Gear / Technical Help > Recording Gear

Recorder for budget 4+ch open/sbd rig: DR-70D, DR-680, or other?

(1/3) > >>

Hey all,
I have been considering getting a recorder for a first step into running mics + sbd and have narrowed it down a bit but want to see if there is anything I am missing by asking you folks who have experience with the various devices in question. Top considerations at the moment based on availability and budget are a Tascam DR-70D or a DR-680 mki which I've seen pop up at around $100 locally. Initially I just plan to run 2 mics and sbd when able but when I acquire more mics, I'd eventually like to explore setups with additional mics which makes the 680 appealing for future-proofing but am conflicted between liking having physical buttons for each individual channel's configuration and concerned with said buttons being on top of the machine requiring consideration when deciding on transporting and setting up gear at the venue.

What I would like to know from y'all is considering the larger size and any potential differences in build quality, ease of use, and preamp quality if it would be a worthwhile step to go straight to the 680 despite not having enough mics to use it to its full potential yet or if it'd be advisable to start with a DR-70D and as I save for additional mics, also save for something like a used MixPre 6i or other more modern piece of equipment? I've been a hobbyist photographer much longer than recorder and much of the research I did before investing in equipment then was whether older but higher end at the time or newer lower end gear was a better choice for my use case and ultimately went with the former but am uncertain if that logic holds true with recording equipment as well or if the technologies that have come out since then are game changing enough to make the DR-680 not worth the size, handling, and potential sound quality penalty for the additional channels and/or the unit's age is old enough to be worried about effective lifespan. I understand some modding can be done to the units which may change how they stack up but would like to only consider stock for now unless the mod in question is very high on the simpleness to effectiveness scale.

I haven't quite combed through the many pages of threads here dedicated to the DR-70D, DR-680D, and MixPre6, etc enough to be able to determine what'd be the most effective use of funds, especially having no real world experience with any of them, and was hoping I could tap into the group mind for considerations I may have missed or perspectives that may be helpful toward deciding.

Thanks in advance

Phil Zone:

I owned a DR-680 for almost 10 years and a DR-70D for a couple. The DR-680 mark I preamps were not great, not bad of it was a loud show. They were just noisy for quieter things, I always ran an external preamp in front of it. I found it to be great to use though, my only complaint was size and power consumption.

The DR-70D is small, light, and user power efficient in comparison. I also found the preamps to be much quieter. This is what I would recommend you start of with! Good price, for $100 you can't go wrong. It gives you a chance to see if you really like doing this without spending a fortune and the difference at a full volume show will be incredibly marginal vs another deck anyways.

The mix pre I is also a good deck, better preamps than the others but it's not earth shatteringly different..

As far as build quality goes the Tascams are good, not bulletproof but good as long as you take care of it. The mix pre is a bit tougher no doubt.

My advice would be go for the DR-70D and if you love taping and want to expand down the road, buy a deck then that has all the bells and whistles. The Zoom F6, F8 or SD Mix Pre ii all fit that bill. 32 bit float recording is all the rage these days, hence why some of these older decks go for such deals! Great time to buy them

Hope this helps

I do the same thing - when the new version of an item comes out I buy the older version at a discount, lightly used when the other folks upgrade.

I've used all those recorders with one exception - the 70d. I used a 701d for quite a while and I really liked it. It has some features that the 70d doesn't which may not be needed like timecode but it does have a good feature set and sounds good especially considering the price on the used market typically $350 or so. But at that price you may as well spring the $400 for the used SD Mixpre6 in the YS.

I used a DR680 for a while. It's bulky and has it's quirks but it works and sounds okay for most taper uses. The 70d likely has a slight edge IMO in that it's smaller, is easily powered from cheap 5V USB batteries and probably sounds a little better. Not sure if the 70 and 701 share the same preamp circuit but the 701 sounded better than the 680 to me. The 680 has 6 analog inputs and 2 digital for a total of 8 simultaneous if that matters.

Amazing how far we have come - I paid around $1100 for my Busman modded Edirol R4 in 2007. Now we are talking about 8 channel recorders for $100 on the used market.

I've run alot with the DR70d and the 680.  I liked the 680 more than the DR70D.  The menu's on the DR70D, for some reason, just constantly drove me nuts.  Every time I recorded with it, I'd have to allow ten minutes for setting it up.  Also, DR70D has a history of being more finicky about the SD card media used than the 680.  I remember the 680 as a deck I could be up and rolling with by turning it on then pushing record.  When you're pushed for time especially if the line to get into a venue is long or there's traffic on the way in that robs you of setup time, these things matter.

You mentioned the mixpre6.  For my money, that's hands down the choice to go with if your budget allows.  Much better internal preamps.  But you're not gonna get one of those for $100. 

Sorry to be the contrarian here, but for $100 I think the 680 is a better value than the DR70D.  When 680's first came out, they were something like $700 or $800.  DR70d original price was something like $299.  And then there's the damn setup on the DR70D...fn thing.

I'm biased - love the SD peamp sound. Have had a mp3, mp6, mp6 II.

It's a bit of a stretch compared to the other decks you're considring, but I highly recommend the used mp6 in the YS. It'll grow with you if you'd like to run 4 mics and SBD, needs no external preamps, and powers easily w a usbc battery bank. Even with the mark II, I don't overrecord much, so I don't see.a ton of benefit to the II series.

Stretch for the mp6, then you're done w thinking about recorders and can obsess on mics 😀.



[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version