Despite all the advances in image resolution and quality, most DSLRs on the market still require separate audio recorders for quality sound capture. We've previously covered and compared affordable external audio recorders for DSLR filmmakers, and although great tools in themselves, if there's one common drawback shared by these recorders it's that they were designed for live music/event recording, rather than filmmaking. Enter Tascam's new offering -- the DR-60D -- an audio recorder designed specifically with DSLR filmmakers in mind. Here are the details:
Video is no longer available: www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=mLUxfp1kTDA
It has many of the features you'd expect from recorders in its range -- up to 24bit 96Hz PCM recording, 2 XLR jacks, up to 48V phantom power, records to SD/SDHC cards, and provides 4-channel recording.
So what are the advantages of this recorder over other audio recorders popular with budget DSLR filmmakers (i.e H4n, Dr-40, DR-100mkII, etc.)? It has some nice features like a slate "beep" that can be played at the beginning of recordings, and the ability to output recorded audio back into the camera for backup. But the biggest advantage to my mind is the form factor -- it's clearly designed as something you can attach to your camera and actively monitor/control while shooting.
If you're shooting as a one-man band, one of the bigger annoyances when using recorders like the H4n or the DR-100mkII is the need for a rig to get the recorder in a position where you can actively monitor levels while operating the camera. Not to mention the controls on a menu intensive unit like the H4n can be a challenge to deal with when you're multi-tasking. With most of the controls on the DR-60D accessible and oriented to one side, this looks like a more shoot friendly tool for folks without a dedicated sound person.
Drawbacks? This unit doesn't have internal mics -- so folks used to getting ambient or back up stereo tracks on top of what comes in from their shotgun or lav mics will have to invest in more mics.
At $350, it's towards the high end of budget recorders, but if form factor is important to you, and you have a couple of external mics ready to go, this unit may justify the premium compared to other recorders in its class.
For more details, check out Tascam's product page, or watch this in-depth overview directly from B&H:
Video is no longer available: vimeo.com/62377981
Do the features justify the premium? What additional features would you like to see in a DSLR targeted audio recorder? Share below!
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looks like Tascam is following the lead of the Fostex R302 I've been using for doc work. definitely in a budget price range compared to the Fostex, which is interesting because it has 2 more inputs (albeit not xlrs). it would be really great to see how the sound quality compares.
April 9, 2013 at 8:16PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
I feel like all the write ups this unit has gotten from DSLR people have missed the main point - these are supposed to be quality pre-amps with a low equivalent input noise rating; thus more on par with units from Sound Devices, Fostex, etc. You are totally right that the Zooms and lower end Tascams were made for musicians - and thus they were made to record sound sources that were already very amplified, like drums. When you run a hyper or a shotgun directly into a Zoom and crank up the gain to get a proper level on a soft spoken dialog scene, they just suck. You have to either feed them a line level signal from a good pre-amp or just use a real field mixer/recorder like a Sound Devices unit. We'll have to wait to see (hear) how this unit performs in the real world, but if it lives up to the specs, it could be a viable solution as an actual pro field recorder. Put in that light, calling it "kind of expensive" is just nuts and commenting on the lack of built-in mics just shows a lack of understanding of what it is. Not trying to rag on this post by any means, just something I've seen since this was announced. I really don't think a lot of DSLR shooters get this thing yet.
April 9, 2013 at 10:17PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
amazing! Thanks for that!
I've always wondered by the H4n sounded so noisy!!!
April 10, 2013 at 12:34AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
My H4n doesn't sound noisy at all. And therefore won't need to be replaced for a good long time. This is nice, but it's not for me, the H4n is even a great field recorder for me and my needs. It makes for great super hearing too!
April 16, 2013 at 11:24PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
you probably use it wrong
April 16, 2013 at 11:27PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
Until we can convince work to upgrade our Mark II rig to a C100, this little guy is a perfect in-between - gives the audio features we need, for sure. Love this product.
With that said, I don't know if that video could have been worse.
April 10, 2013 at 12:38AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
A good audio recorder is useful even when you shoot with an EPIC (wich doesn't have XRL inputs on the main brain) or with every others camera, because it allows you to have the camera operator and the audio guy indipendent each others, for a more free roaming shooting.
the audio inputs on a camera are useful quite only when you're shooting ENG, because you have to be quick and often the audio levels are left on "auto".
