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Tascam DP-32SD Digital Portastudio Multi-track Recorder : Review

DP-32SD Digital Portastudio

Complete and modern

The ideal product for a small band or for a single musician that is looking for a complete and advanced device. As regards the flexibility and the versatility there is all the necessary in order to find always the most useful setup. By combining all the XLR and 1/4" inputs the user can record 8 tracks at a time, each with compression and limiter available in real-time, as well as a guitar amp simulation and a multi-effects.
The display, a color LCD, shows all the most important information, and, with the help of an ample availability of knobs, buttons and faders on the front panel, makes the workflow fast and easy.
As we can see in the image below, there are 12 stereo tracks that can be used, for example, with a synthesizer, while the mono versions are perfect for guitar or vocal.

Mono and Stereo tracks.

Some of the most important features

The DP-32SD is, certainly, a modern product, and is equipped with some very useful and interesting features that can exist only with an advanced electronics.

  • Display
  • Beautiful. It isn't gigantic, but, as we will see during the review, it shows all the available information, and many advanced functions, such as the effects modules with all the controls, with a pleasant and modern graphics. Really nice. Anyhow, 3.5" are sufficiently comfortable.

    It shows all the most important information.
  • Self-illuminated buttons
  • Another useful and modern feature. The entire creative process is perfectly visible even with little luminosity, and i have to say that the effect is really spectacular. Among the self illuminated buttons we have Source, Rec, Mute and Select.

    Illuminated buttons increase visibility.
  • 12 knobs linked to the LCD
  • In my opinion one of the most interesting and useful features of the DP-32SD. A group of knobs is dedicated to some specific functions, like the equalization and the effects send, and appear directly in the display.

    Some knobs are directly visible in the display.
  • The equalizer
  • Each track is equipped with a dedicated equalizer for High, Mid and Lows. As we can see in the image below, the display shows really all the parameters.

    The equalizer is available for each track.
  • Effects
  • They are divided in 4 sections (dynamics, guitar, mix-down and mastering), and puts many controls at the user disposal, that can utilize up to 8 dynamics effects at a time, one for each input.

    An ample number of effects for dynamics, guitar and mixing.

    The mastering section.

    Various options to record a very clean and professional file.

Hardware for the connections

As regards this context Tascam has made really a great job. There is all the necessary to get an high quality sound, both for the inputs and for the outputs. The headphone amplifier, with an output power of 70mW/ch, a dedicated high-impedance input for the guitar, two connectors for the Monitor Out, with the control for the level, two jacks for the Effects send, and two RCA stereo outputs. All the inputs provide the Phantom power for condenser mics and a knob for the Trim adjusting.

The rear panel. Each input is equipped with the Phantom power and a Trim control.

Editing functions

  • COPY INSERT
  • COPY PASTE
  • MOVE INSERT
  • MOVE PASTE
  • OPEN
  • CUT
  • SILENCE
  • CLONE TRACK
  • CLEAN OUT
  • UNDO (with history)
  • REDO
  • 8 virtual tracks for each physical track
  • Up to 99 location marks for each file

The optional footswitch

With the RC-3F footswitch the user can control a list of functions. Let's see it.

  • PLAY
  • REC
  • STOP
  • FF
  • REW
  • PUNCH IN/OUT
  • PLAY/STOP
  • CUE LOCATE

Hardware

Let's see the main technical characteristics.

Specs
Simultaneous recording8
Simultaneous playback32
Sampling rate16 or 24bit, 44.1 or 48kHz
StoringSD (512MB – 2GB) / SDHC (4GB – 32GB)
Frequency response20Hz to 20kHz
S/N Ratio90dB or greater
THD (distortion)0.01% or less
Input impedanceXLR: 2.4kOhms. TRS: 22kOhms or more
Input LevelXLR: -14dBu. TRS: +4dBu
Output impedance200 ohms
USBMini-B type, 4-pin, 2.0
Headphone amplifier70mW/ch
TunerChromatic
MetronomeYes
AC adapterIncluded (TASCAM PS-1225L)
Dimensions514(W)×104(H)×340(D)mm / 20.2"(W)×4.1"(H)×13.4"(D)
Weight6.2kg / 13.67lb
AccessoriesAC adapter, 2GB SD card, USB cable, warranty card, owner's manual

Final opinion

Certainly, a very valid product, perfect for the Home Recording. The DP-32SD produces an high quality audio and is equipped with all the necessary for the guitarist, but not only. The display isn't much great, but it shows all the various elements of the workflow, and makes the job easy and fast, even for a beginner in the recording. The only lack is that it doesn't feature the MIDI ports, differently from the version without the SD card. It's a pity. Anyhow, the quality/price ratio of this Tascam device is good. The DP-32SD costs about 550 Euros.

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