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Tascam DR-680 topic
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  • Just purchased two of these :-D Going to cascade them together for up to 16 track recording! ;)

  • I am aware that new batteries can and will create an excess of the spec'd voltage. From what I observed most who have had problems with this unit were using Tekeon like devices.

  • @laserdanger you are aware that batteries have different voltages depending on there condition - a new fully charged battery that is rated at 12V can easily have up to 15V or more.

    Thats why I only use this electronic DC/DC converters to stabilize the voltage to a set level. As you also need a difference of 2V, it helps against low voltage drop outs too.

    I think thats the reason why the V-mount and gold-mount batterys have 14.4V or 14.8V - thats exactly the voltage you need to drive all this 12V-devices with a simple DC/DC converter.

  • Personally I just went with a 12v lead acid battery to power my rig. It is a painless powering option that cost me 20$ plus some minor soldering. Of all the recorders it is the best for me because it can be adapted to bag work so well. It's a great compromise between performance and cost.

  • I use a Tekkeon adjustable-voltage battery. It fits in the Portabrace case for the DR680 well and uses the same size charger so I don't need to pack two into my sound case. BTW, it's well worth always having AA batteries in the unit, itself, because this gives you protection against losing a take to a bumped AC cable.

    The Tekkeon battery lasts me for 6-8 hours, typically.

  • @andyharris

    I found my DR680 also to eat (new 2700mAh) AA cells way to fast, so I built an external power pack:

    This V-mount plate for LED-lights:

    and this step-down converter (high switching frequency!):

    Open up the plastic of the V-mount, solder the step-down converter inbetween the wires (you will need some extra wire), adjust the voltage to 12V, close the plastic cover (the converter fits easily inside) and...

    ...yes, the powerplug is just the right one for the DR680! :-)

    I have not tested it yet, but a 100Wh V-mount battery should last....for ever. And a short test confirmed, that the Tascam will instantly switch to the internal batterys without stopping to record if you pull the plug (have not testet undervoltage, but should work the same way).

  • If you are handy, you can make or adapt a battery back for it. I probably would adapt a battery pack for the input and also populate the cells with batteries for a backup. The question is, what overvoltage? All of these devices have a "drop trigger" where they shut off when the voltage is below a certain point. If you are using rechargeables, and you have one iffy cell in the series, that's enough to make it shut down. So to compensate, the device probably will take a higher voltage, but in order to try it, you risk overloading it. My guess is the 10 percent tolerance they quote is on the conservative side--measure the voltage of the power supply for starters with a voltmeter. Then just hardwire a conector onto a high quality power supply at the optimum voltage. Also measure the battery pack after a few hours to see what the volatage drop is.

  • I have a DR680, it eats AA cells. So I investigated external battery power. I found much mention of failures with various supplies.

    I've contacted Tascam and the party line is that there are no approved external battery supplies and that the input specification is 11.5V through 13.5V.

  • Forgot to mention that on the 680 to use all 8 channels simultaneously I use a digital front end for the main pair on (7 & 8). This video shows how this is done. I use any of the RME "digital" or Grace preamps for the front end.

    Also, the TRS inputs can be used as regular mic inputs, you just need an XLR.TRS adapter; I assume they did this to save space. So my comment above should read "5 & 6".

  • You are very welcome, what little I know I am happy to share. It's a handy machine, so don't think twice abaout buying it if you have the $$$. You will need XLR to TRS if you plan to use tracks 7 & 8 with XLR cables.

  • @DrDave Great advice. Prepping shoot for next month, and will take all into consideration as I do tests. Thanks for sharing the wisdom and experience.

  • @matt_gh2 Assuming you want a backup level at a lower gain, you can use a simple Y cable to connect one mic to two of the xlrs (or trs) inputs on the 680. You could then use a different gain structure on the backup channel, or add a limiter, or route the signal to the stereo pair using the internal mixer, or combination of all three. Plus you could, for example, create a submix, either digital or analog, and route this to a backup stereo recorder, a laptop, ipad, etc. The 680 can be configured to use all eight channels, or engage a submix from line 1-6 to lines 7-8, internally and externally, digital, analog and internal recording.

