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Roland R-88 Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 7th September 2012
  #1
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Roland R-88

R-88

8-CHANNEL RECORDER and MIXER

- Simultaneous recording of 8 channels + stereo mix (up to 96kHz)
- Up to 24bit/192kHz uncompressed linear PCM recording (up to 4 channels)
- 3 hours of recording using 32GB SDHC card (24bit/96kHz, 10ch)
- 8 XLR inputs, 8 XLR outputs, AES/EBU input/output
- Built-in 8 channel mixer with 3-band equalizer and MS microphone decoder
- Built-in 10in/8out USB audio interface
- Touch Panel Display for intuitive navigation
- SMPTE timecode In/Out for video sync
- Four different types of power - Alkaline battery (AA), Rechargeable Ni-MH battery (AA), AC Adaptor, External battery (4-pin XLR 9 to 16 V)

http://www.roland.com/products/en/R-88/


SWEET BABY JESUS! This one will rock the boat for sure! R-44, anyone?
Old 7th September 2012
  #2
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boojum's Avatar
Looks good. The R-44 was a great buy. What does the R-88 cost?
Old 7th September 2012
  #3
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Looks neat. The ability to use the recorder as a front end for a DAW is great. I really wish Sound Devices would offer this. It is such a no brainer and provides the owner a ton of flexibility to handle different types of recording engagements. Straight recording without overdubs or additional multi-trackiing, use the unit stand alone. Need overdubs or additional multi-tracking, fireup DAW and use as a front end.

I'm not fond of the screwy Input Sens / level knob thing. Like on the R-44 where the level knob is useless because it adjusts level after the converters.

I'm curious to know how limiting will work on this recorder. I'm also interested to know how the MS decoding works. I have MS decoding on my R-44, but never use it because it forces the decoded signal to be recorded. I prefer the recorded signal to be raw, but monitor decoded.

Anybody know price?

-Tom
Old 8th September 2012
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommy-boy View Post
Anybody know price?

-Tom
Some says $2500 USD here. Not sure how that person knows the price.

The more important question is: How good are the preamps?
Old 8th September 2012
  #5
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if they are as good as the R-44 then using a good mixer as a front end will make sense for dialogue and quiet stuff. 2500nis a very good price for what the machine does.
Old 8th September 2012
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonidista View Post
if they are as good as the R-44 then using a good mixer as a front end will make sense for dialogue and quiet stuff. 2500nis a very good price for what the machine does.
I'm hoping that they're better than the R-44. Some people find the R-44 a bit noisy. But if they're at least as good, then $2500 USD is indeed a very good price.
Old 8th September 2012
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommy-boy View Post
Looks neat. The ability to use the recorder as a front end for a DAW is great. I really wish Sound Devices would offer this. It is such a no brainer and provides the owner a ton of flexibility to handle different types of recording engagements. Straight recording without overdubs or additional multi-trackiing, use the unit stand alone. Need overdubs or additional multi-tracking, fireup DAW and use as a front end.

-Tom
sound devices just introduced the 664 which would compete directly with this roland box. I need sony to put one of these out.
Old 8th September 2012
  #8
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JonesH's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommy-boy View Post
I'm not fond of the screwy Input Sens / level knob thing.

I'm curious to know how limiting will work on this recorder.
I'm not so fond of it at all- PLEASE tell me they didn't do the same idiot thing with the knobs again? Or the meaningless digital limiters.

The 44 sure has its drawbacks.
Old 8th September 2012
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommy-boy View Post
Looks neat. The ability to use the recorder as a front end for a DAW is great. I really wish Sound Devices would offer this. It is such a no brainer and provides the owner a ton of flexibility to handle different types of recording engagements.
One reason it's not quite a no-brainer is the need to supply a stable driver for the DAW, including user support for all the different platforms out there, both Windows and Mac. Unless they go the Metric Halo route, and only support Macs.

That's one reason I've always liked RME interfaces. They're very stable on all the platforms I've used it on, with great software like TotalMix. Maybe Sound Devices just doesn't want to mess with all the DAW integration issues and user support? Roland is in a better position to do that, although I don't know what the quality is of their drivers these days.

