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Tascam US-2x2 USB Audio Interface
- XLR 1/4" combination input jacks
- Zero-latency Direct Monitoring
- High-quality audio components like NE5532 op amps for 125dBu EIN and 105dB S/N ratio
- Independent line out and headphone level controls
- Aluminum body with angled design for better desktop visibility
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From the manufacturer
Features at a glance
- Two Ultra-HDDA mic preamplifiers
- Two XLR/TRS (MIC/LINE) inputs with full +48V phantom power
- Two TRS analog balanced outputs
- USB bus-powered for mobile recording
- Optional AC adaptor available for use with iOS devices
USB Audio / MIDI Interface
TASCAM’s US-2x2 combines great audio quality and ergonomic design for a powerful 2-in/2-out USB 2 Audio interface.
Two of TASCAM’s Ultra-HDDA mic/line preamps provide up to 57dB of gain with nearly inaudible noise and distortion specs. The audio design features high-performance, musical components like NE5532 op amps for rich sound quality without coloring the source.
The US-2x2 includes class-compliant drivers for plug-and-play operation on Mac OSX and iOS devices like the iPad, and a simple driver adds ASIO compatibility for Windows. MIDI in and out are also included for connecting synths, drum machines, and controllers. The interface includes two DAW applications to choose from – both Cakewalk SONAR X3 LE and Abelton Live Lite 9.
Ultra-HDDA Mic Preamps Deliver Low Noise& Low Distortion
TASCAM's Ultra-HDDA (High Definition Discrete Architecture) mic preamp design is based on discrete components, just like classic professional gear. They achieve an incredible EIN rating of -125 dBu, meaning their noise level is practically below the range of hearing. Other impressive specs include a signal-to-noise ratio of 101 dB, out-speccing anything in its price range. But instead of judging the design merely by test measurments, key components were selected following extensive listening tests.
XLR and TRS Accept Balanced Mic and Line Level Signals
The mic input features a professional XLR connector, which supplies +48V phantom power for condenser microphones. The US-2x2 is built from heavy duty metal throughout, so it stays on your desk even when moving mics around. The combo input jack includes TRS inputs for balanced line-level signals from professional processors and synthesizers. Finally, the two inputs can be switched to high-impedance for direct recording of electric guitar and bass. (Only the XLR or 1/4" input can be used, not both at the same time.)
Angled design provides excellent usability on a desktop
The angled design desktop viewing and operation much more comfortable for tabletop use. All other interfaces have their controls on the front or the top of the device, causing you to crane your neck to read the knobs and switches. The US-2x2 and 4x4 are at a natural angle, making operation easier to keep you creative.
Separate Volume Controls for Headphones and Line Output
The US-2x2 and US-4x4 include both headphone and line output volume controls. Even when both powered monitors and headphones are connected, the user can set an optimum level for each during operation. And when you want to work on headphones, you don't need to reach around to switch off your monitors.
Sleek Industrial Design Inspires Creativity
These powerful new interfaces are housed in modern industrial designs that are as ergonomic as they are stylish. TASCAM was the first company to offer a USB audio interface, and we have fused our years of experience with acclaimed German from designbox.
TASCAM's new US series satisfies the needs of musicians from an aesthetic as well as ergonomic perspective. With its unique honeycomb structure on the side panels, the main body has a sense of weight while also maintaining a delicacy that matches the user's needs. Honeycomb structures are a feature of modern architecture, but are also a vital resource whose exceptional technical structure we can use in design. As this structure is found in nature, it has a stability and flexibility which comes with being an organic form.
