Roland R-26, Tascam DR-40, and Nagra SD Portable Handheld Recorders Review

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Brandon T. Hickey



Education Guide

Mix is gearing up to present its longstanding annual Audio Education Guide in its November 2014 issue. Want to have your school listed in the directory, or do you need to update your current directory listing? Add an image, program description, or a logo to your listing! Get your school in the Mix Education Guide 2014.

photo of Tascam DR-40

Tascam DR-40 Linear PCM Recorder

Tascam’s DR-40 has stepped up as the least expensive ($199) XLR-input recorder on the market. It doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles of the higher-priced recorders, but offers features that allow it do almost everything you need at a reasonable price. The onboard pair of electret mics can be adjusted between X-Y and A-B (wide stereo capture) recording configurations. The XLR inputs can receive dynamic mics or phantom-powered condensers, or can be switched to easily receive line-level signals. Up to four tracks can be recorded simultaneously, always resulting in stereo files. Naturally, the four tracks can be used to capture a combination of the two built-in mics plus signal from the XLR inputs. Skipping two of those inputs frees up two tracks, which can then be used to redundantly record a single pair of inputs at a lower level, providing a safety copy.

When close miking a train engine with an SM57, the DR-40 got the job done without coming up short. Recording voice with phantom power engaged, there was a cyclical, intermittent, high-frequency whining sitting deep beneath the track. This was absent when using an external mic pre, suggesting that there was some sort of electronic bleed creeping into the low-level-input microphone signals. That said, I was pleasantly surprised with the sound of the onboard mics. For the size and price of the capsules, the amount of low-frequency pickup and clarity in the top-end was impressive. Concert recordings were true-to-life. The stereo imaging on music as well as sound effect recordings reads really well. The ability to pan a mono spot mic up the middle while using the onboard stereo mics was really helpful. The panned and leveled mix of the four tracks could also be mixed down to a new stereo file within the DR-40. M/S decoders were common on all of the recorders reviewed. However, it was nice that the DR-40 would allow monitoring through the decoder using its variable-width option, and then print the result if desired. The headphone output was weak, especially when working in close proximity to the sound source; it was often difficult to hear the recorder’s output over the actual sound traveling through air. Moreover, the plastic body and noisy buttons made this the recorder most subject to handling noise. But all in all, this is a great little unit for under $200.

image of Product Summary

Acceptable Use Policy
blog comments powered by Disqus

Mix Books

Modern Recording and Mixing

This 2-DVD set will show you how the best in the music industry set up a studio to make world-class records. Regardless of what gear you are using, the information you'll find here will allow you to take advantage of decades of expert knowledge. Order now $39.95

Mastering Cubase 4

Electronic Musician magazine and Thomson Course Technology PTR have joined forces again to create the second volume in their Personal Studio Series, Mastering Steinberg's Cubase(tm). Edited and produced by the staff of Electronic Musician, this special issue is not only a must-read for users of Cubase(tm) software, but it also delivers essential information for anyone recording/producing music in a personal-studio. Order now $12.95



Delivered straight to your inbox every other week, MixLine takes you straight into the studio, with new product announcements, industry news, upcoming events, recent recording/post projects and much more. Click here to read the latest edition; sign up here.

MixLine Live

Delivered straight to your inbox every other week, MixLine Live takes you on the road with today's hottest tours, new sound reinforcement professional products, recent installs, industry news and much more. Click here to read the latest edition; sign up here.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

The Wire, a virtual press conference offering postings of the latest gear and music news, direct from the source. Visit the The Wire for the latest press postings.