When the Tascam DR-05x was released, earlier this year, I was really excited. The older Tascam DR-05 was one of the first digital voice recorders I bought, but it had a few issues and I got rid of it. My hope was that Tascam had resolved those issues. TLDR: they fixed a few issues, but didn’t fix the major one.  

Summary: Tascam DR-05x Review

Tascam DR-05x review
  • The Good: Comes with lots of features and functions. You will need the manual! Supports MicroSDXC SD cards. Mono recording…
  • The Bad: Has the same radio interference issue that’s the bane of Tascam recorders. Bulky. Not great for voice recordings – very sensitive built-in microphones.
  • Verdict: A definite improvement from the earlier version. Still has the radio interference issue. Packed with features. Gets my recommendation for a high fidelity digital recorder. Buy it now from Amazon.

I do like Tascams because they come parked with lots of features. And in this regard I was not disappointed with the features of the Tascam DR-05x.  Which is great if you are looking for a jack of all trades digital recorder, a master of none but oftentimes better than a master of one. And I bet, from anecdotal evidence and using it to record voice, the Tascam Dr-05x is a great entry level music recorder.

The Good

The variety of features and functions of the Tascam DR-05x are staggering. Having used recorders for many years, I’m adept at figuring out a new recorder and getting it to function optimally. But with the Tascam Dr-05x, I had to refer to the reference manual (download link): the printed owner’s manual that comes with the recorder is a joke; waste of paper!

Let me highlight a few features that made me go- oh that’s cool! With the Tascam DR-05x you can start a new file and continue recording. For instance, if you are doing a number of “takes”, simply press the Quick button at the beginning of each take and the recording will continue in a new file. That’s awesome.

The Tascam DR-05x supports MicroSDXC SD cards. And that’s one of the upgrades of the older version that I really like. Now, you can use the Tascam DR-05x with a 128GB MicroSDXC SD card. And that’s great, because with this recorder you can record 96 kHz/24 bit wav files that require a lot of memory storage.

The last feature of the Tascam DR-05x that I want to highlight is mono recording. I don’t know why more recorders don’t have this feature. Because, if you are a recording using an external mic, you don’t need to record in stereo. You only have one microphone, so you’d want to record in mono and cut the file size by half! I’m going to use this feature a lot when I’m recording Youtube videos.

Honorable mentions; the Tascam DR-05x also comes with an overwrite feature, allows you to overdub and a monitor mix (when overdubbing, you can listen to playback and input sound), has a self-timer (start recording after a certain duration), and a chromatic tuner.  

The Bad

The main reason I sold my older Tascam DR-05 was because of radio interference. I was hoping they’d fixed this issue with the newer Tascam DR-05x, but they have not. So you do need to be careful when you are recording. You don’t place the Tascam DR-05x close to a phone, router, laptops or other gadgets that use radio/microwave frequencies. Or you’ll record a lot of static. Tascams are notorious for having this issue, and they have not fixed it!

Is this issue a deal breaker? For me, probably not. But it’s very annoying.  A lot of gadgets use radio waves (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G, 4G, 5G), for instant cameras. And you always need to be cognizant of this and switch off your camera’s Wi-Fi connection before you start recording.

The Tascam DR-05x is the most sensitive recorder that I own. That’s a good thing if you want to record low and high frequencies. But good voice recorders have microphones that are high sensitivity in the mid-range frequencies, and low sensitivity in the low and high frequencies. But the Tascam DR-05x is marketed as a music recorder, and not a voice recorder. So, I’d not recommend you use this recorder for voice recordings (unless you’re using an external microphone).   

Tascam DR-05x Review, a size comparison.
From Left: Sony ICD-ux560, Zoom H1n, Tascam DR-05x

My other gripe with this recorder is; it’s huge! I might have been spoiled by the petit Sony ux560 that’s my go to voice recorder, but I was surprised at how bulky the Tascam DR-05x is. It can’t fit into my pocket! But it does use AA batteries, which give you 17 hours recording time, so that’s a silver lining.

Verdict

The Tascam DR-05x comes with a lot of features (I’ve only mentioned a few in this review), more than you’d expect for the price. This is a recorder that is geared towards musicians, people who want to record their jam sessions on a budget. If you are in a quiet environment, it’ll work as a voice recorder (remember to use the low cut filter). Compared to the DR-05, I like the new screen, and the added support for MicroSDXC SD cards. But I wish they had fixed the radio interference issue.  I’d definitely recommend the Tascam DR-05x over the Zoom H1n (here’s a more detailed comparison) to anyone that’s looking to record high fidelity recordings. Buy the Tascam DR-05x from Amazon.

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