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Tascam DR-05 Review: Entry-Level Portable Podcast Recorder

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Tascam DR-05 Review: Entry-Level Portable Podcast Recorder

If you’re looking for a beginner-friendly audio recorder, you’ve probably encountered the Tascam DR-05 in your research. But is it worth spending your budget on? And will it actually tick all your boxes? In this Tascam DR-05 review, we’ll do our best to find out. We’ll deep dive into the DR-05’s key features, pros and cons, how it compares to its competition, and ultimately whether it’s the right audio recorder for you.

What is the Tascam DR-05X?

A handheld stereo audio recorder and USB audio interface. You can use it for recording podcasts, meetings, music, and more. It has two internal condenser mics, a single, and is designed to be simple and straightforward to use. 

What is the Tascam DR-05 used for?

As we mentioned, the Tascam DR-05 has a wide target audience. Essentially, it’s trying to tick the boxes for anyone that wants the ability to record audio on the go using a compact and portable digital recorder, without breaking the bank. From a podcasting perspective, it’s a great option if you’re an independent podcaster that likes to record in the field or if you’re looking for a budget-friendly audio interface. 

Tascam DR-05 Key features

Pricing

The Tascam DR-05X is a very budget-friendly podcast recorder at only $119

Design and build

The Tascam DR-05 is notably compact and very portable. Its sleek black finish and simple display make it simple and easy to use. On the front of the DR-05, you’ll find four buttons: menu, quick (quick access to settings for whatever you’re doing at the time), PB cont (playback control), and mark (marks that moment in your audio recording). 

In-built mics

The Tascam DR-05X has an in-built omnidirectional stereo mic. 

Audio Interface Mode 

Use the DR-05X as an audio interface by connecting it up to your computer. 

Connectivity Ports

The Tascam DR-05X has a ⅛” Stereo Mini Jack, as well as a USB Micro-B port. 

Storage Capacity

Put in a microSD card with up to 3GB of storage, a microSDHC card with up to 32GB, or a microSDXC up to 128 GB. With the microSDXC card, you can record up to 192 hours of audio at 16-bit CD quality. 

Battery life

The Tascam DR-05X won’t die on you mid-recording since it can last up to 17.5 hours of audio. You can also extend its life by plugging it into a USB mobile battery. 

Recording capabilities

Audio formats

You can record in WAV, BWF, or MP3. 

Quality

The Tascam audio recorder escorts high-quality 96kHZ or 24-bit WAV audio. 

Overwrite Mode 

Using the Tascam DR-05’s overwrite mode, you can quickly re-record a certain segment or part of your audio without having to redo the whole thing.  This is what Tascam calls ‘punch-in’ recording. 

Divide feature

The Tascam DR-05 also allows you to split your audio file at a desired point. Though note that this feature only works with WAV files. 

How to use the Tascam DR-05 recorder

The Tascam DR-05 is built to be easy to use, and there’s a very thorough Tascam DR 05 manual available online if you’re stuck. Here’s a brief introduction on how to use it and some tips for getting the most out of your Tascam DR 05. 

Formatting your SD Card 

When you first buy the Tascam DR05, it should come with a microSD card already installed. If you want to use your own microSD card, you need to make sure that you format it first. Do this by inserting your microSD card before turning the DR-05 on. When you’re sure it’s inserted properly, turn the DR-05X on and a message that says ‘Format Card Are You Sure?’ should appear. Press the triangular ‘play’ button to format the card. 

Recording

You also need to decide if you’re going to be recording using Tascam’s integrated mic or an external mic. If you want to use an external mic, make sure to plug it into the MIC/EXT In connector. 

You will also need to choose the audio format you want to record to (MP3 or WAV). Do this by heading to the menu then selecting ‘REC SETTING>FORMAT’ and then the file format you want. 

If you’ll be using the built-in mics, you’ll need to think carefully about how you place the Tascam DR-05X. Make sure to point the mics at the source of the sound and ensure the Tascam DR-05 is in a stable position. Before pressing record, make sure to adjust the levels to optimize your audio quality. 

When you’re ready to go, press the circular record button twice. When you’re finished, press the power or square stop button to end the recording. 

Exporting your files 

When you’re happy, you can connect your DR-05 to your computer using a USB cable and transfer your files from the MicroSD cable to your computer. When you first plug in your DR-05 to your computer a window will appear asking you to select between ‘Bus Power’ and ‘Storage’, click ‘Storage’ and then press the triangular play button to start the data transfer. 

