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Tascam FW-1884 as a control surface only?
Old 20th August 2005
  #1
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Tascam FW-1884 as a control surface only?

I need to pick up a DAW control surface and I really like the layout and feel of this thing. All the I/O is great but I don’t need it since I have 40+ channels of Motu interfaces on the PCI buss, plus I doubt that my software will recognize two different sets of interfaces.

So the question is, can I connect this thing to my DAW and use it only as a control surface? Or will it create a whole set of problems and conflict with the Motu? I've asked a couple of sales pimps and everyone thinks it'll work but nobody knows for sure. FWIW, I'm running Cubase SX 3.whatever, the Motu stuff is PCI and the Tascam is Firewire.

I’m really hoping it’ll work because if it doesn’t I’m gonna have to get a Smackie Control and I really dispise Smackie...
Old 20th August 2005
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Yes it will work, we have one connected to and sx 2 system and it works. when you connect it via firewire you can use it just as a controller (so you are still using your audio cards driver for IO etc). In this mode it will also act as a stand alone 8 channel analogue to ADAT converter which is cool
Old 20th August 2005
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
kungfugeek's Avatar
If you just want the control surface features, you might consider the FW-1082

Micah
Old 20th August 2005
  #4
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blackcatdigi's Avatar
Or the US2400.
Old 20th August 2005
  #5
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u b k's Avatar
 

jay,

it's a great control surface, it makes tracking a breeze.

i gotta say, the frontier converters in the tascam annihilate anything motu has ever put out. they're very vibey, slightly dark in the a satisfying, tubey way.

tiger supports multiple interfaces, doesn't it? it'd be worth the trouble for the improvement.


gregoire
del ubik
Old 20th August 2005
  #6
Gear Head
 

yes it works great as a control surface in cubase, and the pres are useable as well. The only drawback is the cost of the FE-8's if you want to expand. They cost almost as much as the 1884. You might be best to consider the 2400
Old 20th August 2005
  #7
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ewegogetemtiger's Avatar
Don't you eat up your firewire ports real quick with these? I'd like to have about three but don't have three fw jacks.....or can you daisy chain?
Old 20th August 2005
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by u b i k
jay,
i gotta say, the frontier converters in the tascam annihilate anything motu has ever put out. they're very vibey, slightly dark in the a satisfying, tubey way.
I gotta disagree on that one. The 1884's converters are fine but after A/Bing them with a MOTU HD192 and 896HD, I preferred the MOTU both times. "Vibey, Dark and Tubey" is not something I want from my A/D conversion. Personally I prefer "Clear"....

Having said that, I' suppose they might be better than MOTU's lower end such as 2408 etc...

Just my opinion.

-Z-
Old 20th August 2005
  #9
Gear Addict
 
dhughes's Avatar
 

I have the US2400......even my wife thinks it is sexy.

24 automated faders......
Old 20th August 2005
  #10
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zakco
I gotta disagree on that one. The 1884's converters are fine but after A/Bing them with a MOTU HD192 and 896HD, I preferred the MOTU both times. "Vibey, Dark and Tubey" is not something I want from my A/D conversion. Personally I prefer "Clear"....

Having said that, I' suppose they might be better than MOTU's lower end such as 2408 etc...

Just my opinion.

-Z-
Hey bro...

I judt did this A/B...Thr results are posted on this site.

My Tascam 1804 vs. The MOTU 896HD and 192HD...The A/D in the Tascam is clearly the 'cleaner' and clearer of the two...over and over and over.

It was unananimous here a in the studio as well.

However the D/A...is substantially worse in the Tascam....earplug/blanket removal type difference.

I still have the 896HD here and the FW1804...at least for a couple of more days.
I would be happy to do any more testing...this weekend.

