Tascam DR680 recorder thoughts ? long sync ability ? at DVinfo.net

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Old May 25th, 2010, 12:12 AM   #1
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Tascam DR680 recorder thoughts ? long sync ability ?

I was looking at the new DR680 tascam recorder. ok, so its "only" 4 mic / line level ins and 2 RCA line level ins... thats not a bad deal at all. I need something to record 2 system sound with a dSLR and this really seems to do the job for a very nice price.

the other recorder I was looking at was the tascam HD P2 2track recorder. its only 2 tracks... enough said but it does take TC in which is nice. however, for dSLR work, TC is a moot point for the most part unless you want to run it to 1 audio track, then use that FCP plug to read it from the audio track.

will the DR680 hold sync for 12 minutes ? as in a 1/2 frame or so or better ?

HD P2 should because I could feed composite from the camera to lock the recorder when possible.. what about when there is no video sync and its completely free running, will it drift over 12 mins ?

I'm shooting 95% 24fps, so I know that has a bit more margin too, sometimes sync never looks dead on.

so if I decided that with dSRL's TC didn't matter, is the DR680 a clean recorder with decent pre amps ? I've got a FP33 to feed it with, but I could almost go with direct feeds if I could. I'd also like to stay under $1k... seems like all the used SD recorders have gotten snatched up :(
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Old May 25th, 2010, 02:08 AM   #2
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Have not had a chance to test one out as of yet but from doing research and speaking with a bunch of vet sound guys most recorders like that with out any TC don't tend to stay synced very long. But I could be wrong just going off what has been said around here and other forums. I would recommend trying to find a place that has it in your area(if possible) and test out or search around and find someone who owns it to help run a test for you. I'm really interested in buying the recorder. The only thing I don't like about it is the RCA outputs and the one value knob used to control the volume of all the tracks. I wish there where separate knobs for each channel.


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Old May 25th, 2010, 05:32 AM   #3
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Actually, the dr-680 has 6 microphone inputs, not 4. There are 4 xlr combi jacks, plus 2 TRS 1/4" jacks. Electronically there is no difference. All 6 inputs are balanced and can provide phantom power. A simple mechanical adapter/cable from trs<->xlr is all that is needed for those last 2 jacks to work just like another pair of xlr. The rca input is digital spidf.

I find drift on solid state recorders to be SO reduced from the olden days that I rarely worry about it. I often record 12 minutes on my 7d and sync it with my r-09 with no drift. The biggest drift problems i've read about with the 5d/7d/550d is how the header info is incorrect in the video saved on the camera and causing a .01% drift due to the nle using this misfiled information. Fixing the settings on the nle supposedly gets rid of it. I'm in pal country, so 25 is 25, so no drift due to miscommunication.

The reports from the tapers section geeks is that the dr-680 does in fact have surprisingly clean preamps. They are often a fantastic resource for obsessive audio gear comparisons, but the grain of salt is that most of them are recording high volume concerts. Dialog is different.

Until one is tested specifically for dual audio dialog, its all speculation. I have been tracking the dr-680 as well and am convinced its going to be my field audio recorder. In my opinion the stuff there to love outweighs the stuff to dislike.

For dslr work, where would TC come from to run into the recorder? Unless the camera is generating or syncing to a tc source (dslrs do neither) then there is nothing tying the camera to the recorder. Just having external sync alone doesn't assure anything.

my 2c.
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Old May 25th, 2010, 01:54 PM   #4
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Hi Steve,

I have a DR680 sitting here on my desk. I haven't had time to put it through its paces as much as the DR100 and the HSP82, both of which have been surprisingly well received. If you would like to test this one out, I have no problem shipping it to you on a 2 week loan as long as you'll report back to others how you liked it - and you can bash it or love it, just as long as you're cool with sharing information here on dvi, I can have it dropped in the mail today.
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Old May 25th, 2010, 05:45 PM   #5
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I'm interested in the DR680 too. I wrote Doug Oade, from Oade Brothers Mods to see if he had a mod planned for the unit. He mentioned that to date the DR decks have not been too good in his opinion. But he hasn't studied the 680 yet. I mention the Oade Brothers because you can get a "Super Mod" on a Edirol R-44 for only 50.00 over the cost of the unit from somewhere like B&H. A super Mod replaces the already good preamps with dead silent preamps perfect for dialog. So I'm getting an Edirol R-44 from Oade Brothers. 4 channels is enough, and you can string 2 of them together.