Quote:
Straight recording without overdubs or additional multi-trackiing, use the unit stand alone. Need overdubs or additional multi-tracking, fireup DAW and use as a front end.
Yes, this looks very interesting to me, for just that reason. Most of my recordings are live capture on a DR-680, but every once in a while I have a situation that requires overdubs, and then I have to fire up a separate interface for a laptop computer. This new R-88 would let me retire the interface and use the main capture recorder. That would be sweet... but only if it works smoothly on the DAW side with a solid ASIO stream and no glitches.

Quote:
Originally Posted by polytope View Post
The more important question is: How good are the preamps?
And how good is the A/D conversion? That's more important to the way I work, since I usually have outboard preamps available. One reason I really like the DR-680 is that, while the preamps are good enough to use if I have to, the A/D conversion is very good, and sounds great when used with high-end external preamps.

So I'm very interested in this new Roland, but only if the A/D conversion is at least as good as the DR-680. If the retail is around $2,500 USD, there shoud be room to build in decent A/D conversion.
Old 8th September 2012
  #10
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sonidista's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
I used to use the Edirol R-44 with good external preamps and the sound quality left nothing to be desired, even compared to what I used after that (a SD 788T and a Zaxcom Nomad). The one thing I loved most about the R-44 is what I also expect from the R-88: It never let me down. Ever. No refusal to work, even under very harsh conditions (moisture, heat, cold). In that respect the R-44 beat the much more expensive 788 and Nomad for me - even though it's plasticky. I dropped it more than once but it never failed on me.

Yes, the dual knobs are the same as on the R-44, for what it's worth.

So, again the preamps - if they're the same as the R-44's, the price difference to the Tascam is justified just by that feature. If they improved them (I would think like Roland's Octo Capture and Quad Capture interfaces?) then this is a strong contender against Zaxcom, Sound Devices and Tascam machines.
Old 8th September 2012
  #11
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JonesH's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by sonidista View Post
Yes, the dual knobs are the same as on the R-44, for what it's worth.
Aw cr*p. whoever ever would want that very weird design? It just doesn't make sense.
Old 8th September 2012
  #12
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I wonder whether there will be a four channel version of this to update the R-44 (touch screen, monitor mixer, MS decode on monitor, etc).

I guess it's possible that the inner knob now acts like an analog fader rather than in the digital domain - we can but hope...

Edit - oops, no, on the diagram the fader is post A/D. Daft that they've done that when nobody has ever found a use for it - but several have been bitten in the bum by it when accidentally mis-set.
Old 9th September 2012
  #13
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I have a couple of R44's, and they have been work horses for me.

I sometimes use external preamps (either for color or to power my Royer SF12 and/or some other dynamics). I do wish I could bypass the internal preamps for that.

Hopefully on the R88...
Old 9th September 2012
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leddy View Post
I have a couple of R44's, and they have been work horses for me.

I sometimes use external preamps (either for color or to power my Royer SF12 and/or some other dynamics). I do wish I could bypass the internal preamps for that.

Hopefully on the R88...
Looking at the R-88 images on Roland's web site, I don't see any switches for physically bypassing the mic preamps for line input (like on the DR-680).

It could be that the recorder bypasses the internal pre's if you use the 1/4" TRS part of the combi jack? That would be one way to handle it without an external switch, but I guess we'll have to see how that works when it comes out. If the preamps can't be bypassed, then this will be much less interesting to me as a potential upgrade from the DR-680.
Old 11th September 2012
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foldedpath View Post
One reason it's not quite a no-brainer is the need to supply a stable driver for the DAW, including user support for all the different platforms out there, both Windows and Mac. Unless they go the Metric Halo route, and only support Macs.
From MY perspective as a customer, it's a no brainer. It would make me (and I'm guessing, several other customers) really happy. I realize that there are technical hurdles that would need to be overcome. However, Sound Devices have already developed ASIO drivers for other devices and are known for packing more features into their boxes than anybody thought was humanly possible.

Just my 2 cents.

