If you saw my recent review of the RØDE Reporter dynamic handheld microphone (link ahead), you probably noticed a device connected to the end of it, and may have thought it was a wireless transmitter. It wasn’t. The DR–10X is just a tiny 52×94.4×28mm plug-in recorder that snaps onto handheld XLR dynamic microphones, or other mics that are self-powered. With battery installed, The DR–10X weighs only 68.3 grams. I first found out about the DR–10X from Chris Meyer when he bought one in January. Learn all about it ahead.
If you saw my recent review of the RØDE Reporter dynamic handheld microphone (link ahead), you probably noticed a device connected to the end of it, and may have thought it was a wireless transmitter. It wasn’t. The DR-10x is just a tiny 52×94.4×28mm plug-in recorder that snaps onto handheld XLR dynamic microphones, or other mics that are self-powered. With battery installed, The DR–10X weighs only 68.3 grams. I first found out about the DR–10X from Chris Meyer when he bought one in January. Learn all about it ahead.
Link to the recent RØDE Reporter dynamic handheld microphone review
Here is a link to the recent review I published about the RØDE Reporter dynamic handheld microphone, and compared it with the very popular Electro-Voice RE50N/DB.
About the DR–10X recorder
The DR–10X is designed to snap onto any handheld dynamic XLR microphone, or any other type that it is self-powered. The DR–10X is clearly aimed for use with the most popular ENG (electronic news gathering) microphones, which are dynamic and don’t require any phantom power. That’s why the DR–10X has a good preamp with sufficient gain for dynamic mics, without offering any phantom power.
In the above picture, you’ll see the DR–10X attached to the Electro-Voice RE50N/DB, and below you’ll see it attached to the RØDE Reporter in a freeze frame from a video in my recent review of that microphone.
I absolutely love the fact that the DR–10X has a single sampling rate. As I have covered in many prior articles, 48 kHz is the absolute standard for audio sampling for digital video. There have been too many cases of producers innocently making the mistake of using the wrong sampling rate and then having to perform extra, time-consuming steps to resample, which can also degrade quality in some cases. The single sampling rate of 48 kHz in the DR–10X removes a pitfall and make it “just work” at the appropriate sampling rate, and I applaud Tascam for that desicion.
I am also glad that the DR–10X records audio with 24-bit resolution, which is indeed beneficial even when we don’t distribute audio in 24-bit, as I covered in detail in Understanding 24-bit vs 16-bit audio production & distribution.
So to finish the recording format section, it’s always 48 kHz/24 bit mono, with a choice of standard WAV or Broadcast WAV (BWF) which has the same uncompressed audio as standard WAV, plus extra metadata. Although all recordings with the DR–10X are mono, there is a Dual Recording mode for audio bracketing, so when activated in the menu, a second safety recording is made at a lower level.
The main benefit of the DR–10X is to have the freedom of wireless (it is indeed “without wires”) and the reliability of local recording, without fear of RFI (radio frequency interference). Considering that it is now so easy to auto-synchronize audio with video in video editing applications like Adobe’s Premiere Pro CC, Apple’s Final Cut Pro X, Avid’s Media Composer and both the free and paid versions of Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve, dual-system audio has really come of age for all but live broadcasting.
Of course, dual-system audio is not limited to a plug-in recorder. It can also be with a body recorder (for example, see my AirLinc, the iOS app that truly competes with wireless mic systems article…
or with a standalone four-track portable recorder like the Tascam DR–60DmkII (shown above) which I reviewed here. But a plug-in recorder like the DR–10X is ideal for informal interviews with a single handheld microphone.
What about monitoring?
The DR–10X has a 3.5 mm TRS output for monitoring either live —and latency free— or to play back files already recorded. So if you want you can use either a full headphone, earbuds, or for a more discreet look,
an acoustic tube used in IFB systems (interruptible foldback, also known as interrupted foldback or interruptible feedback) for on camera talent, like the one sold by Custom Earpiece, shown above.
Nonetheless, after doing several test recordings with the DR–10X, I began to trust that it was recording fine each time, as long as I saw the timecode advancing on its organic EL display after invoking the record mode. Thankfully, Tascam made it very difficult to invoke recording —or stop the recording— by mistake: You have to slide and hold to do either.
