Tascam HD-P2

Intro from Jay Allison: Jeff Towne continues his evaluations of new digital recorders for radio work, this time putting the Tascam HDP2 through its paces. "The trend in flash-memory-based field recorders has been toward smaller, lighter, and simpler, but count Tascam as one of the few swimming against the current. The HD-P2 is an unabashedly old-school recorder: bulky and a little pricey, with broad flexibility and few concessions made to the consumer market. But with the bulk, and the $999 price tage, one gets XLR mic inputs, full phantom power, excellent mic preamps, flexible signal routing and headphone monitoring, a built-in speaker, and an informative, readable display." Come read another of Jeff's thorough reviews of the tools we use, and check out the comparison chart of all the recorders we've reviewed so far.

From Jeff Towne

The trend in flash-memory-based field recorders has been toward smaller, lighter, and simpler, but count Tascam as one of the few swimming against the current. The HD-P2 is an unabashedly old-school recorder: bulky and a little pricey, with broad flexibility and few concessions made to the consumer market. But with the bulk, and the $999 price tag, one gets XLR mic inputs, full phantom power, excellent quality mic preamps, flexible signal routing and headphone monitoring, a built-in speaker, and an informative, readable display.

The distinctive slanted display allows the main screen to be seen easily from both an over-the-shoulder position, and when placed on a table top. And that display shows lots of helpful information, clearly indicating record levels, the soundfile parameters, power levels, remaining record time, and more. That easy-to-read display is one advantage of the large design. In what could be seen as a pro or con, there’s a speaker installed in the HD-P2. This does allow for easy auditioning of audio without headphones, but it also adds weight and size to the machine. Additionally, the speaker is on by default if there are no headphones connected, creating an opportunity for feedback or at least unwanted audio while recording.

With so many of the new flash recorders fitting in a pocket, this one feels oddly cumbersome, but not long ago, most professional field recorders were this size and weight. The venerable Sony TCD5 and Marantz PMD 221 cassette recorders were about these dimensions, as were several portable DAT recorders, such as the popular Tascam DAP-1. The HD-P2 is a clear successor to that machine, but with a few noteworthy differences.

The HD in the name is for “High Definition” and the HD-P2 can record at sample rates up to 192 khz, at 16 or 24 bit. Recording at the maximum resolution will burn through memory six times as fast as the common standard of 44.1 khz, 16 bit, but if such high resolutions are required, the smaller, more consumer-oriented machines will not record at those sample rates.

Recording

Even at its most basic settings, the sound quality of the HD-P2 is quite good. The mic preamps are clean and smooth, not suffering from the hiss and crunch that plague many of the less-expensive machines. There’s not quite enough gain to bring a typical dynamic omni mic up to the ideal level during an average interview, but it gets close, and the preamps are quiet enough that making-up some gain at the editing and mixing stage does not add unpleasant noise.

Download
Listen to “Tascam HD-P2 Dynamic Omni Microphone”
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Listen to “Tascam HD-P2 Condensor Cardioid Microphone”
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Listen to “Tascam HD-P2 Condensor Shotgun Microphone”
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Listen to “Tascam HD-P2 Stereo Microphone”

There’s no automatic gain control, but there is an effective limiter that does a good job at controlling stray peaks. Input gain is controlled by large concentric dials on the front of the recorder, allowing fine control of record volume in real-time.

There is a single, mono, built-in mic, which is sufficient for non-critical dictation or interviewing, but, like the mics in the Marantz recorders, not suitable for high-quality recording.

There’s an effective 20dB pad on the mic inputs when confronting loud sources, and a low-cut switch does a good job at reducing rumble from wind or handling noise.

The recorder also includes Time Code options, it will sync to incoming SMTE time code for synchronizing with film and video productions and will accept word-clock input for syncing to other digital devices. This is of little use to most audio-only productions, and it’s easy enough to just turn-off and ignore, but if it’s needed, this is one of the least expensive recorders to offer this kind of interfacing. The HD-P2 does not generate time code, so it cannot be used as a time code source, but it will lock to most types of incoming time code.

The HD-P2 does not offer any space-saving compressed formats, no MP2 or MP3 recording on this machine. Its lowest setting is uncompressed .wav files at the standard 16-bit 44.1 khz. At that resolution, 13.5 hours of stereo recording will fit on an 8 gigabyte memory card, 3.3 hours on the more common 2 gig cards.

Although large cards can be used, there is a maximum size of 2 gigabytes for any individual file, so one must be sure to split long recordings into multiple “takes” if necessary. This is easily done: simply pressing the record button while recording starts a new take, and these takes can be reassembled in a digital editor without gaps or glitches at the transitions.

The HD-P2 uses Compact Flash media, and Tascam has a list of recommended brands and models on their website, but most standard cards should work fine. There is an internal speed check available through the system menu which will indicate whether the card that is currently mounted is capable of recording at the various supported sample rates and bit-depths. The manual cautions that this is an approximate test, and should only be used as a guideline, but even so, this is an incredibly valuable tool, especially if one is using high-resolution recording parameters, and is unsure of the write-speed of the CF card being used.

Similarly, there is a Scan Media option in the System Menu which will examine the CF card for problems and attempt to fix them. All of our media performed without error, so we were unable to test this function.

Hardware and Software Control
Tascam HD-P2 controlsOperating the HD-P2 is a mix of obvious conventions and some less-easily-learned quirks. On the positive side, many important settings are controlled by hardware switches on the top of the unit. It’s great to not have to dig through menus to change inputs, turn-on phantom power, switch-in a limiter, or roll-off some bass. On the other hand, there are important settings that can only be adjusted by scrolling through a few menus, and pressing buttons in ways that take a bit of getting used-to. Additionally the hardware switches are hard to access if the recorder is safely stowed in a padded bag.

On the positive side, the machine powers-up quickly, and if the default record settings are correct, you can simply press record and be rolling in just over 10 seconds. One can save a default template with your preferred sample rate, bit-depth, channel configuration, and more, so recordings can be made without delving into menus.

Organizing Soundfiles
There’s an amazing amount of adjustability provided in those menus, and although they are not especially intuitive, it’s not too hard to get used to what controls are where. After a short time, pressing the Menu button, spinning the scroll wheel and pressing the “select” button on the top of the unit becomes smooth and speedy.

Recordings are organized into “Projects” and each recording is saved as a “take” within that project. By entering the Project Menu, new projects can be named with up to 8 characters, using the scroll-wheel and the select button, or by using a standard PS2 computer keyboard. If one doesn’t like the files to be named “takes” even that can be customized with 8 characters of your choosing. This makes file navigation much easier when it comes time to audition audio or transfer it to a computer.

If the recording situation allows the space for connecting a standard PS2 computer keyboard, doing so can simplify naming functions, as well as allow quick access to some common functions through the use of keyboard shortcuts. The space-bar and function keys can be used to control the transport (F10 for record, F9 for pause, etc. A Complete list is included in the users manual.)




Project settings will determine the file attributes of any audio recorded into that project – sample rate, bit-depth, mono or stereo, etc. Those attributes can be changed from the Project Menu, so one can have mono and stereo files, or files of different bit-depths, in the same project, but unless actively changed, recordings made later in a project will have the same configuration as the previous soundfiles in that project.

Powering-up the machine will open a default project, but one can switch projects, or create a new one, from the project menu, which is accessible via a shortcut button on the top panel, or from the main menu. It’s slightly unintuitive to have to navigate a few menu pages to ensure that your record settings are correct, but after a couple of times, it becomes quick and easy.

Pressing record will put the machine into record-pause mode, unless it has been set to “Immediate Record” in the system menu. When in record pause, the record light will be lit, and the pause button will be flashing. When actually recording audio, the record light will be steady, there will be no pause light, and the time indicator on the front display will be rolling forward. There is a selectable pre-record buffer that can save up to ten seconds of audio before recording is started.

Each time the record button is pressed, a new “take” is created, which will be saved as a new file within the project folder, its filename automatically incremented up (take00, take01, take02, etc.) and marked with the elapsed time in the project. The word "take" can be changed as well, if it’s helpful to name each new soundfile something else. For this example I changed it to "seg." Even while rolling, pressing the record button again starts a new take, without interrupting the recording. Those takes can be reassembled into continuous audio in a digital editor without audible artifacts at the transitions, so these takes can be used as bookmarks within a long recording. Takes are also stamped with “real time” from the recorder’s internal clock, which can be set from the system menu, or can be stamped with external time code, if that option is enabled and a valid time code source is connected to the hardware input on the recorder.

There is a “Marker” function than can place time references within a single soundfile, which will allow easy navigation when playing-back from the HD-P2’s transport controls. But those markers are not saved as part of the .wav file, they are contained in a separate file saved as part of the project on the HD-P2, but will not be available once the .wav file is moved to your computer, and imported into your audio editing software.

The Project Menu also allows setting headphone monitoring to stereo or mono, very handy when recording with one mic. “Follow Record” mode is the most useful, automatically switching headphone monitoring from stereo to Left, channel only, Right channel only, or Mono Summed, depending on how the project is set.

One can set the recorder to send audible alerts to the headphones indicating low battery or low record space, if desired.


Editing and Managing SoundFiles

Within the Project Menu, there’s a submenu called Files, that allows some useful, but dangerous file manipulations. Files can be auditioned, renamed, trimmed or deleted from this menu.

Long files with only a small amount of desired audio can be marked with IN and OUT points, by pressing the Locate buttons while auditioning the file: left-pointing locate to mark IN and right-pointing locate to mark OUT. Holding the Stop button allows the scroll wheel to be used to shuttle through the audio, making marking points easy. A file can be trimmed to a smaller size, retaining only the audio between the IN and OUT points, and permanently deleting extraneous audio. As with deleting files altogether, this can be very handy if one has made a long recording with only a small amount of useable audio, and one needs to recover space on the CF card. But the deleted audio is gone forever, and making selections of audio is clumsy compared to editing in a computer, and these manipulations are best done in the recorder only if absolutely necessary. The ability to trim a long recording down within the machine can be very helpful in some circumstances, just be careful!

There is one safety step: when a file is deleted, or the retake button is used to erase a take, the file is moved to a “trash” file within the project folder. Files are not immediately permanently erased. By exploring the trash folder within a project, files can be returned to the project, or deleted permanently. Files in the trash in other projects will not be deleted when choosing to “delete all files.” The parts of files “trimmed” off are deleted permanently with no option to return those sections of audio to the project, so make sure in and out points are correct before choosing to trim, there’s no undo for that!

There is a Media Cleanup Menu within the Media Management Menu, within the System menu, which will show the sizes of any files remaining in various projects’ trash folders, to help in deciding what files, if any, to permanently delete.

Power

The HD-P2 can get power from 8 AA batteries, or from the provided power cord, or, uniquely, the firewire connection, which is handy if one needs to move files and batteries are dead. Alkaline AA batteries give 5-6 hours of operation with phantom power off, only a bit less with it on. Rechargeable batteries tend to give more like 3 hours of continuous record time, but are recommended, because those 8 batteries start to add up. The power cord does not recharge the batteries in the recorder, they must be charged in their own charger. Conveniently, when power reaches a low level, the unit saves and closes files and then shuts down.

Transferring audio from the recorder to a computer is done via a firewire connection, which is significantly faster than USB1, used by some recorders. In order to connect the recorder to the computer, the HD-P2 must be set to Firewire Dock Mode, accessible through the main menu. All Macintosh computers are equipped with firewire interfaces, but not all Windows computers are. If you’re using a computer without a firewire interface, simply remove the CF card from the recorder and use an external card reader, available for low-cost from computer-supply stores. In our tests, the firewire connection transferred a 1 gigabyte file in approximately 6 minutes. An external USB2 card reader moved that same data a little bit faster, but not significantly. (Transfer speed will be affected by the type of card used, and by the type of connection.)

Summary

The Tascam HD-P2 is placed solidly between the low-cost, small flash recorders, and the expensive pro recorders from companies such as Sound Devices, Nagra and Deva. Its sound quality, durability and ergonomics are not quite as impressive as the Sound Devices 700 series, but it costs about half as much as their least-expensive unit. The sound quality is quite good, but for those wanting to hot-rod the recorder a bit, modified units are available from Oade Brothers, with various upgrades to the input electronics.

The case is plastic, so might not do too well in a serious drop, but there is an optional case available for about $50 that does a good job of protecting it from scuffs, and minor bumps, and keeps the various input and output jacks covered. A padded bag might be a good choice, but keep in mind that some important controls are on the top panel, and must remain accessible.

The size and price of this unit might make it unattractive to beginning recordists, but the sound quality is noticibly better than any of the small pocket-sized machines. Those needing clean mic preamps, high-resolution soundfiles, or timecode, should give the HD-P2 a look. The Sound Devices 700-series offer slightly better sound quality, metering and durability of build, but cost significantly more. The Tascam is only slightly larger than the Marantz 670 and 671, and a few hundred dollars more, but sounds significantly better than either of those recorders. The HD-P2 is a solid performer that gives great audio results, if the size doesn’t get in the way.

Transom digital recorder comparison chart

Jeff Towne

About
Jeff Towne

During more than 25 years as a producer of the nationally-syndicated radio program Echoes. Jeff Towne has recorded interviews and musical performances in locations ranging from closets to cathedrals, outdoor stages to professional studios, turning them into radio shows and podcasts. Jeff is also the Tools Editor for Transom.org, a Peabody Award-winning website dedicated to channeling new voices to public media. At Transom, he reviews field recorders, microphones and software, helping both beginning and experienced audio producers choose their tools. In his spare time, Jeff will probably be taking pictures of his lunch in that little restaurant with the strange name that you've been wondering about. 

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  • Bojan Kirilow

    8.01.07

    Reply
    batteries and big plastic boxes

    Jeff,
    I just spent three weeks in the field doing film sound and we had a Tascam HD-P2 and a Sound Devices 702T. At the end of three tough weeks we all agreed that for the money spend the TASCAM was junk and the SD was perfect. On the TASCAM,we couldn’t keep batteries charged, spent $100 (in three weeks) to make sure we could keep working. The SD batteries charged fast and with 3 generic ($25.00 each) we worked the entire time and the video camera even borrowed one of or batteries for a few hours one day and still have the batteries.
    While the recordings from the TASCAM are fine the hassle, the bulk and (whoops) the cracked plastic case made this a bad investment. We’ll buy another SD to replace it for future projects.

    Bojan

  • Jeff Towne

    8.01.07

    Reply
    batteries and plastic

    Hey Bojan, thanks for the field report!

    I assume you spent the $100 for Alkaline AA batteries? I’ve been using the HD-P2 for over a year now and so far I haven’t managed to put any cracks in it, but you’re absolutely right that the plastic case is a cause for concern. As you can probably see from the photo above, we spent $50 on the case for it, which doesn’t offer much padding, but does give some protection.

    We’ve been using rechargeable AAs, and they seem to keep the thing running for about 3-4 hours. So with two sets of those batteries, one set charging all the time in its own charger, we haven’t had much trouble. We’re also lucky that our remote recording settings often allow us to plug-in to AC power, so I haven’t had to hassle with the battery thing as much as some might…

    But bottom line: I certainly agree that the 702 is sturdier, and has a better battery set-up for some circumstances. But if you’re really out in the field, away from power, you can’t run to the 7-11 and buy some AA batteries to keep rolling, like you can with the Tascam!

    The Sound Devices recorders are great machines, but the $1800 for the 702, ($2,500 if you need the timecode version, the 702T) plus a couple of spare videocam batteries and chargers is just too high a threshold for some folks.

    $1,000 for the Tascam HD-P2, $50 for the case, another $50 for a couple of sets of rechargeable AA batteries, is a bit more do-able for some! Just don’t drop it…

    If cost were not a factor, I’d get the Sound Devices, but the Tascam is a viable alternative when the budget is tighter.

  • Barbara Bernstein

    8.01.07

    Reply
    more to screen than meet’s Jeff’s eye

    I agree with Jeff on everything (relating to the HD-P2) except one small point. You don’t need to go scrolling through menus when you turn on the machine to see what your settings are. They are all clearly listed in the display window. Above the double line is the name of the project. Below the double line (albeit in a smaller font) is listed settings – eg. 44.1khz, 16b, ML (mono left input), internal (clock) and PreRecord (on). Below settings it tells you whether or not timecode is on.

    As far as dropping the unit, I have first-hand experience dropping mine last summer while it was recording. It did kick out of record but I turned it back on and it has worked flawlessly since. It was encased in the $50 case which is why it may have survived the fall so well. No cracked plastic here.

    I’ve gotten at least 3 hours of recording out of rechargeable batteries. I wouldn’t know exactly how much more because I’ve never managed to drain the batteries using it in the field. I keep a spare set of alkaline batteries with me when I’m out in the hinterlands but generally my rechargeables have kept me very happy.

    I actually prefer the design and lack of weight to the SD recorders. The Tascam may be a little bulky but it’s surprisingly lighthweight, compared to the HHB PortaDisc I used to lug around.

  • David Gans

    8.01.07

    Reply
    Still trying to decide

    As always, Jeff, I appreciate the work you’re doing for all of us.

  • Jeff Towne

    8.01.07

    Reply
    Display

    Sorry, I didn’t phrase my menu-complaint very well. When I said "It’s slightly unintuitive to have to navigate a few menu pages to ensure that your record settings are correct, but after a couple of times, it becomes quick and easy." I meant when one needed to make a change.

    This happens all the time: we use the machine for mono single-mic interview recording, and for multi-mic interviews, and for line-in stereo recording from a mixer, so we’re frequently having to toggle between "projects" or at the very least switch from mono to stereo, sometimes changing bit-depths, both of which are in menus, and require a couple of button pushes and jog-wheel twists. At first, exactly where those settings live is not super-obvious.

    But Barbara’s right, if one just wants to check the settings, they are very clearly displayed on the main LCD.

  • Greg Ennis

    8.29.07

    Reply
    Reviews of Fostex FR2 or Marantz PMD670

    Are there any plans to review the above mentioned recorders?

  • Robert Ardlochan

    10.10.07

    Reply
    Do the phono outputs follow the volume and other setups?

    I was thinking of purchasing this audio recorder to compliment my Canon XH A1 Video Camera. What I would like to do is to connect the Tascam HD-P2 to the XLR inputs on the Canon Camera by using the Audio Phono Outputs on the Tascam to feed the left and right XLR leads, feeding quality sound to the camera.

    This would give me much greater control over the audio and would also give me a second chance to record the sound at a slightly different level as a back-up if either the recording in the camera or the Tascam should be distorted, noisy or unusable due to peaking or lack of volume.

    My question is this – If I connect the Left & Right Phono outputs from the Tascam to the Camera’s Left & Right XLR inputs, will the volume fed to the camera follow the volume and clipping settings I use on the Tascam, or are they fed straight out of the Phono outputs in a raw manner?

    I have a couple of Rode NGT2 mikes, which I think are excellent value and a Sennhieser radio lapel system to feed the Tascam with.

    Could you please advise. If this Tascam would therefore work as a mixer / signal conditioner feeding clean audio to my camera, then I will be happy to purchase one.

  • locationaudio

    11.01.07

    Reply

    Hey,

    If you have specific audio questions in the future, you might also try a new forum @ http://www.locationaudio.net . It’s a forum designed for film and audio professionals to solve all sorts of audio issues. Your questions and answers help others with similar issues.

  • David Schulman

    11.20.07

    Reply
    hiss on Tascam HD-P2?

    First of all, Jeff — I have to say a huge thanks for all of your wonderful expertise and advice. The Tools column is an amazing resource for so many of us, and you (and Barbara, too) have also saved many a neck via the AirDaily, too. Mil gracias!

    So here’s my Q. I’ve just purchased an HD-P2 from a local shop to replace the Sony minidisc recorder that’s served me so well for 8 years (!). One reason I held off so long was that the Marantz recorders that were the dominant/standard flash recorders seemed to have hissy preamps.

    I thought the Tascam would probably be my answer, but in testing this unit with my AT835b shotgun mic, I’m getting a certain amount of hiss. Not egregious, but it’s there — noticeably more so than in the mp3 of the cardiod AKG mic on the Tools page. I’ve tried two different cords, and have set the Tascam’s settings to mono right, 16 bit, 44.1 khz.

    Am wondering — is there anything I should try that would reduce the hiss? Do other mics play better with the HD-P2? Or is it possible I’ve got a unit with less than perfect preamps and should return it (I have a couple more days to do so) and perhaps order a hotwired version from Oade?

    Any suggestions much appreciated!

    best,
    -David Schulman

  • David Schulman

    11.22.07

    Reply
    followup … hiss may be from AT-835b

    A day’s more research, including a particularly helpful conversation with the venerable Doug Oade, now suggests that my hiss issue with the Tascam HD-P2 likely originated with the older mics I was using (the AT835b shotgun and AT825 stereo mic). Have been told that using more recently designed mics (including AT897, Rode NTG-2 and Sennheiser ME66/K6) should greatly improve things, and reduce hiss. Will report back here in case the problem is not solved by one of these mics.
    -D

  • Raphael Parejo-Coudert

    12.16.11

    Reply

    Hello Alls,

    I own a Tascam HD-P2 digital recorder for near 4 years and I appreciate its good sounding when used with my old Shure VP88 M-S stereo microphone.

    But since the moment I’ve unpacked this recorder from its carton box, I’ve noticed that all the connectors were appearing as rusty. The problem increased with the passing of the time.

    Actually I cannot use anymore the firewire plug to connect the machine to my MacBook Pro, and the mike connections often suffer of this problem. the springs of the batteries housing compartment are also oxyded.

    Another colleague which owns the same machine had observed the same problem.

    In this Jeff Town review of the Tascam HD-P2 I discover that the same rusty connectors appears on the detailed pictures of the connectors.

    Is someone had observed the same phenomenon?

    It appears not to be an isolated case.

    Thank you.

    Regards.

    • Jeff Towne

      1.10.12

      Reply

      Raphael,

      Yeah, weird… my connectors have gotten even more rusty! It does not seem to interfere with the sound quality, as-in it seems to be cosmetic, not actually affecting the quality of the connections. But that certainly is worrisome, I can’t imagine that it’s a good thing… As I say, so far it doesn’t seem to be hurting the functionality of my recorder, but I’d imagine that it could, if it keeps getting worse.

      So I’m not sure exactly what’s up, perhaps the specific metal they used on the XLR jacks isn’t really well-suited for a field recorder, and gets a bit corroded if exposed to changes in temperatures and humidity, etc.

      I’m keeping an eye on it…

  • Daniel

    1.10.12

    Reply

    Good evening,
    I’ve purchased a Tascam HD-P2 and a Rode NTG-2 shotgun microphone. I would like to hear a sample recording you’ve posted, but the link is broken:
    http://transom.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/hdp2-ntG2.mp3
    When I recorded a samples (ie: vocal), I’ve noticed the WAV file sounded very low volume during playback after it’s transferred to the computer, yet sounds great through my headphones connected to the Tascam HD-P2.
    I’ve conducted two recording tests, one at 44.1kHz/16-bit and one at 192kHz/24-bit. I’ve had a subject, a cellphone, playback an audio clip through it’s speakers, and was measured 3″ from the microphone. I’ve recorded each take with the input level ranging from 1 – 10. Both tests got identical results: When I monitor and playback the take that were recorded at inputs 9 and 10, the levels peaked and were very loud. However, after transferring the WAV file to the computer, I get the same low volume playback result.
    Is there a particular issue on the transfer? Why is the WAV file playback very low on Windows/MAC? Thank you.

    Sincerely,
    Daniel

    • Jeff Towne

      1.10.12

      Reply

      Daniel – I’m not sure what happened to that soundfile… I’ll look around and see if I can replace it. In any case, I think I know the phenomenon you’re experiencing, I never quantified it, but it’s true that recordings that I make with the HDP2 seem to be quieter when I work on them in the computer than it seems like they should be. I’d written that off to the Tascam meters reading a little hot – there are lots of ways for meters to detect and display audio levels, and the difference wasn’t so large as to create a problem. In general, I was still getting good, clean recordings from the machine, so I haven’t worried about it too much, just be aware that you can run the levels pretty hot, go ahead and let the levels get up close to 0 dBfs. The inputs are generally clean enough that you can always add a little gain back in the mix stage without adding detrimental noise.

