The Tascam DR680 is an excellent solution and excellent price point for today's portable filmmaker.
Just What I Needed
For field recording - chamber music, theater, etc, it works great as an alternative to laptop + interface, or as a backup device. Clean, quiet, smooth sound, easy operation.
Solid and simple to use
AMAZING BANG FOR THE BUCK
I use this machine with Schoeps, Neumann, DPA and Royer mics along with a Sound Devices USBPre2 to enable 8 channels of mics. In short, brilliant! The onboard pres and A/D is first-class. The only weak link is the SD card-- I use only SanDisk and Lexar after another brand developed a bad sector and I lost a few seconds of a concert. With a few small improvements this could be a Nagra VI killer. It already wins the cost war-- quite handily.
Excellent for the Price!!!
I've owned and have been using this unit for about 6 months now. It is extremely easy to use, and the number of inputs for the price you pay is unmatched!
The preamps are clean, my Sanken COS 11D and Sennheiser MKH416 sound great through it!
The menus are easy to navigate, the display is fairly easy to read and tells you everything you need to know.
There are only two downsides I can see that hold it back: No timecode in/out, and its power options.
Thus far, not having timecode hasn't been a big issue for me, though sometimes it would have been nice.
Eight AA batteries for 5hrs runtime is absolutely ridiculous, instead I bought a Goal Zero Sherpa 120 portable power supply (which outputs 12V DC) and spliced power into the Tascam. Works flawlessly for about 2 full production days!
If you don't absolutely need Timecode, BUY THIS UNIT!
It's really only a 6-track recorder...
I love this recorder. In the field it's a real problem solver. The pre's are clean and the features are great, though sometimes a little tricky to figure out; even with the manual. That being said, let me address the 2 digital channels. They are theoretically usable as discrete 7th and 8th channels. But you must have an external preamp with A/D conversion in order to make that happen. And in my experience, many preamps (like the Audient Mico) simply do not work with the Tascam. And though I have managed to make simple 2-channel stereo recordings through the Tascam's SPDIF input, I have never succeeded in making an 8-channel recording. Invariably I receive a "DIN UNLOCK" message telling me the SPDIF isn't working. Also know that the SPDIF input only accepts a 44.1/16 bit stream, so you're going to have to dumb down your audio if you're coming from another converter.
So: this is really a 6-channel recorder. You should know that before you buy!
A Good Location Multitracker with Limitations
Can't comment on the mic pres because I come in from an external board, but the A/Ds sound very good to my ears. Biggest drawback for anyone who wants to capture at high fs and bit depth but with repurpose option for Red Book CD is the lack of 88.2 kHz sampling rate. This is a HUGE oversight in my opinion.