Tascam DR-40X Review

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The Beatles recorded their first two albums ‘Please Please Me’ and ‘With The Beatles’ using two-track BTR machines. They didn’t start to use 4-track machines until October 1963 for the recording of ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand.’

Let us just take a moment to consider that.

Fifty-six years later, Tascam brings out the DR-40X, which is a portable 4-track recorder. It is small enough to hold comfortably in your hand, and it will fit in your pocket.

The quality of the recordings are staggering and the onboard features endless.

Let us, once again, just take a moment to consider that.

Are we really saying that I am holding in my hand more recording power than the Beatles were able to use on their first two albums, and probably their third as well?

Tascam DR-40X
Our rating:3.8 out of 5 stars (3.8 / 5)

The Tascam DR-40X – A Jewel in The World of Handheld Recorders

This remarkable piece of equipment allows you to go anywhere or be anywhere and have a quality four-track recorder with you. It offers a professional level of recording in a handheld format that is functional and easy to use.

Recording in different formats in just about any environment it is a handy tool for the pros, but also for amateur enthusiasts. And it will even function as a USB interface to record directly to your computer.

Tascam DR-40X

It’s evident that the designers at Tascam have sat down and tried to imagine every scenario that someone recording might face and then found a solution for it. It surprises you at every turn and has so many ways it may be used.

But however you use it, you can expect great results.

Who Might Use The Tascam DR-40X?

This recorder is great in a number of situations. Some may be planned and stable recordings that are easily controlled. But there will be times when possibly it will be used outside, maybe unexpectedly, and you will need quick, easy setup and quality results. The DR-40X is quite capable of handling just about anything.

So who might need to utilize its recording possibilities?

Musicians are an obvious answer, maybe writing or if you’ve just had a great idea, you want to make sure you don’t forget. With the Tascam, you can put down a basic track and put a backing track of instruments on at the same time if you wish.

Tascam DR-40X review

Not only for writing what about rehearsals? Would it be of some benefit to take a listen to what you are doing and play it back for discussion?

A portable music studio in your pocket…

How about listening to what you’ve done and then applying some overdubs or maybe overwriting a part. It’s all possible. It is like having a portable music studio in your pocket.

Connecting it to your computer via the USB and it becomes a great tool for voiceover work


Filmmakers using DSLR camera technology will have an advantage when they can record a soundtrack to what they are doing. Youtube videos, Podcasts, and other online media have become enormous businesses for people who work in those industries. And the DR-40X is perfect for delivering quality sound.

And always remember that if your overall sound is noticeably better than your competitors you will be the one they listen to.

This Tascam will give you the edge.

As we said before a portable studio in your pocket.

How Does The Tascam DR-40X Work?

It has two condenser microphones that can be utilized in either an A/B pattern for a more ambient sound or in XY pattern for a tight stereo recording. As well as two further XLR/TRS combination inputs giving you the option of further sound sources or using extra microphones.

You can even plug your guitar or bass guitar in directly using these connections.

Every sound detail will be captured form the loudest sounds too quiet conversation. With both microphones being unidirectional and adjustable.

So easy to use…

The layout of the unit has been expertly designed to make it easy to use and can actually be operated with your thumb as you hold it. Basic operational activity is made simple and recording, deleting bad recordings, adjusting levels, and adding markers are just a simple button press from completion.

No fuss, no lengthy menus to get operations complete, done. The screen menu display is clear and functional and will even give you the instructions in ten different languages.

What’s Onboard? What Are The Features Of The Tascam DR-40X?

We have already mentioned the two high-quality stereo condenser microphones that can record in either in A-B and X-Y positions and the XLR/TRS extra inputs. And these have +48v Phantom power for condenser microphones if needed.

The Tascam functions as an audio interface for PC, Mac, and IOS recording and it has a dictation mode built-in. This is useful for transcription and voice recording in a narrative style.

best Tascam DR 40X

Battery or mains…

The DR-40X uses two AA batteries and will give you approximately seventeen hours of battery life. You can use an optional direct power source if necessary


Recording functions are impressive, and there is high-pressure sound design for recording louder sounds up to 125dB SPL. There is also a function to detect peaks and automatically sets the desired functional level, and a level align feature that prevents varying volume levels.

Peak reduction will operate in either rehearsal or record modes. Sound levels are controlled by the Limiter and Auto Level, which will prevent overload and distortion.

Overwrite or Overdub…

Changes to what has been recorded can be made quickly using the Overwrite mode and can even be punched in at a certain point in the recording. There is also an Overdubbing mode which does what it says allowing you to create a new file to record a new part from something previously recorded leaving the original file untouched.

Other settings exist for the quality of the audio including EQ and a reverb overdub facility with six presets and a Quick menu button enabling easy use of various functions.

High-quality formats…

The sound recording is high quality, good enough for media recording. 24-bit/96kHz WAV/BWF linear PCM and MP3 and SD/SDHC/SDXC up to 128GB can be used for recording. And it will record all four tracks simultaneously if required and likewise play them all back at the same time.

Tascam DR-40X reviews

The dual recording facility will record the signal twice, one at the ordinary level and the other at a safer, quieter level. This is what you might call a safety track in case the recording at normal level suddenly experiences distortion.

There is a timer function for attaching markers or for delayed recording.

Tune that guitar!

For a limited playback option, it has an 0.3-watt speaker, and the screen will display a playlist function. It even has a chromatic tuner on board for use by musicians you may be working with if required.

A good function is file management. Files have predetermined sizes, but if you exceed the file size in any one recording, then it will automatically create a new file for you. Files can then be transferred to a computer using a high-speed USB 2.0.


As we have mentioned, it is handheld, but if you need to use the stand attached, it has rubber feet to improve acoustic retention, or there is a tripod attachment screw facility.

It also features a headphone Line output.

Anything Special?

Well as far as we can see most of it is, but there is one built-in system that seems quite extraordinary. One of its modes, called ‘4CH Mode,’ allows you to record two different stereo feeds simultaneously.

Further, the combination of how you set that up is flexible, and the built-in microphones can be recording in a different mode to the external input microphones. This is particularly useful in a variety of circumstances. For instance, where there is a sudden spike in the volume that on one microphone that can then be dealt with while the settings on the others remain unaffected.

Tascam DR-40X Review Conclusion - Would We Buy It?

I suppose another question is would Sir George Martin have bought it? It is a remarkable piece of equipment that fulfills a major role in so many varying situations.

And can be used in just so many different ways. It’s actually hard to determine its prime activity but is comfortable and performs superbly in all of them.

Whether you are making videos for social media or creating podcasts, recording music or speech, it produces professional quality at every level and every time. And it is easy to use, and the functions are easy to manage once you have mastered the basics.

And at the price, it should become one of the must-have items on your to-buy list.

A great piece of kit at a great price.

No brainer. Of course, we would buy it!