Pete Thorn recently had a lot of fun with TASCAM’s Model 12 all-in-one integrated mixer, so we thought we’d let the guitarist, who has played with everyone from Chris Cornell to Don Henley to Melissa Etheridge as well as enjoyed a successful solo career, take the company’s new Series 208i USB audio interface for a spin.
Needless to say, he was happy to oblige.
“I busted this out yesterday afternoon, was able to get it set up and get all the bundled software installed and figured out how to use it,” Pete says, “and I wrote a piece of music and had it done by last night.
“I was pretty impressed with the ease of use, ease of software installation and my ability to figure this thing out enough to get a song done and mixed in the same day that I broke it out of the box. I think that’s pretty cool.”
That it is – especially given that the Series 208i packs a massive amount of features and connectivity into a compact desktop unit.
For starters, there’s four XLR/TRS combo mic/line/instrument inputs, four transparent, natural-sounding, ultra-low noise TASCAM Ultra-HDDA mic preamps, two optical S/MUX expansion ports that accept up to 16 channels of audio input and eight ¼-inch analog line outputs for versatile monitoring and up to 7.1 surround audio.
And as Pete points out, “there’s a switch on each channel to take you from instrument level to line level to microphone level, as well as a separate phantom power switch on each channel – a really cool feature.”
There’s also built-in effects such as reverb and compressor, a four-band EQ, two separate headphone jacks on the front, a headphone amp that’s “really nice and beefy,” and a word clock for “rock-solid clocking.”
Additionally, TASCAM Series audio interfaces all come bundled with software that allows full operational coverage – at the core of music production is Steinberg's Cubase LE / Cubasis LE, while for instrumental recordings there’s IK Multimedia's AmpliTube with guitar/bass modeling and colorful effects. IK’s T-RackS mastering software, meanwhile, helps finish the musical job.
After running through 208i’s features, Pete gives us a look at the software mixer. He then demos some of the tracks from his original song (which you can hear at the top of the video) soloed outside of the mix, as well as some of the bundled plugins and how he uses them in the tracks.
Essentially, he says, the TASCAM Series 208i is a “one-stop shop of everything you need to get started recording and mixing, and even record a small band.”
He continues, “And it’s built really well – all-metal construction, and I like the way the unit slants up on the desk, which made it easy to get all my cables in. It’s a nice design.”
His final verdict?
“It’s easy to use, easy to get up and running, easy to get good sounds,” Pete says. “And at this price point, the Series 208i is just a really good value, with all the bundled software, not to mention compression and EQ on every channel, built-in reverb and a software mixer that all runs off internal DSP so you’re not taxing your computer. That’s really nice – what’s not to like?”
What’s not to like, indeed?
For more information on the Series 208i head to TASCAM.