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Running a preamp in front of a recorder that doesn't have a true "line-in"

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I'm wondering what your guys' opinion on running an external preamp in front of a recorder that doesn't have a true "line-in". Instead it has a "mic-in" but simply adds a pad so that it can accept line level signals.

I'm referring specifically to my Tascam Dr-70d and running an MP-2 in front of it. I do plenty of loud concerts and have come to the conclusion that the Dr-70d preamps are more than acceptable for that.

But I have some classical and un-amplified jazz shows coming up and I'm seriously wondering whether it's worth it to run both of my MP-2's in front, as I find the MP-2 preamps's quieter than the stock Tascam preamps. Knowing that the Dr-70d "line-in" is just a padded mic-in, is passing the signal through 2 sets of preamps redundant, unnecessary, and potentially detrimental?

I think the best way to find out is to go and try both ways at quiet concerts and let my ears decide, and I plan on doing that. Wouldn't mind hearing some of your theoretical and real-world opinions first.

EDIT: I tried searching this and couldn't find anything. TIA

I'm someone who exclusively records classical / acoustic, and I owned a 70D and a FP-24 (pretty much the same preamp as yours) for a long time. Your instincts are correct that the 70D preamps are not not great for this kind of gig on their own, which is why I now run a Zoom F6.

I think your idea will work fine as long as:

1) You set the 70D inputs to LOW gain range (not sure if this is even a thing in LINE mode)
2) You might need to use the MP-2 tape out (3.5 mm) with a splitter cable. The actual line out on XLR is pro-gear level +4 dBu and may overload the 70D inputs, even if your gain is set conservatively.

Yes, I think Mp-2 tape out > 1/4 inputs on the Dr-70d is the most logical way to achieve this.

I am willing to admit I am overthinking this but was just hoping to access some of the knowledge here. I am currently sick (and extremely bored) and I think the old living room test is in order. Thanks

Glad to find this thread, as I'm in the same boat of wanting to run a preamp in front of a digital recorder.  Does anyone know of a 4- or 6-track recorder that does have true line in capabilities, instead of just engaging a pad on the mic input?

Chanher, have you considered the option of upgrading the preamps on your Tascam?  Doug Oade still performs these upgrades/modifications:

I think that there are also other folks out there (e.g. Busman?) that also offer this.
**Edit to add:  apparently there is a whole thread on 70d mods, as well as a good summary here
so Chanher, my apologies for recommending this if you are already well aware

In addition to my query above, I'm also considering buying a 70D and having Doug mod it.  I was quite impressed with the tapes of Dead & Co from NOLA that Goodcooker pulled, using a Oade mod Tascam (in that case, a 100mkii--but I believe that the 'concert mod' upgrade is the same for both decks):, and the thread is here

I’ve read those Dr-70d mod threads but I never knew Doug has begun to offer a mod, that’s pretty cool and I’m certainly tempted. I’ll listen to those modded 100mkii shows a little more carefully, at first glance they are nice.

While there are a handful of Busman Dr-70d’s out there, he is no longer in the game.

I do think the single biggest advantage of the Dr-70d is the price. If you are patient you can find one for well under $200. I picked up a used one off ebay and have recorded 50+ shows without a single error [knock on wood]. It’s also quite small for a 4 channel recorder and I’m comfortable taking it to sketchy taping situations with the tiny bag I use and the low investment I’ve made.

I think if you stick to medium to loud shows this is a great option. I still think it’s not THAT bad for quieter music but there are better options out there. I’ve ran all 4 channels for a jazz performance and the lead guy was so impressed he’s considering trying a commercial release with me if I can simulate those results, albeit I HEAVILY mastered that recording.

Tbh I would love for you to try an Oade Dr-70d and post your results here haha.


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