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How good is Tascam HS-P82 recorder vs sound Devices? Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 19th February 2018
  #91
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I would like to weigh in here a little. I will never just bash the Chinese or any other maker of products, I have seen good come from all countries. Regarding the TASCAM machine in question, one of my biggest pet peeves is a given company will make a great machine, for instance, years ago I bought a Casio DA-7 the portable DAT machine. It worked wonderfully, it was easy to operate and sounded very good in all ways...what did they do, ended up miniaturizing it to the point where you almost needed magnifying glasses (today I would!) to run the damn thing. What do I like about the HA-P82? Why am I going to buy one? Because you can see the damn thing and all it's switches and meters. I have always felt when something gets really small you lose something as they have to compromise to do it. I want a recorder I can use to just record up to 4 tracks of music at once that is all I will do with it...I better hurry up and buy one before they shrink it 60%

Peace,

Rowman
Old 19th February 2018
  #92
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rojaros's Avatar
I can only agree with Rowman; the Tascam is still in the human realm, it is possible to handle it without having to ask a small child with small hands and good eyes to move or switch something. And I'm still shocked about how good the preamps are. The only complaint (I'm joking...) is the weight. But if it was lighter, it would probably be a plastic toy...
Old 21st February 2018
  #93
Gear Head
 

The HS-P82 is like the movie Rocky. Like Jennifer Lawrence in Hunger Games. It gets little respect but absolutely is a winning device.
Old 21st February 2018
  #94
Old 23rd February 2018
  #95
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Well another thing that pisses me off with "recorders" is when the mic cables weigh more or pull enough on the unit to pull it and it falls on the floor! Years ago I bought an M-Audio unit, it weighed around 3 ounces, recorded very well but I had 1/4" connectors going to it and it pulled it off the table and on to a concrete floor...it wasn't pretty! Yeah, the TASCAM unit is the way to go. One of my friends who is a pro at all this location recording stuff bought one, he had a friend (also in the business) come and they tested it out, before he left his house he called and ordered one. This guy regularly uses a Sound Devices 744T! I cannot wait to get mine. Next I will keep my eyes open for another CAD VX'2 to round out the pair I have!
Old 23rd February 2018
  #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowman View Post
Well another thing that pisses me off with "recorders" is when the mic cables weigh more or pull enough on the unit to pull it and it falls on the floor! Years ago I bought an M-Audio unit, it weighed around 3 ounces, recorded very well but I had 1/4" connectors going to it and it pulled it off the table and on to a concrete floor...it wasn't pretty! Yeah, the TASCAM unit is the way to go. One of my friends who is a pro at all this location recording stuff bought one, he had a friend (also in the business) come and they tested it out, before he left his house he called and ordered one. This guy regularly uses a Sound Devices 744T! I cannot wait to get mine. Next I will keep my eyes open for another CAD VX'2 to round out the pair I have!
That's an expensive way to get weight & stability You could have screwed or glued a stainless steel plate to the bottom of your M-Audio unit for quite a few dollars less than a SD744T.

That said, you'll get a whole lot more into the bargain with a 744 than just 'staying in place'.....
Old 23rd February 2018
  #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HelenaBzg View Post
The HS-P82 is like the movie Rocky. Like Jennifer Lawrence in Hunger Games. It gets little respect but absolutely is a winning device.
Indeed, how would a recent TEAC TASCAM design like the DR-701D be rated in a true double blind test, only referring to audio performance using some high-end mics (both with integrated recorder preamp and with external preamp)?

If some TEAC TASCAM recorders came in an expensive version with machined aluminium case, premium display, pots, encoders and switches maybe they'd get more respect...
Old 23rd February 2018
  #98
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johnsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowman View Post
This guy regularly uses a Sound Devices 744T! I cannot wait to get mine.
I've got one for sale. PM me if you're interested.

