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Tascam DR-40X

Portable Recorder 
& USB Audio Interface
By Matt Houghton

Tascam DR-40X

Featuring four-track recording, overdubbing and mixing facilities, this handy recorder promises more than most...

If the DR-40X looks familiar, don't worry, you're not going mad — it looks very like the DR-40 that Tom Flint reviewed in February 2012 (https://sosm.ag/tascam-dr40). Tascam have refreshed the whole DR range, though. The LCD screens have been improved, with a strong (though not garish) white backlight that makes it easy to read in different light conditions, and support for higher-capacity SD cards (up to 128GB). These recorders also now double up as stereo USB 2.0 audio interfaces (class-compliant for Mac and iOS, with an ASIO driver for Windows). There's an entirely new model in the range too, the DR-07X. But while the smaller devices will appeal to some, SOS readers will probably be most interested in the DR-40X, reviewed here. Like its predecessor, this includes a pair of phantom-capable mic/line preamps and an on‑board stereo pair of cardioid mics, and it allows you to record all four inputs simultaneously at up to 24-bit/96kHz. There's also support for broadcast WAV files and, amongst other things, dual-level recording (so you have a lower-level backup in the event of accidental clipping), overdubbing, basic mixing, and Mid-Sides decoding. The user interface is a touch more user-friendly too.

Overview

Despite its size and light weight, the DR-40X doesn't feel flimsy. It is billed as a 'portable' recorder, rather than a handheld one, and is really intended to be mounted on a camera-tripod thread, though there's a small plastic 'tilt foot' included, should you wish to place it on a flat surface. When held in the left hand, the various hardware controls are all very easy to reach — the input level can be altered with your thumb, while your right hand presses the various top-panel buttons — but there's too much handling noise to make high-quality recordings while it's held like this. That said, the switchable (off, 40, 80, 120 Hz) high-pass filter can mitigate that to some extent, and it would be fine using it like this as a dictaphone. (When mounted, as intended, this isn't an issue.) Power comes from three AA batteries (supplied) or the Micro USB‑B port;...

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Published May 2019