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Tascam US122 Application Guide

Published: Tue June 08, 2004

Home Recording using the Tascam US 122

A simple USB cable and the US-122 transform any desktop Mac or PC into a recording workstation. You don’t need to crack open your computer and wrestle with PCI cards to add audio and MIDI recording hardware and software to your computer anymore. And the controls are all on the top panel for quick, easy adjustments.

The US-122 has switchable phantom power and XLR microphone inputs, allowing you to record using highquality condenser microphones. In the studio pictured above, a pair of condenser mics are set up to record vocals and guitar while monitoring through headphones.

When you’re finished recording, you can easily switch back to speakers thanks to the individual headphone and line controls. The MIDI inputs and outputs allow you to connect synthesizers, drum machines, synchronizers, lighting controllers, and hundreds of other musical tools. By plugging a synthesizer into the MIDI input, you’ll be able to use GigaStudio, the world’s most powerful and, best-sounding sampler. In fact, since the US-122 is GSIF compatible, it’s your best solution for using GigaStudio on a laptop. The US-122 also includes Steinberg’s Cubasis VST software, so you’ll be ready to record in minutes without buying extra software.

Recording on the Road using the Tascam US 122

The US-122’s design makes it ideal for use with laptop computers, so you can carry your professional studio around in a backpack. With its rocksolid, die-cast aluminum chassis and robust, compact design, you instantly know that the US-122 was built for the road. And since it’s powered by the USB connection, that’s one less wall-wart power supply you need to cart around or lose.

The US-122’s Direct Monitor feature gives you the flexibility to record and overdub without suffering with latency delay. You’ll easily record layer after layer into the bundled Cubasis VST software, crafting your musical ideas into finished productions. (See the below for more info on Direct Monitoring.) The line inputs of the US-122 can be switched to guitar level, so you can plug in direct without any extra baggage. And with 24-bit, 48kHz recording quality, your late night motel room sketches might just make it on to your next album.

What is Direct Monitoring?

When you record a signal into your computer, it goes through a few steps. First you set the mic or line input level. Then it’s converted into digital audio, which gets sent through the USB connection to your computer, where it needs processing before it reaches the recording software. When this signal is played back, it has to go through the whole journey in reverse. (See Figure 1.) And as fast as modern computers are, this process isn’t instantaneous.

This means that anything you record would have a slight delay before it reaches your headphones or speakers. Even though it’s only a few thousandths of a second, this delay (also called latency) can be distracting when you’re making music. This delay is even more apparent when you’re “overdubbing”, punching in changes to a segment, or recording another layer over what you’ve already recorded.

It’s because of this delay that we added Direct Monitoring to the US-122. This feature allows you to hear what your recording before the signal makes it’s journey to the computer and back. (See Figure 2) Since you’re bypassing the computer, there’s no delay in your headphones. You even get a separate level control for the Direct Monitor, and a Mono switch to sum the two channels together. Even if you’re still unclear about Direct Monitoring, you’ll understand the first time you try to record without it.

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