The R8 provides dual inputs on combo connectors which can accept either XLR or ¼" balanced or unbalanced cables. Both can handle mic- and line-level signals, and Input 1 can also handle instrument-level signals from passive or active electric guitars and basses. Phantom power of +24 or +48 volts can be applied to both inputs, allowing the use of external condenser microphones. There are also dual balanced ¼" TRS output jacks and a headphone output with a dedicated volume control.
Over 140 studio-quality DSP effects are provided. These include insert effects such as equalization/dynamics processing and send-return effects such as reverb and chorus/delay. In addition, there are guitar amp, bass amp, and mic preamp models and effects specially designed for use on vocals and stereo instruments such as electronic keyboards, plus mastering algorithms like multi-band compression. Effects can be applied during recording and mixdown, or can be used for playback only.
A USB port allows the R8 to send and receive digital data and to act as an 2-input/2-output interface for DAWs such as the included Cubase LE. When operating at a sampling frequency of 44.1kHz, input signal can be routed through the R8's onboard DSP effects.
Just 4 AA batteries—either alkaline or rechargeable NiMH—are required for power. Battery life when using alkaline batteries is more than 5 hours, even during continuous recording. Alternatively, you can use the included AD-17 AC adapter, which allows you to power the R8 from any standard wall socket. The R8 can also be powered via USB when connected to a computer.
The R8 records directly to SD cards, with support for both standard SD and SDHC cards up to 32 gigabytes, for a maximum of 100 track hours. Using SD media for recording ensures increased reliability and means that you never have to be concerned about hard drive failure.