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Author Topic: TASCAM DR-70D FAQ  (Read 31485 times)

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Offline voltronic

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« on: April 24, 2015, 06:13:12 PM »
Please send me a PM with change requests.  A changelog may be found at the bottom of this post.

TS Discussion Threads:

Part 1 (October 2014 - March 2015)
Part 2 (March 2015 - April 2015)
Part 3 (April 2015 - July 2015)
Part 4 (July 2015 - October 2015)
Part 5 (October 2015 - December 2015)
Part 6 (December 2015 - May 2016)
Part 7 (May 2016 - February 2017)
Part 8 (February 2017 - Present)

Product Info Page:

Reference Manual:

Current Firmware:

v1.15, released Oct 12, 2017

Hardware Info:

DSP: Analog Devices Blackfin (specific chip not known)
ADC / DAC: Cirrus Logic CS42L52-CNZ
OpAmps: NE5532A (2 for the XLR inputs)
               NJM 4580 (3 for combined channel 1/2 stereo input and for output stage)

Menu Reference:

All settings below are accessed by pressing MENU and then...

- RECORD: ON, OFF - Arm / disable channels for recording
- PAN: Pan adjust - This only affects recording when set to 2MIX mode* > This setting becomes WIDE when M/S MODE is set to REC or MONI.**
- GAIN: Set gain range to LOW, MID, HIGH, HIGH+ (see Gain Pot Ranges below)
- INPUT: Set input source feeding the selected recording channel(s): XLR/TRS, EXT STEREO (EXT IN 1/2 jack), EXT_POWER (activates PIP on EXT IN 1/2 jack)

- MONITOR SEL: MIX (internal mix), CAM (external CAM input)
- OUTPUT LEVEL: -102 dB to +12 dB
- OUTPUT GAIN: LINE, CAM (-30 dB from OUTPUT LEVEL setting)

- INPUT GAIN: LINE, MIC, MIC+PHANTOM (shows XLR icon on main screen next to channel number)
- LIMITER: LIMITER: OFF, MONO, STEREO (Linked) - See Known Issues below.
- LOWCUT: LOWCUT: OFF, 40Hz, 80Hz, 120Hz, 180Hz, 220Hz
- DELAY: Variable from -150ms to +150ms.  Delay can only be applied to channels 2, 3, or 4 as the delay time is referenced against Channel 1.
- PHASE: Invert phase for the selected channel

- FILE TYPE: MONO, STEREO (paired CH1/2 and 3/4), 2MIX - *2MIX is a stereo mixdown of all armed channels.  PAN adjustments made to tracks will affect recordings made in this mode only.
- FORMAT: WAV or BWAV, 16 or 24 bit
- SAMPLE: 44.1, 48, or 96 kHz
- DUAL REC: Records a duplicate of CH 1/2 at -1 dB to -12 dB lower.  CH 3/4 must be disarmed in BASIC > RECORD first.  Useful as a stereo "safety" track when recording wide dynamic ranges. 

- AUTO TONE: OFF, HEAD, HEAD+TAIL - Use to record slate tones automatically at the beginning (HEAD) or beginning and end (HEAD+TAIL) of a recorded track.
- TONE VOLUME: Set level of tone generated by AUTO TONE or when SLATE button is pressed, from -36 dB to -12 dB.  Slate tones can only be generated during recording.

- M/S MODE 1/2 or 3/4: OFF, REC, MONI - REC enables mid-side matrix which is recorded / encoded as L/R stereo; MONI enables the matrix only for monitor output, tracks recorded raw without encoding. 
   > **Enabling REC or MONI changes RECORD > PAN to WIDE, with a percentage setting that controls the balance between mid and side channels.
   > The mid mic must be connected to CH1 and the side (fig-8) mic to CH2 in order for the matrix to function.
- PHANTOM VOLT: 24V or 48V

- Play, view info, or delete recorded tracks

- SYSTEM: Set auto power off time, backlight timeout, screen contrast, INITIALIZE (reset to factory settings), QUICK FORMAT (erases card filesystem info), ERASE FORMAT (fully formats card)
  > ERASE FORMAT should be performed on all cards periodically to ensure greater reliability of recording.  If QUICK FORMAT is used, the old files are simply being overwritten.
- BATTERY: Set internal battery type to Alkaline or Ni-MH
- INFORMATION: View info on current file, card and system
- FILE NAME: Set file naming options; reset filename incrementing
- DATE/TIME: Set system date and time - used for file names if file name TYPE is set to DATE
- REMOTE: Settings for RC-3F or RC-10 remotes

