Tascam DR100 mkII Test and Review

Tascam has updated a recorder found in many of prominent dslr filmmakers, the DR-100 mkii. Some of the changes are not a visible as some but trust me this is closer to the tool many of us has been clamoring for. I can safely say this is now a professional tool on a budget.

The first of the changes are the locking xlr connectors. Not xlr 1/4 combo jacks, just plain old xlr. A first sign that this isn’t just a musicians tool.

Another little improvement is the addition of a digital and proper line input. Why is this important? Simply when you are using a mixer, line in will bypass the internal preamps. Resulting in the warmer cleaner pre amp of the mixer. The digital input is really exciting, it’s a 1 to 1 signal with no loss. Pairing the digital output of the Sound Devices USB pre2, this recorder sounds like a $3000 setup from hollywood for under a grand.

Perhaps the biggest change is the quieter higher gain preamps. Before with the original DR-100, the preamps were more suited for musicians performances. Great if you had a concert to record, not so much for dialog. Now mics like the ntg2 and sgm-1x can be used without the high noise floor many recorders have. Actually according to avisoft, the mkii has the quietest preamps in this price class.

I know by this point you are saying stop quoting the video and get to the point, is this any good? This recorder has set a new benchmark in the under $300 price range. Heck this can hang with the big boys. The next step up sound quality and feature wise is the Fostex FR2le or the Marantz pmd661. Both will run in excess of $500.

If your just getting started, or a seasoned pro, this hands down is a worthy addition to any filmmakers arsenal.

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2 Responses to “Tascam DR100 mkII Test and Review”

  1. Kristina January 24, 2013 at 8:15 pm // Reply

    the major difference will be in phoots. however in video there will be some differences in field of view. the 5D Mark II is a full frame camera, which is very nice for fish eye or wide angle shots. Using the same lens on a crop like the 550D the crop factor produces less wide effect. the full frame also works very well in dark situations with less grainy image at high ISO.well for filming, if you’d ask me, I would be spending my green on a Canon T2i, or T3i or 60D, and spent the other money on lenses like 50mm f1.8 for shallow DOF shots and some high quality telephoto zooms. also to consider in some external microphone, tripods, steadicams, shoulder rig, slider, LED lighting and more. I think this is where the rest of the money should go to for great videos.ah drop that nikon. nikon fags might shoot me but you’ll appreciate the manual exposure settings in video mode that canon has. trust me, only high end nikons have the same option which cost you an arm and a leg like that 5D. For me, go low on the body and spend more on lenses and filming equipment

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    • Nagy November 9, 2013 at 2:11 am // Reply

      Hi Brandon just rss’d the blog a few days ago, and beginning to read the atrciles . . . I think the real issue with USB vs Firewire is that most casual PC owners, including many home recording enthusiasts, don’t realize they can put a $10 firewire card in their PC. Most people think Firewire is a Mac feature because it’s an Apple-developed technology and the general marketing push over the last several years has been towards USB.USB has this utilitarian aspect to it, and because companies want to maximize their potential customer base, they go with what most people have USB is standard to both PC and Mac.Here, though, is a perfect visualization for the strength of the constant connection argument have you ever tried to convert video from a DV (Digital video) cam? The sort that streams the data from an analog tape to your PC via either a USB or Firewire cable? The USB connection will drop frames like crazy, dozens every few seconds, because USB is subject to the CPU’s processing heirarchy. If the CPU wants the power supply, fan, RAM, Windows Media Player, or any other process to get more power/attention, it’s going to get it before USB. Meaning the USB connection MUST transfer data at a slower/lower/inconsistent rate.Firewire, though, will drop maybe one or two frames total, and that’s usually only if you are messing around with a lot of other programs/system resources during transfer. It transfers at constant data rate, and is not subject to the CPU’s heirachy demands.The difference is that of watching a webcam on dialup and a real home movie.Now, apply that to your musical data streaming to or from a hard drive do you want to risk the potential of that data not coming as fast as you need it? or not coming as fully as you need it? For all the system tweaks, db-watching, room treatment, etc that we’re all already doing, for the cost of a $10 PCI expansion card (or a Yugo, if going the Mac route), I’ll go with a Firewire interface any day.And I can even do my own video editing when I’m done. Look forward to reading the rest of the atrciles!

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