The Tascam DR-70D is the Nun’s Knickers!

Ok after a few days, and reading the Manual (!!), I have determined that the Tascam DR-70D is actually almost everything I have ever wanted in a recorder/mixer.

The sound I am getting from my existing microphones, especially my Sennheiser MKH-416, is astonishing, especially considering I bought a dedicated Sound-Devices MM-1 specifically for that 416. My Shure VP88 sounds amazing, clear, and the separation between the mid and side capsules appears more pronounced, with more control over each channel. The pre-amps are amazing, quite mind-boggling considering the size of the thing. My wired Rode Lavalier connected to XLR is also remarkable in that it appears clearer and better high-end then it was then using the Micon-3 mini jack connector, maybe that has something to do with more power through the XLR connector..

The Interface is simple. The layout of controls is reasonably logical and fair considering the real-estate, though I think I will do some modification on the pots, maybe some rubber tape of some kind.
It would be nice if there were two XLR’s per side instead of three on the right and one on the left, but that’s just me being symmetrically anal.
Power requirements are reasonable, especially excellent when paired with an external battery back of your choice, connected to the micro USB port on the left.

I got this primarily for the 4 channels, so that I could do more in-depth field and location ambient recordings with a combination of microphones. I have been dreaming of using binaural contact mics in combination with clip binaural mics as well as a directional or even binaural hydrophones to create what I suspect might end up being an amazing sound.
Another project in mind is to have an additional 416 for dual channel recording in left and right channels and having that stereo separation option for play in post.. ooh…
I have ideas oozing out of my brain through my semi-lunar canals..

2 comments

  1. SPAMurnz · January 8, 2015

    Hello Devtank!

    I hit you up on Instagram, but I thought I’d try you here too. I need a multichannel recorder to replace my Roland R-26 while I save up for a Sound Devices 633 (so expensive…)

    On your website it shows you’ve used the R-26 before. How do the pre-amps compare, in your assessment? I use a shotgun mic and an assortment of lavaliers.

    Thanks a lot for your input!

    • devtank · January 8, 2015

      Hi, thanks for reaching out!
      In my experience, the R-26 was a godsend; the most flexible recorder to date until this Tascam DR-70D. In terms of the Pre-amps on both, the R-26 is like looking through a dirty window in comparison to the DR-70D. I have a Shure VP-88 which is a mid-side hand held reporter style stereo mic, and it is demanding on these small recorders. It works like a charm on the middle setting for built-in gain on the DR-70D (the DR-70D gain settings are “Low”, “High” and “Hi+Plus”), which is “High”. There is hiss but nothing like that on the R-26.
      Quite frankly Im blown away by the capability of the DR-70D especially considering the size weight and the price.. That price!!!
      Though I haven’t actually had the chance to fully play with a Sound Devices 633 (I have seen one and took a little peek at it), I don’t think that for anything other than extremely demanding work, that at this point it’s necessary at all. If you are going to work in hostile environments, bad weather, or have to have ridiculous levels of consistency and use the machine on a 50+ hour week basis that there is no real need for high-end pro-level audio recorder, and that stands for cameras too. I have dropped big money on gear in the past and though its nice to have it the novelty wears off big time, and the ego boost for having it too. I never tell clients what gear I have, because I do my homework up-front and find the best stuff for the best price. I shoot all my stills work with a battered Sony Nex 5n and an A6000 which are better tools for photojournalism then a set of pro cameras and lenses for a host of reasons. Video is slightly different because video technology is still in its infancy, video quality is still way behind stills as there are few 14bit video cameras out there, and if there are they are more than the price of your house. If you aren’t convinced, and still want to pursue the pro gear, then you should look at the Zaxcom Maxx instead of the SD 633. Its 4 mic level channels not three, cheaper, smarter circuitry, and as for the battery redundancy of the SD 633 if you are smart and diligent about your gear then you wont have problems and if you do you’ll have a backup with you at all times. And even still there are other options out there that will get you paid for half the price of the pro toys.

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