Most recent digital SLRs can capture HD footage on the fly. The problem is, the quality of audio you get from some onboard microphones can inadvertently make your finished product sound as glitchy and poppy as an experimental Thurston Moore track. To improve their soundtracks, some videographers use a unit designed for recording music in the field, but those can get unwieldy. Enter the TASCAM DR-60D, a four-track, solid-state sound-recording unit that attaches to your DSLR (it has screws at both the top and bottom, for mounting between your camera and the tripod).
The unit records at various qualities, from MP3 to pristine 96kHz/24-bit audio, filing it away on SD/SDHC cards. Its main inputs are two quarter-inch XLRs with locking connectors that can supply phantom power to condenser mics. Other inputs include a 3.5mm stereo mic input, camera in, camera out and headphone out. All of them can be adjusted separately. Its four tracks enable you to record different microphone setups at the same time, and panning and level limits for each can be set via soft buttons that operate silently. When you’re recording two channels, a cool dual-record mode can capture a backup safety track at lower levels, in case clipping occurs at your original levels. You can power the DR-60D via four AA batteries, or a USB cable.