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TascamDR-680 8-Track Portable Field Audio Recorder
 
4.2

(based on 69 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (34)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (27)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (4)

88%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Excellent sound (49)
  • Easy to use (47)
  • Versatile (37)
  • Low distortion (30)
  • Compact (22)

Cons

  • Poor quality construction (11)
  • Weak (5)

Best Uses

  • Professional recording (42)
  • Amateur recording (29)
  • Outdoor events / games (27)
  • Performances (22)
  • Home studio (21)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (47), Professional musician (12), Novice (3)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Best Field Recorder Under $1000

In the sub-thousand-dollar range, the DR-680 is without question the best field recorder on the market. While it lacks some features that more expensive units routinely offer, it delivers where it counts. ...Read complete review

In the sub-thousand-dollar range, the DR-680 is without question the best field recorder on the market. While it lacks some features that more expensive units routinely offer, it delivers where it counts. Preamps are quiet, sound quality is excellent, and the OS is easy to navigate.

That said, it does have some quirks and shortcomings, which are mildly disappointing. Most notably, it lacks timecode support, and there's little control over file naming. So, make sure your slate guy knows to write the sound file number on the slate for each and every take. Your editor is going to need that.

The fact that the DR-680 has RCA outputs is somewhat bizarre. Needless to say, when you get yours, a set of RCA to XLR adapters, and/or a set of RCA to 1/4" adapters, will be a must.

Some reviewers have complained about the fact that the DR-680's cassis is plastic. I don't see that as a problem, myself. Quite the opposite, it's actually somewhat of a plus, as the DR-680 happens to be one of the lightest weight field recorders I've ever used. When you're booming 12 hours a day, every ounce counts, and you find yourself greatly appreciating all light-weight materials.

Although the plastic chassis is more scratchable than a metal one might be, it's certainly not flimsy. The DR-680 is a solid unit. I wouldn't go dropping it off any cliffs or anything, but it's plenty rugged enough for serious field use. Just get a good case for it (like you should for ANY field recorder) and it'll be fine. I use mine with the Porta Brace AR-DR680.

I'd also like to take a moment to talk about battery life. I remember it was hard to find good information on this when I bought mine.

I recommend a good external 12V battery pack, of course. However, the DR-680 will take eight AA's internally, if you prefer. If you do go that route, here's what you can expect, assuming you're phantom-powering a boom mic:

- Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA's will last 12-18 hours.
- Alkaline AA's will last 3-5 hours.
- Rechargeable lithium AA's will last 2-3 hours.

As you can see, the Ultimate Lithiums are really the only viable option for AA's to get you through the day. On a shoot, you can safely expect to go through a set of them every 1.5 days. To cover that expense, simply add an extra $10 to your day rate.

Akalines are far less cost effective than Ultimate Lithiums, and you'd have to carry 4-5 sets of them every day, to be safe. So, don't even bother with them.

Rechargeables technically can work, if you have three or four sets of them on hand, and a couple of fast chargers to keep them juiced. But obviously that's a ridiculous amount to have to carry, and you'd burn them out within a year, since they'd all need to be charged multiple ties a day. Not to mention, having to stop every 2-3 hours to change batteries isn't exactly the best way to make directors happy.

Again, the best thing to do is get yourself a good external 12V battery pack or two, and then you'll never have to worry again. There are some nice, relatively inexpensive ones on the market these days.

Quick tip: No matter what batteries you're using, switch phantom power off between takes. You'll increase battery life by up to 50%.

Anyway, back the DR-680 itself, anyone in the market for a very good sounding 6-channel field recorder that won't break the bank should scoop one up.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

I can't recommend

As a professional remote recorder I need to count on my gear. I cannot count on this product. Like many I was taken in by cost, features, specs, and a brand name....Read complete review

As a professional remote recorder I need to count on my gear. I cannot count on this product. Like many I was taken in by cost, features, specs, and a brand name. I used for a year before unit starting acting up. It finally crashed with a typical "Sys Rom Err"
I researched this and found it to be a common failure issue. Tascam wants three tries at fixing before they'll replace. That's 8-10 weeks down time with shipping. That is just poor for a major manufacturer. I can't afford such downtime.
I do not consider this pro gear or up to the rigors of field recording. Simply put Tascam needs to do better. I am not a happy customer. Issues are still unresolved so BUYER BEWARE.

