Tascam DR-10x Review First Looks

Just got a Tascam DR-10x to play with. I was looking for something with lower handling & wind noise than the H1n, less size than the MixPre, and wasn’t concerned with stereo for a lot of what I do. $137 delivered.

Mixed bag so far, but I don’t think I’ll be sending it back. Size is awesome. Starts fairly quick even with a 32gb card. Headphone output is pretty minimal, but I wasn’t expecting much from an AAA powered device.

It is designed to work with dynamic mics. No phantom power, and there are four mic gain settings: EXT, Low, Med, High. The manual says that EXT is for ‘external input, Hot pin unbalanced.’ So, I had confined myself to the other three settings and started testing the mics I have.

Beyer M58 – Works well on low or mid gain, virtually no handling noise, but it feels like I’m holding a billy club. With the foam on it’s pretty windproof but it is comically large.

AT8004 – Lots of handling noise, best on low gain, same meh sound I always get with this mic.

SM58 – Same as the AT8004, but with better sound.

AT8010 – Hot output, even low gain can be clipped with loud talking. Low handling noise, easy to protect from wind.

ME66 – Super hot output. Low gain a must but even then useful only for quiet stuff. Really needs to be in a blimp for use outdoors.

AT8035 – Low gain is fine, reasonable handling noise for a shotgun, same as the ME66 for wind, needs a blimp.

The AT8010 was what I’d planned on using it with, and I was really hoping it would work out but even low gain was too sensitive. So I tried the EXT setting just to see, and that dropped the input by 10-20db and that solved the clipping problem, but at the expense of increased noise.

The limiter proved to be the answer. Normally I never use the limiter on inexpensive recorders because they don’t work very well, but I decided to try this one and so far the results are acceptable.

It’s small and light enough there’s no reason not to bring it. With the mic attached it fits in the bags I carry. The lack of wires and no headphones gives it sort of a film camera vibe because I have to listen back to see what I got. For what I’ll use this for I can’t make any changes anyway, so monitoring has less value.

The BWF data in the audio file includes a lot of info on the settings like mic gain level and low cut filter, auto level, and limiter settings. This is nice.

I need to use it more before I decide on the sound quality, but for now I’m thinking this is a keeper.