The Tascam DR-05 is an inexpensive, easy-to-use powerhouse that performs like a higher-end digital voice recorder (at least in certain settings). However the DR-05 also suffers from a few quirks that could lead some to find other digital voice recorders a better choice.
Great in certain situations. While the audio quality of the Tascam DR-05 is rated highly for general use, reviews indicate that the digital voice recorder might not be the best choice for certain applications. Recording in windy conditions, in large crowds, and in very quiet settings with the internal mics yields mixed results for some users, while others cite handling noise and subtle hiss issues in certain cases. The weak pre-amp produces some quality issues when using non-battery powered external mics. Across the board, users agree the playback speaker is pretty abysmal. Sporadic complaints aside, the Tascam DR-05 generally draws praise from those using it for recording band practices, live performances and interviews.
Hit the ground running. A large number of users value the Tascam DR-05's usability and appreciate that they're able to dive right into recording with the unit right out of the box without having to dig through the manual first. The optional five- or 10-second self-timer is great for musicians who want that extra time to prep their instrument before a take, and the built-in chromatic tuner is another nice perk that caters to musicians. Though it's indeed portable, the DR-05 is too big to fit comfortably in your pocket, spurring disappointment from users who feel its online appearance is deceiving.
Solid for recording on a budget. For field recording or specialized office work, The Tascam DR-05 gets the job done and then some, though it's not quite as versatile as the Sony PCM-M10 (*Est. $250) or the Samson Zoom H4n (*Est. $270) . A few users even went so far as to return their purchase in favor of those pricier competing units, though many seem forgiving of the DR-05's quirks due to its affordability and are satisfied with the quality they get from the DR-05. The three-month warranty on labor draws some complaints.
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Review Credibility: Very Good Amazon.com users rate the Tascam DR-05 highly, granting it an overall score of 4.4 out of 5 stars following more than 150 user reviews. Owners put the DR-05 to a wide range of uses, from recording lectures and interviews to band practices and live concerts, and report getting great sound quality for a good price. Ease of use is a frequent positive mentioned, though quite a few users find the built-in speakers are shoddy for recording playback.
Review: Tascam DR-05 Portable Digital Recorder, Contributors to Amazon.com , As of April 2013
Review Credibility: Very Good Around 140 reviewers contribute to the Tascam DR-05's score of 4.6 out of 5 at BHPhotoVideo.com. Most say the price is right for the quality they're getting. Several users draw references to both the Sony PCM-M10 and the Samson Zoom H4n, arguing they produce cleaner recordings and are better built than the DR-05, but overall, most are generally satisfied with their purchase. Reviews identify whether or not the user is a verified buyer and whether they'd recommend it to a friend. Ratings also indicate the experience level of the person evaluating each product.
Review: Tascam DR-05 Portable Handheld Digital Audio Recorder, Contributors to BHPhotoVideo.com , As of April 2013
Review Credibility: Good Though customer reviews for the Tascam DR-05 are limited, users give the recorder a generally high rating for its accessibility and quality. Many get excellent recordings right out of the box without having to dig into the manual. Despite complaints about the built-in speaker being "worthless" and sporadic handling noise with the unit, most of the feedback is positive. The recorder has a rating of 4.6 out of 5 following about 30 reviews.
Review: Tascam DR-05 Solid State Recorder, Contributors to MusiciansFriend.Com , As of April 2013