While the Tascam DR-70D is an excellent audio recorder for use in video production, it does have one glaring flaw: its “camera out” jack introduces an entirely unacceptable amount of noise to the audio, but only when the DR-70D is set to send “Cam” audio out of this jack. Okay. That last sentence was really alien sounding. What the heck are you talking about, Sam? Let me try to simplify this…
In my in-depth review of the Tascam DR-70D, I discuss the virtues of the camera In/Out section of the DR-70D in great detail. Basically, these jacks make it possible to make a copy of the same audio you’re recording in the DR-70D in the camera that you’re using. This makes it easier to sync the audio in post, and it gives you the option of not having to sync the audio, if you’re happy with the sound quality of the audio you recorded directly into your camera.
Here’s the problem: DSLR and mirrorless cameras only have mic-level inputs. The DR-70D lets you adjust the camera out jack down to mic-level, but, when you do this, the audio it sends to the camera gets really hissy and noisy. It’s terrible. It defeats the purpose of using this feature.
The good news is that the hiss problem goes away completely when you adjust the “Output Gain” setting on the DR-70D to LINE instead of CAM, and you use a Sescom cable to connect the “camera out” jack on the DR-70D to the “mic input” on your camera. The Sescom cable is mandatory. Using a $2 mini-to-mini cable is not an option here.
What does the Sescom cable do?
The Sescom cable transforms line-level signals to mic-level. Line-level audio signals are MUCH stronger (or louder) than mic-level signals. In order for a cable to transform a line-level signal into a mic-level signal, a “in-line attenuator” needs to be built into the cable. Sescom cables have these built in, which is why they cost around $30.
Will Tascam fix this problem with a future firmware date?
I have no idea. It would be nice if they could do that. If they do, I will certainly write about and test it out.
Stay tuned to my blog. I am planning on shooting a comparison video next week between the Tascam DR-70D and the Zoom H4n, and the Tascam DR-40. I actually already shot this once, and on one take the input level clipped on the DR-70D. It ruined the whole shoot. See? Audio for video is difficult, even for people like me. I even blew the test video that I shot for this post, because I had the DR-70D set to “CAM” instead of “LINE”.
Oh well. Thanks for visiting! See you soon…
Also.. it’s 9/11. Never forget it.
Tascam DR-70D - Amazon USA, B&H Photo, Amazon.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr
Sescom Cable - Amazon USA, B&H Photo, Amazon.uk
Sescom Cable (with headphone jack) - Amazon USA, B&H Photo, Amazon.uk