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Rating and Reviews: Tascam US144 MK2 Audio

Get maximum bang-for-buck in this USB interface, which sports two XLR mic preamps, a guitar-level Hi-Z input, two line inputs, MIDI, and S/PDIF I/O.

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"Big Bang Small Buck Studio Must Have" submitted January 5, 2011

By a customer from gmail.com
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Musical Background: Active Musician
Music Style: Rock and Roll
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Sound: I want to keep this in perspective so remember; this is a $100.00 box. With that in mind, you will be hard pressed to find anything at this price point that sounds this clean. I have none of the popping or clicking noises that some other people have had. The headphone out is underpowered as they are on most of these interfaces, I use a headphone amp so for myself, it is not an issue. Feature: Since I was shopping for a box with these exact features I am pleased to say they all work as expected. Ease of Use: I read some of the stories out there and I am happy to report that none of them applied to me. I downloaded the driver from Tascam (I never launched the enclosed discs) followed the instructions and "presto" I was up and running in about 5 minutes. Quality: I agree that the pots feel soft ($100.00) but the range is good and once their set you don't need to fuss with them often. The switches also feel "Brittle". The case and connectors all feel and act solidly and overall appearance is good. Value: I was unable to find anything close at $115.00. Think about it; USB interface with MIDI and 2 SPDIF plus 2 analog ins as well as a headphone and stereo line out and some software to boot! And, that Zzounds has the lowest price in town nails the deal. Manufacturer Support: I have not had to deal with Tascam on this product but have in the past. It was a long time ago (about 10 years) but they were there for me after I fried some chips on my old Studio 8. The Wow Factor: The box blends in more than stands out. If you’re looking for eye candy this is not the spot. Overall: OK, before I bought this box I wanted The Focusrite dsp 24 pro VRM. But at $400.00 it wasn’t going to happen. So my Tascam is temporary however, I am in no rush to replace it and since Christmas, I think of the Focusrite a little less every day.
21 of 21 people (100%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Only for Budget Tight Musicians..." submitted April 12, 2011

By a customer from gmail.com
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Musical Background: Professional Musician
Music Style: Anything guitar
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Sound: The audio is clean when properly amplified before I go through the interface. The preamp is... for a lack of a better term, weak. I recommend a small powered mixer (I use a 4/8 channel) before you run inputs through the interface. I ran my MIDI synth module and directly connected them through inputs 3/4 and could barely hear them even when I had the module volume at max. This used to work perfectly on my old Lexicon Omega which had far better preamps. Feature: Having 4 inputs is nice on specs, but because of the weak preamps, it's useless. The MIDI IN/OUT is useful mainly because of the types of recording I do. The software CuBase LE 5 requires a MIDI input device if you want to record any type of MIDI, you can only edit, not create MIDI data from scratch. CuBase has a learning curve, but works well. The headphone jack works well. Ease of Use: The interface is simple to setup. When in doubt, download the drivers from their website. It works with 64-bit OS as well. The software was a definite learning curve. The manual is well written, and if you hate reading like I do, go to YouTube and search for CuBase tutorials. Quality: My first multi-track recorder was a Tascam, and I used it until it broke by use. I haven't had it long enough to give you it's life span, but I know a few friends who own the same interface and they've had it for a couple of years. Either way, I'm sure it will last longer than my Lexicon Omega which lives 1-2 years before acting funny and dies. Value: The price is cheap... but I would have settled for the US122MkII with fewer inputs for reasons listed above. It works very well for the price I paid. Manufacturer Support: Website is the easiest way to get support, but it's not always easy to navigate. I've had no need to contact them, so that's probably a good sign. The Wow Factor: It's light, and seems durable. I don't plan on throwing it around or anything. It's an interface... it's meant to be plugged in and forgotten. I wanted it because it was cheap. Overall: I'm sure this product will serve me until the interface dies. If I had to replace it, I would downgrade to the 122 instead of the 144.
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"Awesome product would recommend to anyone looking for simple easy to use Home interface" submitted April 21, 2011

