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Review : Tascam DR-07 Field Recorder

Posted on 6/3/2011 7:09:11 AM by steveh

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Review Model : Self Purchased

Overall Score : 7 out of 10


  1. Sounds good for the price
  2. Small
  3. Well laid out screen
  4. Easy to use


  1. Feels cheap in the hand
  2. Handling noise is a real issue if not mounted.
  3. Supplied wind shield is useless


This review initially appeared on my old blog back in 2009. Since developing new blogging software for this site I decided to move the review over to this blog as this is still a very popular budget field recorder.

The other day I had a new portable field recorder turn up, the Tascam DR-07. This recorder has only just been released and is actually their entry level model sitting below the Tascam DR-01. I initially liked the idea of this recorder because it is nice and small so I can carry it with me everywhere.

I used to own a Zoom H4 recorder which was a pretty good recorder but it looked really weird. I know looks are not everything, but it did actually matter when trying to record in a busy location as it drew attention to itself which isn’t good when you are trying to be discreet.

As far as features go, this device has everything you could need to get sounds recorded and none of the nonsense features that other recorder seem to come with. The Tascam can record up to 24bit 44khz and it comes supplied with a 2 gig card in the box which I was impressed with.

The DR-07 has a built in set of condenser mics that can record in stereo. There is also a mic input and a line in socket. Both of these are the smaller 1/8? jack sockets.

The device goes from off to on and ready to record in under 5 seconds which isn’t too bad. To start recording you press the Record button once to arm the device. From here you can get your levels correct. Once you are happy with the levels you can press record again to start recording.

From the menus you can adjust different settings for recording like changing the mic gain, setting a low cut filter if you are recording in an area with wind or low frequency rumbles, and set the auto gain control. The only thing I didn’t like about the default settings was the fact auto gain control was turned on by default which I didn’t realize until after I checked my first test recordings at a train station where I could hear some pumping sounds as the compressor kicked in.

The menu system is very easy to navigate and feels very natural with the iPod syle rotary dial. The DR-07 does have some features that I will never use like looping and variable speed playback, but in all honesty I wont touch these, I just want to record sounds.

Another annoying but non deal breaking feature missing is that you cant seem to rename the audio tracks in its file system. The files are named sequentially like DR00001.wav. Certainly not a show stopper as when I have finished recording I just speak into the mic the location of the sound.

In the box you get the recorder it self, a set of manuals, a foam windshield and a USB cable.

Overall I am very impressed with this device. It doesn’t cost a lot (150 sterling), it is light and fits in the hand nicely. It is small enough to be discrete also. The sound quality from the build in mics is excellent and your recordings will have a great tonal character. I also bought an Audio Technica ATR25 shotgun mic to use with the device, but haven’t really tried it out yet.

Overall Score : 7 out ot 10

Posted by Eoghan on 6/3/2011.

I bought a DR-07 last week. My main interest is music recording, mostly live piano and also organ (classical). I needed a handy recorder to record sounds without fuss, and in venues where elaborate setups are not possible. Also if I want to record my progress learning a piece it is very handy. So far I am delighted with it, as I find live piano a very telling test. using it in wav mode with its own mic, I get a clean undistorted sound, which sounds faithful to the paino. I hope to get more chances to test it over coming weeks, but overall I find it easy to use, and for the price a good buy.

Posted by TT on 6/3/2011.

It sounds very promising, gonna try it out very soon. It’s nice to see the ability to loop audio, not even the mp3 players i’ve had did that properly.

Posted by Brett Gundlock on 6/3/2011.

Have you tried it with a mic? I am having problems getting a high input with it without putting the gain on high, which sucks.

Posted by Stephen Haunts on 6/3/2011.

I have got an Audio Technica ATR25 shotgun mic but I have only tried it once. I did notice the recording were a little quiter than what I had hoped but hadn’t tried it since. Whic mic have you tried it with? It would be a pain in the arse to have to use a mic pre with it. Kinds of negates the portability of it.