    For example, you could split the signal (and this is a simple Y cable, although you could use other kinds) into two equal streams, and plug one into a high gain input, and the other into one that has the limiter on, and set 6dB lower. Then you would have a simple system for concerts that guarantees no overs. Assuming the limiter does not kick in, the recordings would be identical except that at 6dB lower gain, you would effectively be recording at 23 bits instead of 24 bits, which of course is inaudible for our purposes. You could also simple record everything 6-12 dB lower, which is what many ppl do, effectively recording at 22 bits. You recapture all the gain at mixdown if you are using more than two mics, or simply boost the gain, which is more or less lossless for 16 bit output, aac, MP3, etc.

    I myself use the same Y cables, but feed for example two identical 24 track systems, so that if one fails, the other continues. You could do the same with two 680s, or use a 6+2 combo or a four+four combo on a single 680.

    This is how expensive gigs are recorded, where it would be impossible to raise the money to reshoot or rerecord the scenes, or where for example the performers would be unavailable to redo a scene, event, film, concert, etc. It does not address the all too common problem of overloading the mic capsule, upstream of the gain structure, for which you would need two mics, one with a pad circuit between the capsule and the electronics.

    However, if you have such a "once-in-a-lifetime" event, then it is interesting to consider redundancy at all the levels of the recording, including hanging two sets of identical microphones. The failure rate for Schoeps mics is close to zero (I have never had one in the set fail in thirty years, but it could happen, for sure), so one option is to split the mic cable, but not duplicate the mics (keeping one spare on the set), and this is one typical system.

    At half the price (or less) than what I paid for the 680 when it was released, it is a no brainer. However, unlike the Fostex FR2 LE, it does not always keep recording if you yank the power cable out, so in my backup I split the main pair into the Fostex (with batteries as well as plugged in) instead of using the submix on the 680. Statistically, the likelihood that the power will fail, or the cord will be pulled, is higher than the failure rate for the other elements in the system.

    However with two recorders, the 680 could fail--like in a power outage--but the Fostex would seamlessly switch over to battery backup and keep recording on the other end of the Y cable.

  • Can this record 8 stereo tracks (or only 8 mono track)?

    Mono, of course.

    Also, can I plug in 3 XLR mics and record each mic to 2 separate levels, so I'd have 3 tracks at -12 and then an additional 3 tracks recorded at -30?

    I never heard about such feature on DR680 and did not used it. I think not.

    You can try to make Y padding cables.

  • Tascam DR680 looks like good value. Can this record 8 stereo tracks (or only 8 mono track)? Also, can I plug in 3 XLR mics and record each mic to 2 separate levels, so I'd have 3 tracks at -12 and then an additional 3 tracks recorded at -30?

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev You know, sometimes it just feels good to swear ;-)

  • @Psyco

    I have no idea. Usually it is quite useless to spend your emotions. You can just buy it using Shipito intermediate, ask them to remove invoice and all original papers and write your own :-)

  • Why the fuck does the Tascam cost more than twice as much in Germany as in the USA? I tried Amazon and Ebay: $400 (US) vs. 600+ EUR (EU) ???

  • Thanks @Azo I used exactly that chart to make up my mind - but that was before the price drop. Now the Tascam looks really like the best choice, even on a budget.

  • @Psyco

    Here is some information regarding the Tascam DR680 along with several different recorders.

  • Yes, please - if someone could compare the Tascam DR 680 to the Marantz PMD 661 that would be great (as I'm using the Marantz and I'm very pleased with the quality, but beeing only a two track recorder sometimes sucks).

  • some compared this vs the Marantz PMD 661 in audio quality??

  • Tascam published updated SDHC cards compatibility list