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4.4 out of 5 stars77
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 18 January 2013
I had just bought a new Panasonic SD800 and had to sacrifice exceptional image quality for NO MIC JACKS!!
Although to give the SD800 it's due, the mics are surprisingly good. But as a film maker and TV documenter the sound quality died in any sort of breeze.
So I decided to shop around and see what small, portable recording devices with an XLR input were to be found.
I came across the Zoom H4n and the Tascam DR-100 and neither were realistically in my price range (all I wanted was something to capture the sound from my Rode NGT 2 shotgun mic.
And then I came across the DR-40, and oh boy was I happy. I checked out reviews in sound difference between the DR-40's external mics and the H4n. The difference was hard to find, and with the DR-40 being 60-80 quid cheaper than the Zoom H4n I was onto a winner.
I bought it and haven't looked back since, the built in mics are perfect for caputuring interview diaglogue and they X-Y function works brilliantly when recording live band gigs and crowd scenes. The XLR inputs are secure and there is no rattling when moving.
With not a huge amount of Sound Engineer experience and a read through the manual I was able to have a play around with confidence. After the initial "man this is complicated" , it turned into a very simple and easy to use piece of equipment. There is the option to add a mixer into the system through the XLR ports aswell which I found very useful in the field.

I would recommend this to anyone who needs high quality audio recorders at a fraction of the price of a mixer/recorder combo. A good piece of starting equipment for a film maker and totally worth the price.

The only downsides are the case is very plastic, whereas the H4n is metal and rubbery for added grip and the speaker on the back isn't amazing, but as there is a headphone jack (which any sound coordinator will tell you) is what you use in the field to hear.

A brilliant product, simple to use and I haven't looked back since.
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on 9 December 2012
I needed a audio recorder for capturing sound for my low budget movie. It had to have xlr inputs so it was a toss up between this, thezoom h4n and the tascam dr100mk2. I read a ton of reviews about these and while the h4n seemed to be most popular, there were a lot of negative reviews about the preamps, that they were noisy and just not good enough.
The tascam dr100mk2 is better, but it's twice the price of the dr40. those two were out.

The DR40 is over a hundred quid cheaper than the h4n and has slightly better preamps. There is some noise when the input level is turned right the way up but at nominal recording levels it isnt noticable at all. there is the 'helicopter' noise when using just one input but this is a common problem with this recorder. it can be aliviated by using a balanced xlr mic, turning the input level down on the unused channel or just switching from the record screen onto the menu screen. it's no big deal. this is a very good recorder.

one thing to note, a lot of people use this recorder with the rode ntg2 shotgun mic. Dont! the ntg2 nor the dr40 are not powerful enough to work properly together. it will be quiet unless you turn the gain/preamps right up which will give you hiss.

the Rode ntg1 or the Audio Technica at875r are the best mics for the DR40, they are 'hotter' (more sensitive) thus louder at lower levels.

All in all, for the money this is the best recorder out there.
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on 26 June 2014
I've waited for a good test project before posting my review. A few days ago (with permission from all concerned) I recorded a live jazz concert. Saxaphone, Electric Piano, Bass Guitar and Drums. The saxophonist said "What great recording quality!". He has been playing professionally for many years and knows his stuff.

I was in the front row and had got a sound level during the band's sound check. It was perfect, just the very occasional peak light showing. I had the limiter on just to be sure but if it did activate I can't hear it. The quality is better than many live recordings I've heard - and studio recordings.

Next time I'll try and plug into the venue's sound desk - and use two mics into the DR-40 for the audience.This is a superb recorder at a reasonable price. Highly recommended.
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on 19 April 2013
The Tascam DR-40 is a really well thought-out unit. The build quality is excellent: rugged, professional, compact. The interface is intuitive; all the most common functions are easily accessible with the minimum of button-clicking and menu-navigation, so you can be recording within ten seconds of pulling the thing out of your pocket. It's packed full of useful features - I haven't had a chance to explore them all, but I can see most of them coming in useful at some point. There's nothing I would consider gimmicky at all. It even ships with 3xAA batteries and a 2GB SD card, so you can get going straight out of the box.

The quality of the audio captured is excellent. The microphones have a great response across the audio spectrum, and the selectable low-cut filter is invaluable for blocking out rumble while still letting bass frequencies through. The sensitivity of the built-in mics adjusts over a wide enough range that I've been able to capture simple speech, choral music and amped-up rock bands with equal ease. The handling noise seems reasonably low, although since they've kindly provided a tripod mount, that's not a major concern for me!

I've mostly been recording at 24-bit / 48kHz and moving the resulting WAV files to my home studio PC for post-processing and mastering. The facility to record straight to MP3, say for just capturing an evening's jam session, is great too. USB transfers are quick and easy.

