Tascam DP-008EX.


Active member

Help required please. I've never attempted to play a musical instrument until last August when I turned 74 and my lovely wife treated me to a new Hidersine Vivente violin with bow etc. My wife has since really spoilt me treating me to an 1880 German "Trade" violin with hybrid carbon fiber bow and high class case.

I bought a used but fully working Tascam DP-008EX and also a used but fully working Laney LX 20R amplifier; I think I'm doing something wrong because having recorded a violin practice and wanting to play it back through the amplifier if I try to increase volume massive distortion sets in; the Tascam is connected to the "Input" of the amplifier and works fine but I've just found out the Tascam controls the volume from the amplifier when I expected the amplifier to lift the roof?

The amplifier is a single speaker but the Tascam has stereo output and only works if the Tascam LH output is connected to the amplifier.

Please treat me as a complete novice; what do I need in order to amplify the violin practice sessions and if I buy a condenser mic could this connect directly to the amplifier to amplify as I play the violin. I'm overwhelmed by all information and kit available so would appreciate any help; I do have funds if extra kit is needed.

I'm a member of at least six forums including a stringed instrument forum but thought for home recording this forum would be very helpful indeed.

My 1880 German violin in new case with new hybrid carbon fiber bow. I'm making steady but slow progress learning to play. So much to learn and the days fly by.

Kind regards, Colin.
Just to be sure. You use the line-out of the Tascam and go in the aux-in of the Laney, right?
According to google, the Laney LX20R is a guitar amp and has a guitar input and a separate aux-in.

Very good question Trichter thanks for asking. No the line out of the Tascam doesn't go into the amplifier Aux; I've tried many combinations but using the Aux the shrieking deafens me. Yes as you rightly say the Laney is a guitar amp and it only has a single loudspeaker so it's not a stereo; I can only use the amp if the cable is connected to the LH out of the Tascam where it plays at normal volume but without any volume control from the actual amp; looking at the Laney instructions I believe it states the volume is controlled by the input device. I hadn't even realized on the Tascam there is a volume control hidden at the back but adjusting this makes absolutely no difference neither does the amplifier volume control; the only volume control I seem to find is the "Gain" control on the face of the Tascam which controls volume up to normal sound level but no amplification at all. It's not switched to the guitar although switching to guitar still makes no difference and so far only works if connected to the guitar input on the amp..

I thought I'd be OK buying the Laney but now I'm wondering if I've made a big mistake due to my ignorance; trying all the various connections if I play around with the amp controls all I get above normal audio is loud shrieking.

I'm very new to all this so I've plenty of big holes yet to fall into.

Kind regards, Colin.
If you have a stereo recorder then why not a stereo amp with two speakers. I don't know where shieiking comes in but you have to make sure you do not have a feedback loop with open mics around an amp output. When playing back turn the mic function off. I am not too sure what LH combining is either enless you are trying to mix a L and H of a balanced output which is never done- you cannot just tie things together besides a balanced output has those two terminals in opposite phase. If you are trying to mix a left and right channel then why record in stereo in the first place if you have no use for it? These seems to be a lot to straighten out here and I do not use digital devices to record as they are too finicky and don't do the right job next to a reel deck.
Hi @Retired
Tell us a bit more about what you hope to achieve.
Amplifying your recordings to assess and 'mix' them, or to hear yourself better against backing music when practicing, or to playback a recording to an audience,
is going to be three different sets of equipment recommendations.

For the first option, just playing back what you've recorded and working on it or enjoying it, you really want nearfield studio monitors or a decent set of hifi speakers + a hifi amp will do fine.
Going from your introduction I guess that's what you're after but if I'm wrong please do let us know.
If you have a stereo recorder then why not a stereo amp with two speakers. I don't know where shieiking comes in but you have to make sure you do not have a feedback loop with open mics around an amp output. When playing back turn the mic function off. I am not too sure what LH combining is either enless you are trying to mix a L and H of a balanced output which is never done- you cannot just tie things together besides a balanced output has those two terminals in opposite phase. If you are trying to mix a left and right channel then why record in stereo in the first place if you have no use for it? These seems to be a lot to straighten out here and I do not use digital devices to record as they are too finicky and don't do the right job next to a reel deck.
You’ll want to record in mono rather than stereo.

