Tascam DAW Controller FW-1082
I canít help but reminisce back to the days of the cassette four track. There was an entire underground network of musicians that recorded their own music onto 4 track cassette and traded with other musicians. This sort of thing continues today with the help of the 1082.
The 1082 has 4 mic preís that sound almost identical to Mackie or Berhinger preís, 8 analog line inputs, stereo digital in and out and MIDI in and out. It also features eight 60mm faders, which is kind of a bummer 100mm faders make a real difference.. These faders are touch sensitive for automation writing so the whole unit has a built in, universal application as simply a fader controller. There is also a master fader among other controls for EQ, aux sends, transport controls, MIDI functions and assignable keys.
The 1082 arrives with Cubase LE and GigaStudio. You may think that these are the suggested programs that should be used for this controller and in fact, youíd be correct, but it also works (to a lesser extent) with other popular programs like ProTools, Nuendo, Sonar and others. I tested this on Nueundo and it was definitely a welcomed interface even though it would only control the faders and transport. It took a little bit of getting use to controlling the transport functions of the computer with a ďremoteĒ rather than pointing and clicking but in a few days, I was treating it like the controller for the Studer 827. Now that was cool.
With Cubase, It rocks! You can record up to 8 analog sources as long as they are line inputs. There are only 4 mic pres so everything else has to be line level. I feel this is targeted to the person recording their own music in the back room and they are doing it one track at time. The limitation of Cubase LE to full blown Cubase is the limitation of the aux sends (4) and tracks (48), but hell you can do some serous damage with that kind of power.
In application, you can control many, many tracks with this thing, but just 8 at a time! There is a bank selector switch that makes it easy to navigate the levels. This makes it a great portable solution for those engineers that like the tactile feel of faders, but need the DAW tools. It is also ideal for the home recordist with channel control of EQ, Pan and several programmable features.
I was intrigued by channel 8ís input which was labeled guitar/line. I read in the manual that it was normally a line input but if you plugged an electric guitar or bass in to it, you could match the impedance for those instruments. Well, Iíll tell ya (imagine me putting my thumbs under my armpits) This s$*t works! It was amazed with the sound of a 76 Gibson SG with the impedance matched!! Super impressive! An inspiration actually.
So this controller really lives up to itís target market. Itís the all in one sound card (via firewire), mixer, DAW controller (superstore!) and for less than a grand, itís a pretty good deal. I would recommend this as an introductory purchase. The professional engineer may also benefit from this controller for ProTools or Nuendo as a portable solution for the die hard fader enthusiast.