So far for all my recordings I’ve been using the Tascam GT-R1 and it’s built in microphone. I’ve been pretty happy with the quality, but that may just be because I haven’t tried any alternatives. I did just order a Shure SM57 microphone to see if that helps with recording quality.
Aside from the Tascam GT-R1’s recording quality, what I really like about this unit is the fact that it’s basically an amp that fits in your pocket that nobody else can hear. So if I want to practice late at night, I don’t need to bother my neighbors (being in a close quarters big city apartment complex). I just plug my guitar directly into the Tascam and I can play as loud as I want and nobody will hear me (something the neighbors would like at all times of the day I’m sure). The Tascam has plenty effects as well, if that’s what you’re into. The sound quality of the Tascam as a “headphone amp” is decent. It’s not great, when compared to a real amp with real effects. It sounds digital and artificial, but this is for practicing, recording quick ideas and messing around so that isn’t a big issue. However, I will say that it does sound better than a real amp that has a headphone jack, which always sound pretty bad (on the amps I’ve tried headphones with anyway).
Some of the effects include:
- Amp models (Rock, Rockabilly, 80’s, Metal, etc)
- Pitch Shifting
Some of the cool features for practicing include a rhythm machine with over 80 patterns to play along with. Also, you can load MP3 tracks onto the GT-R1 and change the speed of music playback without changing the pitch. You can also set loop points to go back to the beginning of the section you’re trying to learn. There is even a “Part Cancel” option which lets you reduce the level of the pre-recorded guitar parts so you can hear your playing against the track.
The interface is useable, but a bit wonky at times and going to and from the different options and menu levels takes some getting use to. The “graphics” look dated, like an original iPod.
The Tascam GT-R1 comes with a 1GB SD card which is more than large enough for me and I would think for most people. But larger SD cards are pretty cheap, so if you need more you can have plently of space (up to 32GB). You can also adjust the recording format to use as much or as little space as possible:
- MP3 files: 32-320 kbps; 44.1/48 kHz sampling freq.; VBR (playback only)
- WAV files: 44.1/48 kHz sampling frequency 16-bit or 24-bit rate
- Chromatic tuner
- USB 2.0
- Rechargeable battery (charged via USB)
- 1/8″ Line-out/Headphone
- 1/8″ line in
- 1/8″ microphone in
- 1/4″ input for Guitar or Bass
I bought the Tascam GT-R1 before I started this blog. I didn’t anticipate actually using it to record audio for others to hear. The primary reason I bought it was to be able to practice late and not bother the neighbors. But now that I do have this blog it I have another handy use for the GT-R1. And who knows, some day when I get better maybe I’ll even have some cool guitar riffs that I want to record before I forget them.