Thanks skywaveTDR; the reason I have a stereo Tascam recorder and a mono amplifier is because I didn't know any better hence I joined the forum for help and guidance; I've learned to use the Tascam for recording but it being totally new to me when I bought it I thought it would have an internal speaker after all it has two internal mics; just my ignorance of the subject; I'm still stumbling around but all the time with help from members like you I'm slowly gaining experience. It's possible to play back through loudspeakers but I'd need powered speakers? I've had a Sony mini Hi-Fi with stereo speakers for years and have played this without problem with just one speaker hooked up; yes a stereo with one speaker but it works fine the second speaker I have in the studio hooked up to a modern car radio allowing playback from stick of MP3 songs hence my thoughts regarding the amplifier; if the radio and Hi-Fi have no problems with playback on input I expected the same result using the Tascam with the amplifier.

I can easily sell the Laney amplifier and start over but still with some confusion because lots of kit I've looked at need a computer and at the moment I don't have a computer in the studio; I emailed a seller on Gumtree who was advertising a laptop but the seller hasn't had the decency to afford me a reply; it's highly likely the laptop sold and the seller can't be bothered to delete the advert. I do have a spare tower computer but it's too big for the studio and would require seperate keyboard etc so a laptop would be more use.

Thanks Steenamaroo; yes exactly right; at the moment I just as you say want to record and play back in order to look for improvement in my playing allowing me to adjust; playing the violin on my shoulder sounds a lot different to what I hear through the amplifier. I hadn't a clue as to what nearfield studio monitors are so I've just done some web browsing and find the monitors are speakers to put it simply but monitors produce pure recording without bass being added and at lower output volume; I've also just been reading on the web about using a laptop for studio sound recording which is advised against so this is handy and will save quite a bit of cash; I'll find some space for my spare desktop tower and need to buy a keyboard which is cheap anyway then I'm set up with computer; I assume my Tascam will play through a nearfield monitor without additional kit?

I've no problem in buying an hifi amp either it just all takes so much time which I'm forever short of but your information is such a huge help; I read every reply and take in what's being advised. I've been on the go since early this morning so time now to settle down to a YouTube movie with my wife before bedtime. I'll look at monitors and hifi amps in more detail tomorrow but since joining this forum I've already gained a lot more experience so thanks to everyone; much appreciated.

Thanks CrowsofFritz for your reply which just arrived as I was about to post.

Kind regards, Colin.
No trouble, Colin.
What are you hoping to do, in terms of recording/editing/mixing?

The DP-008ex is a standalone recorder so a computer isn't really needed, if your needs are modest.
If you want a bit more advanced control or just simply like the idea of recording with a computer then that's different, but it opens up a lot of things to think about.
Laptop V Desktop...I'd argue there's nothing wrong with a laptop. Computer specs have just kept increasing year after year.
Of course if using a computer then an audio interface is needed - Something basic should suffice, assuming you're only ever recording with one mic at a time.
Pretty much any popular two-channel USB interface should be fine. (focusrite 2i2, NI Ka6...that kind of thing)

Regarding monitors/hifis, etc yes - The idea with monitor speakers is that they're not flattering or misleading.
This is critical when producing music that's going to be consumed across a wide variety of systems.

For a personal project, particularly with a solo instrument, you could argue that this transparency and accuracy isn't critical,
which is why I mentioned decent hifi speakers+amp. I wouldn't necessarily rush out to buy a hifi setup, all the same...I just mentioned that because often people already have that kind of thing in their homes.