Peace and Respect
Old 21st August 2005
  #11
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kudzu's Avatar
 

FW1884 with 2xFE8's here....looks and works great....firewire not always stable tho....doesn't like u going to a firewire HD with audio......u have 2 boot up the 2xFE8's first b4 the FW1884....kinda weird idiosyncrasy....I monitor output thru a rosetta 200....I agree the D/A's not the best....extra Adat i/O on the FE8's woulda been nice...all in all quite happy with FW1884 as a controler
Old 21st August 2005
  #12
Gear Nut
 
Mystical's Avatar
 

I have the US-2400... it's simple but very effective. Gives you your basic daw conroler features. The jog wheel is extremely smooth. The mackie is a little more intense feature wise, but bang for the buck US-2400 kicks ass. And it looks good too. Clients are easily fooled into thinking its a real console. heh
Old 21st August 2005
  #13
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney Gene
Hey bro...

I judt did this A/B...Thr results are posted on this site.

My Tascam 1804 vs. The MOTU 896HD and 192HD...The A/D in the Tascam is clearly the 'cleaner' and clearer of the two...over and over and over.

It was unananimous here a in the studio as well.

However the D/A...is substantially worse in the Tascam....earplug/blanket removal type difference.

I still have the 896HD here and the FW1804...at least for a couple of more days.
I would be happy to do any more testing...this weekend.

Peace and Respect
Well there you go....FWIW I did my listening over a year ago in a not so scientific manner. I was listening to the overall sound of the unit rather than seperating the A/D and D/A quality. I suppose I might have judged it on the D/A instead. I just picked the unit I thought sounded better and that was the 896HD. (I already owned the 192). I stand corrected.

I did have other issues with the 1884 though. I noticed that when I touched a fader while a guitar was plugged into the hiZ inputs there was a HF whistle that appeared IN THE SIGNAL PATH. I had a long discussion with TASCAM's canadian tech guru and he was able to confirm and duplicate the problem. His explanation was that the unit used a tone for the fader touch sensitivity and connecting magnetic pickups to the circut while touching a fader created a type of feedback loop that unfortunately was in the signal path.....he also mentioned that it was inherent to the design and would NOT likely ever be fixed.

This is probably not an issue for many, but I thought it was worth mentioning. Again, this was over a year ago. Maybe they fixed it. Anyone know?
Old 21st August 2005
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zakco
Well there you go....FWIW I did my listening over a year ago in a not so scientific manner. I was listening to the overall sound of the unit rather than seperating the A/D and D/A quality. I suppose I might have judged it on the D/A instead. I just picked the unit I thought sounded better and that was the 896HD. (I already owned the 192). I stand corrected.

I did have other issues with the 1884 though. I noticed that when I touched a fader while a guitar was plugged into the hiZ inputs there was a HF whistle that appeared IN THE SIGNAL PATH. I had a long discussion with TASCAM's canadian tech guru and he was able to confirm and duplicate the problem. His explanation was that the unit used a tone for the fader touch sensitivity and connecting magnetic pickups to the circut while touching a fader created a type of feedback loop that unfortunately was in the signal path.....he also mentioned that it was inherent to the design and would NOT likely ever be fixed.

This is probably not an issue for many, but I thought it was worth mentioning. Again, this was over a year ago. Maybe they fixed it. Anyone know?
The fader 'squeaking' high-pitched squeal issue happens to all of Tascams automated faders. It is part of the 'touch' sensitivity circuit and it is kind of bogus... I have the issue here with my SX1...(Same Technology)

About the 'converters' 'clarity'...It is really a matter of taste. The Tascam converters sound clear...but so do the MOTU's...Just a different kind of clear. The MOTU sounds brighter BUT fuller...The Tascam sounds duller but with a litte more air.

I tracked 4 songs with the MOTU last week and they sound great.
But NO QUESTION...monitoring out of the MOTU is by far a better experience. The Tascam D/A is thin and brittle.
Maybe that is good? Maybe that is more accurate? I don't know.

No SPDIF on the 896HD...That is the only bummer for me though it does have AES.

Connectors (if they are important) Better on the MOTU (by a great deal)...Trim pots are equal...Pre's on the TAscam are slighty fuller but I suspect that is the 'duller' sounding A/D contributing.

User GUI on the MOTU is marginal...the Tascam is worse.

Just my opinion.

