Friday, April 12, 2013

Tascam DR-680 for music

There are a number of good reviews out there on the Tascam DR-680. I kind of like Bob Haas's review because he's gone and charted the EQ curves and the pan and mix levels.
One complaint he has with the Tascam that I did not have a problem with is the way the meters bounce. The meters -- I don't understand them -- but I get them. They seem to be very RMS-ish. And to my eye they work great for music and for voice.
There are two four things which the Tascam does, or doesn't do, which seem odd and for which there is no solution to be found either in the manual or the Internet.

  • Folder names are whatever Tascam has decided to name them. These are things like "PROJECT_0000". Yes, you can make new folders like "PROJECT_0001" but you can't rename those folders to anything practical. There's some evidence that maybe you can rename the folders on an SD card in a computer and then have the Tascam "rebuild" those directories but you know what? Life's too short.
  • You cannot reset take names without resetting the whole device. So your take names will always ascend as long as you want to keep the rest of your settings. So there. 
  • You can't set it to send a little "boop" into the headphones when you hit record (and have it go "boop boop" when you pull out of record.
  • You can't set it to monitor even with pause off. This is, as I recall, how all Tascam and Fostex recorders work. 

Otherwise, for six hundred bucks you're getting way more than you paid for in a portable recorder. And, so far, my favorite live band recordings have been done on the Tascam.
I have not used the preamps in the Tascam yet. I mean other than with tests here in my studio where I'm saying "Test 1 2 test 1 2" into a wireless mic. For the City Samanas recording I was using all Neve and Lindell microphone preamps and fed the Tascam line level. 
In a couple days I'll probably put something on blog.pandoramachine.com about how well the Tascam works for recording dialog in a dramatic feature setting.

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