Tascam DR 40 4 Track Portable Digital Recorder

Is it the one For You . . .

The Tascam DR 40 4 Track Portable Digital Recorder is the best bang for your hard earned buck – it certainly has been for me! The DR 40 will be a workhorse for you too! Read on to understand why grasshopper.

 I’ve Tried Several

and finally made my way to purchase one. Not the one I originally thought of though. This surprised me but looking back and understanding now that the quality of the recorded sound was driving my decision makes sense.

OK – you may think this is more of a sales pitch rather than a review and in some ways maybe it is.

I cannot stop you from feeling that way and I assure you that you are the most important part of LRT.

I am not that guy and LRT is not the place where I will push anything on YOU, my dear follower. I do not feel that is worthy of your time or mine.

So on we go . . .

So What Did I Buy

A Tascam of course – hence the article title. And I did not settle at all. I made out just fine and then some.

My Tascam DR 40
This One’s Mine!

More specifically the Tascam DR 40. However I did like a few others. Which one is right for you – well that is up to you of course.

Why the DR 40

Simple – It fit my needs and has excellent sound quality.

My main reasons for selecting the Tascam DR 40 to add to my arsenal of equipment came down to price, size and sound quality.

I also liked the ability to record in A-B or X-Y configurations and the ability to record two simultaneous takes with one being at a lower gain.

The latter is very important to me as I like to go for the hottest signal possible and occasionally blow levels when capturing a live performance. With this feature, Dual Record Mode, I can set my level and the DR 40 will record an exact copy at a lower gain. Nice!

Though I haven’t used this feature other than to play with it the DR 40 has the ability to change the speed of a recording without changing the pitch. This could prove useful should you wish to see what a song would sound like at different tempos or to practice a hard part at a slower speed.

It Wouldn’t be a Tascam if

it didn’t have all the best multitrack and overdubbing capabilities.

In 4CH Mode I am able to use both the internal mics and two other inputs (1/4″ or XLR) to record 4 separate tracks. I found this useful at jam sessions to isolate instruments to later download to my DAW.

Overdubbing Mode works as described. For instance I laid down an acoustic guitar rhythm and while listening back to it I recorded a second acoustic lead riff.

Finally there is onboard mixing, effects and an instruments tuner! Sooo much to play with, typical for what I like to call the Pioneer of multitrack recording, a.k.a. Tascam.

Tascam DR 40 angle view
Didn’t know I am a thumb model did ya!

Buyers Remorse

Not at all, in fact just the opposite. I’d found more subtle conventions I savor about the DR 40 after I’d purchased it and become familiar with it.

The DR 40 accepts 3 AA batteries and they last super long time. I was impressed that my batteries still had a decent charge after running the unit continuously for 9 hours.

In fact I used it several times over the next several days to record bits and pieces of a song I was writing and the batteries held up throughout. I finally changed them just to be on the safe side.

The DR 40 uses SD or SDHC cards (full size not micro) which is a great savings over purchasing micro SD cards.

My DR 40 bottom view
DR 40 inputs – and my thumb again!
My Zoom Q2 HD
My Zoom Q2 HD – and that thumb


The Down Side

I wasn’t very impressed with the fact that the unit only had buttons and on-screen menus to navigate through. I grew up with knobs and love just grabbing onto one and making a quick tweak.

I really frowned upon the lack of old school controls at first. However, with a portable unit having no knobs is beneficial so I’ve found.

As I used the DR 40 in the field I became very aware of just how much I am handling the unit, moving from pocket to hand to mount and so on. This environment makes it way too easy for a knob to be inadvertently moved thus creating problems with my recordings.

I know now that Tascam was on the right track by keeping all the controls as buttons and menus. The buttons are very durable as is the entire unit.


Some specifications of the DR 40 from my user manual are as follows;

Coming Soon

Final Thoughts

No matter which PDR you go with you will certainly find it very useful both inside and outside your studio. This is a must have and is even a great starting point for a beginning recording engineer.

I also have a Zoom Q2 HD which is OK for video though is lacking in quality audio and gobbles up batteries like mad – best case scenario I get about 30 minutes out of 2 AA batteries.

As for my Tascam DR 40 4 Track Portable Digital Recorder I would not be without it. I cannot find the sound quality, price and features with any other unit on the market. Leave me a comment below and let me know what PDR you have. Ask me your question(s) I will get back to you promptly, typically the same day!




2 thoughts on “Tascam DR 40 4 Track Portable Digital Recorder

  1. Thanks for the post, this article was providing helpful information. I’m looking for birthday present ideas for my brother, who plays guitar. He and his mates are planning to do some street gigs on next summer, would you see that Tascam works also in noisy environment?

    1. Hey Sara thanks for stopping by LRT!

      The Tascam DR 40 does work great in noisy environments provided you use an available wind screen. This would be the case with any recording device.

      As for a street gig the DR 40 could be used in A-B or X-Y configuration to pick up ambient “audience” sound as well as your brothers crew. This would be similar to using “room” mics at a live performance. Then there are still two inputs (could be used as 1/4″ instrument or for XLR mics) to use for more specific needs, vocals, guitar, direct board mix out etc.

      It’s important at a live venue to capture the “live” phenomenon so you (err your brother) would want some crowd/street noise.

      Then he could mix it on the DR 40 or download it to a DAW or even take it to a professional studio if needed.

      A note on Tascam – Very great company and excellent equipment, in fact many of there recorders are used for film work … the DR 40 is merely an entry level device.

      Hope this helps you out! Come back soon!

      ROCK ON!


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