Product Spotlight:
TASCAM DP-03 Portastudio

A songwriter's new best friend
By Jeff Laity
Marketing Manager, TASCAM
TASCAM DP-004 Pocketstudio

TASCAM, the company that invented home recording, is back with a compact 8 track with CD burning and mastering. The TASCAM DP-03 is our latest digital Portastudio that records up to 2 tracks at a time to SD or SDHC card media. A set of mixing and mastering effects combined with the internal CD burner allow you to create polished, radio-ready albums in a recorder smaller than a laptop.

Plug in, or don't plug in

The TASCAM DP-03 has a pair of high-quality microphone preamps for recording two sources at a time, or one source in stereo. The preamps have XLR jacks and switchable phantom power, to work with dynamic, ribbon, or condenser microphones. There's also a 1/4" line input for each side for recording drum machines, guitar amp modelers, or the output of a mixer. Input 1 has an instrument level switch that accepts a guitar or bass plugged directly in without a direct box.

But for a quick recording, or using it on the go, you don't even need to pack microphones. The DP-03 has a set of built-in condenser mics on the front-panel for stereo recording anywhere. Perfect for recording rehearsals or live shows—and you can share an MP3 or CD with the band when it's over.

Also available during recording are a chromatic tuner and metronome—each with dedicated buttons instead of buried in a menu where you'll never use them. Whether you sing and play guitar, record your instrument in stereo, or build up your production one track at a time, the DP-03 has the interface you need to record now and as your studio grows.

Make tracks

TASCAM's DP-03 has eight tracks of 44.1kHz CD-quality recording available. The DP-03 records to SD or SDHC Card media, and a 2GB card is included. Routing one of the two inputs to a track is as simple as pressing the assign button, then pressing the track's record button to select A or B. If you fill up all eight tracks, you can bounce as many as all eight to one or two tracks. The DP-03 allows importing audio from a compact disc, if you want to start your recording from a loop or import a recording from your computer.

Autopunch is available for automatically going into record when you have your hands full with a tricky solo. An optional footswitch, the RC-3F, provides three footpedals for start/stop control and punch-in. Track editing like copy and paste, insert, silence, and clone track are useful for creating polished productions—all presented in an easy-to-use interface.

It all comes down to the mix

Mixing is where the TASCAM DP-03 really shines. Like generations of Portastudios before it, the DP-03 is covered with mixing controls like pan knobs, reverb sends, and EQ. A linear fader is available for each track, and you can mute tracks through the front-panel mute button. Press EQ to adjust the two-band shelving EQ per track, using the dedicated gain knobs and adjusting the frequency using the data wheel. A stereo reverb processor is also built-in with a dedicated send knob per channel. Press the Reverb button to change the effects program from Halls to rooms to plates, and adjust the decay time and overall level to your mix.

While recording your mix, you can ride levels, pan, and effects. Your mix is recorded to a dedicated stereo track for that purpose. Mastering effects can be added after mixdown like EQ and multiband compression for a tight, radio-ready sound. You can export your mix (or even individual tracks) as WAV files over USB 2.0. Once they're in your computer you can edit them even more with your own software or convert to MP3 to share with friends online.

To burn a CD, put together a playlist of your best songs and drop a blank disc into the drive. You can also backup your recordings to CD, import CD tracks, or simply play a disc of music. Between the CD drive, USB 2.0 connection, or just popping out the SD card, there are a variety of options for saving and sharing your music.

Make music with a TASCAM DP03 Portastudio

There's a reason that musicians have been using Portastudios to write and record songs for over 30 years. There's something about a purpose-built scratchpad that invites you to be creative. The DP-03 gives you everything you need to record and share great-sounding music at a price any musician can afford. Order one for yourself at Musicians Friend today so we can hear your music!