TASCAM Sound Recorder (Part 2)

Part 1, 2, 3

And here it comes! Packed in a cardbox box which contains:

  • 1 Tascam DR-40 recorder wrapped in plastic bag
  • 1 mini USB cable
  • 1 user Manual printed in various languages
  • 3 alkaline batteries
  • 1 small rubber stand in a small plastic bag!

Watch out, this small rubber stand is a very convenient part that I nearly missed and would have lost… you may want to store it in a safe place when not in use in the batteries compartment, as shown on a the picture below.

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Using the device is pretty intuitive. This buttons are smooth and comfortable to use, the screen is quite small (to my aging eyes) but still readable. However, as mentioned in many reports which to apply to most devices from any brand, there are many recording options which may not be so easy to find. One should have a good understanding of the recording parameters (Sampling rate, sound level management, band width limitations, resolution, etc.) before trying to use this device. Oh, well, selecting WAV format with 24 bits data sampled at 96k in automatic gain control mode will do the job in many cases. As long as you do not fear XXL data files and long lasting post-production data analysis.

I was amazed by the microphone position sensor ! When you move both microphones, the menu asks for confirmation of the XY (Crossed) or AB (Split) mode ! Pretty convenient.

The primary use of this recorder is the capture of out-door sounds so that I “invested” in a wind screen. I took no risk at trying cheap fancy looking fur caps and instead followed the recommendation of the supplier. So I ordered a RYCOTE┬áDR-40MWJ which fits as expected very well to the recorder’s body, has plenty room for the microphones even in the AB position.

The mounting thread is conveniently located so that installing the DR-40 on any tripod is very easy. Although placing the the recorder horizontally on a table is probably not the best option for recording, it is the most obvious position (at least for learning how to use the device) and the little rubber foot which fits in the mounting thread is simply clever. From the very early records I could confirm what I read in one of the reviews: the handling of the recorder generates a lot of rubbish sounds. You may either wear rubber gloves or wrap the recorder with foam…

On the other hand, the XLR extractors prevent the recorder from standing still in a vertical position. One may add a pair of rubber feet to compensate the offset.

It does take a few minutes to get ready and record the first sounds. Data can be read from the SD card (micro SD sitting in a standard SD dock, well done TASCAM !) or by connecting the recorder to a PC via the USB mini cable. My favorite sound analysis software is Audacity, almost as powerful as Goldwave but free. Both software feature many, many functions which are very useful not to say mandatory to cleanup records, mix tracks, normalize, etc.

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