A TASCAM 388 Studio 8 mixer/recorder, a US-16x08 USB Audio / MIDI Interface, and more help blend the digital and analog domains
Loveland, OH – February 2023... With a passion for everything related to records, Terry Cole not only operates a recording studio; he also operates a record store. As the owner/operator of Colemine Records, music production takes a front and center position. When he is not in the studio, chances are he can be found at Plaid Room Records, a record store that he co-owns. As Cole describes his arrangement, "I love making records and working with artists to create great records. As for creating music, he is a passionate TASCAM user with a combination of old and new—analog and digital.
Describing his arrangement, Cole says, "I oversee all projects at Colemine Records, which can involve anything from simply developing a marketing plan to seeing a project from the ground up, including production, art development, and release." To accomplish this, Cole is an avid fan of the TASCAM 388 Studio 8, an integrated analog recorder/mixer that uses a quarter-inch open reel tape format. He also has TASCAM digital interfaces: a TASCAM US-2x2 2-in/2-out audio/MIDI Interface with HDDA Mic Preamps and a TASCAM US-16x08 USB audio / MIDI Interface, which is a 16-input audio device. A TASCAM Model 32 2-track, 1/4-inch open reel recorder and a TASCAM 424mkiii Portastudio complete the picture.
On the analog side of the production equation, Cole described his fondness for the TASCAM 388 Studio 8, "I've been using it for around 6 years. This mixer/recorder serves as the first line of defense against sterile sounding digital-only recordings. We track as much to the 388 as possible and, without fail, it's always used for the initial rhythm track sections. For me, drums and bass must hit either the 388 or 424mkiii Portastudio."
"With the 424mkiii Portastudio," he continued, "I also use it as a summing mixer to get more tracks out of the 388. As an example, I'll funnel four mics into the 424, pan two hard right and two hard left, and trim things down from 4 inputs to 2."
The TASCAM Model 32 2-track, 1/4-inch open reel recorder completes the analog side of music production for Cole. "The Model 32 serves as a finished mix recorder," Cole explained. "I use this recorder to add a final bit of glue—or analog warmth—to the mix. Digital has a lot of benefits in terms of production, but it frequently lacks the 'warmth' that analog brings to the equation. As I mentioned earlier, I make sure the first thing our signals hit are either the 388 or 424 for just that purpose. I like to add some tape compression right from the jump, as it just sounds more natural."
Shifting over to the digital side of production, Cole discussed his use of the TASCAM US-2x2 and US-16x08 digital interfaces. "I use the US-2x2 on my office computer to rip LPs when I'm approving tests or for use on Zoom calls as a microphone interface," he said. "It's also my interface of choice anytime I need to get a mic line into my office computer. I also have two US-16x08 interfaces: one is in a portable rig that I built as a mobile recording setup, while the other is my primary audio interface to our computer in the studio. The US-16x08 enables me to manage a lot of signals easily and the mic preamps are clean and quiet while delivering a lot of headroom."
Reflecting on his use of TASCAM gear over the years, Cole offered the following thoughts, "The 424 was my first piece of recording gear and it truly made a huge impact on me. As an analog recorder, It put limitations on me in terms of signal management, which was an invaluable lesson. I learned a lot in the process, and I loved it."
With electronic music production gear, questions inevitably arise, so capable and responsive customer and technical support are essential. Here too, Cole was very complimentary of his TASCAM experience. "TASCAM has been terrific. Their support technicians use the gear, so they understand what I'm looking to accomplish. They get it. Getting straight to the point, I rank them 10 out of 10!"
Before turning his attention back to the business of the day, Cole offered these parting thoughts regarding his TASCAM experience, "TASCAM gear is rugged, tactile, and adds an instant vibe that is sometimes hard to put my finger on. Overall, TASCAM is a key element in adding character to our recordings, and we couldn't be doing what we're doing without it. It's that important."