Tascam's DR-2d Portable Digital Recorder brings high-resolution recording to a compact, affordable package. It offers up to 96kHz/24-bit WAV or MP3 recording to SD cards, and recordings can be transferred to computer through high-speed USB 2.0. A new dual recording feature records a copy of your audio at a lower level, so if the level suddenly jumps you have a backup instead of a distorted performance.
Record using the new built-in condenser microphones or plug in your own. You can slow down recordings without changing the pitch, and there's even a metronome and built-in speaker. The DR-2d provides hours of recording time using a pair of AA batteries. making it the perfect partner for songwriting, live performance, rehearsal or home studio recording.
- New stereo condenser microphone design with improved signal to noise ratio
- Dual recording function records a copy of your audio at a lower level, so you always have a backup in case of overload
- Up to 96kHz/24-bit WAV recording or MP3 recording modes
- Records to SD or SDHC cards
- Internal effects including reverb
- Auto-recording function starts when input exceeds a reference level
- Limiter, low cut filter and auto gain control for input
- Variable Speed Audition changes the playback speed without changing the pitch
- Loop playback mode
- USB 2.0 connection for file transfer
- 1/8" stereo microphone input
- 1/8" stereo line input
- 1/8" stereo headphone output
- 128x64 backlit LCD display
- Powered by two AA batteries or optional PS-P520 power adapter
- Built-in speaker
- Tripod attachment screw hole
- Includes wireless remote control, 2GB SD card, AA batteries and carrying pouch
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zZounds Expert Review
There are a ton of portable digital audio recorders available, and finding the right one for your specific needs can be a challenge. Tascam is a good place to start. They've been in the recording business for a long time, and have a proven track record of building musician-friendly gear. The DR-2d recorder has some unique features for a variety of audio recording applications.
What's In The Box
Tascam packages the DR-2d with a soft carry pouch, AA batteries, wireless remote control, and USB cable.
All The Ins And Outs
The DR-2d is about the same size as an iPhone, but about twice as thick. It's got a pair of onboard stereo condenser microphones, with a stereo minijack input if you want to use an external stereo microphone and a second stereo minijack for a line input. You can set the DR-2d to capture (16- or 24-bit) WAV files at 44.1, 48, or 96 kHz, or MP3 files from 32 to 320 kbps. Tascam includes some additional features to help ensure a quality recording, such as an onboard limiter, selectable low-cut filter (40, 80, or 120 Hz), automatic gain control, and auto-start/stop (based on dB threshold).
Like many handheld digital recorders, the DR-2d stores audio on reliable SD media. It supports up to 32GB cards, which is enough to hold over 15 hours at the highest resolution (24-bit/96 kHz) setting. Most recorders have a maximum file size, which can cause problems for longer recording sessions. The DR-2d lets you set the set a maximum file size depending on your needs, and you can even set it to jump to a new file if the max size is reached.
You can listen to the playback from the internal speaker, or use the miniplug headphone/line out jack for more discreet monitoring. If you need to edit your recorded files, the USB 2.0 connection makes it easy to offload to computer.
The control layout on the DR-2d is clean and straightforward, with dedicated transport buttons, six function buttons, and a selection wheel. The backlit display reveals plenty of helpful information without feeling cramped. It shows a track/record counter, file name/location, level indicators for battery life and input gain, input source, and recording resolution/sample rate. The menu system is logcial and easy to navigate; all parameters are accessible within two hops from the main screen.
Just for Musicians
Most of the features listed so far are fairly common among portable digital recorders, but the DR-2d also has some special tricks for the music-minded. First comes loop playback, which lets you designate a portion of the recorded track, then continuously plays the selected segment. This is great for practicing along with a tricky piece of music. If you're trying to work out how to play a speedy solo, the DR-2d will also let you slow the tempo of the playback without altering the pitch so you can learn it note-for-note at your own pace. If you've got the solo nailed but the singer wants to do it in a new key, you can change the pitch in half-step increments without altering the playback speed. If you're recording a rehearsal or live performance, you've probably got your hands full. You can use the included wireless remote to start and stop the DR-2d as long as the front of the remote can "see" the receiver on the front of the recorder.
The trainer features are cool, but what really makes the DR-2d special is its "Dual Recording" capability. You can set Dual Recording up in one of three different modes. First, the DR-2d will record two versions of the incoming audio signal at two different input levels. The first input level is set to the input gain, with the second level selectable from 6 or 12 dB lower than the original. Since the gain difference between the tracks is fixed, it's fairly easy to make the proper adjustments in a software editor. If parts of the original track are clipping because the gain is too hot, you can comp in parts from the secondary track. If the onboard limiter is squashing all the dynamics, you can swap with the quieter track as needed.
Mode two combines the audio from the onboard mics and the audio from the line input into a single stereo track. This is a quick way to lay a solo on top of a pre-recorded rhythm track, for example. Mode three captures the line input and the onboard microphones to separate stereo tracks (requiring twice the recording space). Set the DR-2d up out in the room at the live performance, and run a cable from the PA mix into the line input. You'll get the tightness of the board mix, plus the "air" and energy coming into the microphones. Blend them in your software DAW for a killer live track.
And, since you've got a total of two stereo streams available to you in Dual Record mode, you can set it up to overdub! Pretty slick.
Hands On The DR-2d
Since this recorder seems capable of so much, I wanted to try it out in a few different settings. After pulling it out of the box, I loaded it up with the included batteries. Be forewarned, Tascam rates the recorder at 6 hours battery life, so you may want to spring for the PS-P520 power supply if you're going to run it longer than that (or simply want to help save the planet). If you do opt for batteries, take note of the Hold switch on the back of the recorder. This will keep your batteries fresh instead of, say, accidentally hitting "Record" on the way to your studio and draining a significant portion of your battery life. Or so I've heard...
First, I used the integrated screw socket to mount the DR-2d on a standard camera tripod out a few feet in front of a set of congas. On playback, the stereo image was detailed and well balanced. I would definitely recommend toe DR-2d for recording acoustic instruments.
Next, I simulated a two-person podcast. Both voices were picked up quite well, and the audio was totally useable. I did notice a few problems with sibilance, however, leading to some distortion on the track. I tried again with external microphones, and after lowering the input gain so as to not overload the internal preamp, the distortion disappeared. The external mics extended the high frequency response a bit farther than I was getting with the onboard mics, too.
When All Is Said And Done
Overall, I found the DR-2d easy to use and was pleased with the audio I recorded. It has more features than most of the other handheld recorders in this price range, and with Tascam's history of producing musician-friendly gear, it seems like a smart choice for mobile recording.