Tascam DR-60D Portable Audio Recorder

MatthiasClaflin
MatthiasClaflin Website User Posts: 674 Just Starting Out
edited March 2013 in Practical Filmmaking
So I'm sure a lot of you use one of Zoom's many audio options, be it the H1, H2, or H4n. However Tascam has had a similar audio recorder out for a while now called the Tascam DR-40 ($150), which has, if I'm not mistaken, all the inputs of an H4n ($270) as well as the same recording quality, that being 24bit audio at 96kHz.
All of this is probably not news to many of you who have done any kind of research on audio recorders. Now Tascam has released a new audio recorder, this time one without any built in microphones. The DR-60D is a portable audio recorder aimed at the DSLR market. One unique feature of this recorder is it's shape. It was designed to fit directly under a DSLR when sitting on a tripod, stabilizer rig, or even handheld. The idea being that it is an extension of your DSLR. For some more information, here is a video put up by the guys at B&H Photo Video-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lO1iSh87zo
This audio recorder looks to be a really sweet deal, offering all the same quality options for recording as the past recorders, and providing some of the features that the H4n had that the DR-40 did not. However the price tag is a bit higher than the H4n at $350. I am not much of an audio expert myself, but I wonder what you all think of this new recorder? Will this be something worth buying? Is the extra $80 worth it?
I personally don't shoot with a DSLR so I don't think that I would jump on this bandwagon right off. Having an audio recorder that doesn't have it's own microphone would in theory mean that the company didn't take time away from the design/interface of the recorder to create/develop a microphone or set of microphones for the recorder itself.
What do you guys think? Worth buying/upgrading?
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Comments

