Tascam US-1641 Multi-Channel USB Audio Interface
The Tascam US-1641 is a multi-channel low cost USB 2.0 based audio interface for PC and Macintosh computers. It’s one of the lower cost systems and offers many very usable features and comes with Cubase LE4. This is a really good intermediate system for musicians and takes up a single rack-mount space. It cannot be used with USB 1.1 computer ports and isn’t meant for portable use as it requires a 120VAC connection.
It comes with 16 inputs which are broken down as:
As for outputs it has (4) four ¼ inch TRS balanced outputs along with the two digital outputs (stereo) from the S/PDIF port. If you plan on doing any surround sound work then there just are enough outputs (4). The AD and DA converters are decent sounding and operate at up to 96kHz/24-bit depth.
Each of the Mic inputs and the two guitar inputs has their own volume control located to the right of the input connectors. The microphone preamps are decent sounding. If you want to use your own mic preamp then plug the output of the pre amp in to one of the TRS inputs on the back panel (channels 10 through 14). The phantom power is enabled in groups of 4 channels (1->4 and 5->8). If you plan on using ribbon mics then care should be used not to enable phantom power with it plugged in. This will certainly cause damage to the mic. If you are using Dynamic (like an SM58) or condenser (AKG C-1000) then you don’t have to worry about it.
The two Guitar/Line inputs (Channel 9 and 10) impedances can be switched between either high-impedance 700kOhms or Line Level 10kOhms. In guitar (high-impedance) mode can plug a guitar directly in to the input without the need of a guitar preamp while in line level mode you can plug the output from a keyboard or cd in to the input. The four TRS inputs (channels 11-14) allow either balanced or unbalanced ¼ inch connections. There’s also an input sensitivity switch that lets you select between +4dBu and -10dBv (Pro and Consumer). The inputs are servo balanced so you can connect either TRS (Tip Ring Sleeve) or TS (Tip Sleeve) ¼ inch cables.
All 14 analog inputs can be used along with the S/PDIF stereo digital inputs. There will be however a slight delay under a millisecond between the analog and digital inputs. This is because the A-to-D converters add an input delay. This will usually not be that noticeable if you are using non-correlated sounds, ie. Stereo Keyboard plugged in to the S/PDIF port.
As for the outputs, the (4) Line outputs that allow you to listen to what is coming from your computers. The (2) ¼ inch TRS monitor outputs allow you to monitor both the analog and digital inputs and outputs of the US-1641. They can't be used as two more outputs along with the Line Level outputs. You can control the level of this output via the MONITOR volume control on the front panel. The MIX knob allows you to adjust the balance between the US-1641's inputs and the computer outputs. It works for both the MONITOR and HEADPHONE outputs. Since there are only 4 line outputs this audio interface can’t be used for surround sound applications.
It comes with drivers for both PC and Macintosh. PC drivers included are WinXP and WinVista32 ASIO drivers. For Macintosh OS X include both ASIO and Core Audio drivers.
Cubase LE4 is included with the US-1641. It has up to 48 tracks of audio and includes Tascam’s Continuous Velocity Grand Piano (VSTi). Cubase comes with its own assortment of plug-ins from dynamic compressors, delays, reverb, and other effects. The number of actual tracks you get will depend upon how fast your computer is and the number of plug-ins and VSTi synths running. The