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Phil O'Keefe

What's old is new again - my review of the TASCAM Model 24

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This is the new TASCAM Model 24:

 

 

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Looks like an old-school analog mixer, right? Well it is... but it's a lot more than that. For all of the details, click on the link and check out my in-depth review....

 

https://www.harmonycentral.com/expert-reviews/tascam-model-24

 

 

And as always, if you have any questions about the TASCAM Model 24, or questions or comments about the review, this is the place to post them. :wave:

 

 

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so then the question in my mind is: what is it? a live mixer, or a recording console? Seems like they tried to make it both, but left out some things that would have made it go one way or the other...

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so then the question in my mind is: what is it? a live mixer' date=' or a recording console? Seems like they tried to make it both, but left out some things that would have made it go one way or the other...[/quote']

 

The sense I get from Phil's review is that it's a giant Portastudio, so it's an all-in-one "instant recording studio." Where I could see it being useful for live mixing is something like house of worship or corporate presentations, where you need to be able to do mixing but also want to record. You wouldn't need the same kind of road-worthiness as something you planned to take on tour.

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I think it needs a video monitor out, so you don't have to look at that small screen.

 

Tascam was never big on a MIDI in/out, and this is no different.

 

All in all, it looks cool.

 

Great way to record a band, or ever a solo album.

 

I actually glad these things still exist.

 

 

 

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I think it needs a video monitor out' date=' so you don't have to look at that small screen.[/quote']

 

 

Other than the meters, you probably won't spend much time looking at the screen either way - it's not really a heavily menu-dependent product.

 

 

Tascam was never big on a MIDI in/out, and this is no different.

 

 

It might have been nice to include MTC for the recorder so you could lock it to something else, but outside of that, I can't think of what they would use MIDI for on a product like this.

 

 

All in all, it looks cool.

 

Great way to record a band, or ever a solo album.

 

I actually glad these things still exist.

 

 

Yeah, you could easily use it for either one of those purposes. It would be a good choice for capturing a band's live gig, or tracking them all at once at home using the SD card recorder... or you could use it as an audio interface and go straight into your DAW of choice, then use the analog mixer and stereo bus recorder to do the mixdowns... lots of possibilities.

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so then the question in my mind is: what is it? a live mixer' date=' or a recording console? Seems like they tried to make it both, but left out some things that would have made it go one way or the other...[/quote']

 

It's both really, although I hear what you're saying. As with any live or recording console, it needs to meet your needs in terms of channels, connectivity, and general features. There's plenty there for using it for live gigs with say, an acoustic quartet or something like that. Me? For a rock band gig, I want a desk with at least 32 channels, four to six aux sends, at least four subgroups, inserts on every mic input, etc. etc. I won't always need / use all those features, but I want to have them available.

 

Obviously the Model 24 doesn't have all of those features, but it's not really intended to just be a live console, or a recording console, although again, depending on your specific needs, it can serve as either / both. As Craig noted, it's more analogous to a modern-day Portastudio. You can also make comparisons to a computer audio interface; it has more mic preamps than most of them that you'll find, and most audio interfaces don't come bundled with 22 channel analog mixers...

 

 

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I keep going back to your review of it. I keep coming back to this thread as well.

I guess I'm a bit nuts....But the idea of going back to having to use patch cables to get where I want to go...Just gets my juices up. I was never happier, musically, than I was when it was just me, a 234, an eight channel board, a patch bay, and the rack of toys.

 

 

 

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I keep going back to your review of it. I keep coming back to this thread as well.

I guess I'm a bit nuts....But the idea of going back to having to use patch cables to get where I want to go...Just gets my juices up. I was never happier, musically, than I was when it was just me, a 234, an eight channel board, a patch bay, and the rack of toys.

 

 

 

Ah a Syncaset! I had the TASCAM 225 for a while; I used to use that to record and bounce tracks internally, along with a second stereo cassette deck and a small mixer to do sound on sound and basic overdubs with. For arrangement ideas and songwriting, it worked great - at least by the standards of the day - and it was a lot cheaper to "feed" than my 80-8.

