I have been using tape decks since 1987 and it has always amazed me how they just keep getting better and cheaper! The latest addition to this amazing line of products from TASCAM is that you can now record directly onto an “external hard drive”, which means you no longer need any tapes or cassettes at all. You simply plug in your external device like a USB stick or SD card into one of two ports on top of the unit and start recording. It’s really simple to operate and there is nothing more satisfying than hearing the end result after playing back through headphones – especially if you’re producing music yourself as there is no other way of knowing whether you’ve got it right until you play it back.
But where did these wonderful machines come from and why should anyone be interested in them? Well, it was actually quite difficult to find out. Although the company website says so, when you look up technical specifications it refers to a different design number (for example M-24) that doesn’t exist anymore. So, without further ado here is some background information about the history of these devices…
The first version came along in 1976 and were called Models 1 through 8. These had rotating heads mounted on long arms attached to small motors inside the case. They used 3/4 inch magnetic audio cassette reels and recorded at 721 Kbps non-compressed mono sound. In 1977 the Model 2 appeared followed by 6 models between 1978 and 1982. All of these units featured automatic gain control to help reduce distortion caused by excessive volume levels. The last machine to appear was the Model 10 in 1983. This had improved performance over previous versions but still only recorded at around 600 kbs due to the limited amount of available bandwidth in the early 80s. Unfortunately, the technology wasn’t big enough to support digital compression at this time.
In 1984 a new type of recorder was introduced called the Digital Recorder (D2). As well as having various improvements such as a faster motor speed, being able to store recordings internally rather than needing to change tapes every few hours, the D2 had several important features including automatic tracking adjustment, variable track length capability and Dolby noise reduction. A couple of years later in 1987 another improvement was made and the original name of the product changed to the TASCAM DR-100. To distinguish these newer models from earlier ones, they were given letters instead numbers. By 1991 the lettering system continued throughout all of their models except for the final three which became the TASCAM DR200 series. Around this same period another major development occurred when the recording capacity increased to 16 tracks per side.
Although many people thought that the introduction of CD players would spell the demise of home recorded music, it didn’t happen because the quality of analogue recording equipment was not compromised even though the storage capacity doubled. However, during this time the market began moving towards mini computers, laptops etc, so in order to stay relevant manufacturers started looking at ways of adding extra functions to their existing hardware. One way of doing this was by incorporating Flash memory chips. In 1997 the TASCAM D3000 was released and featured a built-in 128k flash chip capable of storing 1000 minutes of uncompressed stereo sound. Later on in 1999 a compact portable version of this model was developed and sold under the name TASCAM Portable Studio.
Now we get to 2003 and things take a dramatic turn for the worse. Instead of making the TASCM D4000, the manufacturer decided to completely redesign everything again to fit within the smaller dimensions allowed by the new Flash media format. What eventually happened was that although they kept the basic idea of the old desktop recorder intact, they replaced its internal hard disk drive with a removable solid state drive. And then in 2005 they added yet another revolution by introducing their smallest ever model, the TASCAM DR5000. This was the world’s smallest fully functional studio recorder, measuring less than 15cm x 9 cm x 4 cm. Even today it weighs less than a kilo and uses very little power. Not content with stopping there, they also designed a miniature tripod stand to go alongside it.
So far we haven’t mentioned anything regarding SD cards at all. That’s probably down to the fact that it took me months before finding out exactly what SD stands for! Anyway, let’s move forward in our story. In 2008 they launched the TASCAM DR6000 Series which included both the standard TASCAM DR6000 & TASCAM DR6010 and the larger 6000EQ and 6010 EQ. Both of these new models could transfer data via USB cable to either Windows or Mac OS systems and had onboard effects processors. Another significant upgrade was that the older 400KHz sampling rate was upgraded to 48kHz. If you want to know more about the differences between these two types of TASCAM recorders see my comparison guide below.
