Those who know my music a little noticed for sure that I fancy field recordings and ambient sound design. I wrote a blog post the other day about the sources of my samples, and field recordings were one of them.
To capture those sounds I usually have a small Shure MV88 microphone with me. I just plug it on my iPhone as soon as I want to take a recording of a scene in high quality.
The main advantage of this tiny setup is that I only must carry 1 small device with me, and I usually have that in my bad anyway. And the little mic doesn't get much attention while recording.
Why I purchased the Tascam DR-07X
But still, the disadvantages have often outweighed the advantages. For example, longer recordings are difficult to take, depending on the situation, because the phone's battery quickly gets empty. While recording, you need to turn off the phone and it's also blocked for other tasks as the Shure recording app needs to run in the foreground.
That's why I've finally decided to go for a dedicated field recorder. I've chosen the "Tascam DR-07X"because it's a pretty affordable device and has a lot of features (I'll probably never use haha). I bought it myself and I have no connection to the manufacturer. Just to make that clear :)
This is not a complete review, it's more a "first impression" blogpost. Let's go.
What's in the box of the Tascam DR-07X
You get the Tascam DR-07X recorder, 2 batteries, a manual and that's basically it.
Price of the Tascam DR-07X
I paid 109,00 CHF at a local online dealer (that's around 120 USD at the time of writing this article). You need to add some extra money for a storage card and a windjagger, that's both not included.
My first impressions of the Tascam DR-07X
Even it feels "serious" and completely unfancy like a boring office dictation device, I loved it from the first moment. It has a monochrome highres display and it gets operated with a menu that's very simple and easy to learn. After 5 minutes, I got the basics and took my first recording.
I took some sounds in different situations and was surprised about the good sound quality I got. You can adjust the sensitivity of the incoming audio signal, add filters and so on.
Background noises - cool feature of the Tascam DR-07X?
Now, there is a little downside there and that are the background noises. The Tascam DR-07x has no protection against these and records all interferences of near electronic devices. If you're wearing a Smartwatch, for instance, and you operate the Tascam with the hand you're wearing it, the frequencies of the watch will be recorded.
For me (and possibly other Lo-Fi producers), this is a actually a welcomed feature. The recordings get somehow unpredictable and the noises add a layer of complexity on top. But for sure, I guess this should not be a "Feature" LOL If you want to record serious situations with a crystal-clear sound, the Tascam is equipped with a standard thread and the recorder can be mounted on a tripod.
A Windjagger is needed
For those scenarios, especially when hunting for sounds outdoors, I also highly recommend getting a windjagger! If you don't put one over the mics, the sound gets unusable even with very light breezes. I'm a little disappointed that this item is not included in the box as it's seriously essential. But well, a tribute to the price tag.
Battery life of the Tascam DR-07X
I'm impressed about the battery life. That was a major complain about using the Shure Mic and the Tascam doesn't disappoint here. I made some tests and after 4 hours of recording, the battery indicator is still at 60%. That's cool.
Mics of the Tascam DR-07X
The Tascam has two unidirectional microphones. These can be rotated to face outwards at a 90-degree mutual angle (i.e. each 45 degrees away from centre) or folded in so that they cross over in an X‑Y configuration, in which case the left/right channels are obviously swapped. This way, you can choose by situation what's best for your recording.
Using the recorder as an audio interface
The device can be used as an USB audio interface. That's cool, and I'm sure I will use this feature soon. It can record to a range of file formats including MP3 and WAV. Right now, I'm just using the recording functions as it's what I purchased this device for.
To playback the recordings, the device has a file manager and a little speaker at the backside. If that's not loud enough, you can plug in your headphones to the 3.5mm mini-jack and either monitor playback from the recorder or a connected DAW via USB.
You can hear the very first track using a Tascam recording in the following video. I only added a high pass filter to get rid of the low frequencies. I could do this straight on the device, as it offers a filter and some effects, but I prefer to do it on the DT.
What I like about the Tascam DR-07X
Easy to use
What I don't like about the Tascam DR-07X
lacks XLR Inputs
no storage included
After I made the first recordings, I can say the Tascam DR-07x is worth its money and a perfect addition for my setup. The quality is good, it gives me freedom to record whenever I want, it's small enough to carry with me and the price is fair, even you have to buy a storage card and a windjagger separately.