But in my personal experience, having an external recorder, allowing you to controll and record sound (and record it in a better way than many pro cameras out there) in a such deep and easy way, it's a great solution; even if you shoot with the C100 or C300.
April 10, 2013 at 2:33AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
I reply myself :D also the BMCC needs an external recorder because the audio options (from the inputs to the options in the menu) are so poor and bad thought that I think an external recorder is needed in many situation.
April 10, 2013 at 2:36AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
I've shot on the Red Epic, and One quite a few times. On all those shoots, the sound recorder was always separate with his own specialist equipment. I've DOP' on the Epic and I don't think it records sound directly into camera and even if it does, no one ever does on a professional film set ever.
April 16, 2013 at 6:46AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
Have this on my radar - might pick one up after I hear a little more samples from the wild.
The more I use my H4N, the more I want to throw it off a cliff.
April 10, 2013 at 7:00AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
I'm with you. H4n is being replaced with this very, very soon.
April 10, 2013 at 5:32PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
Love love love that old school industrial design.
April 10, 2013 at 7:57AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
If the purpose of mounting this under a camera is to not have to deal with a cage, it would be useful if it had a few cold shoe or 1/4" 20 holes on it to attach some wireless receivers
April 10, 2013 at 8:22AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
If it proves to be a good preamp and can give me clean audio the features well justify the Premium. I am definately going to put it on the radar for my Scarlet.
April 10, 2013 at 8:43AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
I preordered mine from B&H and it's supposed to arrive Friday. I'm hoping it lives up to expectations.
April 10, 2013 at 9:04AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
Wait. $350 is being considered expensive?
April 10, 2013 at 9:37AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
Yeah, I don't understant. It looks to be a much better piece of equipment than the DR100 MkII (although it doesn't have microphones, but most of us won't ever really use them for production) and it cost almos exactly the same (prices vary from time to time and seller to seller).
I'm kinda a little excited about it, let's hope the sound quality is up to par.
April 10, 2013 at 10:38AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
I don't know if anyone else does this kind of work, but this will be fantastic for wedding ceremonies. I've been using a DR-40 + Audio Technica and syncing up in post. The DR-40 does in my pocket and just looks like a mess all around. This looks like something I will be picking up in the future, as the ability to mount on a FlyCam or monopod seems invaluable.
April 10, 2013 at 11:43AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
Looks good. I wonder if it comes with the strap for those occasional times when I'm hired to be a boom op/sound guy. (Also wondering how much I can get for a used H4N.)
April 10, 2013 at 1:16PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
Awesome. The B&H tour was so informative. The ONLY thing I would like to see is an additional model with 4 XLR/1/4" jacks to turn it into a truly pro field mixer/recorder. But for me this one would work beautifully 90% of the time and I wouldn't change a thing. Assuming the preamps are as good as we all hope they are, this is an incredibly useful and reasonably priced piece of gear.
April 10, 2013 at 3:20PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
Hope they put more effort into it than the promo. Yeesh! NYFA class project?
April 10, 2013 at 3:57PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
Yeah, that wasn't good.
April 10, 2013 at 5:12PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
Thanks to NoFilmSchool and Fresh DV for all the great NAB reporting. Sorry in advance for the long post, but here's my 48 cents on the Tascam DR-60D.
I don't have mine yet, but it's on order. I took a look at this unit at NAB today (been trying to get to the Tascam booth all week, but there's plenty of fun things to look at) and I think it's going to be awesome. Like many of you, I have an H4N... I have a love/hate relationship with that little POS. I also want to throw it off a cliff from time to time, especially when the batteries go dead much faster than they have in any other previous time using it and it corrupts your file because it's stupid and doesn't close the file every few seconds. For this reason in particular I was in the market for a new recorder if one came along that looked good. Here's a few reasons I think this recorder is worth the "expensive" list price... all $350, but it's probably worth a hell of a lot more.
1. There are knobs that you can turn to control the volume of each channel (except ch 3/4 that come in on an 1/8" trs - there is one knob to control both ch 3/4 simultaneously, however you can go into a menu and adjust 3 or 4 independently). The only problem is that the knobs might be a little easy to bump, depending on your mounting location. There is a lock function, but since these are controlling analogue functions the digital lock switch cannot override this, so the volume can still be adjusted even with the lock is on... this could actually be a benefit in disguise.
