The Tascam DR-1 is a little larger than the others in its class, but still fits most pockets and, at least, the additional space has allowed for a slightly larger display and more room for big fingers to operate controls.

All the same, we found operation a little awkward at times, not least because the layout of buttons and the division of tasks between menus both seem illogical in places.

Rechargeable recorder

A neat feature is the ability to angle the microphones so that they face the sound source, whether the unit is standing or lying down.

Power is suppled by a Li-ion battery, which by default is charged from a USB outlet (the mains charger is an optional extra) and we'd be happier with AA cells like everyone else uses (in an emergency you can buy them from any corner store). A recording time of just under eight hours is on par with most of the competition.

We felt sound quality overall to be good, but found the built-in microphones quite coloured. Noise from them or the mic input is a little high, but the biggest drawback is the ease with which inputs can be overloaded, without obvious warning signs.

Distortion is excellent, both in and out, matching much full-size kit. This is a perfectly usable piece of equipment capable of good results, but we feel one should ideally be very familiar with its quirks before embarking on any important recordings.