Zoom recorders and have a smaller footprint and a common (if new-to-learn) recorder. I could probably get around $1,600 for the R-88 and the two R-44's, so my out of pocket would not be all that much - but that also means I have to unload them in a timely fashion as I need to have capability (I cannot be without recorders).

So cats...were you in my shoes...what do you think would be the best option ?

Also, confirmation - are my suppositions correct about the SMPTE settings on the two units ?

Have any of you cats done this with two R-88's?

Sorry, but when it comes to recording more than 8 channels I just have not dealt with enough gear to feel wholly confident in my assumptions. Any friendly advice would be most welcome.


Old 12th February 2018
Old 12th February 2018
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Tommy-boy's Avatar

If youre happy withe the r88 and can successfully sync them, why not get a second.

The sd10t i think only has 8 xlr inputs.
Old 21st February 2018
You are correct

Originally Posted by Tommy-boy View Post
If youre happy withe the r88 and can successfully sync them, why not get a second.

The sd10t i think only has 8 xlr inputs.
Only XLR (on the R-88); no combo TRS/XLR, but I do have adapters and the R-88 has sensitivity as well as gain.

To be perfectly honest the only things in the R-88 that I do not like are the screen (the angle of viewing...) and its comparative bulk. Having said that I seldom if ever actually tote the thing - I usually set it on a table etc.

When I bought it 8 channels was almost always enough, however, with the addition of a soundfield-type microphone four of my channels were immediately used up by that one mic (i.e. tracking A-format). I like using that mic not because I do a lot of VR but because of the possibilities in post and being able to define a pattern and steer it accordingly. It can be pretty useful. Mt heartburn is thus a consequence of adding one mic that ties up four channels out of I mentioned, the utility in post is pretty great.

The XR-18 intrigues me as I could see that working well in a n-U case (i.e. tall enough) and a laptop sitting on top. It looks like a 5U case ? maybe 6 ?

Used R-88's are going for around 40-50 cents on the dollar though, making them pretty affordable. That is, as long as the time code slaves the 2nd unit to the other (properly, which is why I was asking the question) then as an out-of-pocket cost going this route would be minimal and would solve the sync issue.

I'm not (at all) against the XR-18 approach, but I need to think this through, so thanks for reminding me that avenue is likewise open.

Personally, I have several LDC Behringer condensors that are (in my opinion) a stellar value, and I have some surfaces from them as well for my DAW. I think that people much malign Behringer where, in my experience, that criticism is unwarranted. That is, I have had gear from other vendors - more 'respected' names - fail as well. Sometimes it is the luck of the draw.

Thanks for all of the feedback (all of you).


Last edited by Mark A. Jay; 21st February 2018 at 06:06 PM.. Reason: wanted to make distinction as to a feature
Old 21st February 2018
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Originally Posted by Mark A. Jay View Post
Only XLR (on the R-88)
To be perfectly honest the only things in the R-88 that I do not like are the screen (the angle of viewing...)
Testify. You have to look straight at it to see it, which means you have to angle it up or put it at eye level. That is a royal pain.
Old 2nd May 2018
Here for the gear

Note that when using multiple recorders which are linked together through timecode only you will NOT get sample-accurate sync between the recorders.

You will get for instance the beginning to sync up perfectly and spot-on by following the timecode but as time progresses, you will notice in at the exact same timecode value, at the exact same frame on both recorders you have different sound. Because one recorder will always drift unless clocked from a master device.

Since it lacks a Wordclock input/output, for the R88 the only option to sync to an external clock is via digital connection (AES/EBU). I do not know if it's possible to clock to an external signal without having to record the tracks as well (some recorders allow this)

So keep this in mind, the Zoom F8 will drift significantly and it offers NO clocking option whatsoever since it doesn't have wordclock or digital in/out and its internal clock is crap.

I think even in 2018 the best multitrack recorders which won't break the bank are still the R88 and the Tascam HS-P82.

I would sell both R44s and get another R88 new. It will last you at least 10 more years.
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