2. You can actually solo tracks to your headphones without going through a god awful mixer that takes way too long to turn down the tracks you don't want to hear at the time... all you have to do with this recorder is push the "monitor select" button and scroll to the track you want to listen to and click it... that's all you'll hear. Boom, channel 3 only! Now you can find out if that hiss is in your lav or your boom right away.
3. I'm told by the Tascam sales rep that the recorder closes off the file every 5 seconds so if your battery dies, worst case scenario your out the last 5 seconds of audio, not your entire take (anyone want to buy a very gently used Zoom H4n with accessories?). Oh, this recorder also takes 4AA batteries so you have longer record times (you can use NiMH batteries too - rechargeables rule... quit throwing your money away on alkaline) and you can get an optional battery pack deal that will take 6 AA's for up to 15 hours of record time! Did I mention that there's also a usb jack that can power the unit??? So if you adapt a larger battery to power over usb you'll have a ridiculous amount of record time.
4. Slate function.... you can quickly push a button and send a 1K tone to your camera and the audio recorder each time you start a take. Anyone have problems with sync reference points? Not anymore if you remember to push the button. This will also double as a volume reference to calibrate your camera to the audio recorder if you're passing the signal directly to your camera and recording there too (redundancy is good).
5. I actually like that it doesn't have any mics on the unit itself. This recorder is not meant for that and it streamlines the unit... hmm, maybe on second thought I'll keep my H4N after all. It's punishment for sucking at being dependable will be to record long, boring lectures that I have to attend.
6. I'm told that the preamps in the unit are the newest and best Tascam currently makes. I've used their products before (hello DA-P1... goodbye DA-P1 - that's a joke for those of you who remember DATs... tape, what?) and they sounded decent then, so I expect these will be quite usable too. Don't expect them to compete with Sound Devices, that's not the price you're paying.
Despite my glowing review, I don't work for Tascam. My favorite audio company is Sound Devices, but if they made a recorder like this it would cost upwards of $1000.00. I'm just another dude that's been shooting with DSLR's and wishing that the sound wouldn't be such a pain in the ass and suck so hard. C'mon Tascam, my fingers are crossed that this unit does everything the way it's supposed to. Please don't suck like my H4N.
The only downside I see right now is the size... it's a little bigger than I had hoped, but you do have 2 full sized XLR's on the recorder and those take a little bit of space (which is why I'm glad they didn't put 4 on there, it would be huge)... I guess they could have used 1/4" jacks to make the recorder smaller, but that would be STUPID (hello Black Magic???? use industry standard, balanced connectors with your products. I'm sure everyone would be okay with the BMCC being an inch larger if it had XLR's and we didn't have to use more adapters!!! You're pocket camera's cool though, I like it just the way it is.... although c-mount lenses would be more pocketable... but no electronics)
April 10, 2013 at 9:03PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
"My favorite audio company is Sound Devices, but if they made a recorder like this it would cost upwards of $1000.00"
.......they could make it for $120 but they'll sell it for $1200, they may not know it yet but they're a dying company, I don't see a Sound Devices in 5 years time if they keep charging what they do, there is nothing custom / proprietary with the chasis of the 788T and the 664 etc.
Their pricing is circa 2005 and components are a heck of a lot cheaper, they use the best preamps available for sure no argument there and the third party that provides those preamps to SD and to you if you like charges $6.80 each preamp that's right they're under a tenner!
Sound Devices got their start from Shure and they had a good run but they're now firewire, they're on their way unless they drastically change this crazy markup strategy.
Professional technology is now more attainable than ever thanks to companies like Black Magic Design.
April 18, 2013 at 4:47AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
sorry should have read "there is nothing custom / proprietary UNDER the chasis of the 788T and the 664 etc
April 18, 2013 at 4:48AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
I will totally buy this once I can hear some real world test. $350 on a recorder that does all this is cheap! Just hope the sound is film worthy!!!
April 12, 2013 at 2:45AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
I'm surprised there's no mention of the quality of the preamps in this unit... that is most likely the biggest concern that almost any one would have of a digital field recorder and how well it performs when recording dialogue for TV / movies.
April 17, 2013 at 9:23AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
this is like a Sound Devices mixpre-d with the ability to record...now why didn't Sound Devices do this, nice one Tascam!
Okay so we've had Zoom release the new R6, Tascam just stepped up with their DR-60D, AND Sony is expected to unveil their new recorders in the next couple of weeks, a model which supersedes the discontinued PCM-D50 and a new offering rumored to be a recorder/mixer not unlike the Sound Devices 664 but for a price tag of under $1000! bring it on!!!
