Gear Review: TASCAM DR-40

Tascamdr-40The DR-40 is a handheld 4-track digital recorder with many professional features that transcend expectations of the lowly field recorder. The “Dual Record Mode” allows for a simultaneous back-up recording at a (pre-set) lower level in the event that unexpected audio peaks occur overwhelming your initial record level settings and distort. This is a great insurance policy for the location sound recording engineer—now all field-recorded audio is useable—nothing lost due to distortion.

The ability to overdub to an already recorded backing track within the unit is brilliant. This is great for capturing those “on the spot” lyric or instrumental ideas—moments of inspiration in the process of songwriting. You would have the track stored and played from the DR-40 ready to add your ideas. The DR-40 records up to 96kHz/24-bit or directly to MP3, plus you can move audio files to your computer via a USB 2.0 connection.

With this four-track system, why not bring it to your next live show and record the FOH’s board mix through two channels while also recording the room sound/ambience with the fully adjustable cardioid X/Y stereo mics on top? There are also the XLR-1/4-inch combo inputs with phantom power available.

The DR-40 runs for 15-hours on three AA batteries, has loads of external controls and features TASCAM’s non-menu intensive operating system. With a full complement of accessories available, the DR-40 includes a 2G SD card and sells for $279 MSRP. Visit http://tascam.com/product/dr-40.

Barry Rudolph is a recording engineer/mixer who has worked on over 30 gold and platinum records. He has recorded and/or mixed Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hall & Oates, Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, the Corrs, and more. Barry has his own futuristic music mixing facility and loves teaching audio engineering at Musician’s Institute, Hollywood, CA. He is a lifetime Grammy-voting member of NARAS and a contributing editor for Mix Magazine.http://barryrudolph.com