The TASCAM DIGITAL PORTASTUDIO DP-32 is one of the best and most affordable ways to remove the mind-numbing glow of the computer screen from personal recording. It's safe to say, that after decades of... Read More
The TASCAM DIGITAL PORTASTUDIO DP-32 is one of the best and most affordable ways to remove the mind-numbing glow of the computer screen from personal recording. It's safe to say, that after decades of manufacturing and transforming Portastudios, TASCAM has revolutionized the series once again. Employing 8 combo 1/4" - XLR inputs with +48V Phantom Power, 32 tracks (8 mono, 12 stereo) the ability to select between stereo and mono and an affluence of other key features, TASCAM DIGITAL PORTASTUDIO DP-32 is an obvious choice for multi-channel home recording.
The last 12 faders are selectable between MONO and STEREO
The DP-32 has 12 selectable tracks between MONO or STEREO. These tracks provide more flexibility. For example, set to STEREO for recording synthesizer, or set to MONO when recording guitar or vocal. Not only that, you can create ideal settings for each track. (set #9 to #12 STEREO, then set #13 to #22 MONO) If all tracks are set to MONO the DP-32 becomes a 20-track multi track recorder.
21 faders eliminates layer structuring
The DP-32, even with the high number of tracks and features is one of the easiest multi-track recorders in the market to use. The DP-32 has 20 track-faders and one master fader. You can control any track with ease.
The 3.5" full-color LCD and the self-illuminated buttons increase visibility
The DP-32 has a 3.5" LCD screen and select self-illuminated buttons, making it easy to view your entire creative process. Some of the illuminated buttons include (SOURCE, SELECT, REC, MUTE).
12 rotary knobs linked to the LCD to help increase easy operation
The DP-32 has employed rotary knobs to control qualities such as EQ, Effect Send and other related features.
Utilizing SD/SDHC media ensures confident recording, free from shock due to loud sounds
The DP-32 adopted use of SD/SDHC media. SD/SDHC cards provide secure shock resistance due to the absence of any rotary mechanism. File format of the DP-32 is FAT 16 or 32. You can find the recorded files on your computer when connected via USB.
Reviewed by 5 customers
Displaying reviews 1-5
I should start out by giving a little background. I have been recording for decades...first tape, up to reel to reel 16 track, then later on various all-in-one recorders from Korg, Yamaha and then a long time with Akai's amazing DPS24. I spent years training people on the Akai and had a good relationship with the company as well, so the DP32 isn't really something "new" to me in a general sense. I also should say that my 5 star rating is based on what this machine is, not what I wish it were. What I mean by that is, of course there are things I wish the machine did, but that it doesn't. There are features I wish the machine had, but it doesn't, but what it is ...is something VERY impressive indeed. First off, that any company can produce a machine like the DP32 and sell it at this price point is nothing short of astonishing. It all "feels" very solid, from the weight of the metal chassis to the heft/smooth action of the faders and knobs, you immediately get the sense that this is a piece made "for the long haul". Whether or not this will turn out to be true is of course something that only time and use will bear out. Turning on the machine, what seemed like it might be an irritating detail (the small screen), right away turns out to be no problem at all. The screen is very bright and crisp. The UI has been worked so that what little real estate there is is made very good use of, and even my "less-than-perfect" vision didn't feel strained. Speaking of UI, it takes very little time (and almost no manual-flipping) to get used to what's going on and the conventions the developers use for various tasks. In function, you get 8 analog inputs go for both mic/line level devices and enough metering to know what's going on and make effective use of them. Those inputs are fine and sound as good or better than what you might expect...you can certainly do good work with them. I've always believed that having even "decent" analog compression "going in" (pre-conversion) with mic'd sources to hit the converters with a solid signal is pretty necessary with any digital recording, and that still remains true here...BUT...you can do good work with *just* what's "in the box". Let's face it, the vast majority of sources people will be recording are direct line-level (synths, samplers, drum machines), and even clean guitar/bass (Hi-Z). When it comes to vocals and getting them to "sit" in a mix with all those other sources, you need a relatively large amount of compression. There ARE onboard compressors for both tracking and mixing/"mastering" that work OK, and you can even do some creative "trickery" to use those later on, taking advantage of digital's lack of generational loss, as well as doing things like bouncing and even processing outside the machine (usb transfers and cheap/free computer software). So...do good work when tracking and it'll show up in the finished product. The DP32 is no different in that general regard than any other analog or digital recorder. As a pretty "bare-bones" machine, the DP32 has no automation so learn to mix "hands-on", do whatever you need to do before mix time to help keep relative levels where they need to be...use submixes and stems to your advantage so that you keep whatever actual fader moves to a reasonable-"do-able" level when mixing. The fx functionality of the machine is limited to using a single ambient or time-based internal effect and (if you have one) a single external effect at a time. You may want to record some sources that have effects "wet" and in stereo. The machine has no internal drum tracks...good as far as I'm concerned because the kinds of drums offered in some machines are not the kind I'd want to use anyway. There are few things that will ruin an otherwise good recording faster than cheesy drums. The machine has no