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Tascam DR-680 topic
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  • Damn I wish I would have bought one of those two on amazon when V first mentioned it! I look at me DR40 in disgust now. "Oh you dirty, noisy little recorder"

  • On a side note considering the 6 tracks, how would this compare to the zoom h6(plus the extra 2xlr) or are we in a different "class" regarding the noise floor.What do you think? The h6 is definitely smaller though

    I suggest to check H6 topic :-) It has various shortcomings.

  • @luxis

    The reviews seem pretty positive in regard to the Zoom H6 preamps. The other added benefit of the Zoom H6 is the battery life, from what I read it seems like it will last longer then the Tascam DR680. If I didn't have the Zoom H4N and could only purchase one sound recorder I would still pick the Tascam DR680. IMO the Tascam DR680 looks more professional then the Zoom H6 so this might help with clients as well, my understanding is that Zoom H6 is just about the same size as the Tascam DR680. I have attached a picture of my Tascam DR680 with the case that is made specifically for the Tascam DR680. So hope fully you can get an idea of the size of the DR680 in comparison to the Zoom H6.

    Best Regards

    tascam_dr680_h4N_b.jpg
    1920 x 1080 - 1M
    tascam_dr680_h4N_a.jpg
    1920 x 1080 - 1M
  • The Tascam has very high quality sound, the only thing is it is not built like a tank, so get a case for it, and take it out if the case in a warm environment.

  • @Azo I listened to the files, I measured no difference in the noise, " CAD A" was one dB quieter than "CAD B" but that is well within the margin of error, and if you move the mic and inch or two it will create a difference of one or two dB; that doesn't mean that the circuit is not quieter, it just means that most of these stats are below the noise floor--that is, you would never hear the difference in the noise in actual use. I have a slight preference for "A" , both the Sennheiser and the CAD, but I really could not hear a big difference. Sennheiser B had a slightly lower noise floor, but again within the margin of error. You can try the key jingle test--take some keys and jingle them to hear a difference in the transient response, but unless you are recording keys (as we do sometimes) it is going to be a small difference.

  • @DrDave

    I concur with your assesment. Basically not worth it for the upgrade :( If I have some time I may conduct another test in a quite carpet covered room just to see if that makes a difference. I don't think it will but I will try it anyway. My conclusion is that for what this recorder is intended for there is no discernible difference in sound quality between the regular preamps and the Busman Audio preamps so it is not worth the extra coin for the upgrade :(

    Oh well, I hope this test helpful for anyone else thinking about the upgrade...

    Best regards

  • Tascam published updated SDHC cards compatibility list

    http://tascam.jp/product/dr-680/specifications/#media

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

  • 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).

  • @Psyco

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

    http://www.avisoft.com/recordertests.htm

    http://www.avisoft.com/tutorial_field_recording.htm

  • 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.

  • 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) ???

  • @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 :-)

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

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • @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.

  • @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.

  • 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.

  • 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".

  • 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.

  • 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.