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Author Topic: Tascam DR-22WL 2ch recorder with Wifi app remote control  (Read 29907 times)

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Offline Ozpeter

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Tascam DR-22WL 2ch recorder with Wifi app remote control
« on: October 28, 2014, 10:22:51 PM »
I'll start a new topic for this as it's so far been discussed in the DR-44 thread, which is a significantly different device.

Mine's just arrived.  Unboxing thoughts - fits snugly in the hand.  It's stable when lying flat but wobbly if upright.  Quite chunky because of the mic layout.  Level setting wheel at the base is just tight enough to resist accidental movement but still not too tight for ease of adjustment.  Buttons have a shallow travel but with an adequate click, but any control operation while recording with the internal mics will be noticed on playback.  Class 4 4GB card is pre-inserted under a rubbery cover.  Batteries and a USB lead are included.  Battery cover is slightly hard to remove, there's not enough of a grippy bit (quibble). Display is good resolution.  Menu structure and operation is very clear and easy (both to change things and check things).

More to come of course on actual use, hopefully in the next few hours.

Offline Ozpeter

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Re: Tascam DR-22WL 2ch recorder with Wifi app remote control
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2014, 05:17:28 AM »
Just an interim report - I'm pushed for time right now -

The device is very susceptible to handling and wind noise.  I thought the day here was pretty still wind-wise until I saw and heard the considerable low frequency rumble which the device recorded unless it was in totally still air.  Use of a dead kitten outdoors is mandatory.  On the plus side of this, the wind rumble indicates that the mics go down to a good low frequency.

The jury is out on the quality of the built in mics.  There's plenty of low frequency extension.  There's no roll off at the HF end.  But I'm a bit suspicious that in the middle there's some colouration.  To pin that down I'll need to do a very careful test in comparison with other recorders I have and with a Sennheiser MKH MS pair (into another recorder) as a reference.  They seem to be as low noise as any other such recorder these days - I have no concerns in that respect at this time.  Stereo image is good as you would expect from the mic configuration.

(It seems to me that it should be fairly easy for manufacturers to get a good flat response from built in mics, as the response of the capsules is known and the recorder electronics should be designed to compensate for any lack of flatness.)

Every time you plug in the headphones, a box pops up warning you of the risk of hearing damage, and the volume is lowered to a certain level.  You can then ignore the warning of course, but it's a bit of a pain during testing when I'm using the same cans on various recorders.

The input level control is a bit fiddly in use, but there is a display not only showing 0 - 90 but also how many dB up or down you have dialled, relative to the starting position before you turned the knob.  As the knob is a rotary encoder, small adjustments can be made more easily than with a control which can only rotate through 350 degrees.  Apparently this is digitally controlled analog level control.

Otherwise, it's a delight to use, in terms of the menus and transport controls, which fall nicely to hand.  Compare and contrast with something like the M10 whose control layout is a bit idiosyncratic - I find myself peering at its buttons and having to think which one to press, especially when using menus, and to see its current settings you have to scroll all the way through all settings.  On the DR22 it's all there on one four-tabbed page (and the first tab has most of what you need during a recording).

The remote control Android app is indeed woefully short of features, but it does have metering, time info, and start/stop/pause/play/record/skip.  I put the recorder on a table at one end of the house and used the remote at the other end, and it worked fine (if only for the currently implemented features) over a line-of-sight distance which would equate to the distance from a mic stand in front of a band back to the first few rows of an audience.  Using the remote even close gets round the problems with handling noise.  It also enables simple things like recording yourself talking (and thus not having a clear sight of the controls and display) but being able to operate the device from a phone beside you.

So, the wifi thing opens up the prospect of using the recorder as a stereo mic which would normally need to be cabled back to a recorder, except no cable is required, while retaining full control (once the apps are actually finished).  This is great, but if the mics are indifferent, it's not such an attractive scenario.  You get what you pay for I guess - the DR44 would enable you to use your own higher grade mics at the top of the stand with the recorder strapped on lower down and remotely operated.

