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Tascam DR‑07X

Stereo Digital Recorder / USB Audio Interface
By Tom Flint

This updated entry-level pocket recorder doubles up as a USB audio interface for computers and iOS devices.

While smartphones may have sent the Dictaphone the way of the dodo, many pro and amateur recordists still have need of a convenient, compact portable WAV recorder with hardware controls and either decent onboard mics or XLR mic preamps that can supply 48V phantom power for professional external mics. And when it comes to convenience, while some of us might be happy lugging around an all-singing, all-dancing multitrack machine, others want a 'pocket recorder' — a device that literally fits in your pocket and is small enough to hold comfortably in one hand. That's a need Tascam's DR‑07X and DR‑05X aim to meet.

Tascam DR‑07XThey replace the DR‑07MkII and DR‑05 in Tascam's range of portable recorders, and the idea is that everything a user needs to make a decent-quality basic audio recording is already built into these compact and lightweight devices. To make this possible in such a small package, neither recorder offers XLR inputs or 48V phantom power, and the onboard mics are permanently attached to the recorders. Although that's not always as convenient as using mics that can be independently positioned close to a sound source, the position of the DR‑07X's mics can be adjusted to change the stereo image. And should you not need even that functionality, the less expensive DR‑05X's mics are fixed in place. Indeed, the mics and their impact on the form factor of the two devices are the only things that differentiate the two models. (Here I'll focus mainly on the DR‑07X, and explain the differences between the two in more detail in the separate box.)

And despite the lack of XLR inputs, both models retain their predecessors' stereo 3.5-mm mini-jack socket. Intended primarily for connecting lavalier mics, there are nonetheless other external mics that can be connected in this way. (I should also mention that if you do have need of a more feature-rich device, Tascam's range includes several more sophisticated models, with features ranging from XLR mic preamps with phantom power to multitrack recording.)

Tascam haven't attempted to reduce the size of the DR‑07X compared with it's predecessor; it remains a bit fatter, longer and wider than my 10 year-old Olympus LS-5. But then it doesn't really need to be smaller; the DR‑07X is still nice to hold and remains shorter and narrower than a typical smartphone. Importantly, Tascam's design is at the same time spacious and quite minimal — it should appeal to people who favour simplicity and clarity, but it also has one main benefit of larger devices, in that there's plenty of space for the controls and buttons.

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Published January 2020