  • Andrew
    Andrew Website User Posts: 379 Enthusiast
    This is cool,  but priced a little high and with options that are great but a form-factor that isn't as condensed or versatile as it needs to be consider the on-the-fly DSLR market it's trying to tackle.
    We currently work with mixers and two TASCAM recorders that we really love, and the 60D recorder here looks great- but it's not quite the right thing for DSLR filmmaking, and is coming at a time when Cinema Cameras are becoming more-affordable and audio qualms of the DSLR market are being mended with alternatives.
    I dunno. Cool stuff, but I'd like to see this for $100 less to be a worthwhile tool to invest in for the casual filmmaking consumer.
  • rgbii
    rgbii Website User Posts: 965 Just Starting Out
    I saw this the other day and was excited at first, but was quickly disappointed.  Seems they obviously are targeting DSLR filmmakers, but missed the mark for a number of reasons, most of which Andrew has mentioned.
    One of the things that immediately changed my mind about considering it was the way channels 3 and 4 are ganged together.  I know when I'm using multiple channels, they are pretty much always mono mics that I'd want to control independently. 
    Also, the mount on top for the camera doesn't look very stable to me, especially if you're using a longer focal length.  When used with most shoulder rigs with follow focus, this setup would lift it too high for the gears to meet, and probably too high for most matte boxes.
    As Andrew mentioned, the price seems a bit too high. If you're going to spend this much, might be worth looking into the Tascam DR-680, which I have and think is the best bang for the buck when you need more than two external mics.
    Richard.
  • guitar74
    guitar74 Website User Posts: 506
    What a lot of people might not know, but the Tascam multi-track recorders have been the best sounding recorder I have had to date.  I've been through many of them.  I have a little Multi-track similar to the video above but a complete different model and the sound from that recorder with the built in mics is flawless.  So, this divce would be good for on the fly use.  There is a lot of arguements over sound.  I always heard CD's are the true sound of the recording and how can it get any better, then I heard the HD sound and cannot tell the difference that the fact the system was around 2 grand.  I would get this if I was looking for another recorder myself.  Enjoy
  • MatthiasClaflin
    MatthiasClaflin Website User Posts: 674 Just Starting Out
    I can agree. It isn't a bad idea, but the price tag, if nothing else, is killer. Does it even do anything more than the H4n? Not to mention the H4n has its own microphones. So I can agree, price tag is too high. I think they should have made it more compact, even if it meant sacrificing something to do it. It would simply be a much more worth while product if it was smaller/shorter. IMO.
  • Garyngt3
    Garyngt3 Website User Posts: 1
    I think we're missing one of the biggest points. The Zoom pieces and others were originally designed for music and users adapted them for DSLR use. This piece, the DR-60D, is designed specifically for DSLR. One of the biggest complaints with the Zoom units is the usability, controls and menu layout. Just by looking at the DR-60D it seems that all of the controls are on the outside and easily accessible. I bet the sound quality is way better too. The Dual Record Mode can't be found on the Zoom pieces and could be a great back up feature. To me, this looks like one of the products that people won't be able to resist once they get their hands on it. 
  • guitar74
    guitar74 Website User Posts: 506
    I understand the DR-60d is for Dslr cameras, but there should have been built in mics and if you dont want to use them then turn the mics off and use your own.  That is how the Tascam Multi track recorder I got and it is around the size of a DVD case or a bit smaller and it is used for musicians, but you can also use it for a dslr camera also and it cost around $130.00.  The Tascam Multi track recorder I got does have 4 tracks, small light weight. I like the idea of the recording device, wait about 3 months it will come down in price maybe...  I'm sure if you did on the net you can find it cheaper.  If you are on a budget for now you can get the multi tack and see it will work out for you for now, if you dont like it return it, there is a link of the one I got down below. I saw on Ebay someone selling a Alienware laptop for $4000.00 dollars.  The funny thing was, My Alienware laptop was a lot more powerful and almost 3 time as cheap from dell an that ebay person sold 10 of those laptops.  So, I would sit down and do a real good dearch with google and look for a better price.
    http://www.americanmusical.com/Item--i-TAS-DP004-LIST
  • MatthiasClaflin
    MatthiasClaflin Website User Posts: 674 Just Starting Out
    I think one of the biggest reasons people get these recorders for DSLRs is to have an XLR input. The recorder you linked to does not. However, as already discussed, this isn't the cheapest Tascam or other brand recording device to support dual XLR inputs and multi track recording.
  • guitar74
    guitar74 Website User Posts: 506
    But Matthias, they do make adapters to fix that problem.  I had to get the adapters for around 6 dollars each for some speakers.  There are cheaper recorders out there, but at a point you will start losing quality.  
  • MichaelJames
    MichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,038 Enthusiast
    This looks to be a nifty little device that could be useful.  For the solo videographer or filmmaker who wants a dual audio set up this would be a good solution because its keeps things relatively close and the form factor is nice.  It is kinda expensive option but i think that its good that its an option for those who find a use for it.    I opted to use in camera audio via a Beachtek DXA SLR-Pro which was more expensive then this.  Any option going under the DSLR will screw with how most peoples rigs are configured.  They raise thing substantially and you need raisers and more bars to bring a follow focus up to the lens.  Eventually I will pick up H4n or an alternative to have a dual system.  I like that it can be work on straps though so you aren't limited to having it attached to the camera.
  • MatthiasClaflin
    MatthiasClaflin Website User Posts: 674 Just Starting Out
    edited March 2013
    One question I continue to ask myself about this little device is, why is it so much more than the DR-40 or H4n? The way it appears, it does pretty much the same thing as the H4n, but without a built in microphone, and costs more. The fact that it doesn't have a microphone, and really doesnt' have many more features than the H4n, I wonder what makes it cost $80 more. I would say that for the price, it is not worth it, however if it were priced closer to the DR-40, (under $200) I would definitely look into purchasing one for myself, even thouth I don't use a DSLR.
  • guitar74
    guitar74 Website User Posts: 506
    Matthias
      I would say, it is the company that is selling it, I'm sure with some digging you can get a new Tascam dr-60-D recorder a lot cheaper (Like most things) on the net.  I have not looked it up, since I already have a divce very close to this. 
  • MichaelJames
    MichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,038 Enthusiast
    @Matthias maybe they justify it because its more user friendly versus most of the settings being in submenus.
  • guitar74
    guitar74 Website User Posts: 506
    edited March 2013
    @Matthias maybe they justify it because its more user friendly versus most of the settings being in submenus.

     Settings  are easy on most tascam products.