John
Old 4th March 2018
  #99
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JSt0rm's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schoeller View Post
Indeed, how would a recent TEAC TASCAM design like the DR-701D be rated in a true double blind test, only referring to audio performance using some high-end mics (both with integrated recorder preamp and with external preamp)?

If some TEAC TASCAM recorders came in an expensive version with machined aluminium case, premium display, pots, encoders and switches maybe they'd get more respect...
I keep a saved search on ebay for the hs-p82 and the prices hold steady. I see used ones with some stuff for $1500. Thats not a bad fall from $2400 for a old digital recorder in a competitive space. Long live tascam.

edit: also if they refreshed this one with 8 [email protected] 192khz I would buy.
Old 5th March 2018
  #100
Gear Head
 

Will you really need that? I can tell you that the HS-P82 is such a great sounding device that I bought it and selling my Nagra VI. Why? 8 preamps and the preamps are less colored...more accurate, more life in the sound versus “pretty” from the Nagra VI.
Old 5th March 2018
  #101
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JSt0rm's Avatar
Do I need 192khz? Yes. I record sound effects and being able to pitch down it a big part of the job. So much so I’m using sanken co-100k and doing extreme pitch shifts.
Old 5th March 2018
  #102
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rojaros's Avatar
I second that HS-P82 is a great sounding machine, but obviously there is no generalization as to the needs or requirements one can have for specific purposes. Portability may be another issue depending on what you are doing...
Old 5th March 2018
  #103
Quote:
Originally Posted by rojaros View Post
I second that HS-P82 is a great sounding machine, but obviously there is no generalization as to the needs or requirements one can have for specific purposes. Portability may be another issue depending on what you are doing...
Yes, I use P82 when I don’t need portability and under 8 tracks. MixPre 6 for even simpler task.
Old 15th April 2018
  #104
Gear Nut
 

Would a Tascam HS P82 still be a good solution, if I look for an alternative rig for smaller live recordings (classical+jazz), when I have less time for setup and don't want to carry my ULN8+MBP?
Is there a significant difference in sound quality between both solutions.
I just got an offer for a second hand Tascam and have a hard time to decide, whether a 7 year old recorder, heavy, no app for remote controlling, but with good sound (at least in rojaros comparison with a SD MIxpre) is worth paying around 1000$ for? At the moment I use a Zoom H6 +SD302 for these smaller events and would like to upgrade, because this combo is not so comfortable to use
Any opinions, ideas?

Ronald
Old 16th April 2018
  #105
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rojaros's Avatar
Personally I would never rely on a all-purpose computer to do live recordings, I'm just too paranoid and always anticipate some hang-ups of the OS. But whether the Tascam is your best bet? It's certainly the best sounding 8 track portable in 1000 $ range, you can set up presets for specific applications, and there is a cable bound remote control if absolutely necessary. It's a bit heavy, but still well manageable. Difficult to tell for somebody else. I'm glad I have it exactly for those purposes.
Old 24th April 2018
  #106
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There is one important difference between Tascam recorders and Sound Devices recorders that is not known to many people. The line level inputs on the Tascam actually can bypass the mic preamp, while on the Sound Devices they cannot. For those intend to use external preamp with the recorder, it will make a big difference. I tested my lowly Tascam DR 680MKii against my Sound Devices 702T, both use line input fed by a pair of Grace Design M101s recording a grand piano. The difference is staggering to my ear. The sound comes out from the Tascam is noticeably more clear and better defined.
Old 29th April 2018
  #107
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rojaros's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cinstance View Post
There is one important difference between Tascam recorders and Sound Devices recorders that is not known to many people. The line level inputs on the Tascam actually can bypass the mic preamp, while on the Sound Devices they cannot. For those intend to use external preamp with the recorder, it will make a big difference. I tested my lowly Tascam DR 680MKii against my Sound Devices 702T, both use line input fed by a pair of Grace Design M101s recording a grand piano. The difference is staggering to my ear. The sound comes out from the Tascam is noticeably more clear and better defined.
That is quite important indeed. I didn't know that SD doesn't bypass the internal pres.