Peace and Respect,
Old 21st August 2005
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney Gene
No SPDIF on the 896HD...That is the only bummer for me though it does have AES.
I know what you mean. Luckily I have a 2408 mkII with sp/dif.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney Gene
Connectors (if they are important) Better on the MOTU (by a great deal)...Trim pots are equal...Pre's on the TAscam are slighty fuller but I suspect that is the 'duller' sounding A/D contributing.
yeah, I didn't like the pres on either unit. Although I must say, the TASCAM's gain pots are screwy. Virtually NO GAIN until 12 o'clock and then WHAM!!! Impossible to adjust gain subtly during a performance. If you like to ride the input gain at all, forget it! Tascam's rep described this phenomenon as a "feature" . It also makes it nearly impossible to set the gain equally between tracks for stereo sources. The motu suffers from this a bit, but not nearly as bad as the 1884.

Quote:
User GUI on the MOTU is marginal...the Tascam is worse.
I assume you're talking about the cuemix software? FWIW, MOTU's PCI 424 products (HD192 etc) have a great GUI. Their firewire version of cuemix (896HD) is pathetic in comparison. I don't know why they couldn't have used the same interface....

-Z-
Old 21st August 2005
  #16
Gear Addict
 
dhughes's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zakco
I
I assume you're talking about the cuemix software? FWIW, MOTU's PCI 424 products (HD192 etc) have a great GUI. Their firewire version of cuemix (896HD) is pathetic in comparison. I don't know why they couldn't have used the same interface....

-Z-
Yeah. That is extremely annoying!
Old 22nd August 2005
  #17
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Thanks for the info.

I'm not concerned about the quality of the converters on the Tascam but it's nice to know they don't entirely suck. The Motu boxes (with over 40 channels of D/A) are feeding my Trident console where all the real mixing takes place. Though, I'll probably end up taking the Tascam out for location recordings and stuff like that.

I looked at the US-2400 but it's overkill for my situation...I have 40 real faders on a real console and I don't have enough room for the footprint of a large controller, plus it lacks all the editing shortcuts that are on the 1884. The 1082 would work but again, it's lacking all the shortcuts. What's the point of that? I want to put the mouse & keyboard away!
Old 22nd August 2005
  #18
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

It's too bad you hate Mackie, the Control Universal is a great piece and I find it to be way better to work with than the US2400. In fact, the first 2 US2400 units we received didn't even work...but the fact that you can't glance at the controller and see what you're controlling...and you can on the Mackie...that was all I needed to see. I like the overlays etc for the Mackie as well.

An MCU plus an expander is about $250 more than the Tascam and worth every penny in my opinion. I don't even use an expander with mine but may spring for one in the future.

BUT...I've not busted out the other Tascam units to try them as controllers...yet.

War
Old 23rd August 2005
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead
...but the fact that you can't glance at the controller and see what you're controlling...and you can on the Mackie...that was all I needed to see.

War
This is a huge HUGE downside to the Tascam controllers, and IMO makes them virtually worthless.
Old 23rd August 2005
  #20
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead
It's too bad you hate Mackie, the Control Universal is a great piece and I find it to be way better to work with than the US2400. In fact, the first 2 US2400 units we received didn't even work...but the fact that you can't glance at the controller and see what you're controlling...and you can on the Mackie...that was all I needed to see. I like the overlays etc for the Mackie as well.
I guess, and the faders on the Smackie control do feel a little nicer, but...man! Almost every Smackie product I've used has failed at some point, and almost always when a gig is at critical mass.

Everything from 8-buss consoles doing down five minutes before a show or better yet...during the show, Ultramix Automation freakin' out and muting all audio while I'm printing a mix, Digital 8-buss faders wiggin' out and CPU's crashing. And then my two absolute all time favorties. I was beta-testing the HDR and they sent one that couldn't record, then the event that finally made me give up and sware them off for good...the infamous HR824 woofer debacle, I had one pop and the service department manager said I couldn't get a pair for at least four months but I could get a new HR824! Not to mention all the little things along the way like popped fuses that are soldered in place.

So yeah...even if the Smackie Controller is the greatest thing ever...I'm sooooo freakin' gunshy about buying another one of their products just from the service and reliability angle.
Old 23rd August 2005
  #21
More cowbell!
 
natpub's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Kahrs
I guess, and the faders on the Smackie control do feel a little nicer, but...man! Almost every Smackie product I've used has failed at some point, and almost always when a gig is at critical mass.

