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Would you recommend the Tascam US-20x20
Old 14th March 2016
  #1
Would you recommend the Tascam US-20x20

I am looking for a new audio interface to go with my new laptop (Dell-XPS 13), which is Windows 10 and USB 3.0.

I have been put off by the likes of the Scarlett 18i20 due to it being a little older and not native W10/USB 3.0 compatible.

I plan to primarily record drums in my studio, but also intend to use it to record live gigs, so stability is crucial.

The Tascam US 20x20 has caught my eye for a number of reasons. Firstly, it specifically support W10/USB 3.0, the price is good, and it can also be used as a digital mixer.

Problem is, I have absolutely no experience with Tascam.

So:

Does anyone know what class this interface is (I'm guessing A/B at this price?), and would people generally recommend Tascam generally, and this product specifically?

Thanks all.
Old 14th March 2016
  #2
JAT
Lives for gear
It is a good unit. It sounds great and installed fine. The features are more in line w/ a pro unit - word clock, digital ins, nice soft mixer.

The only downers are a high latency and support never answered me. With the latency, I haven't really tried to get it down w/ switching Ports around. Since all the US units share drivers, they keep putting new drivers out and TASCAM has its own driver writers on staff. Oh, and USB 3 didn't get much lower than USB 2. Of course, that is why we have direct zero-latency.
Old 14th March 2016
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by JAT View Post
It is a good unit. It sounds great and installed fine. The features are more in line w/ a pro unit - word clock, digital ins, nice soft mixer.

The only downers are a high latency and support never answered me. With the latency, I haven't really tried to get it down w/ switching Ports around. Since all the US units share drivers, they keep putting new drivers out and TASCAM has its own driver writers on staff. Oh, and USB 3 didn't get much lower than USB 2. Of course, that is why we have direct zero-latency.

Thanks for your response. Can you explain latency to me in a simple way? As I understand it, it is the delay between me pressing a key on my midi controller, and the computer reproducing the real-time sound.

Would a high latency affect actual audio recordings, such as a drum kit or band?
Old 14th March 2016
  #4
JAT
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCurtisDrums View Post
Thanks for your response. Can you explain latency to me in a simple way? As I understand it, it is the delay between me pressing a key on my midi controller, and the computer reproducing the real-time sound.

Would a high latency affect actual audio recordings, such as a drum kit or band?
Latency is a compound problem, due to the inherent delay of converting the analog sound to digital, then shunting it off to the computer, running it into and out of your DAW (with any attendant effects), and shunting it back out and re-converting it. All those add latency to your recording - the difference between what you hear in the room and what you hear from your speakers.

Back in the good ole days it might take days for a 386 computer to do all that - an exaggeration but it used to feel like that. Nowadays, even a bottom shelf computer can handle that effortlessly. What does provide the difference in interfaces is the drivers, the software that connects the interface hardware to the computer.

So they developed "latency-free" monitoring, which splits the incoming signal to be recorded - one goes to the computer to be recorded and the other is shunted directly to the main output stream so you can hear it in time with your already recorded material. Án example is overdubbing, where even if the latency is 10 ms all your drum and bass is coming out of the interface in time so you don't hear any delay. Your guitar part is going into the interface and being recorded, but you mute that sound to the output. Instead, you hear the 2nd guitar signal directly out of the mixer of the interface before it goes to the computer so it is played in time w/ the rest of the recorded tracks.

As for soft synths, they originate inside the computer, so you need to get the latency down for that. And output only may be 1/2 of the reported latency since it is output only - no need to come into the computer. I've never had a problem playing a softsynth w/ the TASCAM stuff. Anything under 10 ms is good enough for most players. In real life, that would be like playing 10 ft. from your sound source (the speed of sound varies according to the air temp and humidity, etc.), like an amp. My monitors in the studio are 8 ft. away from me, too, and I've never had a problem playing a soft synth. But maybe I'm just a ragged player.
Old 14th March 2016
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by JAT View Post
Latency is a compound problem, due to the inherent delay of converting the analog sound to digital, then shunting it off to the computer, running it into and out of your DAW (with any attendant effects), and shunting it back out and re-converting it. All those add latency to your recording - the difference between what you hear in the room and what you hear from your speakers.