-Axel Hartmann@ designbox
designbox : A German audio design company founded by Axel Hartmann and Stephan Leitl in 1995, designbox has worked on famous music industry products such as synthesizers, effect pedals and amp simulators.
|Dimensions||7.32" W ×2.56" H ×6.3" D (186mm W x 65mm H x 160mm D)||11.62" W x 2.56" H x 6.3" D (296mm W ×65mm H × 160mm D)||52(W) ×2.32(H) ×8.62(D) inch 445(W) ×59(H) ×219(D) mm||52(W) ×2.32(H) ×8.7(D) inch 445(W) ×59(H) ×222(D) mm|
|Weight||2.43lb (1.1kg)||3.53lb (1.6kg)||2.8kg / 6.11lb||2.7kg / 5.95lb|
|Accessories||USB cable, SONAR X3 LE license card, Live 9 Lite license card, User's manual, warranty card||AC adapter(GPE248-120200-Z), USB cable, SONAR X3 LE license card, Live 9 Lite license card, User's manual, warranty card||Rack mount adapter, USB cable, User's manual, warranty card, dedicated AC adapter (GPE248-120200-Z)||Rack mount adapter, USB2.0 cable, USB3.0 cable, User’s manual, warranty card, dedicated AC adapter|
TASCAM's US 2x2 features a new ergonomic design and some of the best audio specifications available for the ultimate 2-channel interface for home, project, and mobile studios. A pair of TASCAM's Ultra-HDDA mic/line preamps provide up to 57dB of gain with nearly inaudible noise and distortion specs. The 2-in/2out audio interface is powered through its USB 2.0 connection or an optional power adapter. MIDI in and out are also included for connecting synths, drum machines, and controllers. The interface includes two DAW applications to choose from - both Cakewalk Sonar X3 LE and Abelton Live Lite 9
Top customer reviews
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The "x08" in the product name apparently refers to the 8 analog outputs from the unit, which I really have no use for. For me, this is an A to D recording device and while I will likely use it for monitoring pre-recorded tracks through the headphone output, the other outputs will likely go unused. The ability to record every one of my 14 drum microphones onto a separate DAW track opens up a world of possibilities and eliminates the need for several analog devices (mixer, gates, compressors, etc.) in my studio. This device has been a major game changer for me and had it only supported the recording of 8 discrete channels, like the competitors' products, that would not have been case.
I was considering the (currently more expensive) M-Audio M-Track Eight and Presonus 1818VSL units, but chose the TASCAM in the end and boy am I glad I did! I've recorded about an hour's worth of 12 channels of drums (all recorded simultaneously) into Reaper DAW software (for Windows) at the maximums sample rate/resolution, and I haven't heard a single drop-out, pop, click, or "glitch". The mic-pres have been silent with no audible distortion or coloration.
The only issue I had was one microphone input into the unit was triggering an overload indicator (on the loudest drum strikes) in the DAW software even with the physical gain pot turned all the way down. I resolved this issue by using the dynamic compression feature in the TASCAM "Settings Panel" to apply a slight taper of the peaks on that channel. I wasn't actually planning on using the EQ or compression features of the DSP in this unit, but in this case, it was the only remedy besides changing the physical microphone configuration.
The device driver (running on Windows 8.1 x64) has been solid. I've used both the ASIO drive for multi-track recording and the WDM driver for stereo playback and monitoring. I did have an issue with Open Broadcaster Software being able to capture from the ASIO driver, but that appears to be a bug or limitation in OBS with regards to devices with more channels than it expects.
I was initially hesitant about this device due to the shipping delays apparently to address software and/or driver problems. With the exception of the occasional oddity, the software has been very reliable. These oddities (I'm not willing to call them "bugs") include:
- Although the manual makes reference to applying compression to the "master" bus, I've found no actual way to do this.
- When "unlinking" inputs, the EQ settings don't revert to the pre-link state.
- When "unchecking" the LCF (low cut filter) button in the EQ, the EQ is not restored to the pre-LCF state.
- You have to select each input individually to view it's EQ and compression settings.
- Changes made to the level fader, panning, mute and solo have no effect on the signals sent to the computer over USB (apparently by design).
- Although there's an entire tab dedicated to the "output" routing, this is really for configuring the analog outputs, not the output to the computer (i.e. there is no way to mix inputs 1 and 2 into a single "channel" over USB).