  • MichaelJames
    MichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,038 Enthusiast
    So again
    @Matthias maybe they justify it because its more user friendly versus most of the settings being in submenus.  Also building something with addition knobs and buttons(which cost pennies if you have a good supplier) and having it assembled cost more from a little company.  If it was assembled by Foxconn Im sure they could make it for cheap.
  • MatthiasClaflin
    MatthiasClaflin Website User Posts: 674 Just Starting Out
    Interesting. This coudl be. Having all the more important controls on the actual body of the recorder, rather than having a directional pad and lots of menus would be incredibly useful I'm sure. However for me, and I'm sure a lot of others right now, it doesn't warrant the extra money. It is a nice form factor for DSLR's or for wearing around your neck or something, however I just don't see it being the next big thing till they make it cheaper. It is also a little over a pound, at 18oz which is actually almost exactly what the T4i (body only) weighs. So I'm sure people would like them to lighten it up a bit as well. Who wants to carry two camera bodies at the same time?
    Also something I saw on another website, it would be fantastic if the Tascam could "snyc" to your camera, so when you hit record on your camera, it began recording. Anyway... Just throwing that out there.
  • Masqutti
    Masqutti Website User Posts: 340
    This kind of device will be ok for "live-shooting", but not for fiction, or other "planned" shooting. Why? Well, the placement of the mic is often worst on the top of the camera. So there's no sense of mounting audio recorder to your cam. And at least I'll always have a boom guy recording audio.
    But this will surely find it's place, documentary, and live.
    I have tascam DR-40, and what I love about it, is the XLR inputs, and phantom-power(!) that seems to be rare on it's price scale. It's really similar to Zoom-H4n, but slightly cheaper. But there is a big problem on the circuitry, and I've noticed the same about H4n. That is this hissing noise that occurs sometimes. Just out of the blue, it starts hissing. It's so loud it'll destroy a take. It once happend in a forest nowhere near any electricity, or even cellphones, so it's not about those. It's something wrong inside these machines.
    I wonder if there's a same problem with this one...
  • Har
    Har Website User Posts: 401 Enthusiast
    edited March 2013
    That's really strange about the hissing you noticed; I use an H4n with my company (and own an H1), but have never experienced any suddenly random hissing like you described, including on very long takes and at different bit values and sample rates.
  • guitar74
    guitar74 Website User Posts: 506
    The hissing could be a bad cord, plug, or the input on the recorder.  I have recorded guitars, drums, and everything else for the better part of my life.  Usually it was one of those things I mentioned.  Cell phones can also make a recorder get hissing on a track and then it can quit a second later.
  • rgbii
    rgbii Website User Posts: 965 Just Starting Out
    The DR-40 has an issue that unbalanced inputs will pick up noise - including  from the DR-40 itself :(
    Not sure if that's the hissing noise you are hearing or not, but if so, sometimes you can change the menu (quick menu) or something, and it will change the noise.
    If using balanced inputs, it can still happen, but is normally so low not to be an issue.
    If the above is not the case, in addition to what's mentioned above,  could it be weak batteries while using phantom power?
  • Masqutti
    Masqutti Website User Posts: 340
    Thanks for the advices, people! I will try to reproduce the problem and test out different setups! H4n and tascam had different mics and cords so It's unlikely those are causing the problem. We'll see.
  • Hooplahpro
    Hooplahpro Website User Posts: 3
    Greetings,
    OK, if your goal was to get me to join the forum then you succeeded per this thread. Congratulations!
    This unit is going to blow the winds socks (pun intended) off of the DSLR recording community. Why you ask?
    Tascam has managed to put all the I/Os, controls, and audio processing right where they need to be for HD DSLR operations. They also obviously looked at the market per Canon, Nikon, Rode, etc sales and provided the connections needed for today's current gear.
    For starters just the multiple volume controls with REAL knobs blows away all the portables per Zoom, Sony, Olympus and even Tascam per quickly adjusting each input on the fly. Nor do I know of any other portable with more live processing abilities thus simplifying the post processing chores. The ability to monitor the recorder or the camera audio is pro mixer 101 basics, and who else put in built-in clapper to synch the recorder with the camera?
    The lack of built-in mics is not an issue as a DSLR audio recorder should of never had them in the first place. On-camera mono/stereo mics as well as off-camera X/Y and A/B mics spaced close together are all compromises to simulate real world sounds captured properly with the right gear in the correct position to the subject. However given the minimal abilities of on-camera sound it was natural for human ingenuity to take limited portable hand held recorders and convert them for DSLR use. Well done as it worked. Still doing it right as in a real stereo image, etc. meant getting the pro quality XLR mics (in the right place), preamps, and processors connected to the portables. Now comes the DR-60D designed to do just that.
    Evaluation is relative to knowledge and experience. If all you ever knew was portable recorders then of course you would compare them to a new unit without mics, instead of a recording studio and industry standard on-location equipment. Conversely many in the industry tend to look down on our prosumer toys as they don't want to accept the idea that a $150-$300 unit can compare in audio quality with their $8000 unit. I'm laughing thinking I could record on a $8000 unit, tell them it came from a $150 unit, and they would find something wrong with it every time!
    Let's evaluate this from another direction. How about a noise comparision. In the portable world many are aware that the DR-100MkII has better preamps than the DR-40 and thus a lower noise floor per not having to turn up the gain so much. That's where the noise comes from the DR-40 if the mic input signal is not strong enough.
    But the $350 DR-60D should be instead compared to the $700 Tascam DR-680 with 6+2 channels and is well known for it's excellent low noise preamps. Thus with the 4 channel DR-60D at half the price I'm hoping it has the same or better preamps. If yes Tascam won't be able to make enough of these units to fill the demand!
    Also note that on the DR-680 you can only control the gain on one channel at a time and then have to access a menu to switch. Already the DR-60D is ahead with multiple controls.
    Nor will your old gear be obsolete as that Rode NG2 Shotgun on the boom, the Sony wired or Sennheiser wireless lavalier, even the Rode Stereo Videomic (on a mic stand away from the talent for ambience) will all dial in nicely with no compromises on the DR-60D...and you still have a "roaming" portable to cover anything you missed. Me, I'm still going to keep the DR-100MkII for even more capability.
    If Tascam got it right then DSLR recording just took a big step forward. Only the arrival of my Pre-Order from B&H will tell. If not I'll sell it to some portable only guy! :) 
    Well since I've joined the Forum I guess I'll go check out this site and buy something!