Finally in 2011 the TASCAM Model 24 series was born. This includes the flagship TASCAM Model 24HV2 which comes complete with a pair of microphones and phantom mic preamps. Also included is an XLR microphone input jack socket, optical inputs and outputs plus six additional assignable channels for connecting optional accessories. There are also the more affordable TASCAM Model 24PV2 Professional Video Recording Kit and the entry level TASCAM Model 24HV1 Compact Home Recording Kit.
One interesting point worth mentioning is that although most consumers tend to think of SD cards as tiny thumb drives, they are actually much bigger than that. For instance, the Sandisk Extreme Pro 64 GB Class10 MicroSDHC UHS-3 Camera Adapter measures 85 mm x 59 mm x 17mm. But don’t worry too much because unlike regular flash memory sticks they can withstand extreme temperatures and humidity conditions.
If you decide to buy a TASCAM model 24, make sure you check out the list of compatible SD cards below.
What SD card does a Tascam use?
As already stated above, the size of SD cards varies considerably depending upon the brand and style. Some brands offer a wide selection of sizes while others concentrate mainly on a few large capacities. Obviously those who intend buying a TASCAM model 24 must select something that fits the following criteria:
Has high read speeds. At least class 10, preferably Speed Class 20
Is durable and resistant to heat, moisture and dust.
Shouldn’t cost too much money.
And finally, remember that whatever you choose you must make absolutely certain that it supports SDXC mode otherwise your card won’t work with your particular model 24!
Does Tascam Model 24 come with SD card?
Unfortunately, not all of them include SD card with the purchase price. The good news however is that if yours does, it’ll definitely allow you to expand your creative possibilities beyond the usual limits imposed by the internal hard disk space. With higher capacities becoming more readily available every day, it makes sense to invest in a separate SD card once you start building up your collection. Here are a few tips to consider when purchasing a TASCAM model 24 together with compatible SD card(s):
Make sure the card reader slot cover opens upwards rather than downwards like on the TASCAM model 40 series. Otherwise you might damage the sensitive electronics located underneath.
It’s usually best to avoid buying a low capacity card unless you plan to fill up your device quickly. Why waste precious recording time transferring files to a lower capacity card?
Always ensure that you use a genuine SD card. Many companies sell fake knockoffs online. If possible try contacting your retailer beforehand to ask them about compatibility issues.
When deciding on which card to buy, make sure you factor in the size of the camera lens fitted to your model 24. Different lenses require different sized SD cards.
You may wish to consider investing in multiple SD cards. Your choice depends entirely upon how frequently you intend recording material.
Selecting the wrong SD card can cause problems. Therefore, take advantage of free tools offered by sites such as http://www.sd-cards.net/, which enables you to determine the optimum operating range for each individual camera.
Some users suggest keeping your SD card covered whenever in transit to prevent accidental exposure to light. Others say that covering the contacts prevents incorrect insertion. Which method works best for you?
For maximum protection against theft, you may opt to encase your whole TASCAM model 24 together with the SD card in a sturdy plastic bag.
Once you’ve purchased a suitable SD card, follow the instructions provided by the user manual for inserting it correctly. Make sure you insert the adapter board face down on the base plate and align the pins of the SD card with the matching holes on the underside of the main body. Then slide it in slowly until it clicks firmly into position. Once inserted, close the lid gently. Don’t force it closed or you risk damaging the delicate electronic components.
How do I choose the best SD card?
There are countless SD cards on the market today, so choosing the right one becomes increasingly harder with each passing year. Fortunately, thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever to compare prices and specs. Before making any purchases, be sure to research thoroughly to familiarize yourself with the terminology associated with Flash memory cards. Below are a few helpful links for learning
John has been a gamer since the early age of 7, playing a huge variety of single-player games, and MMOs, and even participating in LAN Tournaments for FPS games such as Counter-Strike Global Offensive. Ever since he found his passion in gaming & in technology in general, he has continuously increased his knowledge in software, programming & hardware and is now working at TechReviewTeam helping readers, answering questions, writing articles & reviews for the team.