Inter BEE 2014: Tascam DR-70D compact 4 channel audio recorder for DSLRs

By technical editor Matt Allard:

Tascam are one of the best know makers of external sound recorders and at the Inter BEE show in Japan they are showing their new DR-70D solution primarily aimed at DSLR users. The DR-70D is a compact 4 channel audio recorder that allows users to create audio recordings as very high quality WAVs to SD card. The recorder can be mounted directly below the camera, or on top if you prefer. Additional mounting options also allow you to place a shotgun mic or other cold shoe accessory on top of the

The Tascam DR-70D
The Tascam DR70D

With its two built-in microphones the DR-70D can record stereo ambient sound. In addition it has four XLR/TRS combo jacks which can be used to record four channels of audio. Thanks to a minijack camera output the recorder’s stereo signal can be sent to the camera to be used as a scratch audio track, or even primary audio if necessary. There is also a useful slate tone function of the recorder. You can also feed the camera’s headphone output into the Tascam so the camera’s audio can be monitored using the recorder.

The recorder has various mounting options
The recorder has various mounting options

The DR-70D has 24- or 48-volts phantom power for condenser mics and overload-resistant preamps with switchable low-cut filter and a limiter. It can handle microphone signals in mid/side format and has many other functions that facilitate capturing, monitoring and subsequent processing of the audio tracks.

The DR-70D looks like a great solution for owners of DSLRs or other cameras where the built-in audio functionality is not ideal. Essentially this box functions like a Juicedlink or Beachtek audio adapter but with added functionality and the ability to record separately as insurance. If the sound quality turns out to be good then the $299 US price tag looks very reasonable.

It could also be used on professional cameras like the Sony F5/55 as a mixer where audio control is limited to internal menus – the only downside being that the output is via minijack and not XLR or TA3.

Here is the full DR-70D spec:

Two built-in microphones
4 XLR/TRS combo jacks allow a wide range of setups
Built-in mixer with 4 inputs and 2 outputs
High audio quality through HDDA microphone preamps
Compact and tough design
Camera input and output
Slate tone generator for easy alignment with video files

Main Features
Compact, professional-grade audio recorder designed to be used in combination with a DSLR camera.
Uses an SD/SDHC/SDXC card as recording medium (up to 128 GB)
High-quality recording inputs through Tascam original High Definition Discrete Architecture (HDDA) mic preamps.
NE5532 operational amplifiers for even higher audio performance (also used on DA-3000)
In addition to ordinary stereo recording, simultaneous recording of up to four channels is possible.
Four channels can be mixed down to a stereo signal
Recording levels can be adjusted independently for inputs 1–4
Dual recording function allows two files to be recorded simultaneously at different levels
Recording at 44.1/48/96 kHz, 16/24-bit, linear PCM (WAV format)
Broadcast Wave Format (BWF) supported as WAV recording format
Two built-in omnidirectional microphones
Four XLR/TRS combo inputs can provide phantom power (+24V/+48V)
+24 dBu maximum input level (20 dB headroom)
Additional unbalanced input for channels 1 and 2 (stereo mini jack) supports mics that require plug-in power, allowing the input of video mics and other high-output mics.
Switchable low-cut filter conveniently reduces low-frequency noise (40 Hz, 80 Hz, 120 Hz)
Switchable limiter to prevent clipping
High-quality audio can be output to a DSLR camera for recording
Camera input enables convenient monitoring of audio from a DSLR camera
Selectable mid-side decoding for use with MS microphone setups
Slate tone functions (automatic/manual) to simplify synchronization of video files when editing
Pre-recording function allows the unit to record the two seconds of sound before recording is activated
Auto recording function to start start and stop recording by input level
A new file can be created during recording (manually or by file size)
Self-timer function to start recording after a set period of time
Jump-back function allows the last several seconds of the currently played file to be replayed again by simply pressing a button.
Selectable delay to eliminate time lags caused by differences in the distances of two input sources
QUICK button allows easy access to various functions
Mark function convenient for moving to specific locations
Equalizers for playback, and level alignment function to enhance the perceived overall sound pressure
File name format can be set to use a user-defined word or the date
Resume function to memorize the playback position before the unit is turned off
Line output and headphones output with individual level controls (3.5-mm jack)
Dedicated remote control jack for use with RC-10 and RC-3F (sold separately)
Hold switch to prevent accidental operation
Low-noise buttons
128 x 64 pixel LC display with backlight
USB 2.0 port
Stand adapter (¼ inch) on bottom side to attach the unit to a tripod
DSLR bracket for easy camera attachment and removal
Hot shoe mount (accessible when not using the DSLR bracket)
Handles on the front left and right sides protect the screen and can be used to attach a shoulder belt
Operates on four AA batteries, an AC adapter (sold separately: TASCAM PS-P515U), external battery pack (sold separately: TASCAM BP-6AA) or USB bus power

The Tascam DR10 C
The Tascam DR10 C

At Inter BEE Tascam were also showing the DR-10CS, and DR-10CL, a range of tiny audio recorders that can be connected directly to radio mic transmitters from companies like Sony, Sennheiser, Lectrosonics and Shure. These are very handy if you are in situations where radio mics are breaking up because of frequency interference or distance.

The DR10 X plug on recorder
The DR10 X plug on recorder

For handheld mics they have the DR-10X which offers a similar solution.

You can find out more about the DR-70D on the Tascam website.

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