Reviewed by 69 customers

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5.0

Durable and reliable

By Mr. Voice

from Chicago Il,

About Me Experienced

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Compact
  • Easy To Use
  • Excellent Sound
  • Low Distortion
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Battery Life

Best Uses

  • Amateur Recording
  • Events
  • Performances
  • Professional Recording

Comments about Tascam DR-680 8-Track Portable Field Audio Recorder:

I used this devices on a filed shoot for a documentary. I wanted the a solid machine that can handle multiple track recordings and provide additional gain control within each channel. this device did just that. I was very happy with the sound quality and ease of use. Essentially plug and play. Battery life is really bad though. i ran through 24 batteries in 2 hours. All in all a great buy for the price.

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5.0

Best On Location Recorder I Have Found!

By Ron Tyler

from Tyler,Texas

Comments about Tascam DR-680 8-Track Portable Field Audio Recorder:

I bought this recorder about three months ago. It has great audio sound with very quite noise floor and very easy to operate. I highly recommend to anyone recording concerts or doing film work. It is easy to use. I also us it in my HD editing suite as well. I plan to my two more.

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4.0

Great unit for the money

By Jasonmartinboo

from Dallas, TX

About Me Experienced

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Compact
  • Easy To Use
  • Excellent Sound
  • Versatile

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Professional Recording

    Comments about Tascam DR-680 8-Track Portable Field Audio Recorder:

    In field recorders there is nothing at this price that compares to this unit. It's technically an 8-track machine but it's best when used as a six track for me, with tracks 7-8 used for stereo mix. It might be a little small on the controls making it tough to adjust quickly but still for the price, it doesn't get better. The battery comsumption does suck though. It would be nice if this unit used rechargeable battery packs instead of AA batteries. Rechargeable AAs don't seem to last very long and are not easy to swap out fast like a battery pack

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    (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    Solid / inexpensive

    By Nyck

    from NYC

    About Me Experienced

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Compact
    • Easy To Use
    • Excellent Sound

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Amateur Recording
      • Events
      • Performances

      Comments about Tascam DR-680 8-Track Portable Field Audio Recorder:

      Simple interface. Sounds decent. Easy menu navigation. A nice affordable 6 track analog on site recorder.

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      (0 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      ..

      By Jagadeesh

      from India

      Comments about Tascam DR-680 8-Track Portable Field Audio Recorder:

      Good

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      (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Affordable Professional audio recorder

      By Omar Patin

      from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

      About Me Experienced

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Compact
      • Easy To Use
      • Excellent Sound
      • Low Distortion
      • Versatile

      Cons

      • Fast Power Consumption
      • Power Consumption Is High

      Best Uses

      • Amateur Recording
      • Events
      • Professional Recording
      • Small Sound Unit For Film

      Comments about Tascam DR-680 8-Track Portable Field Audio Recorder:

      Great affordable unit for sound recording on location. It's a nice versatile light weight unit for Low-budget filmmaking as either a main sound unit or second unit for a feature film shooting. Must keep in mind that the power consumption is extremely fast. It uses 8 AA batteries at the time, but in my experience, it only lasts about 90 min (using only 2 channels). I highly recommend other type of power supply like an NP battery with an adaptor, but make sure that provides 12 volts.

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      4.0

      Almost Flawless

      By SOR

      from Santiago, Chile

      About Me Professional Musician

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy To Use
      • Excellent Sound
      • Low Distortion
      • Powerful

      Cons

      • Rechargeable Battery Lack

      Best Uses

      • Direct Surround Recording
      • Home Studio
      • Performances

      Comments about Tascam DR-680 8-Track Portable Field Audio Recorder:

      It would be perfect if include a rechargeable battery pack and the overdub function.

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      5.0

      Simple & best buy product.

      By Andrew Hui

      from Hong Kong

      About Me Experienced

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy To Use
      • Excellent Sound
      • Powerful

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Performances
        • Professional Recording

        Comments about Tascam DR-680 8-Track Portable Field Audio Recorder:

        excellent for sound recording.

