Review: Tascam Track Factory
The computer-based digital audio workstation is the preferred choice of many home studios these days, but for newcomers and even experienced recording engineers, the wide variety of options and questions about the compatibility of various components can be overwhelming and confusing.
Fortunately, Tascam, who pioneered the all-in-one Portastudio concept way back in the Seventies, has come up with a brilliant solution with Track Factory. This package includes almost everything needed—including the computer—to put together a powerful software-driven digital studio. The only extra item needed to get started is a visual monitor, but everything else is in the box.
The Tascam Track Factory consists of a compact Intel NUC computer, Tascam US-2×2 USB audio interface, Cakewalk SONAR Professional software, a keyboard and mouse, Tascam TM-80 large-diaphragm condenser microphone and Tascam TH-02 headphones.
The computer is loaded with the Windows 10 Home operating system and features an Intel i5-525OU 2.7GHz processor, 8GB RAM (expandable to 16GB) and a 256GB solid state drive. A mini HDMI video port allows you to use an HD TV or computer monitor of your choice.
The Tascam US-2×2 interface features two XLR/1/4-inch combo inputs with adjustable input gain, phantom power and selectable mic/line or instrument level input settings. Two Ultra-HDAA high-gain mic preamps record pristine audio at resolution up to 24-bit/96kHz.
SONAR Professional is the full-featured penultimate version of Cakewalk’s industry-standard music production software, offering unlimited tracks, 19 virtual instruments, 56 virtual effects (including Cakewalk’s entire acclaimed Studio Mixing and Engineering Suites) and more. SONAR supports VST3 plug-ins, providing access to an immense variety of impressive virtual effects and instruments.
The biggest concern for anyone putting together a software-based digital audio recording system is whether the software, computer and operating system are compatible. Tascam Track Factory eliminates the guesswork from the get-go, providing a rock-solid platform for your recording projects.
The whole system sets up in minutes—all you need to do is register the SONAR software and you’re good to go. The computer measures less than 4 inches square, allowing users to conveniently place it anywhere or even take the entire system with them when traveling.
The Tascam TM-80 microphone works well for recording instruments or vocals, and the TH-02 headphones deliver clean, flat sound quality—although users will eventually want to invest in a pair of near-field monitors for more accurate “real world” monitoring. The US-2×2 interface provides latency-free monitoring through its headphone jack, making it easy to lay down overdubs with perfect timing.
STREET PRICE: $1,299.99
MANUFACTURER: Tascam, tascam.com
● A complete software-based recording system, including computer, software, audio interface, mic and headphones.
● The TM-80 microphone has a large-diaphragm condenser design that’s ideal for capturing vocals or a wide range of instruments.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Tascam Track Factory combines several pro-quality products to provide home studios with an all-in-one package that eliminates the guesswork of setup and provides a powerful platform for making outstanding recordings.