The TASCAM DR-44WL is a Wi-Fi-enabled portable recorder by a company that specializes in making high-quality professional audio recording equipment. The adjustable dual microphones capture excellent stereo recordings with effective EQ controls, reverb effects and four tracks. It's a portable recording studio that can record a business meeting just as well as a band rehearsal, even without features like voice activation and dead-air removal. While not as popular as the TASCAM DR-05, it’s definitely an upgrade on the best portable recorder for business professionals.
For our review of digital voice recorders, we researched the best devices for three specific audiences: students, business professionals and creative professionals. We narrowed the selections down to the best two devices for each audience, and we then compared them in head-to-head tests. The TASCAM DR-05 won the title of best digital voice recorder for business professionals, but the DR-44WL is an upgrade that straddles the area between business professionals and creative professionals. We tested the DR-05 because it is one of the most popular and bestselling digital voice recorders on the market, and it has a price that is more in line with what business professionals look for. The DR-44WL is better but costs significantly more.
This digital voice recorder’s best feature, and a clear upgrade over the DR-05, is Wi-Fi connectivity. Being able to connect your recorder to your Wi-Fi has many advantages. You can upload audio files to the internet and share what you recorded; for example, you can make sure everyone in your study group has the recorded lecture immediately following class. You can also control the device remotely using an app; you can be on the other side of the planet and still hit record.
This handheld recorder comes with two high-fidelity condenser microphones that record in CD-quality 16- or 24-bit linear PCM audio and playback in WAV, BWF and MP3 formats. WAV and MP3 formats are universal, with MP3 being a compressed version of a WAV file. BWFs are a type of WAV file that have embedded metadata that synchronizes sound with video, making this portable recorder great for podcasts and film.
Another of the DR-44WL’s advantages is its adjustable microphones. They can swivel to shift from an XY positon to an AB configuration to an OTRF position. With this versatility, you can adjust the stereo depth according to your situation and preference. An OTRF position is great for live performances or podcasts, as it favors a wide stereo image with very little overlap in the middle of the mix. The XY position has a lot of overlap in the middle, which is great for lectures where you want to focus on a single voice in a room. You can also connect external microphones and instruments using the XLR and TRS inputs on the bottom.
You can use the DR-44WL to record and mix up to four tracks on each audio file, punch-in audio, and overdub audio. While four-track recording isn't necessary for simple tasks like dictating notes or recording a business meeting, it's a necessity for creative professionals because it gives you the most control over how you construct and layer the audio. You can record in layers, experimenting with harmonies and stereo localization. It also features onboard EQ controls and post-effects like reverb to enhance the audio.
While the audio the DR-44WL records in simple settings like lectures is better than that captured by cheaper digital voice recorders, it doesn’t have voice activation, which is specifically designed for settings like interviews and lecture halls. It also lacks dead-air removal, an excellent feature to have when reviewing audio because you don't have to wade through long pauses.
The TASCAM DR-44WL is a four-track portable recorder that captures high-fidelity, CD-quality audio. It can still record your dictation, interviews, lectures and meetings, but the bulk of its features, including adjustable microphones, EQ controls and post-effects, cater to musicians with complex recording needs.