Tascam DR-05 recording tips

To get the most out of your Tascam DR-05, make sure to follow these recording tips. 

Think about your recording environment 

As we briefly mentioned above, you need to make sure you’re recording in an environment that’s optimized for capturing high-quality audio. That means a quiet space that doesn’t have too much distracting background noise. Additionally, you want to ensure that you can place your DR-05 somewhere that doesn’t suffer from vibrations or a lot of movement, as this can impact your audio. 

Read more: Full Guide on How to Easily Build a Podcast Studio at Home

Mic etiquette 

To ensure your DR-05 captures your audio in the best way possible, ensure to place it so that the mics are pointing toward the audio source. 

Tascam DR-05 Pros and Cons

Portable & Compact 

A huge advantage of the Tascam DR-05 is how portable it is. Its compact size makes it a perfect choice for recording on the go or to throw in your bag for podcasting on location. 

Easy to use 

Since it’s a beginner-friendly piece of kit, the Tascam DR-05 is super easy to use. You don’t even need an external mic to start recording with it. 

Start recording straight away 

Since the Tascam DR-05x has an in-built mic, you don’t need to worry about buying an additional mic or purchasing a whole setup. Record whenever and wherever with just the DR-05x and an SD card. 

Affordable 

The Tascam DR-05 is definitely a budget-friendly audio recorder since it retails for $119. 

Use as audio interface 

The DR-05 is also usable as a USB audio interface, which gives it dual use within your podcasting setup. 

Cons 

Can only plug in one extra mic 

You might feel limited by the fact that you can only really plug one external mic into the Tascam DR-05X. If you want to record with multiple people, each with their own mic, the Tascam DR-05 won’t be able to do this for you. 

No remote recording  

Additionally, a lot of podcasters enjoy the ability to integrate remote guests into their podcasts. Unfortunately, the Tascam DR-05 doesn’t have this ability.

Tascam DR-05 Alternatives

To understand the relative strengths and weaknesses of the Tascam DR-05, let’s take a look at how it compares to some alternative options. 

Tascam DR-05x vs Zoom H1N

The Zoom H1N and the Zoom DR-05x are super comparable so it can be difficult to choose between them. Just like the DR-05, the H1N is designed to let you record on the go without the need for an external mic. It also has in-built X/Y mics, and a similar display screen and button controls. It even has the same overdub feature that lets you add to your existing audio recordings, as well as the same connection ports (stereo mic/line input and USB port). It also retails for the same price. Ultimately, we’d say that the choice comes down to your personal preference. 

Tascam DR-05 vs DR-22WL

Though they’re both made by Tascam, you can’t really compare the DR-05 and DR-22WL. Whilst, as we’ve seen, the former is aimed at beginners or budget-conscious creators, the DR-22WL is packed with additional features - and the slightly higher price tag reflects that at $199. Similar to the DR-05, the DR-22WL has a built-in mic but also supports remote control via wifi and file transfers. 

It even has a dedicated remote control app that you can download onto your phone which also allows you to upload your recording straight to SoundCloud once you’ve wrapped your recording. Ultimately, the decision between these two will probably come down to budget. 

Tascam DR-05 is best for beginner podcasters 

Overall, the Tascam DR-05 is a great option for beginners and podcasters on a tight budget. It’s super easy to use, compact and portable, and you don’t even need an additional external mic to get started. That being said, it’s also fairly rudimentary when compared to other alternatives, and is definitely aimed at people who are just starting out. 

FAQs on the Tascam DR-05

Which is better Zoom or Tascam?

This is a good question and unfortunately, there’s probably no set answer when it comes to Zoom vs Tascam. Ultimately, it’ll come down to what you’re looking for, your budget, and your own personal preferences. Both companies have strong products on the market that tick different boxes. 

Is Tascam a good brand?

Tascam is a well-respected brand that produces reliable products for recording high-quality audio. 

What is Tascam good for?

Tascam is well known for its high-quality handheld recorders that help people to record high-quality audio on the go. As we’ve seen, the Tascam DR-05 alone is a great and affordable option for beginner podcasters. 

Does the Tascam DR-05 have phantom power?

No, the Tascam DR-05 does not have phantom power. 

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