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Field Report: Tascam DR-05
This is a portable recorder after all, so let's discuss the recording process. The DR-05 has built-in stereo condenser, omnidirectional microphones with sensitivity up to 125dB SPL. When using the built-in microphones, it is recommended to place the unit in a stable position. I take advantage of the built in tripod screw socket when recording live performances and keep the recorder on the tripod. The DR-05 also comes with a 3.5mm stereo mic/line input jack for an external source. The DR-05 also supplies plug-in power for those microphones that need it. This recorder comes with a level align feature, which corrects uneven volume during playback.
While trying to find a record level, the recorder gives two options: automatic or manual. The recorder can be set to the level control function (automatic function), which is off as a default. When you use the level control function it allows you to use a peak reduction, auto level and a limiter. The peak reduction reduces the input to achieve correct levels when the input becomes too hot. The auto level element disables the user from raising and lowering the record volume. It manages the input levels automatically while increasing and decreasing the input volume depending on its levels. Lastly, there's the limiter to catch any excessive audio peaks.
While recording, you can add markers to a file to point out keywords or highlights and come back to it later. The lucky number 99 is the maximum number of marks you can make in a given file. When files are too long or you want to make that interview two parts for playback while out in the field, the DR-05 delivers yet again. Files can be split into two at a specific position in the original file. The recorder automatically creates a new file name for both new tracks. MP3s cannot be split, so it is necessary to record a WAV file if you're thinking you might want to split a future recording.
Besides recording, this handheld unit comes fully loaded with playback elements. The DR-05 has a playlist option to create and set files to be ready for playback when at any time. Creating a playlist is easy with just a few buttons, as well as selecting desired files to that list. Each playlist can be edited to delete a file, delete all files or move a file to or from another playlist. The playback control function allows you to play a playlist the way you want: continuous files (default), single file, one repeat and all repeat. In addition, it can boost output audio while playing files back. The playback equalizer (EQ) is set to off as a default, but you have the choice to set the treble, middle and bass that creates a fuller sound coming out of the recorder. Further, the DR-05 allows a factor known as VSA (Variable Speed Audition). This allows the playback speed to increase 50-150 percent without changing its pitch. The integrated built-in speaker (0.3W mono) is on the backside of the recorder. Another way to listen or playback a track is through the 3.5mm headphone/line out jack.
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Overall, I am very pleased with the navigation, functionality and performance of the DR-05 linear PCM recorder. Its simplistic approach to making field recording is a hit with me. I really like the fact that the recorder is ready for field use directly out of the box. It gives our radio stations the sound both production and programming departments want from a field recorder. It has been widely used tuning instruments for artists, recording studio performances, interviews and during remote broadcasts. After recording, the recorder can be plugged into a computer (Mac or Windows) with a USB 2.0 recommended port to retrieve the files. I'm positive any end user will enjoy the many features of this recorder for future use inside or outside broadcast studios.
Ornellas is a station engineer at Greater Media New Jersey, Cedar Knolls, NJ
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