Zoom Intros $300 R12 MultiTrak Recorder & Synthesizer

Zoom has introduced the R12 MultiTrak, an 8-channel portable studio recorder that lets you record and edit anywhere, since it can run on battery power.

It features a touch screen display for easy editing, 2 mic inputs with phantom power support, a two-channel compressor, built-in effects, a built-in synth and more. It offers an 8-voice polyphonic FM synthesizer, plus a PCM drum kit.

You can also use the R12 as a stereo audio interface with your favorite DAW or streaming platform, via USB-C, and use the R12 as a control surface for your DAW software.


  • Multi-track digital recorder with up to 8 tracks of recording.
  • 2.4” Full Color LCD touchscreen display with easy touch and swipe editing
  • User friendly graphic interface with on-board editing capabilities
  • Battery Powered up to 5 hours (4 AA’s)
  • 2 XLR / TRS Combo inputs – with phantom power and HI-Z on input 1
  • Send effects channel with 4 options: Reverb, Delay, Chorus, or Guitar Lab preset (choose up to 3 effects from our guitar effects collection including distortions,
  • modulation effects, spacial effects, and much more)
  • Built-in compressor for inputs 1 and 2
  • Pan and 3-band EQ for each track
  • Sequence play – for using backing tracks in a live setting
  • Drum loops (150 preloaded)
  • Records directly to SDXC cards
  • Built-in USB-C audio interface (2-in / 2-out or 2-in/4out) with control surface function

Pricing and Availability

The Zoom R12 is available to pre-order now, with a street price of about $300 USD.

25 thoughts on “Zoom Intros $300 R12 MultiTrak Recorder & Synthesizer

  1. Lovely portable device with great features, but with so many years of experience Zoom should have aknowledged that people need to be able to sync their setup. Midi ports are missing, so next…

      1. Sync via MIDI time code or MIDI clock, with the recorder as master. Otherwise, this device is useless for standalone multi-pass recording with anything running a step or standalone sequencer.

        1. i understand. well, it seem they don’t really have synths musicians in mind.
          but if the outputs are dc-coupled (maybe the headphone out) you can output recorded/sampled pulses to trigger analog devices or recorded midi clock.
          if not you can use something like the bastl klik or other synchronization devices that accept regular audio and and output analog pulses/midi clock.

          1. some of Zoom older devices like Zoom MRS1266 or Zoom HD16CD had midi in/out per default, I dont understand this idea of de-evolution technology. [Same for Tascam though their model series has midi, but only as master sync]

            1. i guess the market for overdub recording of step sequencer is very small and not important to them much so zoom probably prefer to make the price more attractive instead of having features most will not use. they publish it here but the video show who they aim with this.
              i gave you a solution that you may not consider and can help you do what you want (and theoretically border your device selection)
              i guess internal fm synth is less costly than midi implement…

        2. Alternatively, you could just synch everything that needs to be synched outside of the recorder and record that combined audio as a stereo track. Then, for multitracking, you would use that initial track as a “click track”. You know, the way multitracking was accomplished before there was MIDI. As far as I see it, the main limitation with this, and similar multitracks, is the ability to record only two mono tracks at once. Back in the day, before cheap portastudios popularized this 2-track recording nonsense, multitrack recorders allowed recording as many simultaneous inputs as there were “tracks”. If they didn’t work that way, I doubt that The Beatles would have ever been able to record Sgt. Pepper’s on a 4-track recorder.

      1. ugh ya – one of the things that is rare is sync in a standalone recorder which honestly makes no sense – if this had midi and /or cv sync I would get it in a second – it seems like the smpltrek is still the best option out there when it comes out

        1. Actually, I don’t think anything comes close to the 1010 Music Bluebox as far as low cost multitrack recorders go. Twelve-mono or six-stereo (or combinations) tracks, you can synch anything to anything, and it provides a not too shabby digital mixer, as well. About a year ago, I got an itch to work the way I did when my main recording device was a Tascam 80-8, but also to have digital synch capability when I needed it. The Bluebox turned out to be the only reasonable solution for me. Every time I use it I continue to be amazed at how they got all that stuff in there.

      2. its usage is limited? so you actually think “overdub recording of step sequencer” is the main market for this type of devices? and all other uses are “smaller”? 99% of musicians will not care.

  2. Still, not a suitable replacement for the R8. Too many functions to make it really useful in a classical “Portastudio” type workflow. Also, finger-editing audio on a screen that size has got to be a bitch.

  3. Maybe their next release will coincide with their previous 20 channel mixer and have more than 8 inputs. The effects sound like there is a little bit to be desired. The VS1680 from over two decades ago had awesome effects.

  4. Updatable FX that you can load/switch out or create. That’s pretty cool. I was just about to ask if this thing could be synched to a multi-FX unit like a G1Four, but it basically has one of those inside it.

  5. Just out of curiosity, does the auto-moderation feature of this blog ever go away? Apparently, directly insulting me is OK with the moderators, but I do some unspecified “name calling” (if it happened it was never directed at anybody, in particular, here) and now everything I comment on gets flagged for moderation. If this is automatic, the initial flagging I mean, then perhaps the algorithm needs some adjustment. What exactly constitutes “name calling”, and why is directly levying insults at me not an example of it?

    1. John – as we have responded to you previously:

      “Synthtopia encourages active discussion and criticism of things (gear design, build quality, companies business practices or service, etc) but not name-calling, hate speech, personal attacks on individuals or groups of people”.

      In case it is not clear to you, calling people ‘idiots’ would fall into the category of being “personal attacks on individuals or groups of people”.

      Criticism of your comment or your perspective falls into the category of “active discussion and criticism of things”.

      If you pretend that you’re being ‘censored’ because the site won’t allow you to call people idiots and other names, you’re either confused about what censorship means or you’re playing the victim.

      Keep your comments on topic and constructive in the future, and your comments will not need to be deleted. Do not waste the admin’s time further.

  6. Only thing wrong about this device is being poste don this website. I dont think most of us are the audience. I used to be all about multitrackers but you have to go as far back as the Roland VS series to get proper midi implementation. Used to track out all of my mpc tracks to a Tascam Neo and a DP-01, now I have to look at a computer screen. I used to track out sketches and save em for later or just go wild overdubbing jams then arrange when I was in that mood. I understand why there is no midi sync but I also dont understand why.

    1. Thanks, I used a tascam back in the day and I’m trying to remember it. I’m sure you’re right that there’ll be lots of users but I can’t quite picture them.

      Maybe I used mine for overdubs of my own voice. Is that what this is for? Or is it for playing a backing track and having the chance to mute bits depending on which band mates are around? Genuinely curious.

      You couldn’t record a live band on this, even a small one, because there’s only two ins. For an amateur singer-songwriter, recording a demo, you’d probably want to bring in a keyboard instrument at some point alongside your guitar and voice. And nowadays I thought that most people who are happy with USB midi are also happy with apple garageband.

  7. It’s an interesting product/idea. Sometimes it is the limitations that make a product “special”.

    Perhaps one could go find an old sync box with FSK / beat clocks (like a JL Cooper Synclink); then use the device to “stripe” time code on a track, then basically run the R12 in mono (pan the time-code to one side and all the audio to the other side) using the MIDI DIN with MIDI beat clocks to sequencers while working then after all audio is printed, then work in stereo for mix. Oof. Tiring.

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