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4.65 4.65 out of 5, based on 3 Reviews

Portable Digital Recorder

6th June 2013

TASCAM DR-40 by johnnyv

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75

My daughter offered to buy me a special present for Christmas and my 60th which is around that time of year. So I decided on a portable recorder, something I always wanted to own.

I do a lot of board mixes as well as live stereo recordings of local choirs and folk groups. So my requirements were for 4 track capabilities and proper balanced inputs.
This quickly narrowed the field. It eliminated 90% of the handy recorders on the market in one fell swoop. Most only have an 1/8" mini stereo input. The Tascam was the only one with both balanced inputs and 4 track capabilities for under $200. We bought it through Amazon for around $150 including shipping and taxes.

Just a few other things to watch for while comparing models and brands. Power and battery life, Storage medium, connectivity, do the mikes move? Size and stand mount. The Tascam shines on all accounts here other than size,, it's a one of the bigger models but that's to accommodate the XLR inputs.

Storage: Most recorders seem to go for those mini SD cards. The Tascam uses the full size cards. The device becomes a USB mass storage device when plugged into your computer. Drag and drop the standard WAVE files to your wave editor. You can prefix them using the menu and use a date stamp. It will auto number every recording. You can also edit the folders from your computer which is easier than using the device menus. With a 32 Gig card you could never run out of room even in 4 track mode, Well, ya, if your went for 96Hz I guess you would, but I'm using 44.1. just because..

Power: It uses standard AA batteries that seem to last forever. I'm only on my second set and I have used it a lot on the battery power. I also use a USB type B wall wart for long sessions. I Don't like to take a chance when being paid to record and you need it for using Phantom power. The batteries would be dead in no time running phantom. When I record my solo gigs I use my laptops USB port for power. So 3 easy options for power.

Operation: The side mounted up / down buttons are pretty quick to set the levels. The menu buttons seem logical. Over all the navigation is straight forward and nothing any techno head would find frustrating. Only thing I keep screwing up is I tend to hit the REC button when I'm finished instead of the STOP. Also I have often forgotten I was set for using the external inputs and recorded dead air thinking I was using the mikes. This is just me not looking at the levels. Thankfully this was not anything important. But I find myself sometimes grabbing it in a hurry to record something and it's easier than you think to make this mistake.

This would not be an issue with a basic 2 track model as the mikes will always be on. But this model has the 3 modes, Mikes ( 2 track ) External (2 track) and both (4 track) and once set they stay put.

I used the 4 track mode to record a local choir concert. I placed 2 condenser mikes above the choir and sat in the front row to also capture with the on board mikes set in X mode. I used a tall camera tripod and powered it with the wall wart because I was using the Phantom power.
It was a little tricky to see the levels from my seat. I monitored through a set of headphones and the headphone amp was loud enough to overpower the live sound. Headphones have a 1/4" jack
This was the best live recording of the choir I have done to date. In the past this involved everything from 150' snakes, mixers, Dat recorders, laptops with interfaces that failed, you name it... This time I made a profit. I just took it home and a very little work in Wave Lab, and burned their CD's. Believe it or not I ended up only using the 2 tracks from the built in mikes. The overheads didn't balance out as well with the piano and different sections.
This was a pair of Shure $400 specialty Choir mikes ( sorry, model number wore off)
In case your curious, the 4 tracks recordings show as 2 stereo wave files with file extensions 1/2 and 3/4. It is not a true 4 track. You cannot set one track in record, only the stereo pairs.

I'm am looking into getting the remote control to eliminate the self noise when pushing buttons while using the mikes.

My band mate was so impressed with what he was hearing he bought the 2 track version for $100,

Product: DR-07MKII | TASCAM

If you are looking for a 2 track model without balanced inputs I recommend this model as well. Seems all other features are identical to the DR 40.

For what you pay the mikes are worth the price alone.
I have owned a lot of Tascam gear and it's been a good investment, Seems they are not backsliding as a company who deliver affordable recording gear that sounds better than it should for this price. Now if they would only write better ASIO drivers for their audio interfaces!

16th January 2015

TASCAM DR-40 by deberney

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5

The Tascam is a decent field recorder and takes minimal setup to use. You can dive into it, as deep or not, as you'd like. it has minimal onboard effects, the menu system is pretty straight forward. It does a good job recording and you can use it in a pinch as a 4 track recorder.
I sold a Zoom H4n that I loved but, it was a bit more difficult to use. Having had both for a while I would recommend the Zoom if you could afford it.
Though this is good for the money. Doesn't have the capabilities of the H4n and the sound takes on a bit more treble/brighter sound. I wouldn't do 4 track mixes with this and expect anything significant as I did with the H4n but, this is 1/2 the price of the H4n (at least on the "stupid deal of the day").

19th September 2017

TASCAM DR-40 by fuzulu

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75

Very handy tool, easy to use and strait to the point.

This is the first recorder I purchased and I was getting a good deal on it, so I checked the reviews and they were good so I grabbed it.

I must say this has been an awesome investment. Totally easy to use no frills no extra rubbish it just works, its simple and its to the point.

I used it a lot for field recording and its amazing the sounds you can record with the onboard mics, to my ears it sounds really great, and I have no issues it with it whatsoever in fact I really like it... the only reason I'm giving it a 4 on sound is because I know there are better sounding more expensive recorders out there which have better pre amps and mics but the 4 points is not due to my experience with it.

The other amazing part of it for me is that u can use at as a line-in recorder with the additional combo XLR/Phono inputs. That in itself for me is worth the money, I can record all sorts of things easily without having to drag around a laptop and a sound card. From synths to cd players/mixer outputs to iphone/ipad, basically anything!

The final thing I want to mention is the SD card slot which makes this even easier to use, you can have many SD cards and just swap as you go along, if you get 32 gb ones they don't even fill easily at all... took me months (or years) to come close to filling one... and you can dump stuff from them onto your computer with total ease using the usb cable provided with it, which also doubles up as a power supply if you don't wanna use batteries, which is great because this thing can eat batteries up pretty quickly.

All in all this is one of my fav bits of equipment and I am so happy I got it and the price is excellent too even without the discount. I am really into this serious no nonsense audio tools and i hope to find more stuff like this.

Big up to Tascam, I'm gonna try more of their stuff.

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