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Old May 2nd, 2010, 05:32 AM   #1
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thoughts on the tascam dr-680

On big shoots i use a sound guy with his own gear. For hobby pieces and one-man-army projects, i have a roland r-09 and sound devices mix pre. Historically the r-09 was a backup/specialty recorder, but with dslr shoots becoming more common i'm using it more and more as a primary recorder... and it kinda sucks for that.

If i'm in one-man-army mode and I'm recording 3 people, the mixpre/r-09 combo comes up a channel short. I considered getting a 302 so i could mix 3 sources, but in commando mode, there's often not another hand on the mixer so i really need a third audio channel being recorded so i can pull out the idle channels in post to avoid the noise from them.

That moves me into a whole new realm of recorders. The 744 is one of the big gun 4 channel recorders, with the roland r44 being one of the cheaper options.

But now the tascam dr-680 has come out. 6 true phantom preamps, plus a mixdown/digital option for tracks 7 and 8. The interface looks quick to adjust the audio levels of each track and while it lacks some of the routing/limiting features of a 302 coupled with a 744, its also what, $5k cheaper?

So what i'm wondering is if anyone here has had a play with one. Is it at all practical to use it as a mixer/recorder with no other mixer? (given that you can isolate each track, it seems you'd have a lot more latitude in levels should you totally get taken off guard.) Are there any fatal flaws to the design? So far i'm actually pretty happy with the line input into the r-09, so i might not have golden enough ears to hear what shortcomings the 680 has.

Any thoughts? It sure does look to be the indy-filmmakers dream box and best value for audio. Looks pretty sexy too.


Last edited by Andrew Dean; May 2nd, 2010 at 06:09 AM.
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Old May 7th, 2010, 06:09 PM   #2
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I am also very interested in this unit. However the Edirol R-44 is proven to be very nice, though only 4 tracks. You can buy it new with the Oade Brothers mod that makes the preamps completely quiet for about 1,050.00, only about 100.00 more than stock.

Ordering for Oade Brothers Audio: Edirol R44 Super

I've been meaning to call Oade Brothers to see if they have started modding this DR-680 yet. But alas it's after 5 on a Friday yet again...

I have the R-4 pro, unmodified (well, my boss owns it), and it sounds pretty nice. The R-44 has the same preamps as the R-4 Pro, but it's smaller, and has combo jacks, solid state recording, longer battery life. Anyway, until the DR-680 is proven, the Oade Brothers modified R-44 is the best bang/buck ratio for recording.
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