-Tom
Old 6th March 2013
  #16
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Has anyone tried the R-88 yet?
Old 6th March 2013
  #17
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Well its Japanese made,and Roland have a good music name
But
A second hand SD 788 + CL8 is still what I want.
Old 6th March 2013
  #18
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John Willett's Avatar
 

Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by polytope View Post
Has anyone tried the R-88 yet?
No - it sits half way between the inexpensive Tascam 688 and professional units such as the AETA 4MinX and SD 664 & 788T, so it seems to be reasonable value for money.

It's basically a grown up R-44 - and I understand that Roland have reduced the price from what they originally intended.
Old 6th March 2013
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
It's basically a grown up R-44 - and I understand that Roland have reduced the price from what they originally intended.
I wonder if the preamps are better than those on the R-44.
Old 6th March 2013
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by polytope View Post
I wonder if the preamps are better than those on the R-44.
Do you not care for the pres on the R44? If so, you may wish to try a Cloudlifter for dynamics or ribbons. I picked one up and I think it works great with my R44's.
Old 6th March 2013
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leddy View Post
Do you not care for the pres on the R44? If so, you may wish to try a Cloudlifter for dynamics or ribbons. I picked one up and I think it works great with my R44's.
I don't have experience with the R-44. But from what I read, TASCAM DR-680 seems to have better preamps than R-44.
Old 14th March 2013
  #22
Gear interested
 

Just got the R-88

Hi everyone,

I've been using this forum for a long time, it's about time I give back to this community.

Just purchased today the Roland R-88, I've been reading a lot about the R-44 and other products.. Also checked the Sound Devices models many times during my research and small hands on experience.

Here's my first impressions about the R-88:
Pros...
1) Awesome touch screen display
2) Great Easy Menu.. Seriously very easy and well organized
3) Weight is very close to the sound device 664 & 788
4) Preamps are pretty decent, I have no experience with the R-44; I hear some say its noisy at high sensitivity, well this one is not the Noisy or hissy... It's not sound device quality of preamp.. But it certainly is really great quality.
5) Solo channel monitoring very cool way to enable by pushing the headphone rotar (it's also a puch button) and select which channel on the touch screen.. Very quick and smooth, it also show you a frequency spectrum for this channel.. I find that very helpful.
6) Audio Interface function is GREAT... Just tried it today with a surround mic and it performed very good on my MacBook Pro retina 13".. Drivers ran smoothly and latency is normal compared to other dedicated Audio interfaces.
7) Sensitivity rotars, good function
8) test tone and slate mic
9) Timecode (receive & generate), digital in+out, xlr stereo out, sperate 8 xlr outs & dedicated SLR out with programmable levels (-30dbu & +4 to -60dbu)
10) great file management, you can deal with files pretty much like you deal with them in a computer; name, move, copy, delete and folders.... I saw a review on Vimeo.com and the guy was saying its not there, well it is there
11) Footswitch control option
12) low cut and limiter functions are not bad... Low cut up to 250hz
13) No buttons on top, all inputs/outputs and buttons are: front panel, sides & back

Cons:
1) body is made out of plastic and metal, not the most rigid piece of Equipments ever
2) rotars and buttons don't have lights... Not sure if that's a complete bummer though an option of that wouldn't hurt since the uniti is all black and you can't see stuff in the dark... Sure you will developer muscle memory for everything..
3) LCD is black and wight, no colors so meters won't show headroom and peaking in different colors.. There's a under each channel know that lights up when it's peaking... And it has a decent head room
4) Height is almost twice the sound devices
5) Porta Brace are making a dedicated case for it due to height, its size is not generic at all.

Note: it's my first day to use and these are my first impression, I'm also still happy and see the better stuff since I payed lots of money lol...

Please let me know if you need to test stuff with it... And I'll post the result.
Will also update my review for it in 2-3 weeks whe I use it more.

Sorry for the long post...

