Top positive review
19 people found this helpful
Great value unit that sounds excellent
on 14 May 2017
I've only had this a day and I'm very impressed so far. I did a fair bit of research into different makes and models, and the things that swayed it for me in favour of the DR-40 were mainly the on-board external mic XLRs, the four-track capability, the moveable internal mics, and the price - and also something about the Tascam name made me trust it, since it's a well-known brand with a long history in the audio world.
I was ready to be underwhelmed nonetheless, knowing that there are many far more 'pro' high-end devices out there for far more money.
But: so far, it's proving to be an excellent choice!
I''ll just get the obvious things lacking out of the way first [HENCE only 4 STARS in review rating]:
- lack of decent bespoke windshield ***see below
- no carry case or protective pouch
- plastic body (feels as if it probably would survive a modest knock or two, but could snap or split in really extreme scenarios)
- internal mics (on top of unit) have silver plastic bodies...cost cutting no doubt but no big deal really
- no internal lithium battery to preserve the time and date settings meaning changing the 3 AA main batteries causes the time and date to default to factory settings.
*** I bought a 3rd-party windshield from an ebay seller called 'windcut windshields', specifically made for the DR-40 and it's proved very effective in some early-morning outdoor recordings in moderately breezy conditions.
Now on to the things that impress me so far:
- 24-bit/96kHz recording
.....the unit defaults to 16-bit/44.1kHz but this is easily changed in the settings - 48kHz also an option
- 4 tracks available for recording: either stereo internal mics (2 track), stereo internals witth safety track (4 tracks..2 x stereo pair - you can set the safety track to record a number of dBs lower than the main track...this is configurable, i.e. not fixed to always be -6dB, you can set it to what you want), stereo internals with stereo externals (4 tracks), stereo externals, or one mono external.... I think these are all the options but I don't have the unit in front of me at the moment! Suffice to say it's a comprehensive and useful set of options.
- very easy menu navigation, once you get used to having to press the 'menu' button to return from an option you've navigated to with the >>| button, which is a little strange
- MOST IMPORTANT: excellent recording quality!
In coincident (XY) arrangement, the mics give a tight stereo image which feels rather narrow but would be well suited to close/near recording of e.g. vocal with acoustic guitar.
I have a Yamaha B1 upright piano and I placed the DR-40 on top of it, on the lid (lid closed), in XY configuration, and I got a very impressive 'close' piano sound with no distortion... more experimentation needed to find the ideal placement, but for a simple "bung it on the top and play and see what happens" I was very impressed.
In pseudo-ORTF (AB) arrangement, the internal mics give quite a pleasing stereo image which is more pronounced in terms of width and placement of sound sources. I took the unit out in the very early morning and recorded birdsong in a few locations using this mic
I've so far experimented with:
- quite close spoken word: 6 inches away from internal mics...gives very decent results suitable for radio reporter links, or podcast. NB this is no mere 'dictaphone' - the quality obtained with the internal mics for close voice is extremely good, but YOU WILL NEED A WINDSHIELD TO AVOID PLOSIVE POPPING.
There is a tripod mounting screw hole on the bottom of the unit, which is very handy. I have a photographic monopod and have been screwing the DR-40 onto this for outdoor work: it allows me to lean the whole thing up against a branch or tree stump and stand well away with the recording running - seems to work a treat.