Tascam TM-2X is a budget DSLR/Mirrorless camera external microphone that is similar to Rode VideomicPro and Videomic Go, except it is placed in between those Rode‘s offerings. It can be a considered a semi-pro microphone with that price range and its proclaimed sound quality that should deliver clean sound. Now, let’s find out if it really is as good as Tascam claimed.
(this review is written with excessive care to avoid any errors, however, there might still be some appearing due to human error)
The box that it comes with is designed with a simple affair. To be honest, it looks kinda cheap and if it is not for the Tascam logo, you would mistake it for cheap microphones from unknown manufacturers. Even the design is simple but straight to the point, with the front telling you all of its features and brief usage instructions.
At the side is just showing more ways to place the mic onto a DSLR/Mirrorless camera, which is either by itself or through the provided isolation arm. Otherwise, the whole packaging is pretty good for the price with the Isolation Arms and Windscreen included.
For a semi-budget external microphone, the build quality for the microphone is great. This is the same high-grade X-Y Stereo Condenser Microphone used in Tascam’s DR-series PCM Recorders. What this means is that you can expect these microphone to perform similarly to those famous Tascam recorders, and that’s a really powerful statement to proclaim. With the silver brushing, the microphone looks sleek and professional and I can feel the quality oozing out from them.
The same, however, can’t be said for the rest of the body. This is where Tascam obviously skimps out the most in trying to cut cost. It is made with plastic that is not quite as firm as I like. It feels that it can break quite easily from the flimsiness when I hold the microphone. However, it is not as weak as expected as I have used this for 3 months without any issue, so it’s more of a bad first impression.
The build for the arm and windscreen are excellent for the price. You are actually getting something decent as these two are included in the box. I have used these for 2 months and they work exactly as they are. The arm is firm and does not feel weak at all. For the windscreen, it works as intended too with decent fur materials.
My camera is Panasonic GH4 and my friend has also used his Canon 70D with it, so my review is gonna be more for the former than the latter(of which he described his experience to me)
It requires no phantom power so it’s more of a plug-and-use affair if your camera has a dedicated microphone port. Tascam -2X has a switch which changes the sensitivity and the noise filter, but they are rather limited so most of the time you will change in-camera. My preference is to set it to -6db (disable auto noise cut or wind filter) as the microphone is quite sensitive or maybe higher if you use the windscreen, which works effectively. If you want to check out how it sounds, click here, where I record the whole video with it. You can also use the provided arm to allow the microphone to get nearer to the subject, but it’s not by much, so your result will vary, personally, I hardly use the arm unless shooting outdoor.
The sound is clear and there is not much noticeable distortion heard if you set it correctly in-camera. I can actually hear quite a lot of details and this also records in stereo with a pretty decent left-right separation. It is also sensitive enough to hear a few feet beyond 5m, but not sensitive enough to hear most of the noises behind a window or walls( this, too, depends on the quality of your walls and windows for sound leakage). Don’t expect excellent sounds on the level of the Tascam’s PCM recorder though, but this is more than sufficient for YouTube, PodCast and low budget indie films for dialogues/foley.
As for Canon 70D, my friend’s experience is the same though he has to make a different set up for it. So you have to test it out with your own camera and different models require different settings due to the different sound circuit used in them. ALWAYS turn off automatic noise cut/wind filter for best quality, as the microphone’s potential will be offset by bad camera sound settings.