    Best Regards,
    George
  • MatthiasClaflin
    MatthiasClaflin Website User Posts: 674 Just Starting Out
    You definitely seem very excited about this. I am not convinced that the quality will be all that much better. I think the addition of the volume knobs and other button shortcuts is very much needed. I also think that the lack of a microphone will likely be good, meaning that your money is going straight into the recording capabilities of this recorder, rather than wasting time and money developing a set of mics for this when most people will use the XLR inputs anyway.
    I still am not sure the price will be worth it, and as I said in an earlier post, I don't shoot DSLR. I still use an HDV camcorder so this system doesn't really fit the form factor of my camera like it would someone else, thus making it less appealing.
  • rgbii
    rgbii Website User Posts: 965 Just Starting Out

    Also note that on the DR-680 you can only control the gain on one channel at a time and then have to access a menu to switch. Already the DR-60D is ahead with multiple controls.
     

    While it's true the DR-680 has one knob for all channels, you don't need to go though the menu to change channel - there is a button for each channel to switch to it.  Individual knobs would be very nice, but it's not that bad the way it is, and helps keep the unit smallish.
    Richard.

  • Hooplahpro
    Hooplahpro Website User Posts: 3
    Greetings,
    < there is a button for each channel... >
     
    Sorry I should have said button instead of menu. It was late on my side of the planet, I was tired and typing fast.
    Regards,
    George
  • guitar74
    guitar74 Website User Posts: 506
    Tascam has never made a real bad product.  The recorder I got from them cost 150.00 dollars, has built in mics and sounds CD quality, if you know how to record audio.....  For the price, seems like a good deal.  I know (In my opinion) since I have used Sony's, tascam, Boss, Zoom recorders, Tascam has always sounded better than any of the others.  I would like to use the unit to see what all the options are on it.  Can't usually go wrong with Tascam.
  • Hooplahpro
    Hooplahpro Website User Posts: 3
    Greetings,
    As of this weekend B&H now has the DR-60D in stock on their website. I expect to see one soon per a pre-order.
    Still I would not discount the JuicedLink RM333 Riggy Micro for 5DMkIII users. It is a perfect combination per preamps and on-camera monitoring. This unit excels at providing a great noiseless signal to the camera resulting in a clean 16bit 48Khz audio track eliminating the post synch per a double system. It is a proven simple to use run-n-gun system and the 5DMkIII will capture great audio when setup correctly. Just don't use their onboard gain.
    Of course with high end recorders you are not limited to the record length on the camera and can use higher resolution for capturing music versus voice. But then you need to do it right per a mixer board, etc. Heck miking a drumset can use four mics! More if you're lucky enough to record Neil Pert!   :)
    For me it's all about the preamps. If they don't do the job then nothing else really matters. JuicedLink has nailed this. Let's see if Tascam can compete.
    Regards,
    George
  • rgbii
    rgbii Website User Posts: 965 Just Starting Out
    Here's a hands on review of the Tascam DR-60D.
    http://youtu.be/8gn6OmX7Drc
  • rgbii
    rgbii Website User Posts: 965 Just Starting Out
  • MichaelJames
    MichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,038 Enthusiast
    They had something earlier for one of their bigger products that can handle 6 or 8 channels for 140.  I remember this from last year.  They will most likely repeat this production throughout the week
  • rgbii
    rgbii Website User Posts: 965 Just Starting Out
    If it's the DR-680 for that price, jump on it, but I doubt they'd drop it that low.
    Be careful when looking at some of the 6 or 8 track stuff (or even 4), doesn't always mean it can record that many at once.  I almost made that mistake once.
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