Key Features:

  • Complete Recording Package
  • TASCAM US-2×2 Interface
  • Ultra-HDDA Microphone Preamps
  • Intel “NUC” Core i5 Computer
  • SONAR Pro with Melodyne

MSRP $1,499.99

Street $1,299.00

www.tascam.com

TASCAM products have long been a go-to for home recording enthusiasts. On the Pro side, DA-88’s were one of the most popular digital recorders of the 90’s. Portastudios are still out there and going strong. TASCAM’s new Track Factory is a modern take on Portastudio style home recording.  It comes with its own computer, 2 Channel Interface, Mic, Headphones, and Pro software, all in one neat complete package. TASCAM has joined with several companies to create a nice solution for home recording.

OUT OF THE BOX:

Opening this package feels like Christmas. There are individual boxes for each component, including the TASCAM US-2X2 Interface, Intel NUC mini computer, Headphones, Mic with a desk stand, Mouse, Keyboard, and cables. The only thing you need is a display monitor and ideally, some monitor speakers. Note: at the time I received this unit there was not an HDMI Mini adaptor included. I ordered one from Amazon, and then realized you can also use an Apple Thunderbolt to HDMI adaptor. Fortunately, I had one. I then watched the TASCAM Video where the cute girl  (Country Artist Jessica Lynn) set it all up pretty quickly. That’s Girl power! It took me less than an hour to set it all up from box opening. The good news is the Sonar Pro software has already been Pre-loaded into the computer and optimized for the TASCAM US-2X2 interface. It’s really a no brainer. This is a fully baked, turnkey solution!

GOING DEEPER:

The Track Factory is built around an Intel “NUC” core i5 computer with Windows 10 and Cakewalk SONAR Professional DAW recording software. The NUC comes with 8 GB RAM, 3 GB cache, a 256 GB SSD, three USB 3.0 ports for keyboard, mouse, and External hard drive, Mini Display 1.2 port, Mini HDMI 1.4a port, an Ethernet port, and built in Wi-Fi.

The TASCAM US-2X2 is a nice, compact interface that can record 24 bit with up to 96kHz/24-bit resolution. On front are: 2 combo ¼” / XLR inputs with gain controls, 48v Phantom switch, Signal input indicator, and Mic/Line switch. The Mic preamps feature Ultra-HDDA (High Definition Discrete Architecture) preamps with pristine NE5532 Op-amps for Input and Output Stages. There are also volume pots for monitor balance, Line level out, and Headphone jack volume. On back are two balanced Line Out jacks, Midi in/out, USB jack, and a 5v Power jack.

The included TH-02 Headphones are over ear, and not a bad choice as an entry-level set. The TM-80 Mic is a Phantom powered medium size cardioid condenser, featuring an 18mm pure aluminum diaphragm.

IN USE:

After setting up, I was impressed at how together this system is right out of the box. The computer has been optimized by PC Audio Labs, known for building high-end studio systems. I was up and running right away, and though I’ve not used SONAR Pro before, it’s very user friendly. Don’t underestimate SONAR; it’s a real Pro DAW for making records, or even scoring. While using headphones and recording acoustically with the US-2X2, there was no noticeable latency, and programming some grooves with Addictive Drums is fun and sounds amazing. SONAR comes with 56 EFX Plug-ins and 5 Analog style Pro Channel strip plug-ins. There are 19 virtual instruments, and unlimited track recording. Also bundled is Celemony Melodyne Pitch correction, and Addictive Drums 2 Solo Edition. SONAR Pro is set to compete with Logic, Cubase, Ableton, etc. and holds its own. I’m a fan of Melodyne and Addictive Drums too. For guitar guys, there are features like 16 drag and drop Guitar amp simulations. If space permitted, I could go deep into SONAR. I’m very impressed by it.

WRAP UP:

TASCAM Track Factory is really cool and a solid platform to build a studio. Whether you’re an up and coming artist, writer, or producer, you can’t go wrong. The included Mic sounds nice on acoustic and voice. You can always upgrade those things as you grow. The TASCAM US-2X2 has a lot to offer in a small space. When I’m looking at stuff that really matters, like the Mic pre’s and A/D Converters, they’re solid with plenty of headroom, and there are MIDI Jacks for external controllers. The SONARDAW is fantastic and working hard to become a big player in the DAW scene. I wasn’t expecting such high-end pro Plug-ins and Instruments that come with it. SONAR also has monthly updates, and a set of presets and FX chains by legend Craig Anderton. There’s also VST3, and Touch screen support. Lastly, the Intel NUC worked like a charm. Everything was snappy and solid. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Track Factory to anyone looking into making demos and building a studio.

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Producer, writer, studio musician, and staff guitarist at Lakewood Church, Houston TX. Owner, Gman Productions film music. MichaelHodge.com

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