Posted by Jeff on 6/3/2011.

I bought a DR-07 this past weekend, and I really love the sound quality. I have used it with external lapel mics as well as a small Azden shotgun mic. There is a setting in the menu which supplies power to mics that need it. My lapel mics require this power, and at first I didn’t understand why the audio was so low and muffled, until I turned on the power setting. Generally, this is a great unit for the $200 I paid at Guitar Center. However, the battery consumption sucks. I am getting about 3 hours of life out of a set of two alkaline batteries. This might be due to the aformentioned use of mics that require power, or due to the fact that I am using headphones to monitor what I record. Jeff

Posted by Hugh on 6/3/2011.

I am interested in purchasing DR 07. Does it have a built-in speaker to monitor recordings or is it headphones or external speakers only?

Posted by Hugh on 6/3/2011.

Is the sound quality better than minidisc? And does anyone know how much recording time (rough idea) on a 4Gb disc recording in .wav format at 44.1?

Posted by Jeff on 6/3/2011.

Hugh, I’m new to field recorders but I think that the quality of the sound in this case would be determined by the quality of the microphones and the way the input signal is processed (and of course, the file format and associated compression.) I think that the storage media is irrelevant. I apologize if I am misunderstanding your use of the term “minidisc” to describe something beyond just the storage media. To answer your second question: my Tascam DR-07 tells me that two hours of 16b/44khz audio stored in .wav format will consume slightly over 2 GB. Thus I would assume that a 4 GB card would hold four hours. Jeff

Posted by Hugh on 6/3/2011.

Thanks, Jeff. I was trying to get a comparison with the DR-07 and the quality of recording on a oldish Sony Minidisc recorder that I have used in the past along with a fairly inexpensive Sony stereo mic. I find the minidisc recorder controls really fiddly to use and have been looking for an alternative for a while. The DR-07 seemed to fit the bill. My recording use is usually music recording of a single instrument, and/or voice interviews. Hugh

Posted by Hugh on 6/3/2011.

I am now leaning towards an Olympus LS-10 which seems well specified and a bit easier on the batteries, although about £50 dearer than the Tascam DR-07. Thiink about it for another day or two….

Posted by Aaron on 6/3/2011.

Is it really impossible to the rename tracks? On board or otherwise? That’s the first yellow/red flag I’ve gotten about the unit, from my point of view. I used up my Sony Minidisc Recorders to death an I’m looking for something that will be rehearsal/gig recorder/track player for partial band/solo gigs and MP3 player. (So i can learn the music for all these gigs and play music during the breaks…) I am very curious about the naming thing. Thanks for bringing it up!

Posted by Wolfram on 6/3/2011.

Unfortunately you can’t seem to use the DR-07 with external dynamic mics without a preamp. I get a pulsating noise at 11 kHz which can still be heard while someone is speaking during interviews. It seems to be synchronized with the display/counter. You can clearly see a noise peak at 11 kHz when you do a frequency analysis. This is a show stopper for anyone who wants to use this otherwise very promising device with dynamic mics (Sennheiser MD46 for me). I contacted the Tascam support and they told me the problem was already known and it would be solved with a firmware update. That was a month ago…

Posted by Jeff on 6/3/2011.

I’ve been using my DR-07 for a few months now and thought I’d post a follow-up message. Although I’ve learned how to manage the battery life and squeeze extra time out of them, I will say that my biggest complaint with the DR-07 is the level of noise resulting from hand holding the unit. I intended on using my DR-07 to record environmental sounds and found noises, and when I do so, I have to use a tripod. ANY movement at all results in low frequency rumble and distortion, which is not preventable with the built-in LP filter. If I am completely still and if I hold my breath, I can eliminate the problem, but in a crowd or a moving vehicle where I may be jostled around, there’s no way I can see to avoid this noise. The unit is made completely of plastic, which is great for keeping the weight down but again, EVERY slight movement when I am hand holding the unit can be heard. LOUDLY. In all fairness, it’s a $200 unit, and I think the sound quality is superb for what I use it for, even with the built in mics. Perhaps the new DR-100, which I have read has a solid metal chassis, may be a more durable (and noise- and vibration-resistant) investment. Jeff

Posted by dear on 6/3/2011.