Here's the unit at Oade Brothers: Ordering for Oade Brothers Audio: Edirol R44 Super MOD- Ground Shipping

Here's the unit from B&H, which has more info & specs:
Edirol / Roland | R-44 Solid-State Four-Channel Portable | R-44
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Old May 26th, 2010, 01:12 PM   #6
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there is a plug in for FCP (from video tool shed ) that can read TC from an audio track. I also think avid can do this out of the box.

you could use an external TC generator ( $300 used ) to feed the dslr audio and one audio track on the recorder TC. you would then for sure have locked tracks. sure you have to be careful about bleed with TC, but on the camera it certainly doesn't matter, and the recorder would be a try it and see thing. you could probably reocord pretty low at like -40... but obviously testing required !

video sync is 1/59.97th of a second ( each field has a sync pulse / front & rear porch in interlace NTSC ) and can lock your audio recorder to your video cam. there are units like the HD P2 that take video in for just this reason - its more accurate then TC. its not quite as good as word clock, but works fine.

I'd almost wonder how much drift there is in the DSLR's and their video compared to a "real" video camera or sync generator. there is probably some, but when you can't go more then 12 mins, its probably a frame or less which is more then good enough for most of us. while we might like to think that the camera is perfect sync, I bet it has some drift, especially considering the market it was designed for. they expected people to use the camera mic or use the ext audio in in single system so it would not be an issue.
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Old June 4th, 2010, 10:58 PM   #7
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In regards to audio quality, the 680 isn't bad at all. I just got one and did a 3 way comparison with an RME fireface, a Great River/Weiss ADC setup (around $10K) and the 680. The differences were smaller than you might think and to my ears the Tascam was 2nd to the Weiss and slightly more transparent than the RME. Not bad for $800.
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Old June 4th, 2010, 11:22 PM   #8
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I've got a 680 here to test. I'm going to write an extensive review on it shortly. I'm planning to take it on a job mon/tues if its not too crazy. a lot of run & gun, but a bunch of assembly line sit downs at the end of each day I think it will work great for. I've gotten some surprising results.... but your gonna have to wait :)

as for its preamps... all I'll say is its not a SD 7xx, but for $800 its a nice intro level 6 + 2 track. not many folks have dual AES outs to record unless you have a couple of the new megabuck digital mics.... but if you can afford a couple of them, I bet you've got a top end recorder too.
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Old June 5th, 2010, 03:19 AM   #9
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Cool! Post that review here, or at least a link so we get email notification.
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Old June 6th, 2010, 05:55 AM   #10
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my dr680 is scheduled to arrive in a few weeks.

Does anybody have the cs-dr680 case in stock? Is there one of the petrol/portabrace cases that work nicely with it and the top-of-recorder button access?

cheers.
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Old June 11th, 2010, 12:47 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Oakley View Post
I've got a 680 here to test. I'm going to write an extensive review on it shortly. I'm planning to take it on a job mon/tues if its not too crazy. a lot of run & gun, but a bunch of assembly line sit downs at the end of each day I think it will work great for. I've gotten some surprising results.... but your gonna have to wait :)

as for its preamps... all I'll say is its not a SD 7xx, but for $800 its a nice intro level 6 + 2 track. not many folks have dual AES outs to record unless you have a couple of the new megabuck digital mics.... but if you can afford a couple of them, I bet you've got a top end recorder too.
Steve, I am 4 days from ordering a DR-680 and would love to hear your verdict before it's too late to change my mind if I need to...it's that or an Oades modified R-44 that will be the heart of my field recording system. I'd love to hear opinions. Also, everyone/anyone, is there a Porta Brace case that works with the 680?
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Old June 11th, 2010, 12:51 PM   #12
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I'm going to be posting my review today if things go according to plan, including a video clip with 680 recorded sound.

you will be happy with the 680.

skip portabrace and get a Petrol PEGZ-1 bag if you all need to hold is the DR680, headphones, and a couple of wireless receivers... and maybe an iPad or iPod touch.
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Old June 11th, 2010, 03:52 PM   #13
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I really want Doug Oade to look at this unit. He was down on the whole DR series, saying past models weren't cutting it. I would buy an Oade Brothers DR680 if they had one. You can't go wrong with the Oade Edirol R-44, but I want the extra tracks. I've already tried prodding Doug to look into this. He's not in any hurry. Maybe if some of you guys would inquire he may actually look into giving a sweet mod to the preamps and make this puppy sing!
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Old June 11th, 2010, 04:31 PM   #14
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I think Mr. Oade might be disappointed to find out his services are not required with this unit.

Having recorded 3 professional gigs with it I can inform you that it is the machine of the moment in every way. There is a huge financial gap to the next best thing; the SD788t.

One thing I have done is sync to aes/ebu digital audio out on a Sony deck to keep sync which worked flawlessly. Obviously most cameras don't have that though.

Oh and also the top panel is not a problem as after the switches are set there there's not much need to refer back to it. The new firmware allows the front knob to do the top knobs job too which is good.

Yes it's a shame to have to do it all on one knob but I guess knobs cost money. Like all these cheaper machines and digital mixers etc.. there is a certain amount of screen navigation to set levels.
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Old June 11th, 2010, 04:35 PM   #15
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So Jimmy the preamps are dead silent? It just seems like a cheap price for all those preamps.
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