 

 

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Ah a Syncaset! I had the TASCAM 225 for a while; I used to use that to record and bounce tracks internally, along with a second stereo cassette deck and a small mixer to do sound on sound and basic overdubs with. For arrangement ideas and songwriting, it worked great - at least by the standards of the day - and it was a lot cheaper to "feed" than my 80-8.

 

 

Almost everything I have on my SoundCloud page was recorded on a 234 and mixed down to either an Akai 4000DS or a Tascam 122 (The two speed one) along with an outboard DBX unit.The cool thing when I got the 122 was that I could mix a four track down to it on high speed, then just pop that cassette back into the 234 and have two more tracks with minimal signal loss.

 

While I have done things with others digitally, online, I haven't finished one damn thing I've started in Sonar.

 

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FSK sync was my friend about 30years ago, :).

 

Why you not finish anything in Sonar? Option anxiety?

 

I treat my DAW as a glorified tape machine.

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FSK sync was my friend about 30years ago, :).

 

 

 

The first FSK sync box I had required you to start from the top of the song... later, I got one that would pick up and lock, even if you started in the MIDDLE of the song, and I thought that was fantastic! :lol:

 

 

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...had to tie up a track on a 4 track leaving 3 tracks for real. midi etc. :D2 Some of the music from then is still valid.

Edited by nice keetee

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I was just looking at the manual and block diagrams. Also watched a bit of the Sweetwater tracking session with it. Oh well. What can one expect for a bit under a grand.

 

Maybe it'll get a bigger brother later that at least has insert points on every channel. With inserts everywhere, you could use modified cables on the trs to create direct outs for every channel. Which could be useful for lots of stuff such as totally bypassing a usb digital connection....staying completely analog in/out of the mixer over to your daily 24-32 analog in interface cards that you already have on your daw etc.

 

It would also separate the Tascam in this regard from the Soundcraft mtk 22....which has the same situation with no (few) inserts and no direct outs.

 

With direct outs, you could do some nifty routing between two of these gizmos.

 

Me? I'd stick on a full blown optional meter bridge of some sort to cover up all those pa-system-location wire connections. And to have one less reason to navigate around the right-side teeny led display. By the way Tascam... you DO have to menu dive (in a sense) to scroll to see the channel input meters. Bring out a cool woodgrain-side set of real Tascam vu meters on a bridge for that 24. You do that all the time anyway on stuff you invent.

 

It'd be real cool looking......oooh...wait..... add inserts to all the channels....use the insert points to route 24 little cables to the analog meter overbridge...with circuitry in the overbridge to split out a direct out path to add as trs or rca on the back of the overbridge.....and voila ... the direct outs. It's either that or Japan has to jimmy up some sort of d-sub connector. In either case, we're talking about adding a whole extra jumble of wires.... which is of course... the wave of the recording future. No more of this iPad and bluetooth headphone daw crap.

 

Oh well maybe next year....or hey....maybe later this month at Namm. I'm gonna squeeze some info out of Tascam during setup days. For sure.

 

Alas, this is the first baby step back into tan/orange/woodcheek land for Tascam (well...second if you count the cassette deck they're pushing) so I guess it's a start. I sort of know what's next anyway, so perhaps this little portastudio mixer is okay as it is.

Edited by bookumdano4

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Phil,

Thank you - your review is very helpful. And this discussion thread is also helpful so thanks for folks here sharing their process and experience with this gear.  I am still confused about the fx send and receive setup. With prior (cassette) portastudio style recording work (In my case on an Akai 4track cassette console/recorder similar to old Portastudio) i would use fx send and receive to my offboard rack multi-efx gear and bring the "wet" back in on fx receive on one or more tracks as part of mastering/mix down to stereo to finish. I assume pretty common approach esp. with rack reverbs, etc. I know this unit has onboard efx, but i will need fx not included on this unit with a lot more fx parametric control as i assume most want also.

