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JeffTadashi 05/28/2012

Tascam US-1641 : JeffTadashi's user review

« Can't record drums without it! »

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The Tascam US-1641 is a 16 input, 4 output usb midi recording interface. It includes 8 mic inputs with phantom power and 60db of gain, two balanced TRS line/guitar inputs, four more balanced inputs on the back of the unit, digital input and output via S/PDIF, separate monitor output, separate headphone output, and midi in and midi out capabilities. Although this is an older, discontinued product, in some ways I prefer it over the newer version. One reason, is that the US-1641 has a simple power cord connection, whereas the newer recording interface uses a special power adapter (not sure why they made the change).


Although this unit is older and discontinued, it works flawlessly on my Windows 7 system. For recording drums and recording live sessions, you cannot beat this unit, for a small home studio. I use it every week to record my band's practice, and even when I use it with my older Windows XP system (that I keep in our practice room), my computer can easy handle all of the inputs at once.

Mainly, this unit is invaluable for recording drums, where more than two inputs (which is what my main audio interface has) in necessary. With the ability to hook up 8 phantom-powered mics directly, plus 6 additional 1/4 line-leve inputs, you have the capacity to record any standard drum set. The gains are fairly easy to set on the device, as there are light indicators to let you know when a channel is receiving input, and when the input is too hot. However, even if the indicator doesn't turn red, I find that sometimes the input still gets a bit clipped and distorted if you are not careful with the volume levels. This happens in particular with large diaphragm condenser microphones, which I find myself turning the gain all the way down to prevent clipping.


Installation is relatively easy, but it always seems necessary to download new drivers from Tascam's website directly. The Tascam US-1641 is fully compatible with 64-bit and 32-bit Windows systems. I have not tried it yet on a Mac OS computer (but usually, it's the Windows systems that tend to lack support, not Mac).


Overall, this is a great audio and midi interface that any small studio should pick up, certainly if they need to recording drums or live sessions.