Well, I would actually use my Mixpre-6 when I would want to avoid to have to carry something heavy and big, so in that case I wouldn't use an external preamp either; but still, good to know. Thanks!
Old 29th April 2018
  #108
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loujudson's Avatar
I am calling BS on the stuff about Sound Devices. SD has a hard wired switch for line/mic/digital and a different gain range for Line vs. Mic. No way would they pad the line and send it thru the mic pre. I don't know what the guy who said it is hearing, but I seriously doubt that it is mic pre on line input!

The Zoom F8 has a -15 pad for a line input, but it costs a quarter of what an SD recorder does!

SD does not publish circuit or even block diagrams, but they are seriously high end recorders, and all tis just proves that you cannot believe eveyrthing you read on the interwebs and especially on anonyomous forums such as 'Slutz. Y'all can defend or attack whatever you want to, but really you are blowing smoke signals about your personal opinions, nothing more.
Old 29th April 2018
  #109
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loujudson View Post
I am calling BS on the stuff about Sound Devices. SD has a hard wired switch for line/mic/digital and a different gain range for Line vs. Mic. No way would they pad the line and send it thru the mic pre.
Its a pretty common thing to do even in high end recorders. I think Horus/Hapi does this and so does the Nagra VI. One of the reasons may be that mic levels are more optimized as inputs to AD chips than line levels. Also probably not enough room to carry around two sets of input circuitry in a compact recorder or mic pre.

Trying to find a few of the SD block diagrams, the following pad down the line input and send it through the mic pre:

SD 442 Field Mixer
SD 552 Field Mixer

and they seemed to stop publishing this sort of detail for later machines. Likely to avoid customers getting anxious about it.

Quote:
SD does not publish circuit or even block diagrams
There's two above.

Quote:
..., but they are seriously high end recorders, and all tis just proves that you cannot believe eveyrthing you read on the interwebs and especially on anonyomous forums such as 'Slutz. Y'all can defend or attack whatever you want to, but really you are blowing smoke signals about your personal opinions, nothing more.
#FactsMatter
Old 30th April 2018
  #110
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Plush's Avatar
Yes, SD does it. It’s called a head amp.
Old 30th April 2018
  #111
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I'm not sure if it's true or not. For example, the 744t has two channels without
mic preamplifiers.
Old 30th April 2018
  #112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aracu View Post
I'm not sure if it's true or not.
Evidence direct from SD given above. 40dB pad in the mic/line switch.
Old 30th April 2018
  #113
Gear Nut
 

I just pulled the trigger and bought a used Tascam HSP82. First impressions are very good. A comparison between my ULN8 and the Tascam revealed some differences in sound, but not in quality, as far as I can judge at the moment. One thing surprised me: the preamps are very hot, when I recorded drums for testing, I had to switch to mic- 25db. Do I have to expect a degradation of sound quality because of the 25db pad? if not, why would a 40db pad in the SD units do that?
Old 30th April 2018
  #114
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rojaros's Avatar
The Tascam HS-P82 shows in their block diagram that the line input has an entry point after the mic pre stage, so if it's not faked for calming down the customers this is the solution.
The Mix-Pre has as software switch between mic and line input, but maybe the TRS input goes a different path than XLR?

Basically if the preamps are good and the -40dB pad does what is necessary to also accommodate to a different input impedance, I can't see the problem with that... surprisingly (or maybe not ) mic and lin inputs of the Mixpre-6 have the same 4kOhm input impedance - that means quite likely that there are no separate entry points for line level inputs.

I have to try it with an external preamp to see it, whether there is a difference between Tascam and SD...
Old 30th April 2018
  #115
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Its a pretty common thing to do even in high end recorders. I think Horus/Hapi does this and so does the Nagra VI. One of the reasons may be that mic levels are more optimized as inputs to AD chips than line levels. Also probably not enough room to carry around two sets of input circuitry in a compact recorder or mic pre.

