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Tascam DR-40
  • New 4-track recorder (with XLR) from Tascam!


    •Handheld 4-track Portable Recorder
    •Built-in cardioid condenser microphones, adjustable to XY or AB position
    •XLR / 1/4” mic/line input with phantom power
    •Record the built-in microphones with the XLR mic or line input for a four-track recording
    •Dual recording mode captures a safety track at a lower level to avoid distortion
    •Overdub mode allows recording along with a previous take
    •Peak reduction automatically sets the ideal recording level
    •15-hour battery life from three AA batteries
    •Up to 96kHz/24-bit WAV/BWF or MP3 recording resolution
    •2-second pre-recording buffer
    •Variable speed playback from 50-150% speed without changing the pitch
    •Adjustable limiter and low cut filter (40 / 80 / 120 Hz)
    •Built-in speaker and chromatic tuner
    •1/8” headphone/line output
    •Playback EQ and level align
    •Stereo Reverb effect
    •Tripod mounting hole
    •SD/SDHC card slot supports up to 32GB media (2GB card included)
    •Locking Neutrik Combi jacks
    •USB 2.0 jack and cable for transferring recordings to computer
    •Powered by three AA batteries, AC adapter (optional PS-P515U), external battery pack (optional BP-6AA), or USB bus power


    Order and pricing:

    Pricing is $157.59

    Missing some of the analog features of the DR-100, but control dial looks much better. Zoom H4n killer?

    I have been going back and forth on the DR-100 and H4n for a few weeks. Anyone have insights into how this might compare?
  • 120 Replies sorted by
  • @skiandbike
    This is a very interesting proposition, worthy of attention. Do you know if the microphones are omni-directional or cardioid?
  • Looks very similar to
  • Haven't checked into the details yet of the Tascam DR-40, but it's cheaper than the Zoom H4n and I have a bit more faith that Tascam may have better pre-amps. They state S/N ratio is better than 92dB, which isn't great in pure audio terms, but for a portable cheap multipurpose device it's not bad. Just make sure you have plenty of good signal. By comparison the $500 Sony PCM-D50 rates it's inputs at S/N Ratio or 93dB. I couldn't find the S/N ratio for the Zoom H4n on their page. but I found a comparison that stated the Sony PCM-D5 had far superior mic pres to the H4n. My guess is that the Tascam may also have better pres given the similar numbers in terms of S/N. If you're interested the comparison is here:
  • Thanks for the link!

    As Vitaliy said, looks similar to H4n and the dimensions are virtually identical (W & D, DR-40 is a little shorter). DR-40 is lighter without batteries, but possibly the same when loaded (3 AAs vs 2 AAs). I like the locking XLR inputs, but I have not been able to find if the XLR levels are independently adjustable.

    Too bad there aren't separate headphone and line-out jacks like the DR-100.
  • Check this one out, just announced Roland R-26

    More expensive but it looks rugged and has 6 channels.
  • The DR-40 looks interesting, but I'm not happy with the preamps on the DR-100 (for shotgun it's too low volume/noisy), so I'm not too optimistic about the performance of the DR-40. Or do you think Tascam spesificially wanted to address this issue? (my feeling is they target these recorders against loud music enviroments, so they aren't that good for film recording)

    @sohus: The Roland R-26 looks quite nice. Would be interesting if someone tested it. Right now, the coming Fostex R 302 () and this Roland looks interesting too me. This R-26 is stated to have inherited the preamps from the Roland R-44 (I don't know the quality of the R-44 though)
  • The DR-40 does not support independent levels adjustment-- both channels are adjusted simultaneously with the same amount of gain (just like the DR-05/DR-07 units).

    This is a deal breaker for me, as it basically necessitates the use of a mixer.

    However, it is the cheapest Tascam that can support line-level inputs.

    Here is a rundown of some of the additional features you get with spending $100 more on the DR-100:

    * Separate line-level & headphone outputs (monitor audio without affecting line level output)
    * Analog input level adjustment knobs
    * Independent levels adjustment (XLR inputs)
    * Rechargeable battery backup (but DR-40 has longer runtime anyway)
    * Remote control (sold separately for DR-40)
  • I'm very unhappy with the performance of DR-100. Maybe it really makes sense to use a preamp rather than a recorder. Fully agree with @evero.
  • "Limiter filter" implies software limiter, doesn't it? Like digital post effect that Zoom models have, not the analogue one of DR-100?
  • Hi all first post. I'm a Canon 60D shooter and just ordered a Tascam DR-100 yesterday. But then I saw this and ordered one today heh. The plan is to try them both and return one. I currently have a Rode SVM and Rode VMP both 1/8th jacks (Not the best, I'll get better mics later). Plan is to go mic into line-in or XLR with adapter and use a Sescom cable to go line-out to mic jack of my 60D.

    It's tough to decide because i've seen only one guy test the DR40 but he didn't compare it to the DR100.

    In theory I'd like to save the $120 bucks and feel the DR40 would be all I need. That most of the buttons all over the DR100 are in the menu of the DR40. I'd probably be ok without manual L/R input adjust, especially with the DR40's extra lower-input track recording to avoid distortion.

