PRO AUDIO
Taylor

Taylor
December 27, 2013

Tascam DR-60D Review


There are a lot of portable recording devices on the market that act as field recorders and double as portable audio interfaces. Portable recorders like the Zoom H4n have become standard amongst independent and mobile videographers and filmmakers, but often times these recorders are built with the musician, producer, or audio engineer in mind. It’s rare that we get a product like this that is tailored specifically for use with HD and DSLR cameras.

This is what sets the Tascam DR-60D apart from its competitors. It has similar functionality when compared to other portable audio recorders on the market, but with a design and features conducive to synchronization with cameras. The big question then becomes, “Why would you choose the Tascam DR-60D over other portable recorders that have the same general functionality?” Well if you are a videographer or an independent filmmaker, there are a whole host of reasons why the Tascam DR-60D should be your choice for capturing audio. Here are just a few reasons why the Tascam DR-60D is one of the better portable audio recording devices for HD and DSLR camera users. These are just a few of my favorite features so for a full look at the Tascam DR-60D, be sure to watch the video above.

I/O for Capture and Sync

The DR-60D has two combination XLR/TRS inputs, both with their own switchable 48v phantom power. Additionally you have another stereo line in in the form of an 1/8″ (3.5 mm) jack. The camera line out allows you to connect the DR-60D to your HD or DSLR camera, making synchronizing sound a lot easier. There is also an independent dial control so you can adjust just how much gain is going from the DR-60D into your camera. CAMERA IN is where you can connect the headphone line out on your camera so you can monitor the sound.

The opposite side of the DR-60D has a headphone out with its own dedicated level adjustment, and a line out with a similar dial for controlling output. Both of these outputs are 1/8″ inch (3.5 mm) in size. On this same side is a USB connection for transferring files. The USB slot also doubles as a way of powering the DR-60D. While a power supply is not included in the box, you can purchase one separately from Tascam, or power the DR-60D from your computer’s power supply.

Functionality

The DR-60D allows for different types of recording modes depending on the application that is necessary. Mono/Dual mode is best for single source shooting, Stereo/Dual mode allows for shooting with a stereo or mid-side microphone, and the 4 Channel mode is for you to record two sources separately, plus one stereo microphone, all simultaneously.

The slate button is used for providing a slate tone when recording in the field. You have options for changing the length of the slate tone and whether you want the tone on the head of your recording, the tail, or both. The auto record feature is a great addition for long shoots, or when you only need audio for specific instances. You can set the auto record to engage when the gain reaches a certain level and disengage when it dips below a certain level. You can adjust those settings in the menu options. 

Review

While I would highly recommend the DR-60D to anyone looking for a good compliment to their HD video capture, there are a couple things which limit its full potential. The fact that a power supply is not included with the Tascam DR-60D is limiting considering that there are plenty of instances where you could have your audio recorder plugged in and running for a lengthy period of time. You can of course buy the power supply that goes with the DR-60D, or you can run off of your computer’s power with the included USB cable. I personally don’t bring my computer to every shoot, so it’s difficult for me to imagine an instance where I would run this off of my computer’s battery. This is not a total deal breaker, but it would have been nice to see the inclusion of the power supply at this price point.

The camera line out on the Tascam DR-60D is meant to be fed into your camera’s line input whether that be on an HD camera or a DSLR. I have never been a fan of running audio this way as the preamps and A/D convertors on digital cameras AND portable recorders are average at best. Some users have described problems with the camera’s audio when sampling in post. Specifically, the noise generated from the DR-60D when attached to the bottom of DSLR cameras. However the audio recorded on the DR-60D’s SD card remains noise-less and sounding great. Chalk it up to the inherent problem with running audio through a camera that sees audio as an afterthought. This seems to be a general problem with DSLR’s than it is with the DR-60D.

The DR-60D might not be the ultimate solution to having perfect audio and video synchronization on to one file, but it is one of the most affordable and useful portable audio recorders for those that need audio capture for their video projects. If you want to compare this to other portable recorders on the market, head on over to UniqueSquared.com to check out our selection of portable audio recorders. If you have any questions or comments about the Tascam DR-60D or portable audio recorders generally, be sure to leave us a response in the comments section below. You can also find all kinds of great deals on professional audio equipment at UniqueSquared.com.

SLAM!!

Transcript

The DR-60D is a portable Linear PCM audio recorder from Tascam. This 4 track solid-state recorder records up to 24 bit/96k wav files straight onto an SD card and runs on four double A batteries. The inputs available include two ¼ inch – XLR combination inputs and an ⅛ inch stereo line input. You also have inputs for remote control as well as a CAMERA line in for sound monitoring from the camera. CAMERA out sends a line output from the DR-60’s mixer and has an adjustable gain knob. The opposite side of the recorder houses more outputs including a headphone output and an additional line output both with their own level adjustment. This side also houses your storage connections for recording to an SD card and transferring your files via USB. The top of the DR-60D has a removable plate that allows for attaching to the bottom of HD Video and DSLR cameras. The bottom allows you to mount this recorder to a tripod. The front of the DR-60D houses all of your controls for recording, monitoring, and playback. Three dials allow you to adjust the gain setting of each input. Below these are switches to select between mic and line inputs, as well as a selection for turning on 48 volt phantom power. Next to that are your transport controls including record, play, and stop, as well as buttons for selecting and scrubbing audio files. The Slate button is a slate tone generator used for marking audio files to make post production sync easier. The Monitor Select button allows you to change the source of what you are monitoring including the overall mix, the camera line in, as well as channels 1 and 2. The Mixer button allows you to adjust levels as well as panning control. You also have the option of enabling or disabling the mid-side recording mode for mid-side microphones. The Quick button allows you to adjust functions on the fly whether you are on the main screen or within the mixer menu section. The menu button allows you to adjust features such as record mode, input settings, record settings, and a host of other selections. Moving the dial to a particular menu function and pressing the dial in gives you access to enable or disable features, as well as make adjustments to currently selected settings. For more on the Tascam DR-60D be sure to visit the UniqueSquared blog linked below this video. You’re watching UniqueSquared.com.