Handheld portable recorders with XY microphone configurations are great for tight stereo imaging but if you want to capture a wider ambient sound then an AB configuration would probably be better. With the forthcoming release of its DR-07 MkII recorder, both methods are brought to the one device. A host of new and useful features have been added to the update of Tascam's best-selling portable recorder, including overdub and reverb.

The pair of stereo condenser microphones positioned at the top of the Mark II DR-07 handheld portable recorder are hinged to allow for either XY or AB imaging adjustment. The latter would best suit the capture of a whole drum kit, band or choir while the quality and detail offered by the XY method would be of benefit when sounds directly in front are much more important than those off-axis. The device offers MP3 from 32 - 320 kbps or WAV (BWF) linear PCM at up to 96kHz/24-bit resolution and has a built-in reverb effect to add a bit of professional polish to recordings.

Tascam says that the 2.2 x 5.5 x 1-inch (55 x 141 x 26mm), 4.4 ounce (125g) DR-07 MkII unleashes the full power of the onboard analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converter thanks to a dedicated power supply for the codec and the combination of separate analog and digital circuit boards and a low impedance circuit design help keep noise to a minimum. An overdub mode that records over the previous take but keeps an intact copy of the original is featured and there's Auto Record and Auto Mark functions for hands-off operation.

There's a bright LCD display to the front, underneath which are thumb-friendly, easy operation controls. The included 2GB media card can be pushed into the microSD/microSDHC slot on the side, under which is a USB 2.0 port for data transfer to a PC and there's also a 3.5mm stereo mic/line input jack. Public playback is through the onboard speaker or private listening via a headphone jack, with Tascam claiming 17.5 hours of battery life.

Other features include:

  • Peak Reduction function to set the optimum recording level automatically even in recording
  • Limiter and low-cut filter to help prevent distortion
  • Automatic or manual level setting
  • Self timer recording starts recording 5 or 10 sec. after pressing the record button for waiting until you are ready
  • Variable speed playback (50%-150%) without changing the pitch
  • Level Align feature prevents uneven volume levels during playback
  • Chromatic tuner
  • Powered by 2 AA batteries, optional AC adapter, or USB bus power
  • Tripod socket hole

The DR-07 MkII recorder is available from March 31 for a suggested retail of US$279.99, which would put the new DR-07 Mark II recorder in the same price range as the R-05 from Roland. However, Tascam's listed online retailer, American Musical Supply, is currently showing a price of US$149.99, which brings it within sight of the similarly specced Zoom H1 Handy Recorder.

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