Akai DR8 Hard Disk Recorder (part 3)
The Take facility demonstrates very well the compromise Akai have reached between totally non-destructive recording and editing, and the morass of takes and out takes that can build up when everything is kept. With the DR8 you record something, check it, and then commit to it. You will find that you don't keep material that isn't up to standard, and you never regret getting rid of it. In many ways it's the perfect compromise between tape and infinite-undo hard disk recording.
The instant access provided by a hard disk recorder is a dream come true for overdubbing. Adding extra tracks to what is there already is a process of shuttling backwards and forwards through the track, a verse here, a chorus there. What you need is an autolocator, which comes as an accessory to most multitracks. Not here - the Akai DR8 has a 100 point autolocator built in. Number keys 1 to 9 offer direct locate functions. Press two keys to store the current time as a locate position, press one key to get back to it. If you need more locate points then the curiously named Stack key becomes involved, but it's still pretty easy. Locate points can be set on the fly and you can set a preroll time so that the DR8 will play from a point slightly earlier than the locate time, as any pro would expect. One of the things we have become used to with hard disk recorders is that they take a little time to start. Amazingly, the DR8 offers instant start, even from an optical disk, so you can hit play and you are off straight away with no time spent waiting for the machine to fill its buffer memory from the disk. I imagine that a short section of audio must be loaded into RAM whenever possible. It does take a little longer to start up if you fast wind, rewind (yes, an optional throwback to the days of tape!) or locate and suddenly hit play, but I can almost forgive Akai for not giving the DR8 clairvoyant capabilities. It's still very quick off the mark.