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TASCAM US 16x08

TASCAM US 16x08

4.65 4.65 out of 5, based on 4 Reviews

The Tascam US 16x08 gets you a lot of channels and a lot of sound quality for a very attractive price. The routing possibilities are limited, so do check this before buying. As soon as the WDM and mixer panel issues are fixed, and a reverb is added, I'ld rate it all 5's.


4th March 2015

TASCAM US 16x08 by cojazz

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
TASCAM US 16x08

Let me start by saying that this is just my first impression. I'm just an enthousiastic guitar player who likes to record and twiddle now and then with band recordings.
I bought the interface for multitracking simple demos of my jazz and pop bands. At the moment (just 1 month after market introduction) it sold for 289 Euros, so I believed I couldn't go very wrong for that money.

Specs and features
On to the 16x08. The Tascam site has all the specs and manuals, just look there if you want to get to know this beast. You can even test-drive the brand-new ASIO driver panel as it works without the unit attached.
For my purposes the mix of 8 mics, 8 line in and 8 line out is nice. Also the instrument inputs on the front are usable.
The headphone and monitor outputs (line1+2) have independent potmeters which is handy for mixing/mastering sessions.

Looks
The looks of the unit are OK for me and the unit is of a very decent build quality. It has an all metal case. The potmeters are small but provide enough resistance and space around them. Its inner guts also look quite good. Not perfect, but certainly good enough.

Sound
OK I'm not an expert on this field, so I can't really compare. But I like the sound. It's very transparent and very quiet. The input frequency response is quite flat, although the highs from about 10kHz are a tad bit (+1dB) exaggerated.
In a quick loopback test with a line output connected to a balanced microphone input, I measured 95..102dBA S/(N+THD) (24bits, exact number depends on selected gain and sample rate). This is very close to the ADC spec (AKM?).
When overdriven, the inputs do not give very nasty ticks (no phase reversal, as on my old phonic firewire mixer). Instead, the 16x08's half discrete/half integrated input channels seem to distort more gradually. Btw the first 10 inputs have overload LEDs on the front.

Latency
Of course I tried to record 16 channels simultaneously in 96kHz / 24 bits. On my pentium i5 desktop pc, for tick-free recording, I needed to increase the ASIO buffer size quite a bit, resulting in a lot of latency. This makes having the PC as an effect in the loop unpractical when doing multi-channel. For one or two channels it is OK but adding reverb with the PC is just so-and-so (unless you don't mind to hear a slightly later reverb while recording).

On board Blackfin DSP
That brings me to the Reverb and the DSP (an Analog Devices Blackfin DSP on a piggy backed PCB). It's purpose is apparently to provide low-latency EQ and compression on all individual channels, as well as manage all the USB traffic.
In early marketing texts, the unit was advertised to provide EQ, compression AND reverb. In recent texts and the specs the reverb was left out. Did the Tascam design team just miss some time to finish the "reverb" code, or did the BlackFin's computing power turn out to be lacking? Of course I hope the former, since in that case, we might see a future firmware update from Tascam to add this! (please??)

Routing
The internal routing is quite basic. There are no analog or digital inserts, and there is exactly 1 (one) bus. There are no other digital in- or outputs besides USB. If I'm not mistaking, the computer inputs are post-lowcutfilter, post-eq, post-compressor and pre-fader. I would have preferred it post-lowcutfilter and pre-fx (or selectable).
For recording situations you can provide up to 4 different stereo monitor mixes, with the EQ and compression with neglible latency.

The PC USB Driver
The PC side USB driver (v1.00) is now already quite stable. It gives a mixed impression:
+ there is ASIO support with a very nice 'mixer' panel and an intuitive routing diagram
+ ASIO works very nice with the DAW (reaper in my case)
+ the driver supports storing and restoring 'presets'
+ mixer channels can be named
- these names are not saved in the preset (probably a bug?)
- the WDM driver does not work nicely. Windows media player and system sounds do play well, but for some odd reason, Youtube and Spotify don't. I needed to route these to the PC's internal soundcard, and pull an extra cable to 2 line inputs (it's a good thing that there are 6 left).
Well, let's hope that next driver versions will improve on this.

12th October 2015

TASCAM US 16x08 by kmzproton90

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
TASCAM US 16x08

The other guy wrote about every aspect of this product, so I am not going to repeat his words by going into detail about its specs and features.

I have been using the unit for a couple days, having purchased it last week. So far it's been working like a charm, almost plug and play-style. However, there are some important things you've got to know about.
First: your computer has to be set on 'best performance' setting, to let the unit work consistently.
Second: the driver has a higher level digital signature than other peripheral devices, so if your PC does not recognize the interface due to 'no digital signature', all you have to do is to update your OS (update KB3035131 for Win 7 64 bit, higher windows OS-s have native support for the unit). Do not try to create a signature, no fancy stuff is needed, a simple update will do it.

The interface preamps have ultra-low noise, I couldn't turn the gain up enough to hear it. The US 16x08 handles multitrack recording very well, I have recorded 8 tracks simultaneously, and there were no glitches, no problem in sync. I have yet to test its MIDI capabilities, but so far I have been able to record 20 tracks without getting any glitches. My PC is kinda out of date, so I guess it's more of a PC problem.

