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User Review

Not bad, but not much better than a phone - Reviews Tascam DR-40

Value For Money : Poor Audience: Anyone
The thing I like the least is the 1) sound quality, 2) the WAV file format (bulky) and 3) unreliabilty (broke down twice in 6 months). Please see details below.

1) Sound Quality

Having used condenser mics with excellent results I was expecting similiar from this unit. However when I received and unpackaged the unit the mics were the smallest condensers I've seen which may not be a problem however, they give nothing like the quality in playback I get from even the cheapest nastiest, "real" condenser mics. The sound quality is comparable to what you'd expect from a phone, a cheap phone, and I have actually heard recordings made on phones of the same concert I was recording with the Tascam which sounded alot better.

2) Bulky unusable files.

The WAV file format is so bulky its almost unusable when uploading files, for example 1 minute of WAV might take 15 minutes to upload to Soundcloud for instance, while the MP3 format is only usable on 96 k setting and is still at times audibly shabby. Which when combined with the terrible mics makes for some seriously crappy sound.

3) Reliability.

In my personal case after about 4 months of use several times a week one day it just wouldn't turn on. Sending it back under warranty, after about 9 weeks and many emails I received a replacement without any explanation of what was wrong, or even so much as a "we are sorry for the inconvenience". UPDATE: this happened again a month later after getting it back.

Cons aside, the DR-40 is useful as a very basic reference, similiar to how you might use an old school hand held tape recorder. Capable of taking 3 batteries, with rechargables it does allow a good deal of recording to take place before going flat, ie: comfortably records about 3 hours of a music performance for instance.

I am glad I was able to discover the "DIVIDE" feature which enables me to cut out the parts of the recording I don't want but only from the beginning or the end of each file. Each unwanted part remains as a seperate file and has to be deleted manually. At least with this option each song in a recorded performance could be editted to have its own file, and dead time between songs, for instance could be removed.

It is a pity it doesn't come with a protective case or an AC adapter, especially given it is quite an expensive unit, and these would be handy features.

I haven't used any of the mixing, or multi track features, with the low sound quality it is a bit of a waste really. Nor have I used better mics with the XLR inputs. If transporting stands and extra mics, I might as well bring a higher quality portable studio along as well is my thinking, however I might try the XLR inputs with some decent condensers just out of curiosity at some stage and check the results. The extra features probably for most people will never be used and not really worth the extra dollars over the more base models.

UPDATE: A few months after writing review the TASCAM DR-40 died again. This time I'd had enough so asked for and recieved a refund. I assuming there is a known fault with this unit. Hopefully they can sort out the probs with this recorder so to make it a nice unit.