Tascam DR-60D – dedicated, lightweight DSLR audio recorder

March 31st, 2013

Tascam DR-60D Audio Recorder
Compact music & audio recorders have been the HDSLR filmmakers solution to recording sync sound with their DSLR, but none of them have been dedicated specifically for DSLR. This is how an audio recording device looks like that had a DSLR in mind during its creation.

When you’re using DSLR’s for your film-making then this newly announced audio recorder, the only of its kind so far, deserves a look.

dr-60d_w_dslr_rigTascam has made some famous portable audio recorders, but like anything that has to work with DSLR there’s usually some tinkering, workaround or limitation involved which already starts when mounting a bulky recorder with the cables sticking out at all the wrong places to your rig .

dr-60d_w_kameraWith the DR-60D Tascam tried to make a device that is lightweight and fits to your rig. If the setup as displayed on the left is the ideal place to put such a recorder is a valid question, but luckily there are more mounting points: The supposedly “rugged” DR-60D can also be mounted underneath the camera.

dr-60d_m_input_1_2_3-4So what else makes this thing special other than the form factor?
Well apparently they packed several features into the device to make shooting on a DSLR as convenient as they could. For example the DR-60D comes with an internal “digital slate” that will stamp a film-slate like sound on your track for better syncing.
Another feature is a dedicated 3.5mm output for your DSLR that has a dial to adjust volume, rubber buttons for silent operation, and there are two dedicated channels aside from the lockable XLR/TRS inputs that accept high powered video mic’s, among other things.
And there’s a limiter and mixer included (both very convenient features at times).

Those might not be the most ground braking or new features around, but it’s sure nice to have them conveniently packed into a device that is aimed at an ergonomic workflow and records your audio in high quality 96khz 24bits onto SD media.

Most important specifications:

  • SD/SDHC media
  • Simultaneously records up to 4 tracks
  • Recording format:16/24bit、44.1/48/96kHz (WAV/BWF)
  • Recording levels can be adjusted independently for the 1/L, 2/R and 3-4 inputs
  • Two XLR/TRS inputs support +4dBu line level input and phantom power supply (24/48V)
  • Plug-in power supply and high-output mic input supported on input 3-4
  • CAMERA OUT connector for output from the DR-60D’s mixer
  • CAMERA IN connector for sound monitoring from the Camera
  • Independent LINE OUT connector and HEADPHONE output for high-quality sound output
  • Tripod mounting threads (bottom) and DSLR screw attachment (top)
  • Handles protect the screen and can be used to attach a shoulder strap
  • Soft-Touch Rubber Keys for silent operation
  • Operates on 4 AA batteries, an AC adapter (sold separately) or USB bus power
  • Internal mixer: PAN and LEVEL controls
  • Low cut filter(40/80/120Hz)
  • Limiter (1/L and 2/R can be selected for link-operation)
  • Delay function for distance of microphones adjustments (+/-150ms)
  • Slate tone generator (AUTO/MANUAL)
  • Dual recording function allows two files to be recorded simultaneously at different levels
  • Auto-record function can automatically start and stop recording at set level
  • Pre-recording function allows the unit to record a 2 second sound buffer before recording is activated
  • Self timer function for solo recording
  • Equalizers function for playback, and level alignment function to enhance the perceived overall sound pressure
  • and more…

For a full list of features visit Tascam’s website: LINK

The device is available for pre-order and costs $349.

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Erich
Erich
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September 24th, 2013

Mi camara es sony nex vg30, la unica entrada de audio externa que tiene es la del microfono, siendo asi, este grabador seria, por si solo compatible con mi camara, o requiere de algo mas que haga que la entrada del microfono sea modificada tal vez por un compresor externo que baje la señal y la convierta en entrada de audio el tradicional IN/Audio

Matthew C. Abourezk
Guest
July 17th, 2013

Does anyone know how to record to mono tracks using two mics?

I’m so used to the H4n, you tell the h4n you are recording all mono and you are good to go.

With the DR-60, there is no apparent way to tell the thing that I want to record two individual mono tracks, one from each mic…. help?

Johnny
Johnny
Guest
August 4th, 2013

It’s in the manual Lolita have done it.

 Johnny Wu
Member
July 8th, 2013

I ordered mine. Will test it out tomorrow :) so off topic. What plate is that used to have the dslr and the tascam side by side? I would love to get that.

Al B.
Al B.
Guest
April 26th, 2013

Just to be clear, as my last post needed to be edited. All the batteries that I used showed as between a low of 1.4 Volts (I would not test using anything less than that) and 1.46 volts on the meter. That the DR-60d doesn’t use Lithiums, seems to show that using 4 1.5V AAs seems to be underpowering the unit. I could not match the specs in the manual this morning, even with the unit just sitting there.

sam
sam
Guest
May 8th, 2013
Reply to  Al B.

@ Al B.

You might have figured this out already, but for the sake of completeness…
The unit DOES in fact accept Lithium batteries. You only have to change a setting somewhere from alkaline to lithium. They use some calculations to show te battery level, and if they measure a battery level of, say, 1.4 volts, this is quite low for an alkaline battery and they ‘assume’ it must be nearly empty. So just change this setting and it should be working ok.

If it still doesn’t maybe you have a faulty unit.

