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Popular Studio-in-a-Box (SIAB) Home Recording Systems

Many of the major recording manufacturers make studio-in-a-box (SIAB) systems which are useful to the home recordist. Check out these companies and compare the specifications of each unit:

  • Boss ( Boss makes several basic all-in-one recorders, such as the 8-track BR-600 and the 16-track BR-1600, which are inexpensive and easy to use. These units record in 16 bits at a 44.1-kHz sample rate.

  • Fostex ( Fostex has been in the hard-drive recording business for a while and Fostex has released several SIAB devices in the last few years. Currently, its SIAB system is the MR-8 MK2 8-track recorder. The Fostex units have a lot of features, but they are limited to recording at 16 bits — a real drawback for serious recording. Still, for their prices, these units are a good value.

  • TASCAM ( TASCAM has been in the home recording market for a long time, first with cassette porta-studios in the 1970s and now with digital systems. You can find several units, including the DP-004 4-track recorder, which records at 16 bits, and the 2488neo 24-track recorder, which records in 24 bits.

  • Zoom ( Zoom is a relative newcomer to the SIAB market and offers innovative solutions that can be used as a stand-alone studio, computer audio interface, and computer software controller. Zoom’s two recording systems include the R16 and R24, sixteen and twenty-four track units, respectively.

    They both record in both 16 and 24 bits and integrate seamlessly with a computer. This means you can record on location and connect to a computer to overdub and/or mix.

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