So yeah...even if the Smackie Controller is the greatest thing ever...I'm sooooo freakin' gunshy about buying another one of their products just from the service and reliability angle.
The thing is, at $600 apiece on ebay, you could buy 2 and always have
a backup :-)

FWIW, those folks I know who have had one for a long time have never reported any problems yet.


G'Luck
Old 23rd August 2005
  #22
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CeretoneAudio
This is a huge HUGE downside to the Tascam controllers, and IMO makes them virtually worthless.

well, they have the softlcd app which displays all the relevant info on a floating window on the monitor, so you're not flying totally blind. not as cool as having it on the controller itself, but then again, there're a lot of controls on the tascam that aren't on the mackie et al.


gregoire
del ubik
Old 23rd August 2005
  #23
Gear Nut
 
Mystical's Avatar
 

Seriously? Wow where do you get the software? It didn't come with my US-2400,that would be pretty handy. And all this time I've just been using board tape...

Old 23rd August 2005
  #24
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kudzu's Avatar
 

softlcd app, download from www.tascam.com
Old 23rd August 2005
  #25
Gear Nut
 
Mystical's Avatar
 

Is it only for OSX? I am on XP with a us-2400... didn't find the XP downloads on the site, hmmm?
Old 23rd August 2005
  #26
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by u b i k
well, they have the softlcd app which displays all the relevant info on a floating window on the monitor, so you're not flying totally blind. not as cool as having it on the controller itself, but then again, there're a lot of controls on the tascam that aren't on the mackie et al.


gregoire
del ubik
Hi.

The Tascam has a joystick for surround pan, but as far as having more controls and easier access to them without hitting "F" or shift keys or whatever the Mackie Control Universal has them beat hands down. Mackie also gives nice overlays that precisely tell you what's going on in Nuendo (my app) and many other programs.

I must admit, the first thing I noticed when we received the US2400 was this Xerox copy of a document that might as well have been titled "why the US2400 sucks with Steinberg products" which explained that many of the cool things it would do with Pro Tools (EQ control being one I remember right now anyhow) would NOT be performed in Steinberg.

Yet in their literature it states it's "fully mapped" for Steinberg and others. Bull****.

It has decent control in PT, for Nuendo you've got what...a fader, a mute, track selection, a transport and joystick...and you're done.

The Mackie gives Steinberg users many more options for locate, arming tracks without hitting shift keys (has a dedicated record arm button) a nice zoom in / out feature, and dedicated buttons to useful on screen things.

So as a Nuendo guy, I gotta admit I'm pretty harsh on Tascam for the US2400. The fact that the first 2 US2400 units we received didn't even WORK doesn't help. The fact that the Mackie has been 100% flawless for me for months doesn't help the Tascam's rep with me either. So I am biased! I suspect many of the happy US2400 users are Pro Tools guys and that is Kool & the Gang.

The Tascam is a beautiful unit for sure (the Mackie's no slouch and has a cool glow from the scribble strips) and I fully intended to like it, but it doesn't improve my workflow and replace the mouse enough for my Steinberg needs. I don't even have the expander with my Mackie, but all said it's only about $100 more to have the MCU and an expander although it is "only" 17 faders at that point.

War
Old 25th August 2005
  #27
Gear Nut
 
Mystical's Avatar
 

I think if I had a chance to do it again I would go with the mackie controler and an extender. I'm finding that a controler while very cool looking an analog console replacemt it is not.
Old 25th August 2005
  #28
Gear Addict
 
dhughes's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mystical
I think if I had a chance to do it again I would go with the mackie controler and an extender. I'm finding that a controler while very cool looking an analog console replacemt it is not.
You definitely have a point there. While it is sexy as hell....I might choose to spend my 1.5K differently now if I had it back. I've found over time that I don't use the controller as much as I would have imagined. Kind of hard to admit...but true.

Not to mention....with Sonar 4, there seem to be some issues....have to reconfigure everytime i reboot.
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