digital ins and outs for direct digital sources, and while that would be an obvious plus for both recording and some kinds of transfers (realtime), it's no big deal. Once your tracks are recorded, mixing and "mastering" are straightforward and the overall "sound" of what the machine can produce is surprisingly good. There's plenty of headroom, everything has an "open" surprisingly "big" sound and of course, getting your tracks to and from computer is fast and reliable via usb2. You can certainly use the onboard CD writer for "quickie" mixes and even file transfers (the machine records uncompressed .wavs at either 16 or 24 bit. *Most people realize that the machine is really a 20 track in the traditional sense since the overall track count of 32 can only be used when you record enough stereo sources to make use of those tracks that MUST be stereo. Still, at "even" 20 tracks, this is an impressive thing in a $- machine. For almost any possible scenario, if you can't do it with 20 tracks, you're probably doing something silly. Given the fact that you will likely be recording stereo sources as well as mono sources with effects in many cases (because of how the internal effects and no automation will lead you to work), you can easily get beyond 24 tracks...no problem at all. Personally, I will be using the machine sometimes all by itself and then sending finished mixes to computer for final edits (topping and tailing), mastering (*slight EQ and brickwall limiting), file conversion for sharing and archiving ("MP3"),CD creation etc. Even those who don't want to do those sorts of things may want to look at getting some sort of editing software because at some point your songs will wind up on a computer anyway. At other times, I will "fly" the individual tracks to computer for mixing when I want or need to do more than can easily be handled inside the box. Again, USB2 makes this quick and easy. You can also (of course) learn to send individual tracks back and forth for extra processing before mixing...it only takes a little extra effort, but isn't at all difficult once you get the hang of what's going on here.
I was a recording engineer and musician in the 70's. I found this unit to be very easy to learn and the quality is absolutely impressive. I've had the DP32 for four months and have recorded ten demos. They are better than the quality I could get with a 24 track state of the art professional board when I was in the business. Sorry Ampex. In all honesty, this is a twenty track machine as 12 tracks are stereo. Unless you are a drum nut, this is plenty. Using a drum machine I have recorded bass, 7 guitar parts, keyboards, percussion, and vocals with 3 vocal backup tracks and still have plenty of open tracks. I'm loving every minute of this experience.
I know what it was like to not have the funds starting in the mid 70s for a commercial multi tracker. Starting with a 4 track Teac A2340 in 1975 to an 8 track digital in 2007 I've finally arrived at a digital 32 track. It took me only about one hour to get the hang of the DP32SD So far I've found the captured audio as I hoped it would sound. I have not mastered a project yet but am assuming I can send the mastered tracks via USB to my computer for an upload to YouTube. Clients will have to bring their own CD burner to my studio. I'm through with burning CDs for musical cues for others to work with.
I returned the unit that I received after spending 2 days trying to get an unfiltered signal from the Tascam. Everything sounded great when I used headphones to listen to the signal I was sending in to the unit. But when I used the Tascam headphone output the sound was reduced to a very bland sounding output. The recording results were the same. My expectations are that the sound going in is the sound coming out - but it wasn't. I have a lot of experience with recording systems and I have to say that I was not happy with this unit. The EQ is very limited.
First off, let me assure anyone reading this that I don't work for Tascam. And, for what it's worth, the reason for my presumptuousness is because I've been a fan of Tascam for years, and their amateur product lines, specifically, the PortaStudio. For anyone who was a member of a "real" garage band anywhere from 1950-198?, you probably recorded a demo, or two, on a 4-Track Tascam at some point in one of your past lives. And that's if you were lucky enough to have band members who were actually cool enough, and competent enough to understand the benefit of the investment in hardware. Most kids never got to record, and of the ones that did, most had to suffice with a cassette tape, or a reasonable facsimile thereof (..could have been recorded on an 8-track cartride, which was REALLY hard to duplicate...). A For the lucky few, the Tascam was the standard for your first step towards "serious" recording. Even though you didn't have a single clue, the Tascam systems always looked, functioned and lasted a lot like professional equipment. That said, I empathize with those who want the DP-32 to become a DAW-based machine. However, I applaud Tascam for resisting the temptation to "rush" into the control surface market, when the real issue is only multi-track, digital audio. In a strange way, quite a few Pro Tools engineers I know try to somehow pretend that they have no problem being able to record 8 LIVE tracks, simultaneously. This, with a PC they purchased from the yellow sign (Buy Best). I'm sure it's possible, just for the sake of argument. It's also possible I'm raising baby Unicorns. Most posts I have read on the forums needlessly bashing the Tascam DP-24, and Tascam DP-32, either cry about it not being "... like the NEO..", or that it doesn't have SPDIF/Digital Outs. Get over it. If you don't know how to export/import waves from a SDHC drive, into a DAW of your choice, it's probably not due to a limitation of these machines. In almost every way possible, these multi-track PortaStudios completely compliment any with a modern DAW who don't wan't to spend $5000.00 just to record.
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