KVR :: Mobile Apps and Hardware » Down to brass tacks with the Tascam US-800 [View Original Topic]
There are 3 posts in this topic.
- Mon May 14, 2012 2:44 pm
After following Storms's posts on the US-800 in the iU2 thread, I decided to take a chance and get one for myself. I received it today and after a number of tests I have to say that it works really well with my iPad 2. A few notes about it:
- It's one of the few CCK based interfaces that doesn't need a powered hub.
- As Storms pointed out, the best thing to do is to set it up using the its control panel from a Mac or PC and keep it powered so it wont lose its settings when plugged into an iPad.
- Doing the above, I was able to record 8 simultaneous tracks using an Apogee MiniMe for the SPDIF input in Multitrack DAW (having set up the US-800 for external clock). After doing that, I was able to toggle the SPDIF signal on and off and the US-800 toggled along perfectly, playback and recording exhibiting no artifacts.
- MIDI in works fine. I didn't get a chance to try MIDI out yet.
- The monitoring section is somewhat noisy, but fortunately the recordings are quite clean and even sounding.
- It cost me more than the iU2. I missed out on the specials going a few months ago, but still got a decent deal on a used unit. Advantages over the iU2: SPDIF input, multichannel, and no hanging wires for XLR and MIDI. Disadvantages: no power to the iPad, but USB is self powered and doesn't draw power from it.
- The driver deficiencies are really ridiculous on the Mac: with the system on, you have to disconnect both the power and USB and then re-power and connect the USB in that order for the US-800 control panel to recognize the unit; and there's no power switch. On the PC it's apparently even possible to blue screen the computer. Monumentally lame.
- It's now on the approved list for Auria multichannel interfaces
. It might explain the price hike, and hopefully we might see some improvement in the driver/firmware department if it becomes popular enough for Tascam to justify spending the money.
- One thing that bothers me is that it gets quite hot in the lower left corner. Heat is always very bad for electronics and I have half a mind to open it up and see what the problem is. Is yours hot there as well?
Now of course, the only thing missing is some kind of control panel for it in iOS. It would be really nice to have that...
- Fri May 18, 2012 2:25 pm
I'm glad it worked out for you. The driver support in Windows 7 64-bit is truly abysmal (can't speak for Mac), but if you're looking for an iPad interface it's definitely worth the price of admission.
Some of the limitations if you try to use it in Windows 7 64-bit:
- If you try to load your DAW (I've tried Ableton Live and Maschine) with anything plugged into MIDI, the US-800 driver will crash and require a power cycle to get working again. You actually have to disconnect MIDI devices, load your DAW, then plug in MIDI devices.
- If you set your Windows control panel to use the US-800 as the default sound card, every time audio is played through it the driver keeps it in memory, until your RAM completely fills and your system crashes. Memory leak hell...
I think Tascam made this system for Windows XP 32-bit and threw the 64-bit drivers out there without any QA and dropped support of the product. That's why the used units were going for only $99 on eBay for a while.
The hot left corner thing is somewhat annoying - I had 2 stacked on top of each other (2 iPads) and it got so hot I started to smell something funny and decided that wasn't a good idea. If you don't put anything on top of the interface it should be fine, though.
- Sat May 19, 2012 4:17 am
Hi Storms: it was in part due to your reported experiences with the us-800 that I got one. Fortunately I was lucky enough to steer away from the PC issues by running the control utility on a MBP where it works mostly as any USB driver should (plug, set, unplug). It's scary how bad the Windows drivers are. I only intend to use the us-800 on iOS.
Since my unit is out of warranty, I took a look inside and the hot part is the CPU. What's worrisome is that the CPU is on the top surface of the PC board, and not against the bottom, which means that the heat we feel permeates through the PC board, which in turn means that the CPU is running REALLY hot. Not ideal. I'll end up doing something about that; at the very least punching some holes to let some air circulate through.
BTW, it's really easy to take apart the US-800: remove the bottom ten screws in the deep wells and the one screw on the bottom back lip, and the top just comes off. To move the main PC board, there's 3 screws on copper areas, but if you want to take it out, you have to start moving and disconnecting wiring harnesses.
Here's a peek at the innards:
There are 3 posts in this topic.