Tascam DP-008EX Digital Portastudio Multitrack Recorder Review
Portability is one strong selling factor for today’s batch of digital recorders. Tascam’s take on it manifests as the DP-008EX Digital Portastudio, mainly marketed for the songwriter but equally useful to the guitarist. Here’s what we know about it.
Tascam Digital Portastudio Recorder Details & Specs
- Multitrack platform hosting up to 8 tracks/channels; audio in and audio out
- Two built-in high-quality stereo microphone condensers located at the front of the unit for easy recording; mics designed after the top-selling DR series
- Two input terminals by phone jack for external mics, guitars, or other line-level devices
- Full +48V phantom power technology with two XLR inputs
- 2-band Shelving EQ capabilities for each track; hi-range adjustments in between 1.7kHz and 18kHz, low-range adjustments from 32Hz to 1.6kHz
- Easy track mastering made possible by the Auto Analysis Mastering Function; audio format in WAV; configuration is omnidirectional
- Lightweight at only 360 grams without its AA batteries
- High-speed data transfer capability via USB 2.0; SD/SDHC card backup (up to 32 GB)
- Retailed at $229
Compared to the previous digital recorders we tested and reviewed, Tascam’s DP-008EX is leading in terms of technical design, performance, convenience, and overall recording quality. How so?
First, you’ve got solid controls right here. You’ll have to keep up with the long manual only because it’s very detailed (with pictures you need to follow so you can properly execute the instructions). You can easily instruct the unit to supply which inputs you’re going to use. Simply press the 1+2 track recording buttons, set the levels you need, and then press on the play and record buttons to start the magic. That’s as simple as it can get.
Latency issues are positively negative, on the other hand. It can give you so much time and room to work on your sound. The design might be a bit on the traditional side – given the choices for how the inputs are put – but we consider it as a service for users who are inexperienced with multitrack recorders.
There are 6 different reverb effects ideal for vocals – experiment with this and you will find how easy it is to style your song. The mastering effects also effectively eliminate the need for other software or gadgets; you can use the 2-band EQ, the normalizing effect, or the multi-band compressor.
What we like best performance-wise about this unit is that its Auto Analysis Mastering tool can conveniently produce a mastery calculation based on the song’s data. We have yet to find other units that can do the same thing on the same level.
You will also be needing a few other inexpensive purchases to amplify the whole DP-008EX experience. Mono cables that are in between 1/8 to ¼ inches are useful if you want to hear yourself on bigger speakers, or if you want to add in more real-time recordings for inputted tracks.
We think it’s a pretty neat box with the right number of knobs, customization settings, and opportunities for creative experimentation or play. Its simplicity and quick ability to recapture styles is very high market value – who wouldn’t want a unit that’s so incredibly intuitive?
Saying that the variety of input options for instruments being great is an understatement. It is remarkable how much technical design thought has been considered and integrated into a compact unit. You may have other market options that provide the same features for different audio sources, but you won’t find anything close to the DP-008EX’s ability to consistently host mics, synths, guitars, etc.
There is, admittedly, less editing room and flexibility with this unit; perhaps this is due to its more conventional design. This is when you compare it with a DAW, however. For us, we found the input options, affordability ($299 is a great deal for a portable multitrack recorder), and the simplicity to be the most appealing features.
Is it for you?
If you’re looking for something you can easily carry around, there are more options to the DP-008EX. However, if you’re looking for a compact powerhouse with features you probably have never even thought to be handy before, then we highly recommend this one.