Tascam DR-05 Review

Updated April 30, 2014
Tascam DR-05
Bottom Line

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.

  • Easy to use
  • Recordings transfer to computer easily
  • Excellent sound for the price
  • Speakers are low quality
  • A little too big to fit in your pocket
  • Three-month labor warranty

Ease of use

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 Samson Zoom H4n (Est. $270). Many seem forgiving of the DR-05's quirks due to its affordability and are satisfied with its quality. Others are not, however, opting to exchange the recorder for the H4n or other competing digital voice recorders. The three-month warranty on labor draws some complaints.

Our Sources

1. TheWirecutter.com

The Best Voice Recorder, Bryan Gardiner, Aug. 15, 2013

Bryan Gardiner reviews dozens of digital voice recorders in this roundup for gadget blog TheWirecutter.com, including the Tascam DR-05. While it doesn't make the cut as Best Voice Recorder, it earns much praise for its sound quality, though Gardiner notes handling noise is high.

2. Amazon.com

Tascam DR-05 Portable Digital Recorder, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of April 2014

The Tascam DR-05 scores highly at Amazon.com, earning an overall rating of 4.4 stars out of 5 following almost 350 user reviews. Ease of use is a frequent positive mentioned, though quite a few users find the built-in speakers are shoddy for recording playback.

3. BHPhotoVideo.com

Tascam DR-05 Portable Handheld Digital Audio Recorder, Contributors to BHPhotoVideo.com, As of April 2014

More than 180 reviewers contribute to the Tascam DR-05's score of 4.5 stars out of 5 at BHPhotoVideo.com. Most say the price is right for the quality they're getting. Reviews identify whether or not the user is a verified buyer, as well as their experience level.

4. MusiciansFriend.com

Tascam DR-05 Solid State Recorder, Contributors to MusiciansFriend.Com, As of April 2014

Customer reviews for the Tascam DR-05 are limited compared to other sites. Still, users give the recorder a high rating for its accessibility and quality. Many get excellent recordings right out of the box. Despite complaints about the built-in speaker being "worthless" and sporadic handling noise, most of the feedback is positive and the DR-05 voice recorder earns 4.5 stars.