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Tascam Portacapture X8

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Seems quite weird (or maybe a mystery of marketing) that it doesn’t seem possible to come up with a really good quality 6 channel handheld recorder with decent built-in mics. Mixpre and Zoom f6 are fine but sometimes the convenience of a couple of decent onboard mics may prove very flexible; set and go recordings or maybe a 4 tracks recording bringing just a couple of external mics and one stand, thus saving time and space. I’ am quite ok with my Zoom h6 but I feel it’s limits; I’d be happy to pay the extra money for something like the F series preamps packed in the H6 ( or this Portacapture) form factor.

That review is painful. Nobody wants to be the bearer of news that bad. He seems to be very fond of his D100 and M10 Sonys, and the SD 633 which is really one of the best field recorders made right now. Well, I like knobs and monochrome displays so I'll never get anything with a touch screen and onion layers of menu settings, but I'm old and need gear with '90s leaning user experiences, lol.

Well Tascam got back to me Friday:

"Hello Jeff,

Our engineering department has sent the following information...

Although noise level approximately -100dBFS of outside of audible band of 25k/50k/75kHz at internal MIC(*) and default setting(+18dB) has been observed.
* Although the level is more low, the noise has been observed also on other channel.
There is also the frequency that improved by the latest firmware, so please try with V1.03."

So I upgraded to Firmware V1.03 as suggested, new issues. This is what I just sent them:

"As you suggested, I upgraded to firmware 1.03.  Although the 25.3 kHz line is gone (also 50.6 kHz and 76 kHz), there are now hum lines at roughly 36.6 kHz and 74 kHz, again in both the plug-in-power mics and XLRs, including channels without mics or phantom power enabled.  Channel 5, which was decent before, has messy peaks at these resonances with no phantom or attached mics.  In addition, when loading the (very short) files into iZotope, I get an error message that the timecode is too big and iZotope is resetting it to zero.  I did not try to enable timecode, what is going on with this?  I did not get this message with firmware 1.00."

Still looking for a review that tells me what I don't know: how do the preamps and A/D sound in the sub-ultra-sonic area where it matters more?  I have not run into the sporadic noise issues mentioned in other reviews, but I haven't been able to try it out in real life.

Note added: Curtis Judd is about to post a review (in about an hour).  That should be interesting.

Well, if this is the Curtis Judd video you meant, I don't think I'll bother watching - at the outset he says he's used it for 45 minutes and hasn't recorded anything with it yet (due to it not liking his SD card).  I'd be much more interested in a review by someone thoroughly familiar with the device who could offer carefully analysed audio examples from test and real world situations.  (Then again, maybe I'm criticising a video I haven't watched where someone reviews a device they haven't used!  :banging head: )

Yeah, I saw it.  He does promise to update when he has the necessary micro-SD card (how come he doesn't have 20 or so of them lying around, like I thought everyone does).  Right now he is clueless, seems to have relied on the paper "owners manual" rather than the online reference manual, which explains a lot of the stuff he was unsure about.  But his audio reviews have been helpful in the past, I hope he addresses the issues once they have a chance to kick him in the head as hard as I have experienced.


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