Tascam DR-10SG Minute Review, a Mountable Audio Recorder with Shotgun Microphone

Tascam was kind enough to send us their new creation, the DR-10SG. It is a combination of a standalone mountable mini audio recorder, as well as a directional shotgun microphone that you can connect to your DSLR mic jack. This new device is aimed towards “on the go shooters” who seek a better audio quality than the one their build-in camera microphone offers. 

Tascam DR-10SG

As we all know, some of the latest cameras from respected manufacturers do not offer a way to monitor sound. Maybe the biggest selling point for this device is the ability to monitor audio levels when connected to cameras without a headphone jack, with the Sony a6300 being a good example. In order to do that, you will need the Tascam DR-10SG and a mini jack 3.5mm splitter. One thing to consider: if you are looking for greater flexibility in regards to connecting professional microphones and wireless audio receiver to your camera or a recorder, then you might want to look at Tascam’s other offering, the DR-10X, a micro audio XLR recorder device that, at least on paper, looks as a perfect flexible mini recorder.

Back to the Tascam DR-10SG. Here are its main specifications at a glance: 

  • Recording Media: microSD card (64 MB to 2 GB), microSDHC card (4 GB to 32 GB)
  • Recording Format: 16/24-bit @ 44.1/48 kHz
  • Mic Polarity: Super cardioid
  • Analog Outputs: Camera Out/Phones: 1/8″ (3.5 mm) stereo mini-jack (dual-mono signal)
  • USB micro-B
  • Power: 1 x AAA battery
  • USB bus power
  • Power Consumption: 0.75 W (maximum)
  • Battery Operating Time: (48 kHz/24-bit, Limiter/ Dual Rec: Off, File type: Mono), Lithium 15:00 hours, NiMH Battery 7:30 hours, Alkaline 8:30 hours.
  • Dimensions (W x H x D) 2.1 x 6.6 x 2.8″ (53 x 168 x 70.3 mm)
  • Weight 3.9 oz (110 g) including batteries

Pros:

  • The DR-10SG is very lightweight and will sit comfortably on your camera hot shoe.
  • The audio quality is sufficient for a run & gun shooting style and features adjustable EQ.
  • One triple-A battery will last for a good few hours and the device can also be powered externally via a USB connector.
  • You can record dual audio tracks in 2 different recording levels. I suggest not to fiddle with levels while shooting as the buttons are tiny…

So what needs improvement?

  • The device feels plasticky. I hope it can survive the daily filming routine.
  • What is really missing out of the box is an additional proper wind shield cover. The one provided is not enough.
  • Normal iPhone earbuds won’t work for monitoring. I guess it is an impedance thing…
  • You can’t start recording while browsing the menu. You need to exit the menu first, and then start recording.

Tascam DR-10SG

Conclusion: 

Personally, I wish that the mic polarity would have been even narrower. In addition, although the microphone itself has a nice suspension, it will easily pick up handling noise when operating the camera, so either place your camera on a rig or touch it gently while shooting.

Also, don’t expect the Tascam DR-10SG to replace your soundman or dedicated audio system. On the other hand, when running & gunning, this additional device will certainly produce better audio results from your built-in camera microphone. Furthermore, the built-in mini recorder will yield better audio recordings in comparison to the many of the DSLR/mirrorless cameras out there.

Watch it on Vimeo

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