In our sound introduction, we were taught how to use the TASCAM portable recorders and were given a taste of recording clips outside of the classroom. We’ve been told that we need to use these recorders a few times before starting our actual piece, because learning how to use them is like learning an instrument; you have to practice. Previous to this activity, Howard explained the project brief. We will be producing our own fictional sequence of audio clips or short radio style piece with the theme of person.
How to set up a TASCAM Portable Recorder
The back of the recorder has numerous settings to adjust according to your preferences.
The first setting, MIC GAIN, should be set to H. This is so that the highest range of sound can be captured.
The setting labelled +48 V or Phantom Power indicates the amount of volts the machine produces, which enables the recorder to power a RED50 microphone, a compressor microphone, and the like – essential for quality sound. This needs only to be switched on if you are using an external microphone like that.
The next setting on the back of the recorder is the AUTO/LIMITER switch, turn it ON to prevent breakage in the sound when recording high frequency clips.
Finally, it is recommended to switch the SPEAKER setting to OFF . This will stop any unwanted feedback whilst recording your clip. Alternatively, plug headphones in on the left hand side of the recorder to listen to exactly what you are recording. Do not record without doing this, as it acts like the view finder on a camera.
To set up your TASCAM recorder, hold down the Power button on the left hand side to turn it on.
Next, select MENU – SETUP – QUICK FORMAT, then INITIALISE. Doing this will take your recorder back to its factory settings.
Now, select HOME. This will take you to the main screen where you will record your clips. Before you start recording, it is recommended, for premium quality, to switch to the UNI stereo microphones rather than OMNI.
After that,set the visual unit meter to No.5 by turning the dial. This will prevent distortion, just like the AUTO/LIMITER. So when a peak sound is made, the sound waves won’t travel all the way to the back of the diaphragm as it would without it. Resulting in better sound quality; without that ‘pop’ effect. When the meter is set to 5, the sound being made should be reaching around the centre of the level. On screen it should read, WAV 16bit and 44.1k.
To record, press the RECORD button to make it flash red. Then, press it again to start recording; and the light should go solid red. If you wish to pause your recording for a short break, press the PAUSE button, then play when you are ready. This means you can have a continuous clip. However, if you would like to finish the clip ready to create a new one, press the STOP button. To start a new clip, press RECORD again.
Finally, to upload your clips onto a computer, plug the TASCAM into the USB of your device. Open the file on the desktop labelled with the recorder’s name, click the Music file, then right click on the WAV audio clip and open with QuickTime Player.
In conclusion, by the end of the session I new the basics of how to use the TASCAM portable recorder; and I had used one. I now need to sign one out of the store and get practising. Furthermore, regarding the project brief, I have the beginnings of an idea for my piece. I plan to ask my brother and his friend to let me record the variation of the Two Ronnies sketch What’s my Line they performed for their drama exam. Alongside, recording a number of sounds to fit in the story.
[Screenshots] Tascam DR-100 MKII: Getting Started – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rXzJxwNQ3s
All I Ever Wrote: The Complete Works of Ronnie Barker; Ronnie Barker, Bob McCabe; Essentials, 1999