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        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Great Audio Recorder

        By Lee the film and audio guy

        from San Antonio, TX

        About Me Experienced

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Compact
        • Easy To Use
        • Excellent Sound
        • Low Distortion
        • Powerful
        • Versatile

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Amateur Recording
          • Events
          • Home Studio
          • Performances
          • Professional Recording

          Comments about Tascam DR-680 8-Track Portable Field Audio Recorder:

          I do film, video and audio transfers. I expanded to quadraphonic audio transfers and need a recorder that could do all 4 tracks at one time. This unit far exceeded my expatiation. The quality was great and the unit was easy to use. The file transfer was easy and the editing software on my computer had no problem with the files. At this point I have not found anything that I did not like about the unit. Since I use this unit on AC only I can not say how it performs on battery. The instruction book I found very helpful if you follow it step by step.

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          4.0

          Great field recorder

          By Andy

          from Branson

          About Me Professional Musician

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Compact
          • Easy To Use
          • Versatile

          Cons

          • Mic Preamps Are Limited
          • Noisy

          Best Uses

          • Field recording

          Comments about Tascam DR-680 8-Track Portable Field Audio Recorder:

          This is a fantastic low budget field recorder. Sounds good (although a little bit noisy), plenty of inputs and outputs, all the functions you want really.
          Except timecode support, but I don't expect that for the price. I have done field recordings with boom and lavs for national television and it has worked very well.
          I do not like that you don't have a proper gain knob, you can choose between low and hi gain and then trim it.

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          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          I'm Into It

          By fireboltproject

          from San Diego, CA

          About Me Experienced

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Compact
          • Easy To Use
          • Excellent Sound
          • Low Distortion
          • Versatile

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Amateur Recording
            • Events
            • Home Studio
            • Performances
            • Professional Recording

            Comments about Tascam DR-680 8-Track Portable Field Audio Recorder:

            I've worked with Sound Devices and Zoom recorders and I must say that the Tascam DR-680 is pretty impressive. The preamps are quiet compared to many other field recorders and the button/switch layout makes life on set fairly easy.

            With Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries I was able to get in almost three solid days of filming.

            Well worth the price!

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            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            4.0

            Great Value - Bang for the Buck!

            By E.F. Productions

            from Tulsa, Oklahoma

            About Me Experienced

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Compact
            • Easy To Use
            • Excellent Sound
            • Low Distortion
            • Versatile

            Cons

            • Poor Battery Life

            Best Uses

            • Events
            • Professional Recording

            Comments about Tascam DR-680 8-Track Portable Field Audio Recorder:

            Great all around recorder/mixer combination with nice features. Great for TV, Indie Film, Live event coverage of bands and anything else. requiring more than two or 4 channels of recording. My only with would be for a different portable power supply built in in place of using AA batteries. I am using mine with an external battery plate and a Sony NP-F970 battery to have decent battery life.

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            5.0

            great

            By quantumrider

            from new york, ny

            About Me Professional Musician

            Verified Buyer

            Comments about Tascam DR-680 8-Track Portable Field Audio Recorder:

            super entry level recorder

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            (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            nice quiet, next level recorder

            By Chris

            from San Antonio, Texas

            About Me Novice

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Excellent Sound
            • Versatile

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Amateur Recording
              • Events
              • Nature recording
              • Professional Recording

              Comments about Tascam DR-680 8-Track Portable Field Audio Recorder:

              This recorder is a significant step up from my previous recorders (Olympus LS11 and Tascam DR100mkii). It has the benefit of 4 XLR channels and much quieter preamps. The switches on top give great access to controls although when in a case they can be tough to reach.I wish adjusting the trim didn't take two steps (trim button then dial), but I have quickly learned how to trim without having to search. However, the trade-off for this is tremendous versatility in controlling inputs, so I guess it is a worthwhile sacrifice.The preamps are deathly quiet and the step up in quality from my previous recorders was immediately noticeable.I don't like that it records 3 tracks for a stereo recording (mono L, mono R, and stereo) since that fills up a card faster, but I guess to some people that would be a positive feature. (It may be possible to turn that off?)For the money I paid at B&H (under [$]0), there is simply nothing that compares. You would have to pay more than 3x or 4x this price to get an equivalent recorder. No, it doesn't fit in a pocket but if you are serious about recording, this unit is a best buy. Sure Sound Devices make some better units, but at 4x the price or more.

