Hands-On Review:TASCAM DP-004 Pocketstudio

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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