Tascam US-1800 USB 2.0 Audio Interface
The Tascam US-1800 is truly one of the best values around for USB audio interfaces. With 16 simultaneous input channels -- eight of which are +48V phantom-powered XLR mic preamps -- the US-1800 is an excellent choice for recording everyone all at once: a fully-miked-up drum kit, a vocal mic, a couple of guitars, and a MIDI keyboard. In addition to its eight XLR inputs, two guitar/line inputs, and four dedicated 1/4" TRS line inputs, this interface has two-channel digital S/PDIF I/O and 16 channels of MIDI via the standard 5-pin MIDI I/O. And all this I/O lives in just one rack space -- compact enough to fit into any setup. Paired with the included Steinberg Cubase LE 5 48-track recording software, the Tascam US-1800 is one killer box to build your studio or portable recording rig around, at a surprisingly affordable price.
See a quick overview of the US-1800 in Tascam's video:
16 Inputs in Just One Rack Space
With so much I/O in one rack space, you might be wondering what Tascam left out of this 16 x 4 box. The answer: not much. All eight balanced XLR inputs are located right on the front panel -- perfect for easy access, if you're expecting to do a lot of cable patching and re-patching in your studio. And you can turn on phantom power on preamps 1-4 or 5-8 individually, so your Tascam US-1800 can accommodate condensers, dynamics, or ribbon microphones. Doing guitar or bass overdubs in your home studio? Plug your instrument straight into the front panel's two 1/4" inputs, and hit each channel's "guitar" button to turn on its Hi-Z instrument-level input. Or toggle the inputs to Line level to plug in a keyboard, drum machine, or other line-level source. Your total of 14 analog inputs, plus the S/DPIF digital ins and MIDI, are all transmitted to your Mac or PC over high-speed USB 2.0.
Easy-To-Use Zero-Latency Hardware Monitoring
On the back panel of the US-1800, you'll find a pair of 1/4" TRS analog labeled "Monitor." These outputs are set up for worry-free zero-latency hardware monitoring -- so the musicians you're recording will be able to hear themselves directly, with no delay or echo. Simply turn the front panel's Mix knob fully to the left. This assigns the mix of signals from your 14 analog inputs directly to the Monitor output pair. Feed a headphone amp with this signal -- or plug in monitor speakers -- and you're monitoring with no latency. The front panel's Mix knob lets you adjust the balance between the unit's inputs, and the stereo signal coming back from your computer over USB channels 1 and 2. You can adjust the overall level of your Monitor with a level knob on the US-1800's front panel. There's also a separate level knob for the front panel's 1/4" headphone jack. It's a simple, yet very usable setup that lets you set up monitoring without dealing with a separate mixer.
Four Analog Outputs + Mirrored S/PDIF Output
In addition to your Monitor output pair, you'll also find that the Tascam US-1800 has four 1/4" TRS analog outputs. While some interfaces in this price range only have a stereo output from the DAW, the US-1800 gives you a full four outputs along with your 16 inputs. That means you can send four channels of audio from your DAW to your US-1800 over USB -- ideal for feeding outboard gear, like reverb units or compressors, or even setting up an alternate headphone mix from outputs 3 and 4. Assign your US-1800's S/PDIF digital output to mirror either analog output pairs 1-2 or 3-4 -- perfect for connecting digitally to an external mastering processor, or capturing a "safety" to a separate recorder for high-pressure live recording situations.
- Affordable 16x4 USB 2.0 audio interface
- Eight XLR microphone preamps with +48V phantom power
- Six 1/4" balanced line inputs, including two front-panel inputs individually switchable to Hi-Z, for plugging in guitars or basses directly
- S/PDIF digital I/O
- 5-pin DIN MIDI I/O
- Included 48-track Steinberg Cubase LE 5 DAW software
- Compact 1U rack-mountable design
- Zero-latency hardware monitoring
A Truly "Pro" Multichannel USB Interface
It's clear that Tascam has come up with one USB audio interface that truly belongs in a serious recording setup. With its no-nonsense all-black case, the US-1800 looks professional in your rack -- and at this price point, it's economical to stack multiple US-1800s, adding more I/O to build a studio with 16, 32, or 48 inputs. You're limited only by how many USB devices your computer can handle and the number of tracks your DAW software supports. The Tascam US-1800 gives you pro-level details like switches on the 1/4" line inputs to toggle between -10dBv or +4dBu depending on the gear you're plugging in. And of course, each of your eight preamps have red LEDs that blink on 2 dB before clipping, so you can back off the gain before your signal distorts. Dollar for dollar, the US-1800's most impressive spec is its low price. If you need the highest number of inputs for the least amount of money, this USB interface is the ideal balance.
zZounds is an authorized dealer of Tascam products.