I just recently got a Fostex MR8-HD and the unit itself works perfectly. My problem, however, is with distortion. I'm obviously not using the built in distortion knob (many built in effects sound pretty bad usually, including this one); but in recording my music using my own distortion pedal, it sounds awful and not even close to what I want (I play mostly rock but am in a punk band, so a good distortion tone is pretty crucial).

I really know very little about recording I'll admit, but basically I'm just going from my guitar to distortion pedal (simple Boss DS-1) then from the pedal straight to the 1/4" input. It comes out very fuzzy and the tone is crap on the recording; I don't know if it's digital distortion or if it can't interpret the signal well, like I said I really don't know too much about it. All I really want is for the recording to sound the same way it does when I jam, the way it sounds through my amp (also, I don't want to mic my amp). I'm not sure if it's possible to get the same tone recording straight into the fostex through my pedal as I'd get live, but if someone knows what I'm doing wrong or can offer any help, it would be VERY much appreciated!!

One thing I'm thinking of trying is, for the first input, there's another 1/4" jack called "Insert". The manual says this is for using an external effects processor, using a y-cable to connect it. Would connecting my distortion pedal into that maybe give it a better tone? (I'm going to try it out as soon as I get a y-cable). Or maybe my problem is it simply can't handle the gain coming from the pedal, or maybe I should go through a mixer then to the MR8-HD, etc. There's so much I don't know about, that I'm really just lost , and this problem is incredibly irritating.

Again, thanks very much for any help you can offer on recording a good distortion tone straight into the thing, so I can get essentially the same sound and tone I get through my amp playing live or jamming!

Using the insert would be a waste of your time. One problem is an impedance mismatch, a guitar output is not line level like a mixers input.. Second thing is just running a distortion pedal through is not going to mimick the sound coming out of an amp, you're just going to get a lot of noise and garbage, you'd need some way to simulate the sound of your guitars cabinet in order to somewhat mimick your amp, but the only way to really mimick the sound coming from the amp is to capture it from the amp.
Quote by Phil999
All I really want is for the recording to sound the same way it does when I jam, the way it sounds through my amp (also, I don't want to mic my amp).

Not gonna happen. The output of the distorsion pedal won't sound anything like the pedal through an amp because it's missing a vital element. Guess what, it's the amp. This is why good amp simulation is relatively expensive, it's actually a hard thing to do and the distorsion pedal isn't meant to. So if you're hell-bent on not putting a mic in front of your amp yu can do one of two things: 1) get used to the crappy sound you'll get from running the pedal or the line out of your amp into the Fostex; or 2) buy an amp simulation pedal that will allow you to record direct and sound decent.