This is one of the latest 16-track all-in-one recording devices, including its own on-board CD-R burner. When I first hooked up the unit, I was surprised about how easy it was to get started - everything was pretty straightforward. The internal pages I needed to get to were easy to find and made sense. However, when I wanted to burn a CD of what I'd done, I found that reading all three of the manuals the unit came with was necessary. One of the manuals would give most of the procedure and the others filled in the blanks. The two condenser mics I had could be plugged into the first two inputs (XLRs) that provided phantom power. The rest of the inputs are all 1/4", (without phantom power) and channel 8 also has an optional hi-z input. The AW4416 also features 6 dynamics processing modes per channel: compressor, gate, ducking, expander, compressor/limiter/hard-knee expander, and compressor/limiter/soft-knee expander. Key-in capability and stereo linking are also provided. The EQ is 4-band full-parametric on each channel and is easy to use. Reverb, delay, echo, chorus, flanging, tremolo all come built in as on-board effects and sound okay, but not great and require a few steps to set up. The optional Waves plug-in, Y56k, can plug into one of the two option slots on the back of the AW4416, and has higher quality effects on it, as well as some better compression/limiting options. The hard disc recorder offers 16 or 24 bit uncompressed recording, and can be upgraded to 64 gigabytes. At $3500 there are many choices for digital recording setups these days, and if portability and "all-in-one" fit your needs, this machine may be the answer. Yamaha also offers the AW2816, an 8-track version of the AW4416 for $2300. (

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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