TASCAM US-20×20 Celesonic USB Audio Interface REVIEW

tascam-us-20x20

TASCAM
US-20×20 Celesonic USB Audio Interface

PROS: Excellent selection of I/O, flexible applications, software is user friendly, multi-DAW compatible.
CONS: Might get overlooked for its live mixer capabilities, which would be a shame.
PRICE: $499

Not all that long ago there was only one name in home recording: TASCAM. While cassette 4-tracks are waiting for hipsters to make them popular again, TASCAM has unleashed its latest pro-level interface to expand an existing DAW well beyond the porta studio.

The new US-20×20 features 8 XLR/TRS combo inputs (and excellent preamps) on the front, along with level controls and two headphone outs with level controls. The rear panel handles coaxial, SPDIF, USB 3.0, MIDI, 1/4” line-ins and line outs. It works with Windows and Mac systems, and with a variety of DAWs such as Logic, Sonar, Pro Tools and Studio One. It can also work as a standalone mixer for live use, as well. With its own software suite boasting EQ, Compressors, Reverb, and Compression options, the new TASCAM unit easily transitions from a studio interface to a digital mixer with all the bells and whistles you could need. The unit works effectively as a digital patch bay, with the excellent input and output options. The software is easy to navigate, and even a novice should be able to unlock advanced options easily.

The mic preamps are nice and clear, which considering TASCAM’s background, isn’t surprising. And with a great selection of ins and outs, there are no limitations or special adapters needed to get things going. It’s an excellent way for a band to expand from a starter home recording setup, to a full blown recording rig very easily (with a fairly small footprint, to boot). When not being used in the recording world, flip a switch on the front and it can act as a mixer for practice and live applications. One more flip of the switch and you’re now using it solely as a mic preamp.

It’s like having three units in one, really.

While it comes set up out-of-the-box for desktop use, rack ears and hardware are included. The street price is $499, and considering its multi-purpose design and functionality, it’s well worth checking out. While it may not tout “unobtainium-lined preamps” and other exotic features, it has the features of a workhorse that lives up to TASCAM’s reputation of quality. And honestly, 8 high quality preamps for under $500 should be enough for perk up the ears of any serious home recorder.

FEATURES

Computer Connectivity: USB 3.0
Form Factor: Rackmount (1U Rack Space)
Simultaneous I/O: 20 x 20
A/D Resolution: 24-bit/192kHz
Built-In DSP/FX: EQ and Compression
Analog Inputs: 8 x XLR/TRS Combo (2 Mic/Instrument, 6 Mic/Line) & 2 x 1/4″ TRS
Analog Outputs: 10 x 1/4″ TRS, 2 x 1/4″ headphone
Digital Inputs: 1 x S/PDIF, 1 x Optical S/MUX
Digital Outputs: 1 x S/PDIF, 1 x Optical S/MUX
Phantom Power: Yes
MIDI I/O: In/Out

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