Then we are also hearing reports of a Black Magic Audio Recorder BMAR! good times comin'
April 18, 2013 at 4:34AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
Hope the preamps are up to the task. Makes it possible to put a decent field system together for a couple of grand counting mic (s), headphones, cable, wireless, boom, stands, echo buffers, and gaffers/grip stuff. My goal is to have a minimal pro level sound system that, with my direction, an assistant can operate with some training. As an "old guy" going way back to shooting 16mm good sound is the hardest part for me of making a decent production. I've got to say I'd rather see them spend money on the preamp section than those imitation rack handles. If they are suppose to face guards they should run around the entire perimeter.
April 18, 2013 at 7:45AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
Waiting to find out the price for the new Zoom H6 to see if this is worth it.....
April 20, 2013 at 10:04PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
Despite the fact that it is a beautiful piece of electronics, on my 5th use (with the same mic cable each time) the XLR input clip stuck and I was unable to remove the XLR.
When I finally did get the XLR out the clip was bent and I'm afraid that putting another XLR in will be locked in permanently.
As I bout this from USA, Tascam Australia will not repair it. I have been told by Tascam USA that since I don't live in the USA they will not repair it and send it back to me.
If I had bought this recorder from Australia (by the way it's not yet available in Australia) and then traveled over seas for a job and had a problems with it, Tascam would not authorise the repair unless I sent it back to Australia, leaving me high and dry with out a recorder?
(This is a big concern as I do travel on video projects)
If video is a hobby, you may consider this a great piece of equipment, though probably too expensive for a hobbyist.
But I can not consider nor recommend this as a professional product. Due to the likelihood that the XLR input clips could get stuck at any time and render the DR-60D useless.
It's a shame about the XLR input clips.
May 15, 2013 at 4:24PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
We just bought 2 of the TASCAM DR-60D units and we are using them with the C300 by Canon and the 5DMKIII, as well as the Canon 60D. They work flawlessly and we are planning on buying 2 more next month. They simply make audio for film work so much easier and the pre's are very quite. Last night we used on on a live concert hooked up to a 48 channel audio console and it sounded FANTASTIC on playback in the studio after the fact. TASCAM really did their home work on this unit. I believe the H4N has now seen it's day thanks to TASCAM. If you can afford the extra cash, you won't regret it, it is the cat's meow for audio in the Video Production business. We love it.
June 6, 2013 at 10:31PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
Hi! Did you try it in a soft spoken interview setting? I am planning to get it but being new to audio I am concerned about the sound quality. I was thinking of the Rode NTG-2 but after reading a few reviews I am concerned that it won't perform well with Tascam Dr-60R. What shotgun mice do you use?
July 9, 2013 at 11:38AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
i wonder what the preamps will be like on the Zoom H6 next month - 6XLR inputs for not that much more $$...
June 17, 2013 at 8:19AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
October 26, 2013 at 3:07AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
Excellent recorder for the price. Mic pres are 'low noise' and fine for my custom DPA4060's used in binaural mode. (I also have an ageing DAP1 (DAT), which this is replacing). The strap bars and top mounting plate can be quickly removed making it easier to pocket. Detailed technical reviews of this product suggest nothing really gained sonically using 24 bit files, so use 16 bit and enjoy the larger file size available, with longer record times.
April 11, 2014 at 11:04PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
I've been searching for a way to power DR-60D for long time shooting. There is the 6 battery pack for $35 + Sanyo Eneloop batteries for $30 + Smart Charger for $35 (& up).. TOTAL of about $95.
I've also been wondering about the Gomadic battery + charger for the DR-100 MKII (link below). Does anyone have any thoughts on using this for DR-60D for long time shooting? Thanks!
May 26, 2014 at 7:54PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
Gomadic External Battery Charger for $25.
There is also the Gomadic Intelligent Compact AC Home Wall Charger suitable for the Tascam DR-100 MKII. I wonder if this would also work with DR-60D (?) -- for about $20
May 26, 2014 at 8:00PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
exactly,i agree with you 100%.most post n this item dont know how to record sound.im a sound guy who uses old field ENG equipment and your right,the handheld devices need a preamp run along with it to have average audio come out of it.the dr40 and zoom h4n in point.im using the dr60 now and have a shure fp33 running along with it.even the old sony dat recorders had good sound as the h4n.so yes you have a great point.
June 9, 2014 at 1:42PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM