Tascam DP-03SD vs Zoom R8

Due to the advanced in technology, it seems that everything becomes more convenient including for music producers, especially with the help of portable studio recorder. They are very useful when you often move around so then we can still keep creating and recording. Among those many options, Tascam DP-03SD Vs Zoom R8 are two of the very reliable models to go but, before shopping see what they can offer and check if one of them is the better option in our article below.

In this article, we are going to give you information about:

  • Do you need to record on the way
  • What are Tascam DP-03SD and Zoom R8
  • What Tascam DP-03SD and Zoom R8 Look Like
  • What Tascam DP-03SD and Zoom R8 can offer to you
  • How are the Performance of Tascam DP-03SD and Zoom R8
  • Tascam DP-03SD vs Zoom R8

Portable Studio Recorder

Music is fun and most of us think a different favorite singer or musician when asked about who your favorite musician is. Of course taste can be different since not all of us have the same taste in music including what we think as the best to our ears. While the majority of people only listen to their favorite songs or genres, there is also a huge amount of people who are providing us with those beautiful songs we often play in the car or seen at concerts.

No matter what your preference is, musicians have to play a long way in creating music and let us have a good moment whether you prefer to spend some leisure time or to keep mind focus during working hours. If you are also a creator and record your own music at home or on the way while traveling or on a tour, we have to prepare some portable audio studio as well so we can keep producing even when not in a fixed place.

A few decades ago, when people mention studio, our mind will instantly imagine the whole room full of audio equipment and while it is true even today, our technology has been improved very much so by carrying equipment worth a backpack it is already enough to record some on the way or even at home when you need to keep everything as simple as possible. Another benefit is cost effectivity for the devices will be more affordable to budget compared to renting a whole studio.

If you have never used or have a portable studio recorders, it is actually very similar to traditional recording studio’s equipment with all the necessary tools or device but the one we are going to carry is a lot more simple and work as various tools as single equipment. It may look like a mixer at once but have more features on the table since we will use it to both record and mix so it has to have all the technology to save and modified audio file.

Just like when building your home studio setup, the first thing we may want to consider when in the market for a portable studio recorder is the price point for most of us get them due to the limited budget but today, there are various models that we can get below $300 with rich features and great reliability. The second most important is its features or capabilities for different model may have different built in adjustments and features which affect your final decision.

About Tascam DP-03SD

If you are already making up the mind and want to have a device or too that lets you record almost anywhere and mix your tracks, now is a good time to see what portable multi track studio recorder can offer since we have so many of them. For a beginner, the standard 4 track to accommodate vocal, guitar, bass, and drums may be enough but if you need something more complicated, an 8 track or 24 track recorder are also available.

For those in the middle, one of the best choices out there is Tascam DP-03SD which is a multi-track recorder with 8 channels to let us record 8 different inputs at the same time which means we will be able to use a microphone to record several inputs and then mixed them together according to each level of your preference while the result can be monitored through headphones. This model is very ideal for musicians on the go but may not be very good for outdoor use due to being powered by direct electricity.

For people who need a computer as well, this recorder have a USB connectivity to be used with your computer but, there is no guarantee all the features will work without problems in your software since there are several common audio programs we used today. In addition, there is a SD/SDHC card slot to store your file and transfer it later to computer.

Tascam DP-03SD Design

From the outside alone, we can say that Tascam DP-03SD is a compact recorder with a size no bigger than an average college notebook so it can be fitted inside a case or in your backpack while touring but we do recommend carrying it with foam line inside a case for safety. Its case is made from sturdy material and we also like the buttons or knobs as well as slider which installed tight and doesn’t feel cheap at all.

Tascam DP-03SD Features

Tascam DP-03SD is an 8 track digital recorder, replacing the DP-02 but this model has been around for almost a decade when this article is written. It has a pair of input channels which mean we can record two tracks simultaneously either as two separate mono tracks or in stereo while the CD-quality audio will be stored inside your removable SD card. It comes with standard 2Gb card but can be used with up to 32Gb card capacity so we can expand the storage.

To record your track here, we can use a dedicated microphone or the built in condenser mic for a simpler setup. We have switches for each channel that let user pick between line input of channel A to Hi-Z operation to directly take instrument like guitar or bass signal. It doesn’t have insert effects but there is reverb which we can add into each track.

Tascam DP-03SD Performance

On the performance side, what we love the most about Tascam DP-03SD is the ease of use since the tool is quite straightforward with a little reading on the manual. The major functions are easily accessed from the front panel featured with dedicated knobs to support fast pace producing. We also like the editing facilities available including cutting and copying to let users compile a solo from several takes. Its preamp quality is good but we see some users add dedicated preamp for booster. 

About Zoom R8

Because we have so many good options out there, it is great to see what the other manufacturers are offering so then we can compare and see which one of them have the best capabilities, fit your budget or even can do more. If you are looking for a multi-track recorder that can be used for 8 tracks at a time, Zoom R8 is another nice choice which will be very helpful as both conventional recorder but also provide a route for computer based recording.

This is because we also have USB port here, making it an interface in case you need a richer option than the dedicated tool like Behringer UM2 vs UMC22. It has been around for quite some time and still one of the best in its price range. Compared to DP-03SD, this model is a little bit more expensive but can also offer more.

Zoom R8 Design

Similar like the most 8 channels recorders out there, Zoom R8 is also coming in a very simple package covered with a plastic case. They are using a thick and hard plastic with a shiny finish so it should last quite long when cared properly. We don’t recommend to just stuff the recorder in a backpack and it is better to travel with a safe, dedicated case with some protector or cushioning inside. As for the buttons, knobs, and sliders, they are nicely attached and feels nice to operate.

Zoom R8 Features

The first thing we love from this recorder is it can be powered by either standard power source or by battery so we can carry it outside. Similar to DP-03SD, it has a built in microphone or you can use a dedicated gear as needed. There is 1 Gb card included in the package and this memory can save around 47 minutes at 48k and 24 bit but, we can expand the memory up to 32 Gb to store and create more. 

For instrument we can connect it to those inputs that can be switched to Hi-Z when recording bass or guitar. The next thing we love about Zoom R8 is the effects for we have some which can be used with the recorded signal including 18 guitar amp models and 6 amps. To enrich your experience, as an interface the recorder include Cubase LE software in the package.

Zoom R8 Performance

While Zoom R8 is a bit pricey compared to the other recorder we have talked above, it is surely offering more and still with a friendly user interface. It is a very good option especially for those who want to create a solid foundation for their songs thanks to the onboard rhythm machine, sampler or even a combination of both. Recording track like guitar is as easy as plug the jack in, choose the onboard effect and then we can begin strumming or picking it.


Now, let’s compare Tascam DP-03SD with Zoom R8. As it has been mentioned above, both of them are quite similar to each other, especially on the capabilities side but comparing the two, Zoom R8 is richer in features, especially on the effects so we can have a more complete pack on board. This model also include software on the package but it only comes with 1 Gb of SD while DP-03SD comes with 2 Gb SD.

Tascam DP-03SD vs Zoom R8

-A digital recorder perfect for getting into TASCAM's famed PORTASTUDIO system of making recording simple and affordable
- Features a simple body and intuitive operation, like a cassette MTR, but with 8-track recording and 2-channel simultaneous input
- The XLR terminal supports condenser microphones while the TRS phone terminals enable guitar and keyboard connections
- Equipped with two high-quality stereo condenser microphones for on-demand recording anytime, anywhere
- Digital recorder with 16-track playback and 8-track simultaneous recording utilizing Secure Digital (SD) memory
- 16/24-bit/44.1kHz linear PCM recording in WAV format
- Built-in stereo condenser microphones
- Includes 1GB SD card and supports cards up to 32GB SDHC


All in all, the decision is all yours to make because not all of us will have the same preferences so it is best to get the one that fits your purpose and budget but, between the two we will pick Zoom R8 since this multi-track recorder is offering more, making it a convenient machine to have.

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