Setting levels and limiter
The DR–10X offers AGC (automatic gain control) which I had no interest in testing, since I know that they boost background sound when a person who is speaking pauses. Like many other Tascam recorders, the DR–10X has a very good hardware limiter. Unlike most other recorders, the DR–10X does not simulate a continuously variable potentiometer with infinite steps, or even many steps. Instead, the DR–10X offers High/Mid/Low gain settings. I made several test recordings with the limiter off with the RØDE Reporter before determining that the best recording with that mic was achieved by putting it in High. Then I activated the limiter and did a test with normal speech, together with some screams in between. I was completely satisfied with the results of the recording and with the performance of the limiter when I screamed.
The DR–10X uses a single AAA battery, which makes sense considering its tiny form factor.
I had previously purchased a Watson 4-Hour Rapid Charger kit with four AA NiMH rechargeable batteries (2300mAh) (shown above) which currently costs US$23.69 for use with the Tascam DR–60DmkII 4-channel recorder I reviewed last year, and I was delighted after I verified that same charger I already owned also accepts AAA batteries.
So I purchased a pack of four Watson AAA NiMH rechargeable batteries (1000mAh) which currently sells for US$10.54. They worked fine with the DR–10X. According to Tascam, with a NiMH, the DR–10X will record for about eight hours; with an alkaline about ten, and with a lithium about 15.5 hours. The battery never died on me, but Tascam says that when that happens, before the battery charge actually runs out, automatic file closing prevents the loss of already recorded data.
Memory cards and connection for transfer
The DR–10X uses microSDHC cards. Since they are so tiny and easy to use, I decided to purchase only one compatible 32GB card to leave in there permanently. The DR–10X includes a Micro USB cable which I plugged into my MacBook Air to transfer files, and then to erase them from the card or format it. If there is a new firmware, I’ll be able to transfer it to the card with the same cable. According to Tascam, on an 8GB card, approximately 16 hours and 32 minutes will fit with the DUAL REC MODE off, so on a 32GB card, about 33 hours should fit.
- Low-cut filter
- Built-in clock function, supports BWF files that can have time information added, which is convenient for editing and searching
- Time track incrementing function can create new files at regular intervals (about every 15 minutes) during recording
- Settings can be transferred between multiple DR–10X units using the infrared transmission function
- RoHS-compliant product
I like the DR–10X plug-in recorder in its unique category and application.
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Books, consulting, articles, seminars & radio programs
Contact Allan Tépper for consulting, or find a full listing of his books, articles and upcoming seminars and webinars at AllanTepper.com. Listen to his CapicúaFM program at CapicúaFM.com in iTunes or Stitcher.
My latest book (paperback + ebook)
My most recent book is available in two languages, and in paperback as well as an ebook. The ebook format is Kindle, but even if you don’t have a Kindle device, you can read Kindle books on many other devices using a free Kindle app. That includes iPad, Android tablets, Mac computers, and Windows computers. Although generally speaking, Kindle books are readable on smartphones like Androids and iPhones, I don’t recommend it for this particular book since it contains both color photos and color comparison charts. The ebook is also DRM-free.
In English, it’s The Castilian Conspiracy. Click here and you will be automatically sent to the closest Amazon book page to you based upon your IP address. Or request ISBN–10: 1456310232 or ISBN–13: 978–1456310233 in your favorite local bookstore.
En castellano, se llama La conspiración del castellano. Haz clic aquí para llegar al instante a la página del libro correspondiente a tu zona y moneda en Amazon, según tu dirección IP. De lo contrario, solicítalo en tu librería preferida con los ISBN–10: 1492783390 ó el ISBN–13: 978–1492783398.
No manufacturer is specifically paying Allan Tépper or TecnoTur LLC to write this article or the mentioned books. Some of the other manufacturers listed above have contracted Tépper and/or TecnoTur LLC to carry out consulting and/or translations/localizations/transcreations. Many of the manufacturers listed above have sent Allan Tépper review units. So far, none of the manufacturers listed above is/are sponsors of the TecnoTur programs, although they are welcome to do so, and some are, may be (or may have been) sponsors of ProVideo Coalition magazine. Some links to third parties listed in this article and/or on this web page may indirectly benefit TecnoTur LLC via affiliate programs.
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