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              4.0

              Will do the Job

              By ckeehn

              from Monterey Ca

              About Me Experienced

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Easy To Use
              • Low Distortion
              • Powerful

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Amateur Recording
                • Home Studio

                Comments about Tascam DR-680 8-Track Portable Field Audio Recorder:

                I have not used it that much but overall quite intuitive and responsive. Good mic pre's and found the recordings quite alive and vibrant.

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                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Great

                By Eli

                from Brooklyn

                Comments about Tascam DR-680 8-Track Portable Field Audio Recorder:

                This is an excellent choice for sound guys just starting in the filming industry. I have no complaints this Tascam 680 is always reliable.

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                (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Excellent affordable multitrack recorder

                By Tobi

                from Vina Del Mar, Chile

                Comments about Tascam DR-680 8-Track Portable Field Audio Recorder:

                Nice addition to my normal eng bag allows me to record 6 ISO tracks and a mix while still sending mix to cameras. Straight forward controls and records to SDHC cards. Very solid recorder

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                (13 of 13 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                4.0

                Best Field Recorder Under $1000

                By ABBloch

                from Buffalo, NY

                Verified Reviewer

                Pros

                • 6 Balanced Inputs
                • Compact
                • Easy To Use
                • Excellent Sound
                • Light weight
                • Low Distortion
                • Powerful
                • Switchable Phantom Power
                • Versatile

                Cons

                • Lacks Time Code Support
                • Weak File Naming Options

                Best Uses

                • Amateur Recording
                • Documentaries
                • ENG
                • Events
                • Field Mixing
                • Field recording
                • Filmmaking
                • Home Studio
                • Performances
                • Professional Recording

                Comments about Tascam DR-680 8-Track Portable Field Audio Recorder:

                In the sub-thousand-dollar range, the DR-680 is without question the best field recorder on the market. While it lacks some features that more expensive units routinely offer, it delivers where it counts. Preamps are quiet, sound quality is excellent, and the OS is easy to navigate.

                That said, it does have some quirks and shortcomings, which are mildly disappointing. Most notably, it lacks timecode support, and there's little control over file naming. So, make sure your slate guy knows to write the sound file number on the slate for each and every take. Your editor is going to need that.

                The fact that the DR-680 has RCA outputs is somewhat bizarre. Needless to say, when you get yours, a set of RCA to XLR adapters, and/or a set of RCA to 1/4" adapters, will be a must.

                Some reviewers have complained about the fact that the DR-680's cassis is plastic. I don't see that as a problem, myself. Quite the opposite, it's actually somewhat of a plus, as the DR-680 happens to be one of the lightest weight field recorders I've ever used. When you're booming 12 hours a day, every ounce counts, and you find yourself greatly appreciating all light-weight materials.

                Although the plastic chassis is more scratchable than a metal one might be, it's certainly not flimsy. The DR-680 is a solid unit. I wouldn't go dropping it off any cliffs or anything, but it's plenty rugged enough for serious field use. Just get a good case for it (like you should for ANY field recorder) and it'll be fine. I use mine with the Porta Brace AR-DR680.

                I'd also like to take a moment to talk about battery life. I remember it was hard to find good information on this when I bought mine.

                I recommend a good external 12V battery pack, of course. However, the DR-680 will take eight AA's internally, if you prefer. If you do go that route, here's what you can expect, assuming you're phantom-powering a boom mic:

                - Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA's will last 12-18 hours.
                - Alkaline AA's will last 3-5 hours.
                - Rechargeable lithium AA's will last 2-3 hours.

                As you can see, the Ultimate Lithiums are really the only viable option for AA's to get you through the day. On a shoot, you can safely expect to go through a set of them every 1.5 days. To cover that expense, simply add an extra $10 to your day rate.

                Akalines are far less cost effective than Ultimate Lithiums, and you'd have to carry 4-5 sets of them every day, to be safe. So, don't even bother with them.

