Tascam DP-008EX Review – The Pocket Studio

In order to create a recording studio, you will need a computer or laptop, Microphones, headphones, audio interface, XLR cables, and a lot more. Not only do these cost a lot, but the entire setup is also quite heavy and almost impossible to carry around.

Now, if you are a musician always on the go, you need something compact that contains most of those essential features. The simple solution is using an all-in-one multi-track recorder.

One such recorder that gained a lot of popularity among musicians, especially guitarists, is the TASCAM DP-008EX recorder.

In this article, we will walk you through a detailed review of the DP-008EX recorder, discussing its design, features, pros, and cons to help you decide if this recorder meets your needs or not.

Origin

Tascam is the pioneer of portable recorders. Over the years, analog machines have been taken over by digital devices that now offer so much more than just recording. Tascam took this revolution to a new height by introducing their line of pocket‑sized digital stereo recorders.

In 2013, Tascam released the Dp-008EX, also known as the ‘Pocketstudio’. It is a pocket sized multi-track recorder with built‑in omnidirectional condenser mics, SD cards, and audio interface. It is designed not only with a basic recording feature but also includes the option for mixing, editing, and storing music. It is simple to use and favors mixer‑style controls and specific buttons rather than having lots of menu‑selectable functions.

The compact recorder is lightweight and can be carried around in gig bags very easily. It is ideally suited for musicians on the go, who want to record their demo songs and live gigs anywhere, anytime.

Design and Quality

The DP-008EX is a portable recorder that operates on four AA batteries. When the phantom power is off, it will run for about 5–7 hours, depending on whether you record or playback. It is about the size of a VHS cassette, so calling it a Pocket Studio is slightly misleading. It is more of an easy to carry inside gig bag sized equipment.

The recorder allows two tracks to be recorded simultaneously. Multi tracking is available for six tracks simultaneously. But, in reality, it is just two stereo and two mono tracks. Meaning, the recorder is not suitable for recording a whole band at once, but it will work great as a compact notepad for creating demos for a guitarist or a drummer.

Moreover, there’s a chromatic tuner and an onboard metronome that makes practice and tuning easier. A high‑impedance input setting is also available, which is suitable for bass and electric guitars.

Why is it the Best?

There are two built-in multidirectional mics attached to the front, perfect for recording a demo tune.

Additionally, two XLR mic inputs allow a better quality recording utilizing external mics.  Moreover, you get additional high, mid, and low software settings for different inputs, which allows you to match the input sensitivity to the instrument or vocal level. It is very useful for creating serious demo songs.

For output, there are stereo RCA connections. It makes it highly functional within a home studio setup when driving a pair of monitors. Everything is recorded on SD or SDHC media. A card reader is used to transfer the WAV files to a computer or any other device. 2 USB ports are used to transfer data from and to the device.

There’s More!

For audio processing, the DP-008 EX has a de-esser, an exciter, and dynamics to insert the inputs. There are EQ and reverb for mixing and tracking, which also included mastering features to compress the finished track.

The interface is very easy and simple. There are a lot of available presets for easy use as well. The playback level of recorded tracks can be controlled using rotary knobs.

There is also a pan knob and send to the reverb effect. There are a lot of editing options including Paste, Cut, Silence, Clone track, and Clean Out. There are also options for undo and redo in case of any mistake. There is a footswitch input that allows punch‑in recording. There is also a mini-jack headphone input with its volume control wheel.

Tascam DP-008EX
Tascam DP-008EX

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Product Features

The main features of the Tascam DP-008EX are –

  • Stereo condenser microphones

  • Multi-track recording

  • Easy 2-step recording

  • Playbacks and mixing

  • 44.1 kHz sample frequency response

  • 16-bit rate

  •  2 band shelving equalizers, 6 reverbs, compressor, and mastering

  • Up to 32 GB SD/SDHC card

  • 1 1/8-inch stereo headphones

  • 2 analog 1/4″ inputs to connect line-level devices, external microphones, electric-acoustic guitars, etc.

  • 2 balanced XLR with 48v phantom power

  • USB file transfer

  • Onboard Effects

Pros

  • Expertly designed

  • Easy to use interface

  • Hands-on controls

  • Can be connected to most PC and Macs

  • High-quality sound using external mics

  • Adequate battery life

  • Wide selection of onboard effects

  • Allows simultaneous mixing and tracks playback

  • Includes a lot of presets for new users

  • Easy to delete, undo or redo in case of mistakes

  • Multiple options for connectivity

  • Plug-in electric guitars to record and practice

  • Easy to export to PC

Cons

  • The device is not really pocket-sized

  • The metronome tempo is very low

  • The tempo can’t be adjusted during playback

Final Verdict

The DP-008EX may not be an out-of-the-world powerful tool, but it is a convenient portable recorder with high-quality sound and well-thought sets of features. It makes an exceptionally great choice for guitarists to record their ideas, demos, and even gigs on the go. The fact that the recorder will easily fit into a guitar bag makes it even better.

The Tascam DR-008EX is a very simple device, which is certainly a big win. It has an easy and user-friendly interface, and the physical knobs give more hands‑on control to the user.

The easy file transfer via USB allows you to export and import individual tracks and even whole mixes, which are very helpful for live gigs. You can also convert the files to MP3 format on your computer if required.

Consequently, there is no solo option or amp simulator, which would have been useful additions to the recorder. Since there is no drum synthesizer and no option to change the tempo, the metronome could also be improved.

Bottom Line

The TASCAM DP-008EX Digital Portastudio Recorder is one of the best portable multi-track recorders in the market. Although it has a fair share of setbacks, the recorder includes all the functionalities you need from such a recorder. There are also some additional features which only add more to the advantages. It is a great device to record and store songs on the go. The device is definitely worth every penny spent.

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