- You can "link" pairs of inputs for the purpose of sharing a single EQ and compression setting, but you cannot link more than 2 channels (e.g. to use the same EQ and compression settings for 3+ tracks)
- There's no noise gate.
I don't really expect to be using the TASCAM "Settings Panel" software all that much, so I'm not too concerned about these oddities. My main concerns are with regards to audio quality and reliability and so far, this unit really shines in this regard. I think TASCAM marketing could make it more clear that this device actually delivers *twice* the number of channels as the competition.
I made a couple of videos and put them on youtube (search for my channel: rswindell).
UPDATE (August 2015):
After upgrading from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 Pro (64-bit), the TASCAM 16x08 device driver no longer works. I upgraded the driver from v1.00 to v1.01 (the latest version currently available from TASCAM) and still, no worky. So if you'll either want to wait to upgrade to Windows 10 or if you're already running Windows 10, don't buy this product (yet). Bummer. Deducting one star (from 5 to 4). I'll continue deducting stars every month until TASCAM fixes their device driver.
UPDATE (September 2015):
TASCAM released a new Windows device driver for this interface in September (v1.03) and I can confirm that this new version does in fact work with Windows 10 (x64). Why it took them this long to support the current version of Windows is anyone's guess, so I'll leave the star deduction in place.
This new one does everything that the old one did, but expands the options a bit more. Separate knobs for headphone mix and monitor mix is nice if you switch back and forth a lot.
I haven't had any issues with this at all.
There was one time where I thought a mic input/phantom power wasn't working, but I had accidentally hit an input switch from "Mic" to "Inst". That was an embarrassing day or two. Just be wary of this if you get it. If it happens, you have no one to blame but yourself.
The mic inputs seem to need a lot of volume to pick stuff up, but that was normal with the last model as well. It's not really a big deal.
If you're on a budget, I would definitely consider this one. Phantom power, 2 inputs, MIDI, etc. That's all you'll need. I've done tons of stuff with this thing.
Before you connect the stereo output jacks to an amp or directly to speakers make sure you have the correct cables or adapters. I purchased the Hosa Balanced Interconnect 1/4 to XLR 3M 5' cables & D'Addario Balanced Male 1/4" Female XLR adapters. Both do the job of getting the audio to the speakers.
Issues.. one reason I bought this was to use the optical input to remaster some old audio & throw together some movie audio clips for trivia night that way. My new laptop has an external CD, but nothing internal & no laserdisc player. LOL. Anyway, I have not been able to get the optical input to work, which would provide the cleanest recordings. I will update this if the company provides an answer on how to do this.
The software interface is somewhat difficult to use.. slide your finger across your touchscreen in a straight line & the digital mixer EQ settings are turned up or down. swipe around the curve of the virtual knob & nothing happens. It's kind of painful to get used to this non-intuitive interface. if you have a 4k touchscreen, good luck reading the settings.. No one seems to be making software that allows the user to resize components by stretching any longer. Just super tiny appearance on 4k monitor. Get a 1080P touchscreen for using this interface.
Also, I thought the system was going to be 24-bit 192 kHz across the board. Unfortunately it only appears to allow that setting on 2 channels & I'm not sure which two channels, but I'm betting it's channels 1 & 2.. the same two channels that are dedicated to musical instruments. Lame! Every channel should've been setup for both & Dual 24-bit 192 kHz should be the standard for a high-end recorder.
That said, it's not really what I was looking for. If you want a really clean Mixer that you can manually control in this price range look at the Cerwin Vega, but add an external EQ to help control or eliminate Feedback when you go live. If you have a ton of extra money look at Heath & Allen QU series or Yamaha TF series.. somewhere in the middle you may consider Mackie DL-1608 or QSC Touchmix. For Movie recordings.. I will be looking for something else to add to the camera or a portable system with DSD record capability.