Gain Pot Ranges:

               1.01 Firmware            1.10+ Firmware

LOW          -21 to +11 dB                -7 to +21 dB
MID               N/A                          +16 to +36 dB
HIGH        +19 to +51 dB             +31 to +51 dB
HIGH+      +31 to +63 dB             +43 to +63 dB

  • The values above are for the XLR inputs set to MIC level input.  The maximum limits of the gain pots are from Tascam specifications.  The lower limits were obtained through non-scientific testing.
  • The gain is controlled digitally, and changes in 2dB steps.
  • Turning a gain pot full counter-clockwise until the stop will turn the channel input off.  It turns on at its minimum gain level when rotated clockwise past 8:00. (see Known Issues below)
  • The HIGH+ range is quite noisy.  If that much gain is required, a high-quality external preamp is recommended.

Level-Matching for Cameras and External Recorders:
  • MENU > MONITOR: Set Monitor Sel. to MIX, Output Level to 0 dB, and Output Gain to LINE or CAM (-30dB).
  • MENU > SLATE: Set Tone Volume to -18 dB (or which ever you prefer).
  • Start recording on 70D and hold down the SLATE button.
  • Raise the gain on the camera until the levels reach -18 dB.
Now that the camera levels are matched to the 70D, all level adjustments can be made with the gain pots.  If you want the camera to record a couple dB above or below the 70D, you must adjust the Output Level in the MONITOR menu before you start recording.  This level cannot be adjusted while recording!

External Power Requirements:

The 70D requires 5V, 1A, 5W at full load.

Recommended External Batteries: (These batteries have been used by members with the 70D specifically.)
RAVPower RP-PB07U 12,000 mAh (discontinued)

RAVPower RP-PB07 10,400 mAh

Generic "Power Bank" 20,000 mAh UltraThin - shown in use here.

SD Cards:

DR-70D Tested Media List

Only tested and approved cards should be used with the 70D.  Users have reported issues with the 70D 's performance writing to non-tested SD cards.

TS members can report on card performance using the DR-70D Card Survey.

You may view the results of the survey here.

Recommended Gear Bags:

K-Tek KSTG70 Stingray Bag

Porta-Brace AR-DR70D

Strut STR-DR70D

Amazon Basics Large DSLR Bag

Petrol PS617 Deca Lightweight Audio Bag (discontinued) - appears to have been replaced by:
Sachtler SN617

Lowepro Nova 5 (discontinued)

Recommended Protective Cases:

NOTE: These cases will not allow full operation, but are appropriately sized to protect the unit during transport.

Hard cases:

SKB 3I0705-3B-02 Custom Hard Case for DR-70D (discontinued)

Pelican 1060 ($18.95)  Interior dimensions 8.2in x 4.25in x 2.25in

Soft cases:

PM Company Securit Bank Deposit / Utility Zipper Coin Bag ($4.70) Interior dimensions 11in x 6in - This and other similar "banker" bags are the cheapest way to protect the 70D.

Domke F-901 ($22.99)  Internal dimesions 9in x 5in x 3in

Zing Designs Drawstring Pouch LPB1 ($11.99)  Interior dimensions 9in x 4.5in

Auray WMC-100 Wide Mouth Microphone Case ($12.99)  Interior dimensions 10.5in x 4in

Windtech Zippered Pouch ($7.99)  Interior Dimensions 10.5in x 5.5in

Known Issues:
  • Poor metering display.  Only the highest dB level of all active channels is shown numerically at the lower-right corner.
  • It is difficult to accurately match levels between channels because of issue #1, and there is no way to gang channels together to link level adjustments.
  • Limiter adds 12dB noise and should be avoided.
  • No menu settings can be accessed while recording.  Especially problematic is the inability to adjust the CAM / LINE output level while recording.  The only changes that can be made while recording are limited to the 4 gain pots, headphone level, and insertion of SLATE tones.
  • Monitoring is restricted to either a 2 channel stereo mixdown or the CAM input.
  • CAM / LINE output is a 2 channel stereo mixdown, even if all 4 channels are recording.  This cannot be adjusted.
  • Slate tones only can be generated while recording.
  • Engaging HOLD locks all settings from being changed, INCLUDING the gain pots (which are digitally controlled).  If you move a gain pot while hold is engaged and then release the hold, the gain will quickly jump to the new position.
  • There is a dead zone at the bottom of the gain pot range: the pots must be turned past 8:00 for the channel to turn on at its minimum gain setting.

