Zoom MRS-1266
Zoom MRS-1266

MRS-1266, Digital Multrack-studio from Zoom in the MRS series.

MGR/Mike 03/17/2003

Zoom MRS-1266 : MGR/Mike's user review

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Purchased online for around $750 without the CD burner. Plus another $50 on ebay for a non-zoom cd burner that DOES work.

I liked saving money on a compatible CD burner. Just about everything has a dedicated button. Very little menu surfing to do what you need. It comes with a built in drum machine which is very easy to use (easier than my SR-16) and a built in bass player (a little tricky to program, but comes with plenty of presets). Both of these have tracks dedicated, so you don't waste any of your 10 tracks on bass or drums! Plus, a dedicated mastering stereo track for mixdown. This thing is loaded. The effects are not bad, but with the right changes to the preset patches, they are downright good. Phaser, Flanger, delay, wah, EXCITER, 3 band eq, 5 band eq, ect...ect...lots of effects. Some of them will modulate to a stereo track IN STEREO. When you use a stereo insert effect on a mono track, it sounds ok (forced to mono), but switch the destination to a stereo track pair, and HOLY CRAP! You can use tracks 1 through 8 as mono, or link any odd/even pair together for stereo recording! The compressor from the guitar algorithms ain't too bad, and the EQ is great---they have set it up with the jogwheel, so it is like a sweepable EQ! (I don't think you can use the expression pedal for that though, but maybe). Send/Return effects are the best---Reverbs and Choruses can both be used simultaneously...in differing levels....on all 12 tracks! Now that's cool.

Switchable phantom power will push +48 into a condensor mic no problem. There are plenty of effect patches for voice, too. You can download the manual online to read them before you buy. ALL the patches are easy to manipulate.

The hard drive is plenty big (20Gig), and with PC compatibility, files can be transfered through USB to free up space. All in all, it's the most under-rated model out there. For the price of an old roland 880 (with it's user interface nightmare) you can get a brand new Zoom.

The Bass programming is tedious, unless you have a midi controller keyboard, which I don't. I suppose you could also use a guitar midi converter, but hey, if you have one of those, you won't NEED the Zoom bass sounds. The bass simulator patch makes your guitar sound like bass, but don't plan any fast songs. It can't keep up, or something weird. Oh well. Just buy a bass.

The 1266 is bigger and heavier than the Boss 1180 and the AW16G. You decide if that's a good thing or not. The faders feel flimsy, but no problems yet.

All in all, I'm very pleased (if you couldn't tell). This is my first own of a digital recorder, though I have owned 4-track tape, and played on the demo Boss 1180cd and roland 880ex at my local music store. But really, I can't imagine being able to do this stuff any easier than I can on the Zoom. Fun, fun, fun.

This review was originally published on http://www.musicgearreview.com