Hands-On Review:TASCAM DP-004 Pocketstudio
The 21st Century Portastudio
By Jeff Laity,
Marketing Manager, TASCAM
TASCAM makes recording simple and fun again with the new DP-004 Portable Digital Pocketstudio. Based on our groundbreaking cassette Portastudios, the 4-track DP-004 retains its creative interface while updating the sound quality with CD-quality digital recording. Smaller than a paperback book, it’s portable enough to take anywhere, and built-in microphones make it perfect for capturing song ideas and rehearsals. Despite its compact design, the DP-004 retains the famously simple TASCAM Portastudio interface—so you can concentrate on making music.
Back to basics
Thirty years ago, TASCAM invented home recording with the Portastudio 144. This breakthrough recorder allowed musicians to put together their own multitrack recordings for the first time, and gave artists like Bruce Springsteen, Alan Parsons, and Don Felder the ability to make music on their own. Now we take home recording for granted, but in the late ’70s and ’80s, this was a revolution.
Today, recording is more affordable than ever, but the creative connection with the artist can be lost in the windows, menus, and complex interfaces of modern recording software. TASCAM’s DP-004 recaptures the immediacy of our cassette models, updated with CD-quality digital recording. The compact multitrack recorder is covered with knobs and controls, making recording and mixing simple and fun.
Simple recording interface
A pair of 1/4" inputs on the DP-004 accepts mic or line-level signals for recording. Input A also switches to guitar input for recording bass or guitar directly into the unit. These inputs can be sent to any of the four recording tracks by pressing the Assign button, then selecting an input for each track. There’s even a pair of built-in microphones for capturing song ideas or portable recording.
The DP-004 records at CD-quality (uncompressed 44.1kHz/16-bit audio), so you’ll hear every detail of your performance. Recordings are captured to SD Card media, and a generous 1GB card is included with the recorder. Press the Record button under tracks 1 through 4 to "arm" a track for recording, then press the Record button. Set your record level using the input knobs and the meters on the LCD screen.
If you need more tracks, a bounce function mixes your tracks over to a new track, making room for more overdub layers. You can edit your tracks to clean up mistakes or silence noises. A built-in tuner and metronome make recording even more compact and convenient, and the recorder has autopunch and repeat modes. There’s even an Undo button in case you record over something by mistake.
Dedicated mixdown track
A set of knobs for level and pan make mixing a snap—no menus to navigate. There’s even a dedicated stereo mixdown track and a master fader to fade out your song. When you’re ready to mix, press the Record Mode button and switch from Multitrack to Master Record mode.
After you record your mix, the USB 2.0 jack allows you to transfer it to your computer to burn a CD, or upload an MP3 to your website or MySpace® page. The USB jack also allows you to backup your song as a multitrack, so you can remix it later on, or export tracks as WAV files for use in computer recording software.
Designed for musicians
TASCAM’s Portastudios have been the choice of musicians for 30 years because their simple operation helps you stay creative. The DP-004 takes the simplicity and affordability of TASCAM cassette Portastudio and updates it with the sound quality, editing, and flexibility of digital recording. The DP-004 keeps the perfect balance of portable design and usable interface—any smaller and it would be painful to operate!
The perfect recording solution for creative songwriters, guitarists, bands, and students, the affordable TASCAM DP-004 Digital Pocketstudio keeps recording simple for musicians.
Features & Specs
- 2 - 1/4" mic/line inputs
- CD-quality 44.1kHz/16-bit WAV recording
- Switchable guitar input
- Headphone/line output
- USB 2.0 connector
- 4-track digital multitrack recording
- Records to SD Card media (1GB card included)
- Powered by AA batteries or optional power adapter
- Autopunch, repeat, and record undo controls
- Dedicated stereo mixdown track