Tascam DR-05 review

  • £109
  • $149.99
The simplicity of this device offers much of its appeal.

MusicRadar Verdict

The DR-05 simple but highly effective.


  • +

    Ease of use. Decent mic.


  • -

    Auto setting could be better.

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True inspiration is an elusive thing. When you want to capture one of those best-riff-I've-ever-written moments, you have a choice: hum into your phone (never really works, does it?), or boot up the computer, plug in your interface, load up… Oh forget it, it sounded like a Metallica B-side anyway!

The Tascam DR-05 is a stereo portable recorder. There's no overdubbing or effects - instead you get built-in stereo condenser microphones, a built-in tuner and an intuitive user interface.

"The DR005 has been designed so that button-presses are kept to a minimum."

There are also sockets for an external mic/line device and headphones.

Recording is easy. The DR-05 has been designed so that button presses are kept to a minimum. Hit Record to put it in a record-ready mode, set a level and hit Play to start rolling.

Tascam's Peak Reduction recording mode enables you to set the recording levels, but the DR-05 will bring them down if a sudden loud burst occurs. Other modes include a full auto setting (not great for dynamic performances), and a Limiter mode to help avoid clipping.

There are plenty of smartphone apps that aim to do what the DR-05 does, but they don't have the quality microphones or features.

Its simplicity is also where its appeal lies. This is for anyone who spends band practice trying to remember the song they wrote last week, or the casual songwriter who's lost one too many ideas.

Stuart Williams

I'm a freelance member of the MusicRadar team, specialising in drum news, interviews and reviews. I formerly edited Rhythm and Total Guitar here in the UK and have been playing drums for more than 25 years (my arms are very tired). When I'm not working on the site, I can be found on my electronic kit at home, or gigging and depping in function bands and the odd original project.