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Tascam Portacapture X6

Portable Multitrack Recorder By Chris Timson
Published June 2023

Tascam Portacapture X6

The Portacapture X6 makes Tascam’s touchscreen approach to mobile recording more portable and affordable than ever.

I had the privilege of reviewing Tascam’s Portacapture X8 a year ago (SOS May 2022) and thought it a fine piece of kit — I was sufficiently impressed to part with my own money and buy one. Consequently, I was very willing to give its newer, smaller stablemate the X6 a try when offered the chance. It’s very tempting to review a device like this in terms of its differences from the earlier model, but that would be doing the X6 a disservice so, instead, I shall consider the X6 on its own terms and then discuss the differences later.


What we have here is a portable recorder that can record up to four separate tracks simultaneously, plus a stereo mix track based on the first four (hence the ‘6’ in the name). That’s two from the in‑built mics and two from the balanced XLR inputs on the left‑hand side. Like the X8, the X6 is capable of 32‑bit floating‑point A‑D conversion and recording, the chief advantage of which is that even if you pay no attention to the preamp gain you can capture a clean signal, whose level can be adjusted in post‑production.

At the top of the recorder, the in‑built mics provide inputs 1 and 2. These are not detachable but they can be rotated to form either X‑Y or A‑B stereo arrays. Directly below, on the front panel, is a very small speaker. As ever, no high‑fidelity prizes for this but it’s a useful tool to confirm that what you recorded is what you thought you recorded. Below that is the 2.4‑inch colour touchscreen that, as with its big brother, lies at the heart of this machine’s functionality.

At the bottom of the front panel, below the screen, is a set of transport buttons, and the stop control doubles up as a Home button for the software GUI. A thumb wheel is used for fine adjustment of input levels and virtual faders, and a Mark button sets markers on the recording, to facilitate fast navigation. There’s also a useful menu button that I wish had been included on the X8 as well (oops... I said I was going to avoid comparisons!).

The left‑hand side of the recorder has inputs 3 and 4, the aforementioned XLR microphone sockets. These are, of course, capable of supplying 48V phantom power. Next to those are two 3.5mm TRS mini‑jack sockets. The first provides two channels of line input as an alternative to the XLR inputs 3 or 4, or it can be configured for the connection of a mono or stereo mic using plug‑in power, again as an alternative to the XLR inputs, and useful for lavalier mics and the like. The second provides a stereo line output to other equipment. Together, these two sockets can provide connectivity to a video camera if required, and there are configuration settings to support this usage. Next there’s a headphone socket and, finally, a pair of plus/minus buttons that control the volume of the headphone socket and the internal speaker.

The right‑hand side has a slot for the micro‑SD card (not included; up to 512GB micro‑SDXC models are supported). There’s a USB‑C port that both acts as an external power inlet (you’ll need to provide your own PSU for that) and caters for file transfer to/from a computer. There’s also the on/off/hold switch. The end just has a slot for the optional Bluetooth adaptor, and peak and recording indicators. Underneath, a quarter‑inch threaded insert enables mounting on a camera tripod; if you’d prefer a mic stand then adaptors are widely available.

The Portacapture X6 comes with a decent, printed ‘get you going’ manual but if you want to really learn the ins and out of this machine you’ll need to download the full reference manual from the Tascam website.

The Portacapture X6 can capture two external mics, with the XLRs capable of delivering phantom power and the stereo mini‑jack input capable of plug‑in power.The Portacapture X6 can capture two external mics, with the XLRs capable of delivering phantom power and the stereo mini‑jack input capable of plug‑in power.

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