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Sound: crystal clear sound, and running on Vista. I've had none of the clicking popping problems others have complained about. Feature: For the price, couldn't ask for more out of the unit itself. The LE version of Cubase is not all it's cracked up to be, but there are plenty of FREE VST plugins available. I have upgraded to Cubase Essentials 5. Ease of Use: Very easy to setup and use! Quality: For the price I don't think there is a better unit out there! Value: Awesome price for a unit that sounds this clear, and the software is although basic a good starting point for basic recording. Manufacturer Support: Haven't had to use Tascams support, but I did download the latest 2.0 driver and it was very easy to find, and their support page was very easy to navigate. The Wow Factor: Could care less if it looks like an ashtray or what as long as it functions and sounds great. Overall: Awesome unit! The one thing I could suggest to anyone running Vista is disconnect all your other USB devices, besides mouse and keyboard when using it. Also if you don't have an Intel chipset on your motherboard, that could be the reason you have problems with latency and the cracking popping problems others have complained about. As a former computer Tech for HP most other chipsets have known issues with added hardware. Nothing against VIA but you take your chances. Also AMD was never designed for multimedia, just number crunching power.
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"Good value altho somewhat big and heavy, but has a problem." submitted January 5, 2010

By a customer from gmail.com
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Musical Background: Hobby musician
Music Style: Rock/Pop/Blues
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Sound: The preamps are very quiet compared to other USB interfaces I own, namely Edirol UA-101, Edirol UA-25EX and very much quieter than my EMU Tracker Pre. On the other hand, the maximum gain is not great so I had to drop the levels of the above mentioned interfaces to do a comparison. But for an SM58 rock/pop vocalist, it's good. Feature: I like being able to turn down the level of the monitors separately, hence my choice, else I'd have bought the 122 Mk2. I don't use the digital inputs. The drivers present these as separate inputs and I can disable them completely in Cakewalk Sonar so they don't disturb me anymore. I also like the pot that pans between the computer and the direct signal. In this way I can always get a decent balance. The Edirol interfaces only have a level for the direct inputs, not for the computer level. This means I often cannot hear my voice/guitar above the backing tracks. The Tascam solves this problem nicely. I wish it had a -18db 80Hz filter for my Neumann TLM 103, but no interfaces I know of have that. So I connect my Mackie 402 VLZ3, which has these filters, in front of the interface. The Mackie has equally quiet preamps (I compared by turning both down to the same volume level) but they have more gain. Ease of Use: Driver installation was a process of plugging in, unplugging, plugging in... but these are all guided by the install software so in fact it was no problem at all. Windows XP 32 bit. Quality: The knobs all have a different "feel". Some turn easily, some less so. No big deal, just makes it feel like my home-made mixer(!) where the pots come from different companies. The knobs are also higher than the predecessor and have a chrome top which scratches easily. The guitar input has a problem. There is a LED to show that turns green to show your level is high enough (and red when distorting). When it turns green, there is a click. This click gets recorded; you can see it in the waveform. At first you don't notice because it gets lost in the attack of the guitar, but if you have a volume pedal or a Boss slow-gear pedal, you can hear it click as the green LED turns on and off. You can also hear it by turning the input volume on the Tascam up and down to make the LED go on and off. Value: It is inexpensive compared to other interfaces in its class, like the Edirol UA-25EX. It also has a well-built aluminium extruded case, unlike the plastic Tracker pre. Manufacturer Support: I dealt with the retailer, not with Tascam directly, so I don't know. The Tascam website was quick to post 64bit drivers. The Wow Factor: It is unfortunately a bit big and heavy compared to the competition, but for a desktop model, having the knobs on the top instead of in front, I find it more practical for a mobile laptop studio setup. But the clicking LED on the guitar input is really annoying. I can only accept it because I can turn my Mackie to Guitar and turn the Guitar off on the Tascam. Overall: I will keep it until something smaller, lighter, and with better gain on the preamps arrives at a similar price-point.
25 of 27 people (92.59%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Good sound quality, bad drivers, horrible support, constant crashing, stay away." submitted January 11, 2010