Firmware Update Requests:
  • Improve level monitoring readout - a large, onscreen dB gain level of one channel that appears briefly when moving a gain pot would be very helpful, and/or a per-channel numeric input level readout.
  • Add an option for ganged level controls for stereo pairs of inputs or for all four at once.  For example, in ganged 1 x 2 or 2 x 2 mode, either level control 1 or 2 would adjust both channels 1 and 2 simultaneously and either level controls 3 or 4 would adjust channels 3 and 4 simultaneously.  Similarly, in ganged 1 x 4 mode, any of the level knobs would adjust all of the channels simultaneously.  Alternatively, since level control is all digital, there could be a second menu option to have certain gain knobs disabled in gang mode to prevent accidental movement...say in 1 x 2 or 2 x 2 only knobs 1 and 3 are active and in 1 x 4 only knob 1 is active.
  • Fix the limiter implementation to make it usable without adding significant noise (as much as can be remedied digitally).
  • Allow certain menu functions to be accessed while recording, such CAM / LINE level adjustment.
  • Monitor channels 1/2 or 3/4 as separate stereo pairs or allow per-channel monitoring (currently can only monitor a mixdown of all recording channels, or the stereo CAM input).
  • Assign selected channels to CAM / LINE outputs rather than a stereo mixdown (see #4).
  • Allow Slate tones to be generated without recording. This would be useful for level-matching cameras, external recorders, and other devices before recording begins.
  • Improve the gain pot movement / hold switch disengage behavior.  Option 1: hold switch does not affect gain pots.  Option 2: if a gain pot is moved during HOLD and then hold is released, the level of the moved channel will not change until that gain pot is moved a second time.
  • Use the full range of gain pot movement to eliminate the dead zone at the bottom of the range.

Performance Modification:

Modification Discussion Thread

Two known mods exist:

1. Busman Audio (not listed on his site; details of the mod unknown)

2. Jim Williams of Audio Upgrades, who modified his own unit to improve performance.  Jim has allowed me to share the full details of his mod publicly since he does not sell the mod himself.
2 SOIC LME49720MA opamps are replaced for the mic preamps. There are 3 upc4580 dual opamps on the other side of the pcb, those do line out functions. I replaced those as well. The last step is adding WIMA MKP-2 250V .01 uf poly film caps across the 8 22uf/63V phantom blocking caps. Any surface mount repair shop can do this work as several have already had that done with great success.
Regards, Jim Williams

Required parts:
LME49720MA op amp (5 needed)
Mouser DigiKey
Wima MKP-2 poly caps (8 needed)

Before and after photos taken by Cheesecadet of his modded unit:



04/13/2016: Added changelog!  Removed links to discontinued RAVPower RP-PB07U battery, Petrol PS617 bag, and SKB 3I0705-3B-02 hard case.
04/17/2016: Added link to Sachtler SN617, the replacement for the Petrol PS617 (thanks, aaronj).
05/08/2016: Added link to Part 7 of the discussion thread.
06/21/2016: Firmware updated to v1.14.
07/16/2016: Changed thread title, Changed Recommended Settings to Menu Reference and fully revamped section,  added note about firmware release notes.
09/30/2016: Updated link for LME49720 opamp product page at Mouser.
02/14/2017: Added link to Part 8 of the discussion thread.
06/11/2017: Updated links to Power Bank USB battery and new Tested Media document.
02/12/2018: Firmware updated to v1.15 (thanks, m4granger).
09/30/2020: New Tested Media list (thanks, IMPigpen).
« Last Edit: September 30, 2020, 06:40:59 AM by voltronic »
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