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JoeCo BBR1 Blackbox Recorder Review

Apr 9, 2010 12:00 PM, By John McJunkin

A simple device for multitrack recordings.

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It would be nice to see more segments in the LED VU meters on the front panel, but real estate comes at a premium on the face of a 1RU box, so this could be a challenge. I also tested to make sure that there were no dropouts between tracks when the track number was incremented by pressing the record button. I butted several sequential tracks together in Digidesign Pro Tools and discovered that there was a small loss of audio (a few samples) but not enough to cause any major problems. If you need absolute sync, however, it could be an issue. Aside from the obvious task of capturing a multitrack recording, the Blackbox is also intended to facilitate a virtual soundcheck for a touring act. Since the recorder is plugged into the console’s inserts, it’s simple. The previous evening’s performance (or any other stored on the hard drive) can be dialed up for playback, making virtual soundcheck easy if a full soundcheck cannot be accomplished. Multiple Blackbox units can be synced together if 24 tracks are not enough.

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Traditionally, there have been a number of solutions available for multitrack recording in a live environment, including hiring a truck with multiple 2in. analog recorders and a laptop with a small rack full of audio interfaces. Some folks have lugged ADATs and DTRS machines on the road, too. These solutions all involve a significant chunk of hardware, and some have been known to be less than perfect and bulletproof. The JoeCo Blackbox Recorder is an elegant, smart, and eminently useful replacement for all but the most sophisticated alternatives. Its converters sound great, and it completely simplifies the process with a small, 1RU box that is very easily used. I would definitely recommend one for any professional who needs to accomplish multitrack recording quickly and reliably in virtually any environment.

John McJunkin is the principal of Avalon Podcasting in Chandler, Ariz. He has consulted in the development of studios and installations, and he provides high-quality podcast-production services.

Product Summary

  • Company: JoeCo
  • Product: BBR1 Blackbox Recorder
  • Pros: Rock-solid, high-quality 24-track recording.
  • Cons: Headphone jack located on rear panel.
  • Applications: Any application that requires reliable live multitrack recording.
  • Price: $2,495


  • Sample rates: 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz
  • Latency: 0 millisecond
  • Analog inputs: -10dB/+4dB switchable; max output +22dBU = 0dBFS; A-D conversion 24-bit/96kHz; 106dB S/N, 96dB THD+N (A-weighted 48kHz)
  • Analog outputs: -10dB/+4dB switchable; max output +22dBU = 0dBFS; A-D conversion 24-bit/96kHz; 106dB S/N, 96dB THD+N (A-weighted 48kHz)
  • Timecode reader: Frame rates 24, 25, 29.97, drop and non-drop, 30fps (trigger only—no chase)
  • Control & sync: 1/4in. TRS linear timecode/footswitch; MIDI (MTC & MMC); 9-pin D-type, Sony PII protocol; 2xRCA sockets (AES/SPDIF word clock)
  • Other connectors: 1xUSB 2.0 (480MBps); 1xmini DIN (PS2 keyboard socket); 1x2.5mm DC power inlet

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