TASCAM DR-70D Review – 4-channel LPCM recorder for DSLR cameras

In the beginning, we note that this recorder is suitable not only for DSLR cameras, but also for movie cameras. And also you can easily use them without any cameras and external microphones, because it has its own built-in microphone caps for stereo recording. The manufacturer positions TASCAM DR-70D for a wide audience – for professionals and for fans to shoot video on cameras. Often in cameras everything is “done” so that the user never uses built-in capabilities. Here you can complain about the high noise of the microphone input, and on, often unremovable automatic recording level control and the inability to pre-listen with the headphones. In some models this has already been eliminated, but other problems remain. For example, you can not record several channels at once, it’s very difficult to connect professional equipment with XLR or TRS connectors, level adjustment, and even if it’s available, it’s inconvenient. The gain margin is either limited or the input has excessive sensitivity. The sound indication is either absent or interferes with the operator. The sound is recorded most often in the AAC inside the MP4 file with a low bitrate and mediocre quality.

TASCAM DR-70D
Portable models of handheld recorders, for example, from the TASCAM described today, can solve a large number of the problems listed above. The main limitations of manual models are the number of recording channels and the duration of autonomous work. they are well suited to the amateur and a single shooting. For more professional work, when the work shift lasts the whole daylight hours, it is better to choose a more suitable model, such as the TASCAM DR-70D. The good news is that the price of this recorder remains affordable for the mass user.
TASCAM DR-70D
First of all, the TASCAM DR-70D can offer mounting on a tripod under the camera. To do this, the body has a special metal plate with a mounting wheel. If you remove this plate, under it is a shoe. It also allows you to install the recorder on top of the camera, without losing the ability to install, for example, a wireless receiver or camera light.


TASCAM DR-70D
The weight of the recorder is 520 g without batteries, which is quite acceptable. Such weight due to the metal frame inside, although recorder top has a thin plastic shell having a decorative purpose.
TASCAM DR-70D
Microphone preamps of its own proprietary design, on transistors. The manufacturer calls all its HDDA (High Definition Discrete Architecture) preamps, but in each product the implementation is significantly different. The manufacturer promises inherent noise of the preamplifier -120 dBu. The Cirrus Logic ADC is the same as that used in the DR series of handheld PCM recorders. As the op amp, the JRC 4580 is used. Thus, hardware is much better than in a typical camera and is somewhere at the level of mass audio interfaces. As for the declared characteristics, they traditionally look scary for the recorder:>92 dB signal / noise, <0.02% distortion. According to our measurements, the signal-to-noise ratio in the LOW amplification position reaches 103 dB. It is not very clear what caused such a high percentage of distortions. According to our measurements, the main contribution is made by 2 and 3 harmonics. Distortions strongly depend on the level of the signal and can vary significantly in the higher and lower side.
TASCAM DR-70D
On the side panel there are very interesting connectors. 2.5 mm REMOTE connector allows you to connect two proprietary optional (not included) wired remote control. The EXT IN 1/2 jack allows you to connect a standard, DSLR-compatible microphone – it’s quite possible that the camera owner already has one in the collection. Very interesting connectors IN and OUT. Allow you to connect the headphone output of the camera for monitoring and connect the end-to-end sound recording to the camera. It will allow you to easily automatically synchronize the video and audio track in the editing program.
3.5 minijack connector for headphones has next to an analog level control. The miniUSB connector allows you to power the recorder from a standard 5V USB power adapter or from any portable charger for smartphones.
TASCAM DR-70D
The power-on slider requires holding for a few seconds, so the recorder can not be turned off accidentally. There is also the HOLD position. The main inputs of the recorder, their 4 pieces, are made on combo XLR-TRS connectors. Only microphones are connected on the XLR, only linear sources are used by TRS. The sensitivity of the inputs is controlled stepwise, in the recorder menu. There is a phantom power supply. You can choose 48V or low voltage to save batteries.
TASCAM DR-70D
There are two microphone caps in front. They can be assigned to any inputs or not used. Microphones are exactly the same as other DR recorders, so they have the same good recording quality. It will be quite expensive to buy a pair of microphones separately, but you can put it anywhere.
TASCAM DR-70D
A special SLATE button is on the front panel. It writes to a file and sends a pilot tone of 1000 Hz -12 dB, for 1 second, to the linear output. It facilitates the subsequent synchronization of the captured video and sound from the recorder. There is a rotary knob with a tap to move through the menu. The menu is quite simple and straightforward. You can listen to the recorded file. There is a mode of operation of the recorder as a USB drive for reading files. There is no sound card mode in this model. The level controls are rather hefty, but they do not have to be adjusted very often. Among the recording modes are all up to 24 bits 96 kHz.
TASCAM DR-70D favorably differs from the previous support for large SDHC drives up to 128 GB. The manual describes some kind of proprietary file format, when 4 channels are written in one file. In our instance, with standard settings, the recorder writes in two WAV files at once, 12 channels into one file, 34 channels into the second one. Very convenient. No headache with incompatibility. Standard WAV opens in any software!
We tested the line input of the recorder by sending a signal from the balanced outputs of Lynx Aurora 8.

