Please help me to better understand the difference in a sound quality that I should expect if I stick with one of these options:

  1. Tascam DR-44WL (Built-in Microphones)
  2. Tascam DR-100 MKIII (Built-in Microphones)
  3. Rode NT-USB Microphone

The question of portability is not very important for me, but the quality of the sound is. I'm about to record voice as a narration speech or voice-overs indoors.

I don't need XLR inputs, so we are comparing the quality of the sound only, but it would be nice to know what is the difference between DR-100 MKIII and DR-44WL (besides the Wi-Fi connectivity) in case if sound quality is equal.

Since I'm not familiar with the bits, hz, and other specs of the mics I'm issuing difficulties of comparing them and require your help. Thank you.

2 Answers 2


To answer your Tascam-related question : the DR-100 MKIII has much better preamp than the DR-44WL. It means that the noise floor is likely to be much lower, though for your purpose (simple voice-over) it should not make that big of a difference in the end.

If I understand correctly: you need to record a single person speaking at a time, indoor, and you don't need a portable device. You need something simple to use that records a mono signal (you have only one signal: a voice). I'd go with the USB microphone : plug it in a silent room and it will just work, you'll be able to manage your records directly from your computer.

The Tascam are great devices, but are a bit more complicated to operate.


WiFi is pulsed radiation. Without actually looking at the rest of the specs: If you don't actually need the connectivity, this is something that I would be wary about sharing a comparatively small case and power supply with audio hardware. Similar considerations led to the rule of thumb "external sound card better than internal one" though the internal sound card additionally suffers from the problem that it does not know just which other components are mounted nearby.

Røde is a good manufacturer but I'd not want to invest that kind of money into a USB microphone since you can then only ever record single-channel tracks (multiple sound cards and/or USB microphones drift without external synchronization). Sound quality should be quite better than with the Tascams due to the larger diaphragm capsule, though. So if you are sure about that single channel, it may be the best pick of the lot, but the least flexible one. It also doesn't have a gain control and produces 16-bit signals, so the digitization noise floor is independent of the actual volume you are putting into it.

Mind you: the additional gain and digitization depths handheld recorders tend to offer are usually a hoax allowing you to pad your recording in different manners with noise, so they tend to just sound good on paper anyway.

  • 2
    I fundamentally disagree with "sound quality should be better due to the large diaphragm". Absolute tosh. One of my best mics is a large diaphragm U87, granted, but one of my other great mics is a B&K 4060 which has a teeny diaphragm of just 5.4mm.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented May 23, 2017 at 19:22

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