For the work you're describing, decent headphones would do just fine in my opinion.
If you literally just want to record yourself and be able to listen back and enjoy it, the tascam, some microphone (nt1a or similar) and a half decent pair of headphones would get the job done.
The Tascam saves to SD card so I suppose access to a computer would be necessary if you wanted to share mp3s, copy to mp3 player/burn cd, upload to youtube/soundcloud...

If I've underestimated your plans at all, please just say! :)

Many thanks for your help and suggestions Steenamaroo which I'm taking a great deal of notice of.

All I need to do at the moment is to record on my Tascam which I can do but it's the playback of these recordings I want to listen to at a decent volume; I'm going to part company with my Laney amp it being totally unsuitable for my needs and I've already wasted too much time messing around with it; the Laney amp plays back OK but won't amplify the Tascam so I'm now looking for a replacement amp also I'm interested in monitors and microphone.

If I can avoid having a computer in my studio then I'll be happy because as you say I can use my office desktop to play the material on the Tascam SD card and I've briefly used Audacity for a bit of editing; the problem I came up against was in loading the music to my computer then trying to change its codec so that YouTube could recognize it but this isn't important and something I can sort out at my leisure.

The Tascam has stereo output so I'll need stereo kit to match it; last night I watched a number of YouTube videos showing studio monitors; if I'm correct then there are two kinds of monitor; amplified and not amplified; I want to buy a pair of monitors and I have a choice of paying say £100 for new or buy used but better quality; I like Yamaha kit.

I'd also like to buy a stereo amplifier; I don't need one to lift the roof just to amplify a bit because my studio is small and hasn't got acoustic soundproofing on the walls which will limit the results. There are many amplifiers on eBay some brand new at 2,000W for only about £55 but these are usb and bluetooth; I'm not bothered about using a computer so suggestions regarding stand alone amplifiers would be helpful.

More YouTube watching and I see there are assorted types of mic; ribbon mics are good but for my needs perhaps a condenser mic would be better.

I'm unfamiliar with all this kit; amplifiers; monitors and mics so I'm on a steep learning curve.

I'd like to play back directly through monitors just using a mic so I think I'd be better buying amplified monitors;.

Earphones too I'm sure would be very useful. I don't mind spending for some decent kit because I don't want to throw money away on items that are useless.

The Focusrite you kindly mentioned was shown on one of the YouTube videos.

To sum up I'd like a stereo amp; pair of amplified monitors; condenser mic and phones which should get me in the right direction; if amplified monitors and mic will play back just using the monitors perhaps I wouldn't need an amp but if I buy an amp then I've got one?

At work I was the only one in meetings who dared to ask silly questions; it was often stated that to remain quiet and let others think you a fool than to speak and prove you're a fool; if I had a question however silly it seemed it was important enough to me to ask and this is how I learn so much.

In one such meeting with all the top guys gathered and the CEO addressing us apart from the CEO's voice it was deadly silent; this went on for a while then the CEO said I'm making a rule of no head nodding or shaking; after this it still remained silent; I was seated middle down one side and said in a clear loud voice "I'll talk to you Ian" the whole conference room erupted in laughter and the meeting then progressed with communication; I'm just too thick to know better but being the way I am I started at the company as a wagon loader and 24 years later retired being in charge of three departments. I was taught down the pit as an apprentice to think for myself.

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Here's my studio; its the third single bedroom to the rear of the bungalow and although not big ideal for me to play around in; not only as a sound studio but also as a place where I want to make a violin.

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I also have a well equipped workshop too.

I've rambled on enough so now I'll do a bit of eBay hunting for studio kit.

Kind regards, Colin.
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Those should work nicely. They have built in amplifiers, though, and accept line-level inputs, so you won't need an additional amplifier.
Just connect those badboys up to the line outs of your recording device and you're good! :)

Thanks Steenamaroo; things are looking up at last and I'm gaining lots more experience. I viewed many monitors up to a value of £300 but in the end realized my needs were little; I don't neet huge ampliers for my small studio and I don't wish to cause annoyance to our neighbours; all I want is an accurate playback of my violin practices but at slightly higher volume. Thank you Steenamaroo and other members I'm pretty well sorted for the moment.

