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Monday, April 23, 2012

TASCAM's DP-004 Digital Pocketstudio, ... (Review)

Reviewed By: Sean McCormick
Purchased from: Manufacture
Street Price: $149.95 USD +tax and shipping

Tascam DP-004 Digital Pocketstudio.  
Tascam is the manufacturer of recording equipment from novice to pro.

Manufacturer description:
TASCAM's DP-004 Digital Pocketstudio is based on 30 years of easy-to-use cassette Portastudios, updated with four tracks of CD-quality digital recording. Like those groundbreaking Portastudios, a row of knobs set levels and pan instead of a list of menus.

The DP-004 can record two sources at once to the included 1GB SD Card. A built-in stereo condenser microphone makes it simple to record anywhere you go, perfect for concerts, rehearsals and songwriting inspirations. A pair of 1/4" jacks on the rear panel allow you to connect your own microphones or sources. You can even switch the inputs to guitar level for recording.

The DP-004 allows you to build up your arrangement until you've filled up all four tracks. The Bounce feature allows you to consolidate tracks and make room for more overdub layers. Track editing and undo is also available.

Mixing is also built into the Digital Pocketstudio. Once you set levels and pan, record your mix onto a dedicated stereo master track. You're able to transfer your tracks and mixes to a computer over USB 2 for CD burning and sharing online.

Despite its go-anywhere compact design - smaller than a paperback book - the DP-004 is simple enough for students, songwriters and musicians who want to keep their recording process simple and creative.

Two 1/4" unbalanced mic/line inputs Switchable guitar input Headphone/Line output USB 2.0 connector
Four-track digital multitrack recording CD-quality 44.1kHz/16-bit WAV recording Records to SD Card media (1GB card included) Repeat, Record undo Dedicated stereo mixdown track
Powered through AA Batteries or optional PS-P520 power adapter Battery life: About 8 hours recording, about 8.5 hours playback (alkaline batteries)Dimensions: 6.1" W x 1.3" H x 4.2" D (155mm W x 33.5mm H x 107mm D)Weight: 2.8 oz (360 g, w/o batteries) 
Ease of use: 
I have used Tascam products many time and it is always the same. They are a little clunky but very simple to use. In fact my four year old son was able to create a new song, change the input settings, and assign the track just by me telling him what to press. He then recorded his a Capella, remixed rendition of "the wheels on the bus" and "the itsy bitsy spider" using the on board mics. 

The sound is pretty good, I would use it to put down new ideas before I stepped into a studio.  

It is a fun portable studio, and I liked that It's not an interface that requires eating up space on your pc/mac. You also do not need the working knowledge of cubase or pro tools. I have had a DP-02 and a us1800 before; this offers me the ability to set up in less than five minutes and record. I think its more practical than other small recorders I have seen in the same price range for a songwriter to setup and record, so you don't lose that kick ass riff or vocal line.  

My advice: 
It's worth the $150 Tascam wants. If you are a songwriter you know the frustration of wishing you had recorded something but didn't have access to your studio only to forget it the next day. Problem solved.