DP32 Impressions


Oct 2, 2014
Gear owned
Not too long ago, I picked up a DP32 as "backup" for my aging (I forget...around 10-15 years old now) Akai DPS24, which is looooong out of production. The Tascam seems like the only fairly capable and sturdy machine left in a segment that has been pretty much abandoned by the manufacturers, so I jumped in. My reasoning went something like, I can always use it simply as a "capture device", since the usb2 connection should allow for relatively fast transfers between the machine and computer. I also figured that quickie mixes right in the machine should be fine for my "less-than-major-studio" self-recordings, and at around $600 clams, not that far from getting a front-end for recording directly to computer.

The DP32 is a dead-cinch to figure out and I have to believe that anyone who has done any recording at all shouldn't be overwhelmed by the machine. It's simple, logically laid out and not a lot of page-flipping of the manual should be necessary to get up and running. The package feels solid, surprisingly so in fact, but of course I have no way of gauging long-term reliability yet. On top of everything else, the display is very useable for such a small one. It's bright, clear and the UI doesn't seem cluttered...a really nice surprise. It won't impress your hoity-toity friends, but really...who cares about such things anyway?

*Control surface. As I mentioned above, everything about the machine feels smooth and solid. The faders are (of course) short throw, but there's enough smooth resistance there to both make accurate moves and to have them "land" and stay at a given position. There are also enough dedicated buttons and knobs to keep a lot of the work right on the surface...menu-scrolling is not a big part of working the machine, thank you!

*Track count. At "up to 32 tracks" (in a traditional understanding of the spec, it's really more like a 20 track "plus" machine...still nothing to sneeze at), there's plenty there for all but the worst track-glutton offenders (you know, the kind of folks that "need" 16 tracks for drums). Recording at 16/24, recorded output sounds fine, and there's no reason why anyone using generally good technique should have to make excuses...the machine will spit out what you put in.

*Effects. The effects implementation is pretty bare bones. What's in there sounds fine, but if you want to stay entirely "in the box", you'll have to do some creative work-arounds to journey into "multi-effects land". Running the internal single effects processor and an external one simultaneously will get you further, but some "bouncing with effects" will get you further still. There's also some input processing available...enough to get your sounds down, but it wouldn't hurt to have some outboard here as well. Having said all that, there's enough to get the job done right in the box.

*Mixing. With no automation of any kind, you may wind up having to make some pan and level commitments either before mix-down by bouncing and creating stems/submixes...as well as "on-the-fly" while "tape" is running (ie:eek:ld-school). For the latter, you may even have to "rehearse" your mixes and even redo some a couple of times. Who knows, you might even go really-old-school and ask a friend to be there for a second set of hands for those "Dark Side of the Moon" productions.

*Mastering. There are some additional tools there for compression and EQ to tweak your finished mixes a bit more and the resulting files can either be exported to computer by usb or to onboard CD. Given the fact that most (?) finished recordings are bound to wind up on the web or shared over email or some hosting site, you're probably going to have to have some utility for file conversion (MP3) anyway.

*Ins and outs. There's no digital in/out (too bad), just simple analog outs (for both monitors and headphones) and combination analog inputs. What's there simply works. There is also MIDI (although a slightly more stripped down version with no MIDI is out there at at least one retailer), and running external software/hardware in sync is no problem.

Overall, the machine is an excellent value. I applaud Tascam for developing an overall package that is a true successor to the old casette PortaStudios that so many learned recording on and grew to love. Of course, Tascam had to figure out what they could put in there and still maintain quality and hit their price point, and I think they pretty much nailed it. With software and computers pretty much ruling the home (and semi pro and pro) recording biz, there are still configuration issues...not to mention compatability and "upgrade" hassles that a machine like the DP32 bypasses. You can either do your work all in the machine, or do usb transfers painlessly enough to mix on computer...or a combination of both by using the computer as an external "offline" processor to then transfer tracks back to the DP32. At less than $50/track, the DP32 is a no-brainer for those who have done their homework and understand what it can do. So far...so (very) good!
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Reactions: DJ X
Thank you for sharing this. Enjoy your DP32! :D
Very good interpertation my friend.

Clear to the piont and breif!

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