Sound Recording with the Tascam DR-40


The Tascam DR-40 digital recorder is a challenger to the well-known Zoom H4N. It includes two cardioid microphones, and two XLR sockets that can also take 6,35mm jacks. It provides phantom power to condenser microphones that need it ("many of these small, affordable recorders work best with louder microphones, such as condenser mics, when recording relatively quiet things", source. Dynamic mics aren't a good match for this type of recorder).

By default, it records as WAV in 16bit/44KHz. It supports SD cards 64MB-2GB and SDHC cards 4GB-32GB.

Recommended accessories to get: AC-USB power supply, tripod, windscreen (Tascam WS-DR2, or third-party offers from Redhead Windscreens, GigWig, Rycote, etc.), and shotgun microphone (Rode NTG2, Audio Technica 8035) if you need to record sound off loudspeakers.

Quick Guide

Built-in stereo microphone

2 DUAL indicator

3 4CH indicator

4 OVER DUB indicator

5 3/4 [SOLO] button

6 1/2 [SOLO] button

r PEAK indicator

y RECORD [0] button/REC indicator

When stopped, press this button to put the unit into recording standby. The REC indicator will start to blink.

p ENTER/MARK button


d REMOTE jack (f2.5mm TRS)

g EXT IN switch

h HOLD switch

j INPUT LEVEL (+/-) buttons


Playing a file recorded in MONO or STEREO mode

Playing a file recorded in DUAL MONO or DUAL ST mode or monitoring in these modes

Playing a file recorded in 4CH mode or monitoring in this mode





Checking firmware version

Press the O/I buttton to turn the device on > "Menu" > Scroll down to "Others" > "Enter/Mark" > "Information" > "Enter/Mark" : The displays says "System Ver."

Upgrading firmware

Head for to download the latest firmware and the PDF that explains how to upgrade.

Basically, connect the device to the computer with a micro-USB cable, unzip the firmware in the \UTILITY directory on the device, unplug the device, and press three specific keys to restart the device in upgrade mode.

Syncing audio/video

"Any two digital devices that are not physically synchronized with a cable transmitting time-code and/or word-clock are invariably going to drift. [...] Ultimately, if you’re not running a physical sync connection (and are recorders that can read and/or write it) you’re going to need to do some manual re-syncing during a project. Usually, that means making some cuts to the audio and nudging the audio forward or backward. There are software solutions for this too – such as VocAlign that can automatically sync a separate recording to scratch audio printed to the video." (source)

Singular Software's Dualeyes


Here are some alternatives to the open-source Audacity to edit sound files on Windows:

Pro Tools

Adobe Audition

ex-Cool Edit Pro

Sony ACID Pro

Sony Sound Forge

Free Audio Editor

Pro Tools






The screen says "Phantom ON Are you sure ?"

The EXT IN button on the left was moved by mistake.

How to shut if off?

Hold down the the O/I HOME button.

The USB connection doesn't work

Make sure the device is directly connected to a USB port on the computer, not through a USB hub.

Connecting an XLR to the sound mixer and use the integrated microphones for ambiant sound?

The XLR input would be connected to a loudspeaker or the sound mixer, while the integrated microphones would be used to pick up ambiant sound?

If recording on one XLR, will the sound only be heard on one side?

One channel is lower

I put the device in front of a loudspeaker sideways, so volume is a bit higher on one side: How can I raise it so that it's on the same level as the other?

How to turn LCD screen back on so I can read in the dark?

Hit any key in the navigator.

How to delete a file?

Stop playback, and hit the Quick button in the navigator.

Can I use rechargeable batteries?

Yes, rechargeable Ni-MH.

What if I notice some drift between sound and video?

You'll have to edit the two files together with eg. Sony's Vegas Studio.