So far, I can't fault this device at all. (If I were really nitpicking, I'd complain that they didn't include a soft protective case/bag in the package, which would be nice to have for a product that's designed to be carried around a lot.) Still I'd highly recommend the DR-40 to anyone who needs to record high-quality audio on the move.
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on 5 June 2015
Note I did not buy this on amazon, as I found it cheaper elsewhere (Andertons). I wanted a recording system to use alongside my dslr which takes brilliant video but rubbish sound . I am not an expert with such devices. I struggled with another market leading digital recorder (utter failure) but with the Tascam i was getting decent recordings within minutes of opening the box and a few hours later successfully recorded some samples of a local choir. Have not actually used it for video yet, but am already inspired to tackle some music recording and a friend who is well into music studio work cant' wait to get his hands on it, not least because he can plug his mics into the XLR sockets. Very pleased so far and offers options I had not thought of.
A couple of idiosyncrasies: why a battery compartment for only 3 AA batteries? and there is a funny little rubber foot which to can use as a 'tilt rest' by inserting it into the tripod.mic stand bush. (and you avoid losing this by storing it in the battery compartment where a 4th battery might have gone!) Whoever thought that one up! Despite this idiosyncracy -well recommended
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on 25 February 2016
Over the past Months I purchased two DR40 which were fine up to a few weeks ago when Apple introduced the new operating system "El Capitan"
Now you cannot download any recorded data! According to Tascam's website they no longer support the software for the DR40 interface for MAC.
I have contacted Tascam who have not bothered to reply. Before marketing this product it should be made clear that this device is not compatible with Apple Mac.
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on 4 January 2015
I love this thing sooooo much!
It's really easy to use and quite similar to other recording devices so it's easy enough to pick up if you're used to another make/ model.
It's quick and easy to set up and having been a freelance filmmaker for the past 2 years and hiring equipment out, it's definitely a releif to have my own equipment that I know that batteries will be fully charged and the settings will always be right before going on set. I also love to look after my equipment and this little beauty is something I will cherish for years to come.
So far, I think the longest it has recorded for in one time (with a large SD card of my own in) is an hour, but I believe that all depends on the quality settings and if you've got enough battery power and space on your SD card.
The quality of the microphones are great too. I traditionally try to use an external mic for voice recording/ ambience and, basically everything, but now I can't hire a mic, so this is surely coming in handy. It does, however, have an XLR and/or jack (I think... can't remember) external mic option for when I do invest in a mic (which I surely will eventually), but it still gives me an option of higher quality audio than, for example, recording sound directly from my camera or a phone or something like that.
It's easy enough to listen back to everything and pause/ play ect and the settings make it easy the change what you want it to be like.
There are still some things that I have no idea what they do, but as I'm still learning some things myself, it's perfect for me as I learn and develop. There's no point spending more money on something I don't understand or use yet, but this one has everything I needed and everything I will use and the audio is very clear with little white noise and if pointed in the right direction, say, at someone's mouth if it's for dialogue, it can block out some things in the background, but a lot of it depends on how you use it really...
So, I'd suggest, for someone like me, who was after a first-time recording device with knowledge of (but not a pro... yet) audio recording, I think it's the best I could have found.
And the best part- it's already paid itself back in freelancing. :D
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on 6 June 2015
I did a lot of research before buying the DR-40 as I needed something portable, reasonably priced, unobtrusive and (to my ears) good quality. I bought it with the Rycote 055444 Mini Windjammer (as I'm using it outdoors a lot) and I've not been disappointed.

Bear in mind that I'm not a sound geek although I'm somewhat hooked by this device and might now become a geek. It's become clear that a boom/shotgun mic would improve things even further but one thing at a time!

You can hear some of my early efforts made with the Tascam DR-40 here >>
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on 8 January 2014
This portable recorded is a great device for it's price. The internal microphones on this device are actually pretty good and offer some good audio clarity. The converters are very good for the device as well.

The gain is actually very good in the device as well and the steps in between are very good and allow a bit more precision when getting the right level. Its very simple to use and start recording things quickly and easily. The microphones also allow to go from a coincident recording configuration to a type of near coincident configuration.

One of the reasons that i got this over a more basic tascam model is that it has the two XLR inputs at the bottom to allow for other multiple types of recording, either simply just 1 external mic, a stereo external mic configuration, and more. It also converts the Mid Side channel meaning you don't have to do that in a DAW.

The Zoom H4N is also very similar but lacks the Mid Side converter, and I personally think this looks, feels and operates better, but the H4N is just as good audio wise
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on 6 May 2013
it doesn't like too presentable, plastic body feels too fragile, but recording quality and functions are good. internal mikes are good, only too sensitive to any air movement, so windshield is a must have extra.
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