I plan to mainly use this as a player/songwriter solo as a composition tool, or with a musician or two to build up songs via tracks as i used to do with the old 4 track portastudios. And i do not want to use a computer at all. To focus on listening and hands own tracking w/knobs and switches!  So i'm also comparing this to for example Tascam's Portastudio https://tascam.com/us/product/dp-24sd/top .

You caution about this use, re: only having features for direct instrument connection and inserts on channels 1 and 2. And the need when recording solo (tracking) therefore to bounce manually to other tracks. Unless i'm missing something, couldn't one just use a direct box interface(s) for say guitar or bass and then use tracks 3-n for additional tracks to build up the song? These features seems to be the main difference between input ch 1/2 and the remainder.

And could you also please address this aspect of this otherwise useful, versatile product? I see the fx out (mono) can go to offboard (instead of onboard fx) and i see the sub out and aux out,  but don't see any fx (or sub or aux) return. Expected to see stereo fx send and fx receive connectors. Is the expected approach by user to select and send fx out on fx out, or aux mon 1 and 2 stereo and bring it back in on say for stereo two add'l unused channels/tracks and mix "wet" and "dry" with faders on those (return) channels? And when using multiple multi-fx units for different instruments (vocal, guitar) to then use add'l tracks for each of those "wet" returns also?  Seems cumbersome so perhaps i am missing something simple here?

I'm not familiar with use of inserts, i understand the send/ return in the same TRS cable, but i see no way to mix the wet/dry for that fx loop on the board. Thank you in advance for any clarity you can shed on this off board fx send/return aspect.

 

Edited by Andy442
Clarify questions.

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I have a large drum set with individual mics and overheads. I have the Model 24 and have it linked to Studio One 4 software via USB. Can someone walk me through settings on the Model 24 to record into my DAW? I have the drums EQ'd already and am not using compression on the board. Things I do not understand relate to live vs computer; any settings i need to monitor from the computer the existing sone while I record my drum tracks back to the song. Any tips would be appreciated. 

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From my review:

 

Right below the mic preamps, you'll find the very important Mode or source switches. These set the input source for the channel, and have three positions. These switches must be set correctly, depending on how you want to use the Model 24. There are settings for Live, Direct/PC USB, and MTR. Live is used for bringing in mic or line input sources (such as when using the Model 24 as a mixer), while the Direct/PC USB position is selected when using the Model 24 as a computer USB audio interface for DAW recording. The MTR setting is used when you want to record and play back material to and from the built-in multitrack recorder.

 

You want to set the input mode switches for the channels you have your mics connected to to the Direct/ PC USB setting on the Model 24. That will route the signals from them out over the USB connection to your DAW. You'll need to select the correct input sources from within Studio One too for each mic channel. For example, if you have your kick drum mic connected to channel 3 on the Model 24, you'll need to select TASCAM channel 3 from the list of input sources on the Studio One channel you want to record the kick drum to.  

You'll also use the same mode switch setting for the playback from the DAW - you'll want to pick two channels on the Model 24 to use for monitoring purposes, and make sure that the DAW output assignments for whatever DAW tracks you want to play back / monitor is the same as those two channels. For example, you might select channels 1 and 2 as your monitoring channels (for the playback from the DAW) - make sure the mode switches are set to Direct / PC USB on the TASCAM Model 24 channels 1/2, and that you select TASCAM outputs 1/2 for all of the audio tracks in Studio One that you want to monitor. The signal from the DAW's tracks will then play back on the first two channels of the Model 24. Whatever channels you use for monitoring from the DAW, you won't be able to use as recording inputs for your mics - it can only send the sound one way or the other at a time, and not bi-directionally. 

 

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A bit of a zombie thread - but I just picked up a Zoom L-20 which is considered a competitor to this mixer. Anybody prefer one over the other?

My goal was to have something I could use as a rehearsal mixer (that can also track) where I'm not always there to run it so it needed to be usable with minimal training over an analog mixer.

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