TASCAM DR-40 4-Track Portable Digital Recorder Review

 

 

With adjustable mics and XLR inputs, the TASCAM DR-40 4-Track Portable Digital Recorder offers you total flexibility to record tracks on the move. Use one or all four tracks with high-quality microphones built into the DR-40. Make any number of adjustments from XY to AB position to extend your recording capability inside any room. Record up to 96 kHz/24-bit-resolution sound with condenser microphones generating phantom power through TASCAM microphone pre-amps. The DR-40 allows ¼” or balanced XLR inputs with the help of its Neutrik Combo jacks. Other than the 2 GB cards included with this kit, you can load SDHC or SD cards up to 32 GB. Use the optional Level Align feature or record music with the equalizer to evade volume jumps. For additional sound effects, make use of its inbuilt chromatic tuner, limiting and low-cut filter, stereo reverb effects, variable speed playback, and overdub mode. Make a live recording of all your practice sessions with TASCAM’s easy-to-use interface.

This handheld DR-40 offers several recording modes indicated by LED lights on the front panel. Use dual mode to record stereo signals while making a copy of the same signal at a lower level. This acts as a backup to the main recording and can be used in case of distortions. Use two external mics with the built-in microphones to create four channels. Combine sounds in the room with feeds from your mixer to generate a balanced line output with the help of the built-in cardioid condenser microphones. Add ambient and close-up microphones for additional effects. Use the DR-40’s Overdub feature with an existing recording to build a song demonstration or a full production in WAV, broadcast WAV, and MP3 (32 to 320 kbps) formats. Peak reduction ensures recording levels are ideally set on complete auto. You can set to secondary recording buffer and use playback at variable speeds from 50% to 150% of the original without making changes to the pitch. Just 3 AA batteries provide 15 hours of battery power supply to the DR-40. You can also use the optional PS-P515U A/C adapter, USB bus power, or the BP-6AA external battery pack to power your TASCAM DR-40 4-Track Portable Digital Recorder. Use a USB 2.0 jack with cable to transfer recordings directly to your computer.

Features

  • Comes with item dimensions of 3.5” x 5.5” x 8”
  • Weighs around 1.2 lbs.
  • Fitted with XLR/TRS inputs that are compatible with +4dBu line level/ +48V
  • Remote control and RC-3F foot switch connections
  • Comes with the reverb effect
  • Fitted with a self-timer recording function
  • Designed with a low-cut filter across 40/80/120 Hz levels
  • Has equalizer settings to adjust the playback sound quality
  • Fitted with delete/divide functions
  • Comes with loop/repeat playback function used to study languages and practice music
  • Offers a quick menu button for users to access different functions
  • Provides high-quality 24-bit/96kHz WAV/BWF linear PCM recording
  • Includes a 2 GB SD card
  • Comes with a built-in mono aural speaker with 0.3 W output
  • Has a playlist function
  • Comes with a stereo mini headphone line output along with headphone output connector
  • Powered by 3 AA batteries, optional A/C adapter, and USB bus power
  • Fitted with 128 x 64 pixel graphic LCD with a backlight
  • Includes a mini USB cable
  • Offers a built-in tripod attachment screw hole

Pros

  • Generates instrument and vocal resonance with its reverb effect
  • Comes with an equalizer setting to adjust the playback sound quality
  • Designed to record on auto when the system detects sound input signal levels
  • Offers a self-timer recording function for users to record their own performances
  • Designed with a 4-channel mode for non-destructive overdubbed and dual recording
  • Allows 20 hours of operational power with its internal batteries
  • Designed with high sound pressure capability to capture sounds up to 125 dB SPL
  • Includes the peak reduction function to set optimal recording level
  • Comes with the VSA function to adjust recording speed 0.5 to 1.5 times.
  • Has remote function to recognize last recording position when power is switched back on
  • Includes a jump back playback function that can go back a few preset seconds
  • Comes with a mark function capable of setting up 99 points on a single track
  • Plays compatible audio files from your computer
  • Designed with a pre-recording buffer that gives a 2-second gap before recording
  • Creates new files to replace predetermined maximum file size during recordings
  • Generates new files at arbitrary recording locations with track increments
  • Allows users to name the first 6 characters of the filename
  • Equipped with a chromatic tuner to practice musical instruments
  • Allows high-speed file transfer through the computer’s USB 2.0
  • Fitted with rubber feet to improve desktop acoustic properties

Cons

  • Comes with an on/off button that needs to be plugged into the USB
  • Longevity of the product is suspect
  • Some may find the mic preamps a bit noisy
  • Beginners may find the DR-40 functions complicated

Verdict

The TASCAM DR-40 4-Track Portable Digital Recorder comes with a proven high sound pressure design that is ideal for loud band recordings up to 125 dB SPL. On the other hand, it can be used to record classroom lectures. This is a versatile multitrack recorder that automatically detects peaks and sets recording to optimum level depending on the sound source. When the peak is detected, the system lowers the input signal level down without disrupting the recording process. Large volume variations are therefore adjusted automatically. Users can change the speed without changing the pitch with the help of the popular Variable Speed Audition (VSA) function that makes adjustments from 50% to 150% of the original speed. This is enabled when users record at 44.1 kHz/48 kHz. If there are uneven volume levels, especially when different people are participating in an interview, the Level Align feature makes adjustments to the volume on auto.

In addition to the built-in microphone, users can also attach an external condenser microphone to fully exploit the XLR/TRS stereo input capabilities. Non-destructive overdub as well as dual recording functions can be enabled in 4-channel mode. The DR-40 has a MS decoding function that allows users to use M-S stereo mics in the A-B/X-Y positions. TASCAM offers an optional RC-10 wired remote control and RC-3F foot switch that connects to its remote connector. This multichannel recorder comes with rubber feet to improve acoustic quality during desktop recordings. For those who want to use a tripod, this unit has a built-in screw-hole. If you’re looking for a professional recorder and player with user-friendly functions, then the TASCAM DR-40 4-Track Portable Digital Recorder is a great choice.

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