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Tascam FW1884 Application Guide

Published: Tue June 08, 2004  News Feed

Controlling a Digital Audio Workstation

In this setup, the FW-1884 is controlling a Digital Audio Workstation such as Steinberg Cubase or Cakewalk Sonar. The FW-1884 can be used as your input/output device, adding up to 18 inputs and 18 outputs. Use the eight microphone preamps to record into your DAW with zero latency, or transfer audio from digital recorders and GigaStudio through the ADAT inputs. The Control Room section allows you to connect your DAW to your monitors with an easy-access level control. You can control any monitor system from Stereo up to 7.1, even simultaneous 5.1 and stereo mixes.

Use the nine 100mm moving faders to set up your mix, and take advantage of the pan, EQ, aux send and transport control on the front panel. You can even flip the control surface to set up a cue mix from the faders.More shortcuts on the front panel include edit commands, nudging, in/out point editing with the weighted jog wheel, and the all-important save and undo keys.

Once you’ve freed yourself from the mouse, you’ll wonder how you ever worked without a fader controller.

One of the things that simple MIDI Fader Controllers don’t address is that you’ve spent years collecting a rack full of reverbs, compressors, and other signal processors. Even though your DAW may have the latest plug-ins, sometimes there’s no substitute for the real thing. The FW-1884 allows you to insert your favorite gear into your DAW mix via the analog, S/PDIF and ADAT I/O.

When you’ve finished your mix, you can record it back into the computer or to an external device like a DAT machine or CD recorder.

Live Multitrack Recording

Pairing the FW-1884 with a laptop computer results in an incredibly powerful, compact studio. Not only are there 8 microphone inputs with phantom power, but you can monitor your mix with zero-latency outputs. This means that the band won’t hear a delayed signal in their headphones when you’re recording, ensuring the best performance.

The Mic/Line input on channel 8 allows you to switch to guitar impedance, which allows you to record guitar or bass direct. In addition, each input channel has an analog insert point – perfect for an analog compressor/limiter to keep from overloading the inputs. You can even “half-patch” into the inserts to create direct outputs for a tape backup safety.

Just arm eight channels using the front panel buttons and hit the record key on the FW-1884 to begin recording. Fine-tune your mix using the nine 100mm moving faders, pan, EQ and aux send controls. The “Flip” button allows you to mix the aux sends using the faders, so creating a cue mix is quick and easy. All of the analog inputs can be recorded at 96kHz/24-bit for detailed sonic quality. You can even record the MIDI out and digital out of a keyboard at the same time. Flexible routing controls allow you to make a stereo DAT or CD recording at the same time, so the band has something to take home or sell at the end of the gig.

96kHz Surround Mixing

This expanded system shows the FW-1884 with two FE-8 fader packs for 24-fader control. Up to 15 FE-8s can be added if you like to see lots of faders, and you can always switch fader banks to control any number of channels. The control surface is connected to a computer running DAW software. Using 96kHz/24-bit A/D and D/A converters, the FW-1884 offers full 96kHz operation on all analog I/O channels with compatible DAW software.

You can even add an external A/D converter through the ADAT optical input and a dedicated word clock generator when you want the absolute best audio recording possible.

The control room section can be run in 7.1-channel surround mode, even generating stereo and surround mixes simultaneously. You can bus your aux sends to the line or ADAT outputs, returning external effects processors to the line or ADAT inputs to supplement your plug-in library. Insert your favorite compressors and EQs into the line inputs for fl exible routing through your DAW program.

You’ll appreciate the 100mm moving faders, switchable encoders, EQ control and dedicated edit commands as you polish your work. When you’re fi nished mixing, output to an external stem mixer or bounce back to hard disk. Or do both, simultaneously.

MIDI Sequencing

In a sequencer environment, the FW-1884 really shows its fl exibility. First, plug the FW-1884 into your computer’s FireWire port to add 18 audio ins and outs. This allows you to record new audio tracks and monitor your soft synths without adding a sound card and a mixer.

With the optional FE-8 shown above, you can control 16 simultaneous MIDI and audio tracks plus the master fader, flipping between audio tracks, MIDI tracks and the line inputs. Your monitors plug right into the rear panel, and you can listen in either stereo or surround – even through headphones if you’re a night owl. Even if you’re moving into software synthesizers, you probably have a few hardware synths you can’t live without. The FW-1884 allows you to integrate all of your synths into your sequencing system without adding extra equipment. Start by connecting your synths and modules to the 4 MIDI inputs and outputs. The powerful built-in MIDI interface can route any input to any output, splitting and merging when you need it. Then plug the outputs of your synths into the line inputs of the FW-1884. Synthesizers with ADAT™ optical outputs or GigaStudios with ADAT output cards can be connected digitally. And you can punch in on-the-fly with the footswitch jack when your hands are busy playing music.

You can even send your sequencer audio out to hardware reverbs, compressors and EQs for the finishing touch on your mix. All of these signals can be mixed in the FW-1884 without adding an additional line mixer, and then bussed back to the computer to be bounced to disk. Why use two console surfaces, a synth line mixer and a MIDI fader controller, when you can control your entire studio with the FW-1884?

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