. . .
Just curious as to why you say mic levels may be more optimized into AD chips. Is this an impedance matching issue, or something else? I am considering the Merging boxes but eventually would like the flexibility to use up to 8 channels of external mic pres and the routing of the line inputs through the mic pres bothers me. I was going to post this concern as a separate thread but maybe this can be addressed here since a few of the regulars are already contributing.
Old 30th April 2018
  #116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by aracu View Post
I'm not sure if it's true or not.
Evidence direct from SD given above. 40dB pad in the mic/line switch.
What I meant was, I'm not sure if it's true with all their products. I called Sound Devices and was told by tech support that he was under the impression that the older 700 series bypassed the preamps with the line input setting, and that the newer models didn't.

Correction: just heard back from Sound Devices tech support, he studied it closer and says that for the 700 series
also "there is no independent circuit path for line level signals. Both mic and line level signals follow the same path into
the ADC", with the possible exception of the two line only channels on the 744t.

Last edited by aracu; 30th April 2018 at 05:51 PM..
Old 30th April 2018
  #117
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aracu View Post
Correction: just heard back from Sound Devices tech support, he studied it closer and says that for the 700 series
also "there is no independent circuit path for line level signals. Both mic and line level signals follow the same path into
the ADC", with the possible exception of the two line only channels on the 744t.
Good job aracu contacting SD for the definitive answer. Hopefully this will satisfy Lou and restore his faith in GS.
Old 30th April 2018
  #118
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I guess it makes sense for a recorder to have one circuit for amplification at different levels. The line level needs amplification but at a different level. When we plug in an external preamp to a line level, I suppose we are always using two amplifiers.

If we use an external preamp, is it correct that a much greater ratio of amplification is coming from it, relative to the
line level signal?

Last edited by aracu; 1st May 2018 at 01:35 AM..
Old 1st May 2018
  #119
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aracu View Post
If we use an external preamp, is it correct that a much greater ratio of amplification is coming from it, relative to the
line level signal?
Well it really depends on the external amplifier's gain. In the case of the 744T, for example, internal mic amplifiers on channel 1&2 has 67 dB of gain.

However if you plug in an external mic amplifier such as the Rane MS1s, you get 60 dB of maximum gain..

MS1S Microphone Preamplifier

I would never recommend using more than 85-90% of the maximum gain range of any preamplifier. The last 10% usually just brings up a lot of noise. It's better to keep the pots at 90% maximum and apply gain in post-production, the end result is cleaner.

Also, a mic preamplifier with 87 dB of gain (such as Neumann preamps) will be much cleaner when set to 60 dB than a 60 dB gain preamplifier set at maximum (60 dB).

The 744T has 18 dB of gain digitally controlled on the line level. Not sure what the internal routing is for this, or if it's even considered amplification, or just digital level...

I own a 744T and I'm still trying to decide what to get for multitrack productions. Leaning heavily towards the HS-P82 with its A class mic preamps, but it's still so expensive in Europe compared to the US... 2500 euros...
Old 1st May 2018
  #120
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Richard Crowley's Avatar
 

There appear to be generally four different schemes for accommodating balanced line-level input:
  1. External user pad - i.e. just make the end-user pad their line-level signal down to mic-level.
  2. Internal dumb pad - provide a switched internal line-to-mic level pad. Signal gets chopped down to mic level and then has to go through the internal mic preamp circuit (with attendant inferior signal-to-noise performance). This is what most portable, "pro-sumer" mixers appear to do.
  3. Internal mic/line circuit design - More sophisticated products still use the differential input circuit of the mic input, but they switch the gain (and perhaps other parts) of the circuit to optimize performance for both mic-level and line-level inputs. I have seen this in higher-end professional-grade camcorders, for example.
  4. Separate line-level input - Simply an additional input point in the audio path AFTER the mic preamp circuit. Presumably this is the design that most larger desks use.

My prejudice suggests that SD likely uses #3 , while Tascam may quite possibly use #2 (which is inferior, IMHO)
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