I always thought monitors were computer screens so was surprised to find monitors are also speakers. I chose the monitors for their small size but with decent speaker size which should be more than enough; I'm looking forward to their arrival in the next few days; I also looked at expensive monitors but used; having looked at a pair of rough looking monitors with an high asking price I thought better to buy new then they have at least a years warranty.

Fortunately as it turned out my offer on the stereo amp was declined but as you say I no longer need an amp having bought these monitors with amps included.

Next item is a decent microphone; watching lots of YouTube video's I have a wide choice available all having pros and cons; ribbon mics look good as suggested on this forum but perhaps a condenser mic would suit my small studio better? Earlier this morning I was browsing eBay for mics and felt very tempted to buy a used Rode NTG2 at buy it now £99 but before doing so it was breakfast time so my wife and I browsed YouTube for a review on these mics;

I'll avoid buying one of these and it also brought something else up I hadn't even considered; I believe these mics are battery powered and if so no way do I want anything like this in my studio run off a battery.

I'd like a decent mic so am open to suggestions; around £100 new isn't a problem. I'm totally ignorant regarding mics and don't want to fall into a big hole; how would I connect say a condenser mic to the monitors; would this just be by a simple cable or would I need to buy an interface in fact would buying an interface be of use to me; please bear inmind I'm totally new to all this so need leading by the hand but I'm keen and have funds available; I don't want to waste money by buying cheap then finding I need to quickly update; better the pain of hand in pocket up front and buy decent kit.

I'm about to head into the workshop where I've got a heavy garden bench with cast iron ends fully stripped ready for a new paint makeover so it needs rubbing down first. I'd love lots of free time but I'm retired which is full time work and no let up even at weekends. Years ago on a rare visit to the surgery the practice nurse suggested I put some weight on; I said I bet it makes a change suggesting someone put weight on; I'm 6' tall and slightly over ten stones but I'm turbo powered in fact on Soya power because I have intolreance to dairy products. I'm never bored and life's good as long as I'm not exposed to the normal TV which would make anyone suicidal it's a good job we have YouTube.

Kind regards, Colin.
If you go with a ribbon, be very careful about phantom power. You won’t need it for a ribbon, and if you turn it on, it will make the ribbon move momentarily (won’t harm it), BUT if phantom power is on and you unplug or plug it in, that will destroy the mic.

Thanks for the warning CrowsofFritz which I truly appreciate; I'm sure with my luck if I went with ribbon mic then the mic wouldn't last long at all. I said I'm totally ignorant of mics and would appreiate advice from members please how to connect a condenser mic to the monitors I've bought and also help with mic choice; I'm already put off ribbon mics not wishing to buy one then destroy it but having said this I also don't understand condenser mics either; where better to be offered advice than here on this excellent forum from members who use this kind of kit all the time. Here are the monitors I bought and expect delivery shortly.

Kind regards, Colin.

Broadly speaking condenser or capacitor microphones are more sensitive over all than dynamic microphones, and are usually more sensitive and detailed in the higher frequencies too.
Often we use dynamic microphones for very loud sources, or in situations where we want to be able to get the microphone very close to the source but generally for a solo acoustic instrument recording I think most people would be reaching for some kind of condenser microphone.

There's a bit of a tradeoff in a lot of home recording situations because with condensers being very sensitive they're usually used at a bit of distance,
maybe a few feet or sometimes more.
This results in a more natural sounding recording than using a very close microphone, but it also means the acoustic of your room are more prominent in the recording too.
That may or may not be a good thing.

For what you want to achieve I doubt this is a problem, though.

Most likely I'd pop a rode nt1a or similar on a stand a few feet away and run with that.
The recording will sound different depending where you are, and where the microphone is, in the room - That may be something you want to experiment with?

