Saturday, November 14, 2009

Tascam Dr-100 and 5d2

A few months ago, I purchased the beachtek 5d unit. While it worked wonders for the first two months, the unit completely conked out while on a commercial shoot in Miami. This is totally unacceptable and after talking to fellow filmmakers, they had similiar experiences. I decided to go for a dual system sound option.

After testing both the Tascam DR-100 and the Zoom h4n (the go to model for 5d mark II), I decided to go for the Tascam. Here's why. The first difference were the on-board mikes. TASCAM is a pro-level brand and the sound quality was shockingly much better than the H4n.

Secondly, the TASCAM has both a headphone out with dial controls and a line out, which means that you can send a signal to your camera while simultaneously monitoring the Tascam. Because of the headphone dial you can use it like a built in attenuator and if you set the headphone dial to roughly 3, the signal is clean into the camera eliminating the need to sync sound later in post. This is a huge advantage over the H4n which only has one output.

Furthermore, the unit has separate volume controls for the XLR inputs another short coming from the H4N.

The build quality is excellent with most of the controls you need to use easily accessible with switches. The body is all metal. The pre-amps on the XLR inputs are excellent. It has two batteries a rechargeable lithium battery as well as AA batteries. Like the H4n, you can easily mount the unit on your camera with a hot shoe adapter. My tests allowed for about 7 hours recording time with the two batteries.

I bought the unit for $329 at Dale audio but i did notice that the price has gone up since my last purchase. You can still buy the unit for about $310 on Amazon.

CONCLUSION: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. The TASCAM out preforms the H4N in every category except for one and that is the option of 4 channel recording from the H4N. But since I was so disappointed in the on-board h4n mikes, I concluded i would probably never use it. It is the ideal system for external sound for the 5d.


  1. d00d DR-100 FTW! 5d is teh FAIL

  2. I was curious what rig you used to mount the dr-100 to the hotshoe mount. I am buying the same rig.

    Also are you using the rycote softie made for the DR1??? They don't make one for the DR-100

  3. hi, i just purchased the tascam dr-100 for my 5d mark ll. stupid question: when i plug the line in from tascam to 5d and switch the button on the tascam to line, what mics are being utilized to record in the camera?
    sorry, just very new at this and learning slowly.

  4. Question about pre-amps; I find on the H4n, I can rarely hit between -12db and -6db, unless I run the rec.level at 100 (at which point there's mad hiss.) You mention that the tascam's pre-amp is better, but by how much?


  5. I have been unable to find if the DR-100 supports broadcast wave files. I couldn't find mention of it in the Tascam user manual. This is still an area where the H4N is punching well above its weight. My 552 supports it as well.

    It allows for simple, quick, rough, time of day sync in post.

    I'm putting together a series of video podcasts focusing on audio workflow with HDSLRs from Canon.

  6. The 1/4" mount on the Tascam DR-100 is made of plastic. It gets stripped very easily. Mine lasted about 3 months. This means I no longer have any way to mount it to the camera rig. Have you had this problem yet, Diane?

  7. Thought I'd throw in my 2c about this recorder. I use mine for live concert recordings mostly. Sound is excellent on both the built in UNI's as well as from external condensor mics. Build quality is good. My dial fell off not to long after ownership. A little crazy glue fixed that. My real pet peeve is the lettering. Its painted (silk screened) onto the metal and most of has chiped off. Especially in the back. Its so cheap, my fingernail can scrape the paint off. Other than losing all the lettering, its a great recorder. I just started to think about the H4n for 4 track, but after reading this review, I'll keep my DR-100.

  8. As an added note, to power this recorder and 48V phantom on both XLRs, I used a universal 9V dvd battery, (5.4 Ah) and step the voltage down to 5V. THen a 4 mm OD, 1.7 mm ID DC power plug into the DC input jack, powers this thing all day long. If I used the internal mics, it would fill a 16 gb card before the battery power ran out. Also, made a USB to dc plug and can charge off of most USB jacks. (1 amp usb port needed).
    Take a 12 V usb car cig lighter adapter, stick a 9V battery on the 12V side, and you get 5V 1A out in the usb jack. Perfect for most devices these days. This could power the DR-100 for a long time: