I could spend some time writing a long description of the Tascam DR-60D, but I think I’ve covered it pretty well in this review. So I’ll just break it down into pros and cons.
- Lower price than Beachtek or Juicedlink with more features
- 4 tracks of audio recording
- Large knobs with an easy to use interface
- AA batteries instead of less common 9 volt batteries
- Good audio quality even at high gain settings
- Phantom power
- Plethora of audio interface options
- No neck strap or memory card included in the kit
- Volume knobs are rotary encoders instead of potentiometers which can cause clicking
- Battery life with 4 AA batteries is only about 3 hours
- The unit is large, about the size of a Canon t2i body
Overall if you don’t mind the size, I think the Tascam DR-60D is a much more comprehensive option then most of the audio interfaces on the market. You can use it with a boom mic as an independent field recorder or as an audio interface for your camera without much problem. It’s $50 cheaper than a Riggy RM333 and a $100 cheaper then the Beachtek DXA-SLR PRO with a lot more features.
You can download audio samples of the Tascam DR-60D in action here(click here). One thing to note, I found the audio from the line out provides a much cleaner and stronger signal when recording directly to the camera. The camera out port set at full volume provided a weak signal to the 5d mk3 in my tests. The audio from the camera out port was acceptable, but just barely. If you plan to use this to feed your camera directly I would recommend using the line out port set at a level of between zero and 2 with your cameras gain turned down as low as it will go without muting the input.
Another useful bit of information is that the Tascam DR-60D always feeds audio to the camera out, headphone out, and line out ports whether you are recording at the unit or not. You don’t have to press record on the DR-60D if you are only using it to feed audio to your camera. Also the mixer menu can be used to mix and balance the audio being fed to your camera. Keep that in mind if you are trying to feed all four tracks of audio into your camera. It could be useful to mix two XLR inputs to the left channel and the 3.5mm audio to the right channel so that you have two isolated tracks to work with in post.
After spending over a week testing and using the Tascam DR-60D, I think it’s going to be something that always comes along when I shoot. I might not be able to think of all the things I’ll be using this for in the future, but I have a feeling having all of those inputs and outputs will be a good problem solver on any production.