(reviewed by John Verity)
Street price in the UK at time of review £370.00
Sturdily built into a compact (514mm wide/ 340mm front to back) package powered by a small wall-wart type power supply the unit is impressive straight out of the box.
The ability to record 24 tracks at a useful range of bitrates to an SD card makes the unit's potential in the education sector obvious.
Well known in the world of portastudios, Tascam have vast experience in this area and have come up with a package which looks to be much simpler in layout than many predecessors. This making for an attractive proposition for the classroom and performance space, whilst still having a good range of facilities to appeal to more experienced recordists.
8 tracks can be recorded simultaneously, making the recording of full ensemble/band performances a possibility, with the ability to mix/sweeten the recordings at a later date, and add further tracks up to a total of 24 where required. There are 24 channel faders - 12 mono and 6 stereo faders plus the master fader in typical fashion, with a master control for monitor level at the far right of the front panel. There are 8 mic/line inputs on the rear of the unit accessed via XLR/Jack combi connectors with one input selectable to a high impedance jack input for guitar or bass.
The socket for the included PSU is located at the far left looking from behind the unit, close to the facility to security-lock the unit, however there doesn't appear to be the ability to secure the power lead into the socket which could be a problem - Students beware!
TRS jacks for monitor outputs, a pair of mono effects sends and the main stereo outputs (phono) are clearly labelled, and finally the SD card slot, micro USB and power switch are located in the raised section behind the display housing.
The front panel above each of the first eight channels houses the input trim, phantom power switching (arranged in 2 banks of four).
Finally these 8 channels have buttons for source, record arm and select. The selected channel has it's current settings displayed, and allows access to the eq, pan and effects section.
As indicated earlier in this piece, the uncomplicated layout makes it possible to concentrate on the creative aspects of recording. With this in mind it is important to stress that everything a learner is likely to need to produce technically competent recordings is right here in this unit. A choice of Reverb, Delay, and Chorus effects via effect send 1 plus assignable multi-effects including the control of dynamics make stand-alone use of the unit a viable option, though the ability to transfer raw recorded tracks to a favourite DAW using the SD card means learners are not limited to the effects contained in the unit.
Recordings made by this reviewer in the course of preparing this piece are technically sound and were made with the minimum of fuss.
There is much more to this unit than time has allowed me to explore, and I feel sure that it will be a valuable tool for many in the creation of technical and performance work. Composers will be able to prepare examples of their work to a high standard and collaborate where required, again with the minimum of fuss.
In terms of level, the Tascam DP-24SD is simple enough to operate for learners at lower levels, but has enough potential to be useful to the learner creating work at the highest level, to the standard expected.
The build quality is to the high standard to be expected from this manufacturer, with results to match. Highly recommended.