So, watch this space and I'll try to do some valid tests on the mic frequency response.  I'll also hope to do some ambience recording with a dead kitten fitted.  For further info see the two-part review on YouTube by Max Yuryev who has done a good job, though his mic tests are not the most scientific.

Offline 2manyrocks

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Re: Tascam DR-22WL 2ch recorder with Wifi app remote control
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2014, 10:05:31 AM »
Thank you for these posts.  The review you mentioned and yours appear to be the first ones on this unit. 

It would be great to control levels remotely and avoid runs of mic cables in any situation where people can get tripped up by cables.    Mount the whole deal to a stand up front near the musicians and control it from your seat in the audience.  That's fantastic if it works.

Apparently, remote control will work via android phone, but will it work with an android tablet, too?

I wonder how well the DR22wl will work with external mics and an external preamp in this kind of application?

Offline Ozpeter

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Re: Tascam DR-22WL 2ch recorder with Wifi app remote control
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2014, 07:19:12 PM »
Works on a 7" Android tablet and on a TV-connected Android device too.  Sadly it won't install on my Android watch which would have been a neat trick.

Later I'll try the mic input with my Roland in-ears.  I have no doubt that line input from an external mic preamp would work fine as it's pretty hard to mess up a line input these days.  One scenario would be to use a device like the Zoom H2N just as an MS mic on the top of the stand, feeding the line input of the Tascam at the bottom, controlled by wifi.  All sorts of things are possible.

Offline Ozpeter

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Re: Tascam DR-22WL 2ch recorder with Wifi app remote control
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2014, 11:03:35 PM »
I'm currently (sorry for pun) investigating battery life.  I tired a remote controlled recording when the battery indicator was almost down to one bar out of three and after about 49 minutes, a message came up on the DR22 screen saying it was shutting down wifi to conserve the battery.  It has since continued to record with remote for about a couple of hours.

Next I'll sacrifice a new set of batteries to see how long wifi controlled recording lasts with fresh batteries.  What would be nice is if the battery life allowed doing some test recordings during a soundcheck, then leaving everything on and ready for an hour till the concert starts, then recording two one hour halves of the concert with 20 minutes for the interval (on but not running).  That would simulate placing the recorder where you can't readily get at it to manually turn it on and off.  But I suspect wifi will not last that long.  In that case it would be a matter of using an external battery pack at the base of the stand with an extra-length USB lead to the recorder.

Offline Ozpeter

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Re: Tascam DR-22WL 2ch recorder with Wifi app remote control
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2014, 07:04:58 PM »
Investigation of battery life got sidetracked by consideration of frequency response in comparison to other devices.   I did some tests vs M10 and H2N but then began to wonder how any of these devices fare against a good high quality flat response condenser mic (Sennheiser MKH cardioid for instance).  That started to throw up some interesting results but I decided to redo the tests to be quite sure of my conclusions.  So, once again, watch this space...

Offline Ozpeter

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Re: Tascam DR-22WL 2ch recorder with Wifi app remote control
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2014, 02:47:29 AM »
Well, I've been looking a frequency response curves generated from white noise till my eyes are crossed and I'm not entirely sure what conclusion I should come to, but I suppose that I can summarise as follows -

If I line up the frequency responses of the Sennheiser MKH cardioid and the Tascam DR-22 so that they coincide at 1000Hz, then the Tascam is about 3dB down by the time we get to 2kHz and about 5kHz down at 3.5kHz.   It's then +2dB at about 5.2kHz, about the same as the Sennheiser between 5.8kHz and 7kHz, and then has a significant increase through to +9dB at 10kHz.   It then gradually comes back down to match the Sennheiser 18kHz and thereafter rolls off a little more steeply than the Sennheiser.  As far as the lower frequencies go, the Tascam rolls off a bit below about 125Hz but actually rises somewhat from around 25Hz.  Using the 40Hz filter is probably wise under most circumstances.

I'll try to attach a screen capture showing the Sennheiser in green, the Tascam in red, the H2N in purple and the M10 in yellow.  If my speakers and room were perfect the Sennheiser's green line would be flat.  But while you cannot draw any inferences from this test concerning the absolute frequency responses of these devices, you could draw some general conclusions from the relative differences between the devices and the Sennheiser mic.