Cheers,
Khaled Hamdy
Old 14th March 2013
  #23
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Don S's Avatar
 

I wonder if people are comparing it to the tascam HS-P82?
Old 14th March 2013
  #24
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Thanks for the review Khaled!

how do you feel the power consumption is? I'd love to hear your further impressions after taking it out on a few shoots!
Old 23rd March 2013
  #25
Gear interested
 

First experiences

We've put the D-88 on test with the following setup:
4 Mikes AKG C451 in two stereopairs miking up a grandpiano.
Feeding one pair to a MILLENNIA preamp and via a RME A/D to a pyramix DAW
The second pair of mikes were feeded to the R-88, and via the analog output to the same RME 8 channel A/D as above.
These 4 tracks were set up as precise as possible to the same level and recorded.
Standard pianoplaying was recorded as well as transients and hold harmonies in order to audibly compare the residual noise.
Result:
In several blind tests it was not easy to distinguish between the two ways. Although finaly all engineers at our site could pick the right one, we all were more than pleased to realise how good the sonic quality of the R-88 is compared to one of the finer and much more expensive studiopreamps.

On anothe occasion we recorded all 8 tracks for a theater preformance that was shot by 4 cams including or brand new Black-Magic Cinema Cam :-).
Everything went smooth and nothing to complain. It's so much easier with the R88 compared to using a DAW on location.

The third situation where we used the R88 up to now was on a standard location shooting.
A M/S Schoeps mik on a boom was recorded on the D88 and the stereo output was fed to the Cam.
Again everything was as expected from a sonic and practical point of view

Indoor we used the powersupply and outdoor Duracell AA batteries. The batteries lasted ca 2.5 hours.

Hope this info might be of some help.

Yours
SOUNDVILLE
Old 24th March 2013
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SOUNDVILLE View Post
Hope this info might be of some help.

Yours
SOUNDVILLE
That was a great initial review. Any chance for some sound files from the blind tests?
Old 25th March 2013
  #27
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommy-boy View Post

I'm not fond of the screwy Input Sens / level knob thing. Like on the R-44 where the level knob is useless because it adjusts level after the converters.
I spoke to Oade Brothers and he said that the block diagram is incorrect for the Roland R-44 and that there is a great deal of misunderstanding because of it. The level knob is *not* after the ADC.
Old 25th March 2013
  #28
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Quote:
I spoke to Oade Brothers and he said that the block diagram is incorrect for the Roland R-44 and that there is a great deal of misunderstanding because of it. The level knob is *not* after the ADC.
The word "rubbish" springs to mind. I would be interested if they would care to comment on the thread at https://www.gearslutz.com/board/remot...-vs-level.html but I doubt whether they will.

Put it this way - if you treat the inner knob as if it controlled level in the digital domain, and leave it at the "noon" position at all times, your recordings will be fine. If you don't then you will risk degraded s/n in one direction or clipped recordings in the other direction. Irrespective of the theory of its operation, that is the practice. Whether the R88 works the same way - in practice - I don't know.
Old 25th March 2013
  #29
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozpeter View Post
The word "rubbish" springs to mind. I would be interested if they would care to comment on the thread at https://www.gearslutz.com/board/remot...-vs-level.html but I doubt whether they will.

Put it this way - if you treat the inner knob as if it controlled level in the digital domain, and leave it at the "noon" position at all times, your recordings will be fine. If you don't then you will risk degraded s/n in one direction or clipped recordings in the other direction. Irrespective of the theory of its operation, that is the practice. Whether the R88 works the same way - in practice - I don't know.
OK, I'll try the experiment from the other thread and see what I get. It's a bit moot for me as I am primarily using it as a bit bucket but it will be good to know how the level knobs work on my unit.
Old 25th March 2013
  #30
Gear interested
 

Odd

I have been looking for an all in one unit(Field Mixer/Recorder/Interface) for awhile and have been "curious" about the Roland R-88. So I dug around trying to find reviews about the Roland R-88 and their virtually non-existant. The only semblance of a review is the comment from Soundville on this thread and while interesting and positive, it certainly leaves me with unanswered questions. I also noticed its the only post Soundville ever made on this forum. Granted I have never posted either but I feel mildly compelled to chime in. Within a day after their posting all listings on ebay for the Roland R-88 were pulled and Prices jumped from $4500 then to $8500 for the only one listed as of today. B&H is out of stock (and closed for passover) as well as some other reputable online retailers. I am certainly not accusing anyone of any wrong doing but it seems odd that an unreviewed unit becomes scarce and prices soar within one day of Soundvilles posting. Hey maybe its just my tendency for conspiracy theories but wow its quite the coincedence.
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