Back in the good ole days it might take days for a 386 computer to do all that - an exaggeration but it used to feel like that. Nowadays, even a bottom shelf computer can handle that effortlessly. What does provide the difference in interfaces is the drivers, the software that connects the interface hardware to the computer.

So they developed "latency-free" monitoring, which splits the incoming signal to be recorded - one goes to the computer to be recorded and the other is shunted directly to the main output stream so you can hear it in time with your already recorded material. Án example is overdubbing, where even if the latency is 10 ms all your drum and bass is coming out of the interface in time so you don't hear any delay. Your guitar part is going into the interface and being recorded, but you mute that sound to the output. Instead, you hear the 2nd guitar signal directly out of the mixer of the interface before it goes to the computer so it is played in time w/ the rest of the recorded tracks.

As for soft synths, they originate inside the computer, so you need to get the latency down for that. And output only may be 1/2 of the reported latency since it is output only - no need to come into the computer. I've never had a problem playing a softsynth w/ the TASCAM stuff. Anything under 10 ms is good enough for most players. In real life, that would be like playing 10 ft. from your sound source (the speed of sound varies according to the air temp and humidity, etc.), like an amp. My monitors in the studio are 8 ft. away from me, too, and I've never had a problem playing a soft synth. But maybe I'm just a ragged player.
Hmm, ok, I think I follow. Is the 20x20 especially played with latency then? Would I actually encounter that when recording live instruments? Previously, I recorded drums through a Profire 2626 (firewire 400) into a low spec laptop, and never noticed any latency through the monitor mix in my ears. Would that be the zero latency monitoring?

I won't be using the desk for soft synths (I'm not sure what they are), only drum and live instrument recording.
Old 15th March 2016
  #6
JAT
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCurtisDrums View Post
Hmm, ok, I think I follow. Is the 20x20 especially played with latency then? Would I actually encounter that when recording live instruments? Previously, I recorded drums through a Profire 2626 (firewire 400) into a low spec laptop, and never noticed any latency through the monitor mix in my ears. Would that be the zero latency monitoring?

I won't be using the desk for soft synths (I'm not sure what they are), only drum and live instrument recording.

The 20X20 does have higher latency than many interfaces. But if you are simply recording live acoustics all-at-once you don't need to worry much about latency. You can use the interface software mixer to get a zero latency mix out. And yes, that is what you were doing, I imagine. FYI, your DAW also has a software mixer. It can get confusing. You have the 20x20 with its own mixer controlling ins and outs and sub mixes. Your DAW has another mixer that shows how it connects w/ your interface's mixer or hardware ins and outs. BAsic routing stuff you'll need to study.

For the price the TASCAM is a bang for buck interface. ANd just about every sub $1000 interface has some compromises.
Old 15th March 2016
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by JAT View Post
The 20X20 does have higher latency than many interfaces. But if you are simply recording live acoustics all-at-once you don't need to worry much about latency. You can use the interface software mixer to get a zero latency mix out. And yes, that is what you were doing, I imagine. FYI, your DAW also has a software mixer. It can get confusing. You have the 20x20 with its own mixer controlling ins and outs and sub mixes. Your DAW has another mixer that shows how it connects w/ your interface's mixer or hardware ins and outs. BAsic routing stuff you'll need to study.

For the price the TASCAM is a bang for buck interface. ANd just about every sub $1000 interface has some compromises.
Thank you very much. I'm just about sold on it. I guess I can always upgrade when the new generation of w10 thunderbolt 3/usb 3.0 interfaces come out (whenever that might be).

Thanks for your input.
Old 15th March 2016
  #8
I've just spotted the Zoom UAC-8. It's a little more expensive, but looks good? Any experience there?
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