Tascam FW-1884


Back around 2003. Tascam came out with a contender for the Firewire DAW market with the FW-1884.
It had the irresistible look and feel of their revolutionary tape based porta-studios with 96k/24bit Digital converters.
I bought one to replace my dying hoontech rack crap (that had literally fallen apart in my hands) back around 2003/2004 and I have to say it’s holding up better than most of the other computer interfaces from that same gadget generation.

Well it’s nearly 2009 and the FW-1884 hasn’t become a legacy product (yet). It is supported with stable drivers for most popular OS’s and interfaces nicely with Sonar adding some nice touches like the jog wheel, motorized faders, start/rec and stop footswitch input, active DI etc.. It’s all good.

On the nit-pick side, the preamps are unremarkable (like most project multitrackers, so theres no surprise there) but they’re clean so at least they don’t color the sound. I’ve used them on drumkits and they dont do too bad there but for anything else they’re dull, so I recommend supplementing the tascam with some external pre’s. I’ve chosen a couple that will give you a neat little setup that i’ve tested myself.. Here goes:

If you use the tascam or any other similar DAW in your project studio for recording a lot of vocals, guitar and piano (but not all at the same time necessarily) I suggest two professional mono mic pre’s – one tube and one solid state. Both will be great for all your micing needs. Having the two will give you some control over which pre type to use for the job at hand, and really it’s up to trying both and seeing which does your mic and instrument/vocalist justice…

My choice for the solid state is the Brent Averill 1272 mic pre. It will give your mics a real boost and a very PRESENT upfront sound.. It is pretty much a necessary arsenal item..

For the tube pre i recommend a local unit from Giles Audio:

giles preamp

Ross’s pre’s have a huge sound to them. They have a lot of headspace and gain and really open up a mic’s sound with a unique use of vintage electronics at their best. They really light up the room acoustics with both dynamic and condensers.

All of Ross’s units are hand wired and use hand picked (expensive) components at every turn. Still his prices are competitive, probably underpriced when compared with many other products.

Ross is located in the Melbourne suburb of Malvern East, but is happy to frieght worldwide.
Call Ross at Giles Audio on +61-3-98859134 for info on his tube preamps, compressors, Bass DI’s etc. He is also a world class guitar tube amp builder, modification and repairer.

Well, there you have it. Tascam have made a quality product for demo/project studios. Add a little outboard and you can get some pro results on a small budget.

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~ by headcaver on November 24, 2008.

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