Using External Mic with your Tascam DR-40

The Tascam DR-40 is a handheld four track digital recorder. It has internal mics that can be adjusted from XY to AB position. It lets you tailor your recording to the sound of the room, while at the same time you can record at up to 96 kHz/24-bit resolution with the help of an ideal condenser microphone that has phantom power.

You Can Also Read:Best Budget Mics under $1000

What External Mic I Should Choose to Use with Tascam DR-40

For an external mic, you can a dynamic one or a condenser whichever you prefer. Using them you can record the audio source or you can record the output signal of a mixer.

You can select among MP3 (44.1/48 kHz 32-320 kbps) and WAV/BWF audio recording formats. There are 5 recording modes in this recorder. You can mix input signals with an audio file that is played back with the help of the overdubbing function.

To record the same input signals at two different levels simultaneously, you can use the dual recording mode. And for four channel recording, you must have an external microphone.

Know Your Microphone

Before you know how to use external mics, first you need to know the difference between dynamic mics and condenser mics. Dynamic mics are used to record loud and strong sounds like drums in a live setting.

And condenser mics are used to capture higher frequencies and more elegant sounds like studio vocals. A condenser mic usually requires a power supply while a dynamic mic doesn’t.

The Tascam DR-40 can provide phantom power. While your condenser mic might need that, your dynamic mic won’t. So, before plugging in your mic, check if the phantom power supply is on or not as it might cause damage.

How to Connect Your External Microphone

Now that you have learned about microphones, you can learn about connecting the external microphones. It is really not that hard, just follow the given steps:

  • At first, connect your microphone to your CLR cable.
  • Now check the position of the external link switch at the side of the device. You can choose line level input, micro level input, and micro phantom power.
  • Now, turn on the recording by pressing and holding the power button.
  • If you have selected Phantom power then the device will give you a warning and ask if you are sure that you want to proceed or not.
  • Click Ok to confirm.

The recording levels on the recorder can be set automatically or manually. For decent audio and consistent sound levels, use the manual mode. To set your recording levels to manual:

  • Press the Menu button at first and open the menu screen.
  • Enter the In/Out setting.
  • Highlight the level mode and choose manual mode using up and down buttons.
  • To exit, press the Home button.

To select your external microphone as the source:

  • Press the record mode button.
  • If you’re going to record your voice with a single mic, then choose Mono so that sound comes out from both the speakers equally. This will save a lot of your valuable time when you process it.
  • If you have your microphone plugged into the left port, then choose your source to be External in the left.
  • Press the Home button to exit.

Now, you can start listening and set the levels. Press the record button once to enter standby mode. On the screen, you will be able to see the file name, the input source, file type, and sampling frequency.

Double check them to see if they fit your criteria or not. Adjusting input levels before you start recording is quite important. You can also preview them before you start.

By doing that you will be able to avoid distortions from levels either too high or by getting signals that are too quiet. You can try changing the distance and angle between your recorder and your sound source to view different tones and characters of your recorded sound. Now, simply just hit the record button and you will be recording.

When you are done recording, just take out the SD card from your Tascam DR-40. Now you can just import it to your hard drive to edit and process it.

For Dual Recording

  • At first press the record mode button
  • Navigate your way to Rec Mode and enter
  • Now set it to Dual Mode
  • To return to the main screen press the Home button
  • Now enter Source
  • Since you are using an external mic, set your input source to either External Input 1 (for Mono recording) or External Input 1/2 (for Stereo recording)
  • Return by pressing the Home button and select your ideal Dual Level.
  • Now get out of there and select Level Control to set up the backup recording input level control function. Now you are all set

What’s it Like?

Honestly, this depends on what mic you use. But in our opinion, it provides with quite accurate and clean recordings. And it is most certainly far better than your camera’s built in mic.

When using a dynamic mic, it is necessary for you to keep your mic as close to the sound source as possible. But when it comes to condenser mics, that is not much of an issue.

Concluding Remarks

The Tascam DR-40 has been discontinued in places like North, Central, and South America. You most likely won’t find it in the store anywhere. It has been replaced by its successor, the Tascam DR-40X. It is basically the improved version of its predecessor.

You can use the Tascam DR-40 for a number of reasons like filming yourself for your YouTube videos; recording your music or even if you are riding your car and recording. Its compact size makes it really easy to carry. After fitting in your mic, you can just keep it in your pocket or your bag. And if your microphone has Bluetooth, then that will be all the more perfect for you.

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