The excitement we get when a new audio interface is introduced can be a bit too much, we admit. However, Tascam audio products have been some of our favorites, so when they released this model we had to review it. The Tascam US-2×2 Audio Interface is a part of a two-model series they’ve given us to keep their name in the AI game and they’ve done it well. With some extremely clear audio quality and little-to-no latency when you record, it’s one of the better quality builds we’ve seen.
Main features and specs of the US-2×2 audio interface
- Up to 57dB gain
- Ultra-HDDA Mic Preamps
- NE5532 op amps
- 96kHz/24-bit conversion rate
- Inputs: XLR or 1/4″ adapter
- Outputs: Two balanced TRS
- USB 2.0 connection (plug-and-play as well as powered)
- Bio-Cell side panels
- Angled orientation for easy access
- Volume controls: One for line outputs, separate for headphones
- TRS headphones output jack
- All-metal casing
- 48V phantom power
Some may it’s just another 2-in\2-out interface, but the quality here isn’t something to be ignored. Like most gear companies nowadays following the trend, it’s also compatible with iOS or other smart devices if you make tunes that way (i’m still not aboard that ship, but to each his own). It’s class-compliant so drivers aren’t relevant here — just plug that baby in and you’re good to go for a super easy integration. If you’re using a smart device you’ll need an Apple lightning-to-USB cable if you don’t already have one.
They say it’s been tested with Sonar, Pro Tools, Cubase, Garage Band and more, but we used with Acid Pro and found no trouble. In terms of compatibility, it works with all digital audio workstations. You shouldn’t have a problem because it’s merely connected via USB and will record to any program.
What we really like about this interface is the MIDI in and out included — a lot of 2 I/O interfaces out there don’t have this, so if you’re specifically looking for that it’s a huge plus. Although technically you can get away with just plugging your MIDI controller via USB, we like consolidating everything to our interface if we can.
Lastly, although most of us have our DAW already, it comes with Cakewalk SONAR X3 LE as well as Ableton Live 9 Lite, so if you’re looking to try out some software this may be a plus for you as well. Not too impressive as we would’ve like a VST or two to be bundled as well, but it is what it is.
Interface sound quality
You’re getting the home and semi-professional studio industry standard quality at 96 kHz here. It’s crystal clear, and to put it in terms of understanding it if you aren’t aware, CD quality is half of that so you’re getting a nice, crisp digital sound. Most audio interfaces within this range will give you this sound quality — it sounds amazing. You can’t notice the different unless you get into the thousand-dollar UA interfaces and what not.
Overall build and stability
Tascam has provided us with a solid aluminum build here — it’s not cheaply made whatsoever. They side panels look super slick, somewhat futuristic (bio-cell, huh?) and have a nice, secure placement in your studio. If you store it in a safe environment or use some protection when you’re traveling, this thing will last you quite a few years. It’s a solid investment.
What’s also a nice little touch is the angled orientation — it’s not necessarily must, but it really does make it easier to use the controls on the thing. If anybody else has experienced that awkward hand angle (especially while you’re int he middle of your workflow) you’ll know what i’m talking about.
The overall verdict of the US-2×2
This definitely gives others a run for their money. The only big thing here is the price tag as it’s a bit more expensive than other 2-in\2-out models, such as the Scarlett by Focusrite. You can read our top 10 best audio interfaces article for some comparisons if you’re still undecided.
The only downside here is the fact that you can’t multi-mic record as apparent with the two outputs, but you can always upgrade to their Tascam US-2×4 interface if you need (a few more bucks obviously — about a bill more retail). It all depends on your setup.
All in all, the Tascam US-2×2 Audio Interface is perfect for independent artists, podcasters, home and even semi-professionals as well. If you have a mic, a midi controller and some studio monitors, this thing is going to give you some nice organization and super-clear audio quality as compared to the normal built-in stuff with your computers and smart devices. Grab it if it’s what you’re looking for — we approve.