    Q? I assume you can adjust each XLR input in the menu on the DR40?
    Q? Does the DR40 have XLR gain options the DR100 has? If not manual than in menu?
    Q? The DR40 says it can take an AC adapter but I don't see a hole for it anywhere in the pics.
    Q? Why does the DR40 last so much longer with just 1 extra battery. Are it's preamps weaker or something?
    Q? I def want to monitor sound AND go into 60D mic. Will splitting that line out really cause audio quality issues?
  • @damianicus
    So, have you been able to test Dr40 and Dr100? I am considering Dr40 myself. What is your verdict?
  • I picked up the lower end Tascam DR-05 in Tokyo last week and love it. I feel the sound has more 'life' to it than the Zoom H4N does. I also prefer the user interface and button layout to Zoom's. The Zoom recorders are pretty sluggish and the buttons are crap. This one looks very reasonably priced for what it offers. Very promising!
  • Jive September 16

    You write:

    The DR-40 does not support independent levels adjustment-- both channels are adjusted simultaneously with the same amount of gain

    This is true, but the dr-40 supports a Dual recording mode that captures a safety track at a lower level to avoid distortion. According to my knowledge the volume of this safety track can be adjusted, and thus we practically have separate input control for 2 external mics. Even if they are recorded on the same track. Hope it makes sense :-)

    You also says that the dr-40 misses "* Separate line-level & headphone outputs (monitor audio without affecting line level output)"
    I wrote to Tascam, and they claim the following:

    "the unit does have buttons that are for output volume, which affects the headphone volume."

    I personally didnt find those buttons yet on the images, but this was their response

  • hmmm, just checked, the dual mode only works when not using 4 channel mode, but this should still allow the option for 2 mono input mics with separate volume adjustments, using the dualmode, according to my logic, but then the internal mic cant be used, and the same is valid for line in from a mixer.
  • @Nic The dual-recording mode is meant to be a backup, not a replacement for being able to fine-tune levels. If you rely on dual-recording, you'll likely be adding gain frequently in post since it is meant to account for spikes. Also, what if you want to add a little gain to one mic and heavy gain to a second mic while filming? Your choice will be to blow one out or have one too low, since both channels operate with a single adjustment.

    If you only use one mic, as I normally do, it's a moot point.

    I think you misunderstand the outputs. There is a headphone jack and a line-output jack. Again, both are operated with a single volume adjustment. This could be a problem if you are sending the output directly to your camera and working in a noisy environment. You might need to boost your headphones to hear properly, but that will blow out your recording level.
  • @Nic as RawMercury said, the dual recording mode adjusts the levels of both inputs in tandem. Though you can initially set the offset level of the "backup" recording, it's still rather useless for recording 2 separate inputs (e.g. a lav plus a shotgun) because you can't independently adjust the levels on the fly.

    This is a pretty severe compromise in my opinion, but there are workarounds depending on the type of shoot. For example, the more controlled a shoot is, the better chance you have of setting up your different inputs to appropriate levels prior to recording and using the dual-recording to set the 2nd input's level to something usable. That being said, I imagine this would be the weak link in the chain is I definitely would not wish this workflow on anyone except in a pinch.

    The problem regarding the headphone/line-out output is primarily that there is only ONE output. So if you want to monitor your output AND send it to another device (e.g. a camera), you'll have to:
    * Split the output with an adapter (adding bulk and adding another potential point of failure in your audio chain)
    * Add additional adapters to conform the signal to the other device (mic level, line-level, etc. depending on device)
    * Optional: Add a separate preamp for the headphones so that you can adjust the volume levels for your headphones without messing up the output levels going to the other device.

    In the end, you've got a pretty bulky and cumbersome setup.
  • I've owned the DR-40 for a few weeks now and have to return it. Performance has been spotty. Using it primarily with two wireless senn lavaliers and sometimes I'll hear a faint "helicopter" sound on the track. It's a problem others have spoken about as well:

    The dual track thing is very nice, but it sucks not being able to adjust levels independently.

    It seems my best option in my budget range is stepping up to the Tascam DR-100 mkii, but I haven't seen a lot of samples/reviews of it yet.
  • @BMillz

    That periodic helicopter/tapping sound you hear on your DR-40 could be RF leaking into the amplifier circuit and pushing the chips into distortion. RF is ultrasonic, above the human hearing range, but it manifests itself as a periodic (rather than random) popping or ticking. It's a common shortcoming of consumer gear but I'm surprised to see it in the Tascam, a brand which usually gets these things right. My guess is Tascam has a different take on grounding the Sennheiser's cable shield, or else the Tascam has relatively poor RF rejection and the Senn unfortunately has a spiral rather than woven cable shield which lets in more RF. Have you been able to duplicate the noise with a different brand of lav?
  • You might try going to a store and trying a different brand and/or model of lav to see if the periodic ticking goes away. Also, if the lag has any exposed metal that's grounded to the mic cable, try placing your finger on the metal and seeing if that gets rid of the ticking. If it does, you've got RF, and there's little you can do about it aside from using a different recorder and/or mics.

    I use a wired lav into a Zoom H1 so I don't have these issues, but another possibility is the Senn's receiver. It may have poor RF filtration on its line level output. It actually could be a lot of things, but if the noise is a periodic ticking or popping, that's classic RF and now that you know it's an interference issue you can start hunting down the culprit. Sometimes it's as simple a fix as a $5 ferrite collar around the audio output cable where it plugs into the recorder. You can find them at Radio Shack/Amazon/eBay.
  • I have a new DR-40and tested the battery life. i was set at Dual, MP-3 128, Phantom off, and turned on Record on a trip. The battery died at 8.5 hours. Tascam told me that if I had it at basic settings the batteries would have lasted longer. The manual says they should last 18 hours. Everything else works great so I am reluctant to return it. Will good rechargeable's do better? Anyone have any thoughts?

  • I use nothing but lithium ultimate in all devices. They seem to last forever unless I forget to turn something off at the end of the job.

  • I've used a DR-100 for more than a year now. With DPA-4060 lavs it works pretty well. They are sensitive mics so the gain doesn't need to be turned up so high. The preamps are OK, but nothing great. I've also used it with a Rode NTG2 which is a quiet mic but when I turn up the gain some slight noise is introduced.

    Battery life is OK. It does seem picky with rechargeable batteries so I mainly use the Li-ion battery. Other than that I've had no other problems.