My DAW had no problems with playback, neither did Winamp, Firefox and other softwares. But hey, this is an interface for audio recording, so why use it for anything else? If I want to listen to music or watch YouTube, I simply disconnect the interface, switch to the integrated soundcard and plug my speakers into the headphone socket.

About the onboard DSP: I use the unit in "interface" mode, and as far as I can tell, the onboard EQ and Compressor has no effect on the digital signals. I will have to research it further.

The bottom line is, don't let negative reviews discourage you from buying this unit (but keep in mind, mine is only 5 days old, so wait for some time to see how it keeps up in the long run). Although it lacks the advanced features of more expensive interfaces (ADAT and S/PDIF connectivity), it still offers plenty of I/O for the money. It is extremely suitable for amateur home studios and aspiring sound engineers.

If you want to listen to how it sounds, I have made a mix to be found here (it's a cover of Whitesnake's Sweet Talker): http://www.filedropper.com/tascamus16x08sample

6th September 2016

TASCAM US 16x08 by Chicken Man

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
TASCAM US 16x08

Have been using this interface for a while now. I had some issues with it initially (Media players would drop out/stop playing) but that turned out to be only an issue when plugged into a USB3 port. (Disclaimer - I still run a fairly well stripped Windows 7... possibly something I stripped is causing the issue ).

Since plugging into USB2 it has been rock solid. (EDIT - Managed to find a newer driver for my motherboard and the 16x08 works perfectly now).

For the price, this is a great unit with a very practical selection of inputs and outputs for a smaller home/project studio. I run multiple guitar effects processors and my mixer straight into the rear inputs while using the front XLR inputs for microphones while still being able to plug a guitar/bass in to the front instrument/line inputs for recording direct when using amp sims.

The management/settings app is great and easy to use and the compression/eq are very helpful as they are printed when you record. This means you can HPF and compress before it hits the DAW or whatever you want. I didn't realise this when I purchased the interface and had been reading a lot about cheap outboard compressors/channel strips, thankfully they aren't needed and I can continue to save for something much nicer. There was no way I was going to get even 8 channels of compression in one unit let alone the 16 separate compressors/eqs that are provided by the Tascam US16x08. Obviously I only use them on very light settings on the way in (if at all) but it's a good option to have.

Sound quality seems fine, playing back all my favourites isn't some amazing revelation but I am definitely not disappointed. On the recording side it is the same, good enough and comparable to anything else I have ever owned or used.

I paid $460 Australian for the interface, really happy with it and for anyone wanting to easily record a whole band to individual tracks there isn't much else in this price range (In Australia anyway).

2 weeks ago

TASCAM US 16x08 by pedroh

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
TASCAM US 16x08

I've owned this interface for two years now. Previously I had my first Focusrite 8i6 which I upgraded for more imputs. At the time I wasn't even an audio student, just a hobby musician.
Great for beginners
Bought this interface when I started studying looking for something that would let me mic a drum set. Imagine my surprise when I found out this is the ONLY interface that offers 16 real imputs. No ADAT, SPDIF, etc. I've since used it to mic entire bands with low latency. Multiple outs allow you to set up different mixes other than the stereo out (which has one headphone out).
Preamps
The pres aren't that great. After 3 o'clock there begins to appear heareable white noise. This usually isn't a problem, but beware of SM57s that require a bit more drive. It has 2 instrument imputs with regulable gain, so it's like it had 10 pres for me. The 6 line imputs can be pushed using the DSP compressor's makeup, or you could simply connect more pres. So, imputs-wise, this interface is one of the best.
Software and drivers
On the software end, things were buggy at first. As many early reviews said, this thing was unstable on 2016. Ever since, Tascam released new drivers that work fine with Windows 10. If you want to make it work, it will work. I've used it with Nuendo, Cubase, WaveLab, Pro Tools 10 and 12. No issues there.
Between this one and Focusrite, I think Focusrite has better drivers with lower latency. At 44khz, US 16x08 has huge latency settings. 10ms in and 4ms out at 128kbps. So you may consider using it at higher sample rates if you want DAW monitoring. It has DSP monitoring with virtually no latency at all, but then you don't hear any plugins you may have added.
Bottom line
Don't let these small issues turn you down. Pres and latency are a problem at almost everything in this price range, so between this one and other brands, I'd stick to US 16x08 for the I/O. With it you can really learn how to mic a drum set, record a full band, try M/S configs, all of it with no problems at 96khz/24bit.
By the time you begin to really hear what's "wrong" with Tascam 16x08, you will be ready to move on to a higher quality interface like Audient, RME, UAD. These units move in a different price range and have better converters, pres, drivers, etc. and are just what you may need for a more proffesional home studio down the future. I've upgraded to an Audient ID44, so only 4 analog ins for me now. I don't miss US 16x08 because I've moved on from my initial "want to record everything" need, I may get more imputs with an outboard octopre in the future just to get that feel again though.
Tascam US 16x08 great interface for audio beginners, students, and just people with lots of I/O needs.

 
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