After using a 4 track for some time and being amazed at how un- intuitive it was, and how crappy the sound was, then attempting and failing to get my aging PC to run Cubase, I decided to get some hardware and settled on the 788 because I thought 24 bit must be better. I didn't think it had a lot of features but I was totally wrong; it has comprehensive cut and paste style editing, virtual tracks, one of the 2 effects blocks can be a multieffects unit, all the mixer routing is digital, internal, and routing and the settings can be saved. It has a big thick manual but the thing is complicated. For the first time I am using something that is logically laid out- if you don't know how to do something after a while you can guess it.
The most surprising feature is probably the quality of the internal effects- I thought they'd be crap but they are adequate, apart from perhaps the reverb which isn't that inspiring. Delays are useful as is compression. I haven't really heard the other effects.
The overall sound quality of this unit is very, very good. My last band used to mix through a largish mackie desk to DAT at 48khz. It sounded great- and this sounds great too. I havn't done any a to bs but it is impossible to criticise at the price, £380. I turned it up loud and couldn't hear any noise over the hard drive sound, which is not loud.
Problems- it is complicated, and takes a while to find your way around. After about 4 hours on it I thought I could do most things. This is about 20 million times faster than a computer multitracker anyway.
It is only 8 tracks and while that seems a lot when you are starting you will have to bounce. However you are allowed to save the old tracks as virtual tracks, not to mention undo your mistakes so with a little foresight this isn't so much of a problem.
And how irritating is it that there is no USB; and the CDR has to be SCSI... again you can get round this but you need the right sound card on your PC, one that can take the spdif signal in neat without mucking around with it.
Generally this is great, very little time required to get going and produce terrific sound, very little to criticize.