                Rechargeables technically can work, if you have three or four sets of them on hand, and a couple of fast chargers to keep them juiced. But obviously that's a ridiculous amount to have to carry, and you'd burn them out within a year, since they'd all need to be charged multiple ties a day. Not to mention, having to stop every 2-3 hours to change batteries isn't exactly the best way to make directors happy.

                Again, the best thing to do is get yourself a good external 12V battery pack or two, and then you'll never have to worry again. There are some nice, relatively inexpensive ones on the market these days.

                Quick tip: No matter what batteries you're using, switch phantom power off between takes. You'll increase battery life by up to 50%.

                Anyway, back the DR-680 itself, anyone in the market for a very good sounding 6-channel field recorder that won't break the bank should scoop one up.

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                (7 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                1.0

                Almost a great value until it fails

                By atmzeal

                from New York

                About Me Experienced

                Pros

                • Easy To Use

                Cons

                • Poor Quality Construction
                • Weak

                Best Uses

                • Amateur Recording
                • Events
                • Home Studio

                Comments about Tascam DR-680 8-Track Portable Field Audio Recorder:

                Bought this unit from B&H in store in May because I thought it was a great value to location sound mix for film/tv. It records 4 xlr iso tracks in addition to other inputs, is decently built to do what needs to be done. However, there are a ton of issues with the menu interface. First, it has a basic numbering and naming files, but is not flexible. Customizing individual file takes is limited in how many characters you can input and bulky when doing so quickly. The 3/4" headphone jack gets loose soon after use while the headphone volume knob is unrefined (big jumps in sound when turned in really small degrees). it's made more for music as, firstly, folders can't be customized and always outputs in "music". For a product with a lot of amazing features, it's hindered by a lack of attention to detail that could probably have been easily fixed or improved by a simple firmware update, which they never did. It would have been better to have more turn pots to quickly fade/trim the channels individually but understandably, not everyone uses it for such reasons, resulting in a 2-step process to do so per track (hit the button channel, then turn). Power cable is a bit flimsy (uses a dc plug that will become loose over time, unlike a locking or more secure connection such as a hirose. they knew this as they built a strain relief into the 680 to protect the flimsy plug from accidental pullouts). They also don't have accessories that enable use of the unit with portable power sources like an np-1 battery (a big downside, forcing you to use 8 AA's that drain within two hours). Noisefloor is decent, probably second best to other products in the price range but it can be sent a line feed from a mixer with better preamps (a big plus)

                I can accept these faults since what it gives, iso tracks and an average menu system, is things that typically only expensive products offer. And the price normally was a bargain until recently. However, the worst part, was the fact that the unit completely stopped working three months after I bought it. One day, an hour after I turned it off, I went to turn it on again and the screen lit up, then shut down. Then, it never turned on again (both battery and power cable). Sending it for repair to tascam i waited one week for a response and received it two weeks after i confirmed payment of labor (total of 23 days in to and fro, 16 days for them to repair and ship, Parts covered in mfg warranty, labor not), I was told a circuit board had to be replaced for the repair. No other explanation. Later received a mailed package, bubble wrapped unit, boxed with nothing else inside at all. Customer service wasn't bad, but it's unacceptable how poorly constructed the 680 is that i can't even rely on it for professional use. And the fact it broke after only about maybe just a week's worth of use total - only a few hours a day and only starting near the 3rd month since i had it.

                i was hoping for a bargain on digital features which wouldn't have increased internal parts costs, but instead wasted money that could have gone to more reliable companies with reliable units and better designs. With sound, you get what you pay for.

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                  5.0

                  Excellent Digital Recorder

                  By Folk Singer

                  from San Francisco, CA

                  About Me Novice

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Compact
                  • Easy To Use
                  • Excellent Sound
                  • Versatile

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Amateur Recording
                    • Events
                    • Home Studio
                    • Performances
                    • Professional Recording

                    Comments about Tascam DR-680 8-Track Portable Field Audio Recorder:

                    This unit is easy to use, has excellent sound, & handles a diverse set of live inputs/outputs. For the price, this is an excellent unit. Worked right out of the box, & reading manual helped to explain lots of extra features - I expect to enjoy using this unit for a long time & very often. Buy one. You'll be glad you did.

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