Al B.
Al B.
Guest
April 26th, 2013

Initial comments on opening the box: The DR-60D does not use Lithium batteries. Won’t even run on them. After installing 4 AA’s all reading better than 2.2 volts (meaning fresh to me!) the unit only showed 2 out of 3 bars for power, and within 5 minutes had dropped to 1 bar. (!). I pulled the batteries, less than 10 minutes after installing them, and they read around 2.10. This is an immediate fail situation, and I will send the unit back. The power draw on this will not survive a field situation, IMHO. Too bad. The unit is quite small, fits in the palm of my hand. very lightweight even with batteries installed. Mounts pretty well, not as strong a mounting bracket as the SD Mixpre-d. All in all, Tascam has to get the power requirements in line with normal field needs before this is a winner. Outcome? No good.

Al B.
Al B.
Guest
April 26th, 2013

I just got mine in the mail from B&H. My goal this weekend is to see if it’s possible to replace my SD Mix-preD and Marantz PM661. I really want to do away with the pm661 if possible (it’s a great recorder though). If the 60D can produce close the quality that these two produce, it will be a winner. I find that for run and gun, I usually rely on a camcorder unit, but often shoot with my 5Dmkiii and the Mixpre-D attached. I don’t expect to carry the 60D off the tripod or monopod, like I sometimes do with the Mixpre-d. I’ll report back on what the outcome is.

Tony U.
Tony U.
Guest
April 2nd, 2013

I’m about to purchase a Tascam DR-100 MKII but I saw this new release so I’ve paused to take a look before I buy. I’m not sure the DR-60D will be the best fit for me. The weight is almost twice as much as the DR-100 MKII and the battery life doesn’t seem to be nearly as long. I don’t really need 4 channels of audio for field purposes. I plan to run a Sescam cable out of the recorder straight into a 5D MKII. The audio looped through the recorder seems to be acceptable in most cases and you can use the sound from the recorder and sync if necessary. I’m just curious to see if the preamp is better in the 60D.

Sebastian Wöber
Sebastian Wöber
Guest
April 2nd, 2013
Reply to  Tony U.

We will take a look at the device when we’re at NAB early next. I agree that the form factor is not ideal, but this is a unit that has to be tested to know if it works. Concerning the weight this is still a lightweight unit even though it’s heavier than other portable recorders that have almost no weight.

Chris Quevedo
Member
April 1st, 2013

i don’t know if i’d call this lightweight. looks like its the same as attaching something the weight of a camera to the bottom (or side, whatever) of your camera.
i want one when the money happens, but light weight may be misleading

Dan
Dan
Guest
April 1st, 2013

whoops! pardon the scraps of my comment left at the bottom of my comment.

Was not trying to rant, just rambling perhaps. Thanks all. :-)

Dan
Dan
Guest
April 1st, 2013

This is going to sound naive, but could someone explain to me why audio recording devices need to be so large and cumbersome in the first place? When I think of what the camera captures, in terms of size and complexity (in addition to the audio) and compare it to the something that just manipulates audio, it seems like we shoudl be able to fit audio into something much much smaller. What am I missing?

When I read that this was ‘compact’ and ‘made with DSLR shooters in mind’ I was not thinking of a cube, the size of the camera itself, clinging onto the side of the dslr with cables jutting out the side.

These shoulder rigs are becoming less and less practical for field use and more akin to hoisting a fragile frankensteined pile of electronics on your shoulder.

The features of this device sound phenomenal, and hats off to the team, but it’s adding a lot of bulk to already crowded shoulder real estate. I mean look at that shoulder rig photo. Can you tell me you’d actually be able to get something done with that set up outside of a studio? I applaud the dslr revolution as we all do, but when we can’t think of something other than a box to attach to another box, it makes me wonder if anyone is thinking of the guy who has to work with this thing.

a device who’s sole purpose is to capture a relatively small stream of audio media must be so large, boxy and entirely not ‘compact’? I mean,

Alex
Alex
Guest
October 24th, 2013
Reply to  Dan

No offense but “just audio”? Audio is just as complex as video. Keep in mind this is a 24bit, 96Khz recorder. I am primarily audio guys but I appreciate the complexity of video. I think you should also take some time to learn more about audio. I don’t have this particular unit but I also have a 24bit, 96khz recorder that’s bigger than a suitcase. Granted it’s a 10in/8out machine but I hope you get my point. You can find smaller units out there but not with these specs. Think of it this way, this recorder is a DSLR while smaller units are point and shoot cameras. Lastly, audio is not a “relatively small stream.” An hour long 24bit 96Khz audio wav file is around 2.0736 Gigabytes. That’s not exactly small is it?

Saeed Nasiri
Saeed Nasiri
Guest
April 1st, 2013

Yes its big but being huge has nothing to do with weight !!!
Also, I guess they compare it to pro recorders with these capability set like this !!! Remember it also provides Phantom power which is unusual for small size recorders !!!
I looks to be a good device with great features @ a reasonable price, considering the brand :)

PeterK
PeterK
Guest
March 31st, 2013

I heard it’s about 1.2lbs so it’s not exactly what I’d call lightweight either. For what it is I’m sure it’s the smallest unit ever and if my only job was sound I’d probably love it but trying to mount that onto my DSLR and run around with it just seems cumbersome. I also heard it only gets about 2hrs battery life but that’s with its phantom power on.

But I want to like this because it seems really useful and cheaper than a JuicedLink Riggy micro 222($330) with a Zoom H1 ($100) combination.

I’d be interested to find out how “clean” this unit’s pre-amp is, ever since JuicedLink proved that their pre-amps are cleaner than the H4n and DXA SLR Pro I’ve been sold on them.

Chung Dha Lam
Guest
March 31st, 2013

lightweight what that thing is as huge as the camera they need to downsize it more before they call it lightweight.

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