Recording in a Small Home Studio -  Review - 09/06/2016
Featuring: Tascam US16x08, Behringer HA8000, N-Track DAW, & Ikea Rack Hack.

The Interface, The Headphone Amp and the Daw !

A good interface is the heart and soul of any home recording studio and the Tascam US16x08 promises to be just that. I previously had a Tascam US600 (And a Tascam 144 cassette 4-track 20 odd years ago) and the company’s reputation plus my experience with their products, together with the best priced interface in its segment, lured me towards the US16x08 for my new home studio.

The 16x08 is just that, as implied by the model name, an interface with 16 input channels and 8 output channels as well. The first eight channels are equipped with XLR connectors and high quality HDDA low noise mike preamps so you can plug your favourite microphones or signals coming from DI boxes straight into the unit. Phantom power is also provided and that works well with condenser microphones and DI boxes.

The unit is housed is a sturdy metal casing with a slight tilt back for easy visualisation of the faders and connectors. The metal “ears” can be removed for installation in a regular 19” rack with other outboard equipment.

Setup is just a case of downloading the USB drivers from the Tascam website, installing these and plugging in the interface via a standard USB cable. The unit is powered by a standard DC adapter and also it is useful to note that it can be used as a standalone microphone preamp/mixer without been plugged into a computer. Class compliant drivers also allows portable use with tablets.

I have now been using the interface for a few months for original music and backing track production for my band. I use the N-Track DAW which is both powerful and easy to use and the interface works well with this. I do need to get a second screen shortly however as the input 16 - VU meters occupy half my 22 inch screen. The unit is quite forgiving and I haven’t experienced any digital artefacts/noise/ or latency with recordings, even when laying down several simultaneous tracks.

The unit as mentioned before has eight separate outputs, of which at the moment I am using two for the main stereo output to a Tapco (By Mackie) mixer which, has my Alesis studio monitors and another to a Behringer eight channel headphone amplifier which together with the output on the Tascam gives me nine individually controllable headphone outputs. The Behringer by the way features two source inputs which can be selected individually at each headphone channel a very useful feature.

The 19” duo are housed in a DIY Rack, made from a “Rast” bedside table from Ikea. This was simply assembled, varnished with a dark stain and a pair of 19” rack strips added to make an effective and low cost six rack unit. The unit is placed onto of a similarly built “Rast” chest of drawers to give it a good working height and storage space for cables, headphones, and other recording paraphernalia.

All this together with a good microphone, quality headphones and a guitar modelling amplifier make for a good all purpose mini studio which would be adequate for most types of recording tasks.

For further information or the full specifications and documentation please visit the relevant manufacturer’s websites.

By Ernest H Slade

Products Reviewed.
Tascam US16x08 Link
Behringer HA8000 Link
IKEA Rast Nightstand Hack into 19" Rack. Link
N-Track DAW Link