Tascam DP-008 Review – Comprehensive review of the Tascam DP-008

Tascam DP-008 : Portastudio. The name invokes a flash flood of memories for anyone who wanted to do a little “home” recording in the era of cassette multitrack recorders. It’s like smelling a crayon and getting transported back to Kindergarden. But the DP-008 is not your father’s Portastudio. No sir.

Tascam has taken the Portastudio concept and infused all the wiz-bang technolgy that the new millennium has to offer. We may not have flying cars yet, but, thanks to Tascam, we do have a full-on 8-track studio the size of a paperback book.

Tascam DP-008 Review - Top View

Simple, ergonomic, effective – although the DP-008 is about the size of a paperback book, nothing feels cramped

The DP-008 is a true 8 track recording studio that can record at 16 bit / 44.1 kHz quality on two tracks simultaneously, and features phantom power on two XLR inputs, basic reverb effects, a metronome, a chromatic tuner and even on-board stereo mics. Each track has dedicated knobs for level, pan, two band EQ and reverb (in the Hall, Room and Stage flavors), which gives you direct control over your individual tracks for visceral, instantaneous results.

This Is Not Your Father’s Portastudio

While some may feel that the DP-008 is strictly an “idea machine,” Tascam provides the user with the flexibility to export the individual tracks as WAV files. You can then import these files into your computer’s Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) to elaborate on your song idea or spruce
up the captured audio with your DAW’s plug-ins. Nice!


  • 8-track Digital Portastudio
  • 2-track simultaneous recording
  • Two XLR microphone inputs with phantom power
  • Two 1/4″ line inputs, one switchable to guitar level for direct recording
  • 1/4″ footswitch input and Autopunch features for punch-in recording
  • RCA line outputs
  • 1/8″ stereo headphone output
  • Powered by four AA batteries or PS-P520 power supply (not included)
  • Chromatic tuner and metronome features
  • Stereo reverb effect on send/return path
  • Level, Pan and 2-band EQ controls per channel
  • 44.1kHz/16-bit recording resolution
  • Records to SD or SDHC Card media, up to 32GB supported
  • USB 2.0 connection to computer for backup and track/mixdown export
  • 2GB SD Card, USB cable, AA batteries included
  • Built-in stereo electret condenser microphones
  • Backlit LCD display

Tascam DP-008 Review - Rear Panel

The rear panel of the Tascam DP-008 features XLR inputsAs an mechanism to quickly get down inspiration, the 008 Portastudio shines. Tascam understands that the core market of the Portastudio is the singer/songwriter/guitarist and they have developed one heck of a value proposition. Selling for under $300, the DP-008 is a “no brainer” for a singer/songwriter to sport in their guitar case so they can be ready the moment inspiration strikes. With battery power and SD digital storage, you can record anywhere in an instant and that’s a mighty compelling offer.

An 8-Track Recording Studio In Your Back Pocket

However, considering the versatility of the DP-008, it’s not only singer/songwriters who can benefit. One of our evaluators is a percussionist who had been searching for a way to capture his moments “of clarity” and found the 008 to be an invaluable tool for securing a multipart percussion song. “I brought along the DP-008 to a jam I was having with a couple of friends [hand drummers]. At one point, the three of use were locked into a groove playing three distinctive parts. I immediately grabbed the DP-008 and was able to record each part in no time.

While the onboard stereo electret condenser microphones provide enough imaging to capture a performance, they’re not going to blow you away with their “lack of bass” or “bite.” No worries. If you want to up the ante, just plug your own quality mic into one of the XLR inputs. “Although the 008’s onboard preamp is nothing to write home about, I found that utilizing my own mics certainly took my recordings to the next level,” one reviewer revealed.

As per the Portastudio legacy, there’s several attributes that continue to carry over and get enhanced at every new incarnation. Punching In and Out couldn’t be simpler and there’s the obligatory Bounce feature, which allows you to condense up to six tracks to a stereo pair complete with level, effects, pan and EQ settings. Our evaluators unanimously commended the Portastudios “ease-of-use” with two informing us that they got to work “without cracking the manual.”

Others commended the 008’s interface, which was “well laid out” with no “buried features or overly complicated key combinations.” The downside to the Portastudio DP-008, which was mentioned by 3 out of the 5 reviewers, was overall battery life, especially when
using external microphones, but that really shouldn’t be a surprise considering the additional drain that Phantom power requires. What is a surprise is that a power supply is not included (sold separately). Aside from those small deficits, “there’s really not much to complain
about with the DP-008.”

A Winner

The DP-008 is a tremendous value proposition and exemplifies how the latest digital technology can truly elevate a traditional approach to songwriting. Tascam has a true winner here, and with its diminutive size, and bite-size price, it should make it a popular stocking-stuffer this holiday season.

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James D. Brown
James D. Brown
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