If you are looking for a portable audio recorder the Zoom H4 is a choice for cheap price and good quality.Try to read articles from people who used it appropriate to use or just to your satisfaction as. visit (

Posted by June on 6/3/2011.

I bought the tascam 2 weeks ago for paranormal investigations. I have found that it picks up more EVP’s than my other recorder which I was hopeing for when I bought it. I still have more to learn about this device since there is so much more to it. I was wondering if it has a time set so that I can pre-set the time for the recorder to turn on and off on its’ own for the times I request it to?

Posted by Nichael on 6/3/2011.

will he dr-07 play back strait out of the device, i just got one and everytime I record I cant get the file to play back, it pulls it up ut no volume. I just dont knoe if you have to download it or if you can listen directly from the recorder

Posted by Chris on 6/3/2011.

I have used the TASCAM DR-07 successfully for three months and now it has failed to power on. Neither the sellers, Amazon, nor the manufacturers are not honouring the guarantee. I am left with £140 worth of electronic junk. My only recourse now seems to be legal action. Nightmare.

Posted by Corrie on 6/3/2011.

I have just started using the DR-07 to record nature sounds and am having quite a few problems with this unit. For starters the built in mics are extremely sensitive to wind. Even walking very slowly with the unit in hand or the slightest breeze is enough to generate a lot of noise. The wind screen supplied with this device appears to have virtually no effect. Since the ambient sounds I am atempting to record are quite low I have been playing with various settings. No boost, mid and high boost. I’ve setled on recording at the mid boost with a recording level of 6. Anything greater than that generates an internal noise sounding like I’ve parked the thing atop an air conditioning unit and even at this setting there is a noticable noise during quieter moments of the recording. From the happy, happy I’ve been reading in other reviews of this device I am thinking I may have ended up with a faulty unit. I have done many field recordings in the past with a portable Sony DAT recorder and had hoped for similar recording quality. If anyone would be kind enough to pass along some coments or advice I would be most thankful.

Posted by Steve on 6/3/2011.

the noise is horrible on that unit. its so bad that i returned mine and got a sony PCM-D50. The difference is night and day. If you’re recording a loud concert, then the DR-07 is fine, but for nature sounds, its the wrong unit. I even tried connecting external mics and they were noisy too because the noise is coming from the pre-amps inside the unit. The wind issue is horrible too. The included wind screen is useless. For the money, its not a bad unit, but that’s what $150 will get you. Spend $300 and get the sony or something better, with improved quality pre-amps.

Posted by Steve H on 6/3/2011.

Corrie, I know what you mean about the wind sensitivity on the mic. The included foam shield is useless. I purchased a Rycote Mini Windjammer, and this make a huge difference. Might be worth you trying one of them. Unfortunately they are rather expensive compared to the cost of the recorder itself.

Posted by Corrie on 6/3/2011.

Thank you steve h for the quick reply. I will definitely check out the Windjammer once I get back to a major city. I will need something like that no matter which recorder I’ll be using. However I’m currently in a rather remote village in Malaysia and may not have the opportunity to make changes to my current setup. Also, my first concern will be finding some economical way of reducing the noise floor which seems inherent with my recorder.

Posted by Bazel on 6/3/2011.

Did someone tried this in nightclub? I need recorder for recording djsets mainly.

Posted by Dan on 6/3/2011.

I picked up a DR-07 at Guitar Center for a great price ($99). But the battery life is indeed horrible. I’m getting less than two hours from brand new alkalines. That’s just plain unacceptable. Unfortunately it was a closeout, so I’m stuck with it.