      If you’re seeing a much larger difference, then perhaps there’s something bigger wrong, but in general, I’d try to get used to recording a little hotter than you might usually do, and see how that goes…

      • Daniel

        1.10.12

        Jeff – Thank you very much for the quick response. I would like to hear the soundfile once it’s up to hear your feedback on it. The phenomenon you’ve mentioned is right on the nose that’s been driving me crazy. I have the sound files divided by input level if you’re interested that I can post. Would you recommend a preamp, such as this:
        http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/393431-REG/ART_TUBE_MP_PROJECT_SERIES_Tube_MP_Project_Series.html

        I plan on using this setup for voice over and creating my own sound effects. I’ll go with your suggestion and try a second session. Thank you.

        -Daniel

  • Kenji Fuse

    6.08.12

    Reply

    Thanks Jeff. I’m thinking of picking one of these units up. Any comments after 5 years? Did it survive alright despite the plastic case? Any comments appreciated!

    • Jeff Towne

      6.08.12

      Reply

      Hi Kenji,

      The HD-P2 has held-up pretty well, the case has survived, but we were usually pretty careful with it… Two odd things happened over time: the power cord, with a transformer lump in it, got a bit frayed at the point the wires connect with the transformer, and didn’t make a reliable connection at all times. And as mentioned by another commenter, most of the metal on the outside of the recorder corroded a bit, looking rusty and dull. Thankfully that seems to be primarily cosmetic, because the recorder’s still working fine, and still sounds clean.

      That said, it just seems more and more inconveniently huge as time goes by. In some ways, a larger deck is nice, because you can hang it over your shoulder on a strap, and it can have a large enough display that you can see the meters when you do that. And that’s true of this machine, the display is oriented in a clever way so it can be seen hung over the shoulder or sitting on a table. It’s not the greatest display ever, but it’s not bad, and bigger than most of the other little portable recorders.

      Operation relies on menus a little more than I’d like, but there are plenty of switches and knobs on the top of the unit that many adjustments can be made, and the status of the unit can be seen, without digging into menus once you have the recording parameters set-up.

      So it’s still a viable unit, but unless you need Timecode, or you like the ergonomics of a shoulder-strap-carried recorder, you might want to consider the DR-100 mkII. Its preamps are much quieter than the original DR-100, so the sound quality is pretty close to the HD-P2, but it’s less than half the size, and less than half the price. Full review of the DR-100 mkII coming soon…

  • Jason Burlingame

    1.13.13

    Reply

    Hello Jeff thank you for this review. I am in the middle of a debate over the Tascam HD-P2 and the Sound devices 302. I am going to be filming a independent film for a film festival. My question can the Tascam produce quality Hollywood sound? Would the audience notice any difference in sound quality? I am really interested to know if the Tascam has compareable preamps as the Sound devices 302 or not. I will be using a Rode NTG-3, with what ever sound recorder I end up using. Thanks in advance

  • murugesh

    7.10.13

    Reply

    sound device 552 or hd-p2 which is the best

    • Jeff Towne

      7.10.13

      Reply

      That’s not really a valid comparison: the Sound Devices 552 is a 5-channel field mixer, not a recorder, and the HD-P2 is a stereo recorder. If you mean to compare recorders to recorders, a better candidate is the Sound Devices 702. And in that case, I think I’d consider the Sound Devices 702 “better” than the Tascam HD-P2, it sounds a littel cleaner, and has more functions, but it’s also more expensive… There’s rarely a simple answer: the HD-P2 has very good sound quality, but it’s larger and less flexible than the SD 702. But if you can’t afford the 702, you could do worse than the HD-P2. But these days, I’d probably get the Tascam DR-100mkII, it sounds almost as good, and it’s much smaller and less expensive. But the HP-P2 has coax S/PDIF digital audio I/O and even supports Time Code, if either of those things are important to you.

      • Larry Vaughn

        12.03.13

        The 552 does record a 2 track mixdown from the inputs.

  • Piotr Wieczorek

    8.09.13

    Reply

    Hello,
    I am planning on buying the device and have one essential question – have you ever had a field situation in which you could not read the LCD display beacuse of sun shining onto it and causing disturbing reflections? I know it is a minor and cosmetic detail but still I find it quit vital to be able to access all of the functions without too much of hassle whilst in a field out in the sun.

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