By a customer from jamalnichols.com
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Musical Background: Active Musician
Music Style: Varied
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Sound: The sound quality is very good. Feature: Headphone amp is a bit too quiet. Ease of Use: The interface crashes at random intervals throughout the day. On a fresh install of Windows XP SP3, I frequently got the Blue-Screen-of-Death blaming tascusb2.sys. There was no warning. Computer could be on for hours before doing it, or not. I haven't been able to discern a pattern as to when it happens -- it happens most often when I listen to music, but sometimes it will crash when I'm doing nothing at all with it. Quality: Installing the newest drivers from the Tascam Website actually made my system crash more often than the old drivers. The interface also takes 20% of CPU power to run on a Core 2 Quad Laptop, even when I'm doing nothing with it. The Interface actually crashed my PC once while I was writing this review. Appearantly, this is a problem that existed with the previous model of the US-144 as well. Google it; there are dozens of reports online of people having the same issues as me, and hundreds of reports regarding Tascam's worthless customer support. The instruction manual is also littered with typos. Even when it does output sound, you can't use it in a production environment due to very high latency. If you set the latency to anything other than the highest setting, you will get all kinds of crackling and skipping, even when just listening to music in Winamp or Windows Media Player. It often doesn't get properly recognized in Cubase 5. Recording is nearly impossible. Value: Value is not very good, as the interface is unusable. Manufacturer Support: Support is unhelpful, telling me to disable my anti virus and firewall(not an option due to security concerns, but even when I did do it for an hour, my system crashed again), and outright lying to me, saying that Mac users don't have issues with the Tascam Audio Interface, when you can find tons of reports of people having issues on their mac. The Wow Factor: It is decent looking, but nothing spectacular. Overall: Bottom line: When the thing works, it outputs some nice, clear sound for the price. Unfortunately it's nearly unusable due to constant crashing, latency issues and worthless support. Stay away until they put out some new drivers, which they have been promising for nearly two years.
29 of 35 people (82.86%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Excellent Service" submitted December 3, 2012

By Fabian Hypolite in 14041 Preston Rd, TX
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Musical Background: Love music. Played the clarinet
Music Style: Most genres, except hard rock
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Overall: Very pleased in the manner in which the entire process was handled.
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"This interface was a complete waste of money. There are no proper Mac drivers, it stopped working less than a month after I pur" submitted December 22, 2009

By a customer from gmail.com
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Musical Background: Hobbyist
Music Style: Anything
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Sound: Pre-amps are noisy, on the few occasions I have got it to work at all I have not been satisfied with the sound. I have been using the Hi-Z input with a passive electric guitar, I have not tried the XLR inputs. Feature: Comes with a decent amount of inputs for the price, and midi is nice I guess. Ease of Use: There are no proper drivers for Mac OS X 10.6 if you are on a 64-bit Mac (so all of them, basically). Interface does not show up in Core Audio "Audio and Midi Setup" so it can't be used for system output. It worked in Logic Studio until this morning. Now it doesn't. This interface is useless. Quality: See above, software is unreliable. The hardware seems well made in that it is a metal case. Knobs seem a little light. Value: It was cheap, but it stopped working less than a month after I purchased it. Not worth the money. Manufacturer Support: I have not yet contacted support, I will be doing so today. The Wow Factor: This would be a relatively desirable piece of hardware if it worked reliably. I will be replacing it as soon as I can afford something better. Overall: The new Mac OS has been out for ages, it's ridiculous that there still isn't proper support for it so long after release. The fact that it has randomly stopped working in Logic, combined with the substandard sound from the Hi-Z input means I will not be purchasing any Tascam products in the future. I suggest you do the same.
12 of 23 people (52.17%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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