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I am about to purchase my first serious recorder, which is looking like it will be the Tascam dr-680. I've read a lot of postings/reviews about its features and how well it works. the only con seems to be the lack of a durable housing. I have read many reviews regarding the "plasticy feeling" and my question is to those of you who have had one of these recorders for a while, does is hold up well enough?

I plan on getting a Porta bag, or something along those lines, but any input about how well they do or don't hold up would be appreciated.

Oh yeah- the other question... have I overlooked some under-rated or lesser known jewel of a recorder out there in this price range I should consider?

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4 Answers

I had the DR-680 but it perished in water during a recording session. Until it drowned, I liked the UI, the recordings sounded great, and It seemed durable enough construction-wise. I used it in a petrol Deca Eargonizer, it fit perfectly in there. I also really dug recording to a SD card. Both of my macs have built-in SD card readers so offloading recordings was a snap. So much more convenient than the Sound Devices recorders. That said, my biggest problem with the DR-680 was it was susceptible to overheating. To be fair, this was when it was exposed to 100°F heat(side note the 744 we replaced it with lasted all day in this weather). Otherwise a great recorder for the price.

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Thanks @Jake - this is certainly sounding like a good way for me to go. –  David Oct 16 '12 at 21:57
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My 2 cents: http://socialsounddesign.com/questions/5230/so-i-dropped-my-recorder-in-a-wheelbarrow-full-of-water

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Hey @Jay - thanks for the response. Your post is interesting & speak loudly about the quality of the internal components of the DR680. Not to mention your quick thinking. I did notice that your post is close to 2 years old. What I would really like to know is, is that recorder still in use and has it been a dependable piece of equipment? –  David Oct 16 '12 at 16:19
    
Yes, still very dependable and suits my particular needs just fine. I have learned, though, that the metering section is not quite as intuitive as I had expected. For example, when I've recorded loud sources such as gunshots or explosions I had set the peaks to hit under 0 to avoid clipping. But this results in a fairly tepid recording - I could have pushed the machine much harder and it would have been fine. This is without the onboard limiter in, btw. –  Jay Jennings Oct 16 '12 at 21:21
    
Thanks for the follow up @Jay. This looks to be the best recorder for me at this time. And thanks for the heads up about the gunshots/loud explosions. I've no plans to be recording gunshots at this time but one never knows I guess. –  David Oct 16 '12 at 22:08
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I had my DR-680's front panel buttons replaced. They failed on me in about a year, obviously after warranty :) Other than that, it works and sounds great. I use it with SD 442 in front and feed it line level. It's a perfect match :)

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@Bartosz, - there are 1 or 2 complaints similar to this on the B&H reviews - maybe I should consider an extended warranty. Thank you. –  David Oct 17 '12 at 22:30
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I use my DR 680 since one year nearly every day to record mostly sound fx and acoustic concerts. It´s a really great piece of work. Shure, someone will say, it´s out of plastic, but if you put it in a professional audio bag, nothing should get destroyed. i have mine from "filmtontechnik.de" a german manufacturer, which produces bags for any kind of audio gear. they´re cheaper than porta brace and they fit perfect as they´re made for the product itself ;). This device works in cold and heat. i recorded several hours in snow under 0° degrees and it doesn´t droped out (maybe it comes from the bag as a isolator) -

back to the dr 680..... What i miss is the ability to controll more than one gain rider at a time. shure there are gain groups, where you can set a group of controllers that work together with the gain pot, but sometimes (not often) i wish i had the ability to controll more than on e group or one mic.

what i also think is really anoying is the lake of a professional audio meter. the meter, that is build in really suck. but you learn how to work with that. I love the SD meters, but hey. These devices are much more expensive.....

The limiters aren´t that good, so you have to take care of loud sources (as @ Jay Jennings mentioned).

So go and get it. It should be the best choice in this price range. ;)

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@Andreas - thanks for the info. I read somewhere else about the 1 gain rider issue. Coming from a world of digital cameras where there are many functions with limited controllers, I don't anticipate a problem with that. I'm making notes about the limiters as well. Thanks. –  David Oct 17 '12 at 22:41
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