TASCAM DR-70D test report in RightMark Audio Analyzer

The tested device TASCAM DR-70D
Operating mode 24-bit, 44 kHz
Sound interface ASIO
Signal route External loopback (line-out – line-in)
RMAA version 6.4.1 PRO
Filter 20 Hz – 20 kHz YES
Signal Conditioning YES
Level change -3.4 dB / -3.4 dB
MONO mode YES
Calibration frequency, Hz 1000
Polarity correct / correct

Summary

Uneven frequency response (in the range 40 Hz – 15 kHz), dB
+ 0.04, -0.14
Very good
Noise level, dB (A)
– 95.3
Great
Dynamic range, dB (A)
95.2
Great
Harmonic distortion,%
0.035
Good
Harmonic distortion + noise, dB (A)
– 66.6
Medium
Intermodulation distortions + noise,%
0.035
Good
Crosstalk, dB
– 96.3
Great
Intermodulation at 10 kHz,%
0.060
Good
Overall Rating
Very good

Frequency response

TASCAM DR-70D frequency response

Left
Right
From 20 Hz to 20 kHz, dB
– 0.74, +0.04
– 0.77, +0.06
From 40 Hz to 15 kHz, dB
– 0.13, +0.04
– 0.14, +0.06

Noise level

TASCAM DR-70D Noise level

Left
Right
RMS power, dB
– 94.4
– 93.7
RMS power, dB (A)
– 95.4
– 95.2
Peak level, dB
– 80.8
– 80.6
DC offset,%
– 0.0
– 0.0

Dynamic Range

TASCAM DR-70D Dynamic Range

Left
Right
Dynamic range, dB
+ 94.3
+ 93.8
Dynamic range, dB (A)
+ 95.4
+ 95.2
DC offset,%
– 0.00
– 0.00

Harmonic distortion + noise (-3 dB)

TASCAM DR-70D Harmonic distortion + noise (-3 dB)

Left
Right
Harmonic distortion,%
+ 0.0347
+ 0.0348
Harmonic distortion + noise,%
+ 0.0350
+ 0.0351
Harmonic distortion + noise (A),%
+ 0.0464
+ 0.0465

Intermodulation distortion

TASCAM DR-70D Intermodulation distortion

Left
Right
Intermodulation distortions + noise,%
+ 0.0349
+ 0.0352
Intermodulation distortion + noise (A),%
+ 0.0294
+ 0.0295

Crosstalk

TASCAM DR-70D Crosstalk

Left
Right
Crosstalk at 100 Hz, dB
– 95
– 96
Crosstalk at 1000 Hz, dB
– 95
– 95
Crosstalk at 10,000 Hz, dB
– 94
– 93

Intermodulation distortion (variable frequency)

Интермодуляционные искажения TASCAM DR-70D

Left
Right
Intermodulation distortion + noise at 5000 Hz,
0.0704
0.0701
Intermodulation distortions + noise at 10,000 Hz,
0.0518
0.0512
Intermodulation distortion + noise at 15000 Hz,
0.0587
0.0575

Test results

The results are quite typical for low-cost models of portable recorders. If you raise the recording level, you can overclock the signal / noise to 103 dB, but the distortion will increase to 0.1%. However, no one will record at the maximum level. Usually on the recorder the reserve for peaks is taken at least 12 dB. Therefore, this synthetic can not be dramatized. This is not a studio rack-based ADC.

Conclusions

TASCAM DR-70D is a very well-designed video recorder at an affordable price in a light and strong body. Its main advantage is the possibility of a long recording of 4 channels at a time. This is a great addition to the video capabilities of any camera. Mounting on a tripod with the camera and all the interface functions are also well thought out. There are even two built-in quality microphones for stereo recording. In all other respects, the model follows the popular TASCAM handheld recorders.

Tascam DR-70d Review and comparison with Tascam DR-60d Test

TASCAM DR-70D price. Where is the best place to buy?

The recommended retail price of the TASCAM DR-70D in the US is $299 dollars. At this cost, you can order it on Amazon. I would not recommend ordering anywhere else except on Amazon. Since you are less likely to find cheaper, and if you do not take into account the fact that Amazon is probably the most reliable online store, it still very often provides free shipping.

Summary
TASCAM DR-70D review & test of LPCM recorder for DSLR cameras
Article Name
TASCAM DR-70D review & test of LPCM recorder for DSLR cameras
Description
Detailed review & test in RMAA of 4-channel LPCM recorder for DSLR cameras - TASCAM DR-70D. Video review & comparison with Tascam DR-60d. Best price
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