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Anyone played with a Tascam Portacapture X8 yet. (1 Viewer)

Vollmeise

Well-known member
At first glance looks as if it has potential. A little bit expensive for a casual purchase - so if anyone has taken the plunge initial thoughts would be welcome.

Tascam Portacapture X8 | High-Resolution Multi-Track Handheld Recorder

J
Looks interesting indeed, but it doesn't seem to be available yet.

One of it's highlights - thanks to 32 bit FP - is definitely the theoretically large dynamic range. Pretty promising if internal microphones are both sensitive and low-noise.

Operation seems to be clear and user friendly.

According to the specs sheet, S/N ratio might be rather modest (101 dB, A-weighted).

Looking forward to the first field reports.

Cheers)
 

MiddleRiver

Well-known member
United States
Interesting. I own a 40x and have never 'gotten into' recording birds but recently started thinking about it.

The quality of portable recorders is in general, stunning. Where I find it gets tricky is in preventing unwanted noise. So isolation of the device (if on a table for instance), fur on mics, etc. becomes critical.

I assume for good bird rec's I'd need a directional mic?
 

Joop99

Member
Netherlands
If you are serious with the price you have to pay for the Tascam Portacapture X8 | High-Resolution Multi-Track Handheld Recorder you can better buy an other model from Tascam which is superior to this model when it comes to noise. Have a look at this model Tascam DR-701D | Six-channel audio recorder for DSLR cameras . You can remove the bracket on top. The problem with the X8 is that it has too many bells and whistles which don't belong in a recorder. About 32bit, your pre amplifier with attached your microphone has no idea about 32bit or digital what so ever and they do have a limit, beyond that you will have distortion.
 

jtdiddy

New member
United States
Yea I've had the X8 for about a week now and it's pretty awesome.
It really shines as an all-around/purpose portable sound recorder.

If u like more of a touchscreen/smartphone style UI, then u will like the X8. Very responsive and easy to understand UI. The built-in presets and attachable mics make it very quick to setup and start recording.
Coming from a Sound Devices MixPre 6-ii menu system, the X8 is a breath of fresh air.

Really love the built-in effects (i.e. Noise Gate, Compressor, EQ, Reverb etc...), they're pretty good and useful and alot of more expensive units don't include all of these things.

Sound quality is on par with my Mixpre 6-ii. If put under a close professional sound test, probably the mixpre ii preamps are a tad bit cleaner but of course the mixpre 6-ii is about $500 more than the X8. For most people though, I doubt u could probably tell the difference in a blind test.

One big issue right now is that the way Tascam is mapping the USB inputs/outputs on the X8 makes it totally useless as an USB audio device for ur computer. It's definitely not plug and play like say a focusrite or other popular USB interfaces. I believe Tascam knows about the issues and is looking into a fix in a future update but for now this is a big feature loss that is not working as advertised.
 

iveljay

Well-known member
Thanks for the responses, I agree that there are some excellent recorders designed for dslr use, but they tend not to be ideal for general use including handheld use in the field in my view (this has to be personal in the end because I buy for me to use (usually). I already have desktop units and in general my existing video recording audio equipment is adequate for my current needs, though I must admit being tempted by the DR 701D in the past.

It will be interesting to see how fast Tascam fix the USB interface problem, especially as they are advertising it as one of their main features. Its not a major problem for me as I have a perfectly serviceable dedicated computer interface set up, but is a bit poor if it adds another layer of complexity for first time users, or folks who want to lead a simple life.

The firmware releases seem to be mainly concentrated on operational stability, which is quite important to get right.

It will be interesting to hear more as people get to use it in the field, what it is really good at, what doesn't really work and maybe something that persuades me to scrap existing kit and use this as a replacement, i.e. creating space and making my life simpler!
 

Joop99

Member
Netherlands
Thanks for the responses, I agree that there are some excellent recorders designed for dslr use, but they tend not to be ideal for general use including handheld use in the field in my view (this has to be personal in the end because I buy for me to use (usually). I already have desktop units and in general my existing video recording audio equipment is adequate for my current needs, though I must admit being tempted by the DR 701D in the past.
The DR701D is excellent for general use. Handheld? I have a mic or a parabolic reflector in my hand, both with shock absorption. The so called handheld recorders have a problem, the build in mic(s) is(are) too noisy, if available XLR connectors it becomes with cable attached to heavy for your hand, so your natural response is tighten your grip which will introduce all kinds of unwanted sounds. My DR701D sits in a special bag over the shoulder, have two hands free. So now and then you can adjust your headphone if necessary.
 

Forino

New member
Italy
I tested the X8's noise by comparing it to both the previous Tascam DR100 mk3, both with a Zoom F8 and a Sound Devices Mixpre-3ii. I set all four recorders to 48 Khz and 24 bit, recording with a pair of Audio Technica AT 3032 omnidirectional external microphones and a preset input level of + 25dB. I then normalized all the tracks in Audition. The noise level increases in order starting from Mixpre-3ii, Zoom F8, Tascam DR100 mk3, Tascam X8.
I would say it is normal that Sound devices mixpre 3 ii is slightly superior to Zoom f8, as well as both are superior to the two Tascams. However, I did not expect the X8 to have more noise than its predecessor DR100 mk3, for me it was a surprise and also a disappointment.
EDIT I tested also for 24bit on DR1000 MK3 Vs. 32bit on X8, same results, see attached relative file.
 

Attachments

  • DR100mk3-24bit_Vs_X8-24bit.WAV
    1.9 MB
  • DR100mk3-24bit_Vs_X8-32bit_select.WAV
    1.8 MB
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