The DR-05 is Tascam's first foray into the "cheap and cheerful" Notebook-grade of solid state sound recorder. As such, it offers portable, reasonably high-quality stereo recording in MP3 or WAV format using microSD or microSDHC media. A pair of fixed A/B-oriented omni-directional microphones handles up to 125 dB SPL with acceptable detail. Users can also use consumer and semi-pro microphones or line-level sources through the mini-jack stereo input which includes plug-in power for microphones that need it.
The DR-05 Notebook is useable with one thumb. Operations like recording, adjusting levels, deleting bad takes and adding marks are only a button press away. Other features like limiting, low-cut filtering, Variable Speed Audition, chromatic tuner and others more are chosen from the menu. A Peak Reduction feature automatically reduces the level to prevent accidental distortion. It works in rehearsal mode or in record and can be combined with the built-in limiter. There is also a Level Align function that allows to smooth out any sudden volume jumps during playback, and a built-in mini-speaker is provided for quick check-back.
Internally, the DR-05’s digital and analogue circuit boards are built separately for better noise performance, with a low-impedance design to further decrease hiss. A separate supply voltage is used for the A/D and D/A converter for improved audio performance. Whilst the budget-priced DR-05 cannot compare to more expensive recorders, it does deliver pretty clean sound quality for the money, with good signal-to-noise ratio, very little distortion and wide frequency response.
When funds are tight this Notebook is good value given the features it offers and the reasonable performance it delivers.