Certainly the Tascam sounds a bit lacking in mid frequencies and rather tizzy in the presence of high frequencies, but not thin because of the bass extension.  Some eq after recording could help flatten things out a bit.


Offline Ozpeter

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Re: Tascam DR-22WL 2ch recorder with Wifi app remote control
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2014, 10:23:12 PM »
With fresh alkaline batteries, I got 3 hours 12 minutes of wifi remote control time, recording all the time, before it disconnected the wifi to conserve battery (at which point the recorder carried on recording on its own).  That could cover a lot of situations, but perhaps to get the full picture I should see whether wifi lasts longer when the recorder is idle (like in an interval or before the show starts) during which time it's not needing to transmit data.  With the current Android app, the indication of elapsed time is transmitted every 10 seconds or so after an initial period of continuous displayed time - either a bug or a battery saving feature, can't tell which.  Meters continue to respond all the time, however.

Offline Ozpeter

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Re: Tascam DR-22WL 2ch recorder with Wifi app remote control
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2014, 05:27:41 AM »
I've been trying the DR22 with an external battery pack for the last few hours and using that I've been able to verify that if the device is set to never sleep, then when the transport is idle, the wifi connection remains available for an extended period even if the remote control device disconnects altogether.  That's true when it's recording too.  So you can go and have drinks in the interval with your phone in your pocket switched off, and regain control when you go back into the auditorium.  Or you can start recording, turn off your phone, then at the end of the show turn back on, reconnect, re-run the app, and press stop.

Note that even on external power, if you set the device to sleep after (say) three minutes' non-use, and you stop it with the remote, it will go to sleep after 3 mins and the only way to get it back on is to use the controls on the device itself.

Offline 2manyrocks

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Re: Tascam DR-22WL 2ch recorder with Wifi app remote control
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2014, 08:39:14 PM »
If you were in the market for a 2 channel recorder, would you buy another M10 for $199 USD or the Tascam DR-22wl for $149 USD? What are your thoughts at this point?

Offline Ozpeter

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Re: Tascam DR-22WL 2ch recorder with Wifi app remote control
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2014, 02:29:36 AM »
It depends on your requirements.  For use with external mics/inputs, and if a wired remote suffices (if required at all), then the M10 is good (personally I don't like its button layout, some elements of its menus, and its poor stereo image from the built in mics).  If wifi control is important, then that's the chief attraction of the DR-22WL which is otherwise not groundbreaking (but I prefer its button layout, its menus and the stereo image from its mics).  And of course at the moment the jury is out on the whole wifi thing until Tascam deliver on the promised features.  And until I get an opportunity to try the DR22 on live music and other such sound sources I can't confidently vouch for the mic quality apart from the image.

Early days.

tomuo

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Re: Tascam DR-22WL 2ch recorder with Wifi app remote control
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2014, 02:09:40 PM »
The iOS application was just updated today on the iTunes store:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dr-control/id916073484?mt=8

Playback streaming is now working.

Offline Ozpeter

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Re: Tascam DR-22WL 2ch recorder with Wifi app remote control
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2014, 07:56:21 PM »
Cool.  But the Android version remains rudimentary.  Perhaps they are getting the iOS version right first and will then in essence port it across to Android having solved the problems first.

Firmware has been updated again too.  At least they are working on getting it all as advertised...
« Last Edit: November 04, 2014, 07:59:36 PM by Ozpeter »

Offline dallman

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Re: Tascam DR-22WL 2ch recorder with Wifi app remote control
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2014, 05:41:04 PM »
It appears the android version of the app has been removed from the app store. When I check on my phone, I am told the app does not exist in the Google Play Store, and when I check on my PC the same. When I go to the Tascam website the links for the iPhone works, but not any of the links to the Google Play Store. I can only guess the app is being worked on.
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Offline Ozpeter

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Re: Tascam DR-22WL 2ch recorder with Wifi app remote control
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2014, 09:06:27 PM »
Quote
It appears the android version of the app has been removed from the app store
odd - it still works here through all those routes. 

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tascam.android.DRCONTROL

 

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