Review: Tascam iU2 Audio Interface

This device offers great features, but it is not without its flaws

Item: Tascam iU2, Computer Audio Interface

Price: US: $149, UK: £125

Mic Scale:

At A Glance: If you are looking to record vocals and instruments at home and on the road; the Tascam iU2 is an audio interface that allows you to connect a microphone, keyboard or guitar to a computer. It connects to a laptop/desktop computer via USB or S/PDIF connection, or to an iPad/iPhone, and features all the basic inputs and outputs needed to get you started making music. The iU2 looks stylish and, at around 12cm, easy to transport or fit in your laptop case.

High Notes: The feature on the iU2 most important to singers will be the twin XLR connections that feature phantom power to enable the use of condenser microphones. The preamps are quiet and have enough gain to get a clean recording from most microphones. Unlike some similar devices, Tascam have also included a MIDI connection – which is a great addition if you also play keyboard or want to input drum parts into your sequencer software with a MIDI compatible drum pad. Other connections include a dedicated guitar input and headphone and line outputs for monitoring.

Low Notes:  The iU2 is made of plastic and, although built well enough for home use, could do with being a little more rugged, especially if you plan to take it on the road. Some users have reported trouble getting the devices drivers working flawlessly with their computers and have experienced audio dropouts and software crashes – hopefully this is something that Tascam will be able to quickly sort out as it does not seem to affect all users. The device is only capable of up to 48kHz/16bit recording quality, which may not be enough for some people, and finally the iPad connector is arguably a little too short.

A VoiceCouncil Reviewer Says: The Tascam iU2 has a great array of connections – more than many devices in its price range – which will no doubt make it appeal to many musicians working on laptops and iPads. Its mic inputs also work as balanced line inputs and it has zero latency direct monitoring for hearing yourself though your headphones whilst you record. The device is simple to use and its A/D converters offer improved performance over those typically found on laptops as well as on an iPad/iPhone. It is a shame that some users are reporting problems with the computer drivers and the build-quality as it detracts from what is largely a great device considering its price.

Manufactures’ Website: http://www.tascam.com

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