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Users Group

User Reviews

by Chris R.  (c h r i s r AT a u s t i n DOT r r DOT c o m)

(this review was extracted by the authors permission from the bbs thread)


 I should mention, I’m not a professional in the music industry or a recording expert. I’m a guitarist interested in home recording and MIDI, strictly for the purpose of developing my own projects (primarily for my own edification). I’ve used a Yamaha MT-100 4 track for several years and was waiting for digital multi-tracking to reach a feature/price point that would justify upgrading. Really, I was interested in an 8-track but when I heard the VF-16 was being released at a price point comparable with other 8-track units (and with a ton more features) I decided to wait. Glad I did, because the unit appears to suit my purposes exactly.

 Okay, so here’s what I think of the unit after three days:

•  The sound quality is pristine.
•  The programming and controls are fairly straightforward (once you get past the learning curve, see comments on the manual below)
•  The display is very well organized for the various functions
•  The on-board effects sound great (although, I haven’t had a chance to play with anything except the reverbs)
•  Built-in compression
•  EFX inserts on two tracks
•  Phantom power on two tracks
•  MIDI slave and master for computer control (haven’t had a chance to use this yet but I will be making use of it in the near future)
•  Trim control for each channel
•  Copy/Paste on-board editing with Undo
•  Export to .WAV - you can then load the individual .WAV files (one for each track) on you computer and edit them with Cool Edit (or whatever) then re-import them back to the  VF-16. Very cool!
•  Optical DAT and SCSI interface
•  Light, compact chassis -- well designed lay-out of controls
•  The black chassis is a big improvement over the former white (IMHO). At least now it matches the rest of my equipment
 Plus a bunch more features I haven’t had a chance to even look at.
•  The manual is, uh, not good. Specifically, why in the world would they put the section on creating a new program (the most important factor to somebody first learning the unit) on page 59? Plus, the way it is laid out, it simply takes each one of the units sub-systems and explains in considerable detail what they do and how they operate. Fine, but this approach doesn’t do anything to help the user understand how they inter-operate and relate to each other. It took me several hours of reading the manual and playing with the unit to make my first direct recordings (I’m still trying to figure out the Buss recording mode). Call me dense, but like I said, I’m not a music professional or recording engineer, I’m a home recording enthusiast, which is the market segment this unit was developed for. So the manual should be targeted accordingly. Suggestions (for any Fostex reps out there to pass along): 1.) Include a "Getting Started" addendum to the manual. 2.) Include a chapter that does a "walk-through" of different recording scenarios (I know, there are some in the existing manual but they should be a lot better). A short video (perhaps on CD-ROM) that does a walk-through of the units sub-systems would be a huge asset.
•  Operation of the unit is NOT intuitive. Expect a learning curve of several days depending on how much of the feature set is important to you.
•  The display is difficult to read at a angle > than about 45 degrees. I propped my unit up in the back about 2 inches and now all is well.
•  I can’t find a way to auto-load a scene with a program. Maybe I’m missing something (not unlikely considering the manual). Hope there is a way because it’s very annoying to have to manually scroll through multiple scenes for each project
•  There is an audible "whirring" from the HDD. It is not bad enough to pickup on recordings (even with the mike right in front of the unit) but it deserves mention.
•  The unit as it was shipped to me had slightly uneven feet (wobble). A friend at work who ordered one the same time I did (and has since received his) reported the same problem. Again, nothing major, but it deserves mention
•  My unit didn’t come with a warranty registration card.

So, to summarize, most of the negatives are fairly minor annoyances (except the manual, which could REALLY use improvement). Overall, I’m quite pleased (and impressed) by the unit. I keep discovering more and more capabilities and it has opened up a ton of new options for me.
(this review was extracted by the authors permission from this bbs thread)