I'm not sure if I misread or misunderstood but this is all assuming you want to make a recording, then play it back to listen afterwards.
Something in an earlier post made me think you might want to amplify the sound of your violin live, as you play?
I can't think of a good reason for that, outside of public performance, but, if that is the case, the above setup probably wouldn't be great as the speakers and microphone in the same room would be likely go into feedback and squeal at you.

Many thanks for your continued and generous help Steenamaroo which has really pushed me forward. I've just ordered a Rode NT1A mic from here;


These mics are available from many sources but this seemed about the best price for new; there are quite a few used on ebay but rather than mess around trying to save a few quid it's not worth it when for just a little more I can buy brand new with three year warranty. YouTube videos give these mics good reviews.

I don't understand phantom power or how this mic will hook up to the Tascam or directly to the monitors but no doubt it will all become clearer once they all arrive; whilst my pocket is burning I think I'll need phones too so suggestions will be very welcome; I see all this spending on kit mostly as a one off but with your help at least I'm not guessing or spending money on something unsuitable such as the Laney guitar amp I bought which I came to regret.

I was hoping to use the mic directly through the speakers without the Tascam but it's not a problem I can use the mic with the Tascam then play back; once I've got the kit then I can play around with it.

Kind regards, Colin.
You’ll have to plug the mic into the Tascam and apply phantom power, as it’s a condenser mic. You should still hear sound directly through the monitors without playing it back.

Thanks CrowsofFritz for your useful information. Whilst having breakfast this morning at 6 o'clock I watched a YouTube tutorial video covering my Tascam and noticed my Tascam has phantom power but I'm a bit concerned regarding using the phantom power on my new condenser mic when it arrives; in your post #13 you kindly alerted me to the dangers of using phantom power but if I understand you correctly this only relates to ribbon mics so my condenser mic should be OK? 48V is a lot of voltage when it comes to electronics especially whilst I've handled semi conductors where I've had to be earthed due to static discharge; I never guess or take chances knowing it's better to wait and get the facts.

I wish I could get into the studio but jobs keep popping up demanding my time; something very simple this time just repainting our garden bench; not urgent but I believe in looking after everything I have and if I don't carry out maintenance then later more work is involved; it never lets up but I do intend to spend time in the studio this year because I'm keen to learn.

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I never ever bodge anything I do; it pays to do the job once and do it well.

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We've had this bench for years having bought it new and although the paint is generally in decent condition now's the time to repaint it. Yesterday I rubbed it down the ends were a real pain having to do these by hand but the wooden latts I power sanded using my 5" Bosch random orbit sander which then left me with a tingling right hand and fingers so violin playing wasn't an option; everything I do seems to take forever; as soon as I turn my back the hedges need trimming and the grass needs cutting as they do now so another job to keep me occupied. I visited three supermarkets and back home by 8:30 this morning; I'm running just to stand still. I think I've just enough time to do some hedge trimming before dinner. I've just finished undercoating the wooden latts.

I'm delighted though to have joined this forum and to receive such generous and friendly help from members saving me no end of time and preventing me making costly mistakes. Thanks everyone.

Kind regards, Colin.
Yes, that only relates to ribbons. With condensers, it’s no problem no matter what you do. You can repeatedly press that button on and off like a mad man and plug in the mic while It’s on accidentally. Won’t be an issue.

Thanks for your reassurance regarding phantom power CrowsofFritz; I'm always very careful but it's so easy to get caught out.

Whilst painting the bench parts in the workshop this afternoon the new monitors arrived; also stainless steel nuts; quality exterior sealant cartridges and Pirastro Gold Rosin so although I'm always busy I'm going to be extra busy. The new monitors look beauties and arrived extremely quickly in perfect condition due to excellent double box packing; I'm looking forward to connected these and trying them out over the weekend. The monitors are well thought of on YouTube and at £99 delivered brand new I'm now well sorted.

It's been another very busy but good day; once I've got the garden bench painted and assembled also applied the exterior sealant to the bungalow exterior and painted it then finger's crossed at least I'll be able to touch my violins.

Kind regards, Colin.