I use sound mixers regularly for audio recording. That’s why I know a digital mixer can be frustrating. They are typically filled with complex menus.
It can leave you craving a time when each function on a sound mixer had a dedicated control.
That’s definitely true for live shows when you want the immediate response an analog system provides.
In the past, you would need to choose between a comprehensive digital system or a rapid control analog device. Wouldn’t it be great if you could combine the two?
The Tascam model 24 aims to provide a retro answer to this issue.
Section 2: Introducing The Tascam Model 24
The Tascam Model 24 doesn’t provide you with one product. Instead, you get three. It’s basically a throwback to the age of the all-in-one portable multitrack studio.
Tascam invented this category with its Model 144 Portastudio. Tech has moved on and while the Model 144 was casettte based the Model 24 brings digital connections to an analog control system.
With the new system, you get the controls of old combined with key functions of the tech age. This includes recording the sound and then working with it on any digital audio workstation (DAW).
Tascam is leading the charge with this type of all-in-one design. While there are alternatives on the market, none provide the complete setup of the Model 24.
- Gain more precise control with 1000mm faders
- Simple to use 24 track recording solution suitable for live performance and studio work
- A rugged design that is also lightweight for great portability
- Onboard and routing effects that are completely flexible
- A classic style analog mixer that provides the rapid response of a digital system
- Fantastic cost per channel
- EQs provide great sound but suffer from limited adjustability
- There are no solo buttons
- You can only control phantom power from a single global switch
- Unable to move recorded tracks without a computer connection
- Limits on the processing of DAW recordings
- No metronome facility
Section 3: Features & Benefits
The multi-track recorder and sound mixer is a lot lighter than you might expect. It weighs just 10.4kg and this is great because it means that you will be able to carry it anywhere. It makes it suitable for the studio, the stage, and the conference room.
The sound mixer is also designed to be tough and durable which means that you won’t have to worry about it getting damaged during transportation. It provides the reliability you could need if you are planning a set up for a live performance.
As well as offering everything at your fingertips there are some clever layout choices. For instance, you’ll notice that the jacks are at the front of the panel.
While this is a matter of preference I find this incredibly useful for live performances. You can easily see which labeled cables are going to which inputs.
That’s important, particularly when you have 12 mono channels and 4 stereo channels on this device.
Friendly User Interface
You'll find this system is set up for easy use. That could make this the perfect tool for teaching audio mixing and recording.
Since this is mainly an analog system the digital display is quite small. However, it’s also bright and crisp and this means that you won’t have issues reading the key details. It also provides all the controls you need to quickly change between settings.
There are some hidden features to explore here too. This includes audio stream input-output and windows audio playback. You can run this simultaniously.
Sound mixers often have long set up times and lengthy learning curves. You can use the Tascam Model 24 immediately with little to no setup.
This is fantastic because you will be able to get started without delay and everything you need is ready for you.
You will have precise control over the volume with the 100mm faders. Menu diving isn’t an issue either because you can use the Auxillary and EQ knobs to quickly switch between settings.
Digital Effects Processor
The system does provide a digital effects processor. That’s useful because you can use it to send signals using the FX knobs to individual channels. You can only use one effect at a time but there are multiple options that are combinations.
The effects available provide a chorus, flanger, rebels, and delays. You can also combine these different features and these do add a new level to your sound.
These options are going to be suitable for either live mixing or monitoring the sound during studio recording.
The model 24 does provide you with a full audio interface which means that you are getting great value with multiple functions.
You can use this feature by connecting through the USB port. Your digital audio workstation (DAW) will recognize the Model 24 as long as you install the correct drivers.
The USB interface is easy to use which means that you won’t have to waste time figuring out the controls. It closely resembles the standard computer USB connections. Since it provides a 2.0 port, it also delivers a fast connection.
You get several features as part of the interface which will be useful for recording ensembles. This includes 16 channels with line and mic inputs.
There are also mixing features including the EQ and compressor on input. You can use this when you record to your DAW and that’s great because it gives you an additional level of control.
The onboard multitrack recorder operates via SD cards. These are not included with the device so you will need to purchase them yourself for this feature.
The unit is versatile and will accept a variety of SD cards from 512 up to 2 GB. This is fantastic because it means you have more choices and can store large files. You also get a large selection of resolutions and sampling rates too.
You will find that recording to SD is slower than straight to a hard drive. You need to wait a few seconds after taking the unit out of record for it to finish writing the data.
There is a wealth of features that are fantastic because you can customize the tracks however you like. This includes pre-roll, overdub, locator, and punch-in. You can even use a footswitch jack for punch-ins and that’s going to be useful if you’re operating it by yourself.
The only problem here is the small LCD screen. This makes managing files difficult and time-consuming.
If you create a song, it’s automatically given a long name full of numbers. To change that you need to use the jog shuttle wheel and this is a slow process.
However, you do get fantastic sound quality and aside from this, it's very convenient. This means it’s going to be useful for rehearsals or live shows.
If you’re a solo act or a recording artist this feature will make recording new tracks simple and provide a lot of control.
In storage mode, you can quickly move any tracks you record to your computer drive. You can also import any music back onto the Model 24 for further editing.
Unfortunately, the channel 23-24 mixdowns show up on the computer as separate files. This means that you’ll have to combine them yourself using an audio editor. You might also find that there’s a lot of temporary files that create clutter.
Explore the device and you’ll notice you can also feed in a mutable Bluetooth signal into the inputs. I really like this feature because it means you can stream audio from a device like a tablet or even a smartphone.
That’s useful because it means you’ll be able to hear what the sound system is like in a room. You can also easily switch the mode for every channel from multitrack to live or USB.
Section 4: Social Proof
Buying an all in one sound mixer is always going to be a substantial investment. The top models including the Tascam Model 24 can exceed $1000.
As such, I think it’s important to know that you are buying a product trusted by users like you. I’ve scoured the web and found some fantastic examples of great reviews for this particular sound mixer.
Musicians, amateur recorders and sound engineers alike seem to favor this option.
Reviewers welcome the abundance of different features available and even find the SD card system quick to use too. As expected, it has been embraced for controlling sound in a live environment.
I think this delivers a clear image that you are getting the all-in-one system promised with all the features built in.
Section 5: Alternatives
The LiveTrack L-20 boasts a high-quality sound that won’t disappoint professional artists and six custom monitor mixers.
This provides a fantastic level of functionality and similar to the Model 24 it has a portable design. However, it doesn’t deliver the analog compression or the EQ offered with the Model 24.
It is more compact than the Model 24 and it does offer the ability to mix wirelessly. This is great if you want a larger digital interface for control. The LiveTrack L-20 also boasts a high-quality sound that won’t disappoint professional artists and six custom monitor mixers. You can handle both vocals and instruments with pan controls and a compressor.
Like the Model 24, you need SD cards to record. You can then mix the tracks recorded using your chosen DAW.
- Full recording capabilities
- 20-channel digital mixer
- Built-in effects and 3-band EQ
- Wireless control from an Ipad
If you’re looking for a rack-mountable digital mixer that does provide a built-in recorder, make sure you check out this option.
The Soundcraft Signature 22 MTK boasts ultra low-noise preamps that Soundcraft claims are so quiet you won’t even know they are there.
This could be a great choice if you’re looking for analog mixers with a built-in audio interface. However, it’s important to be aware that you won’t get the digital multitrack recorder that is part of the Model 24 design.
The Soundcraft Signature 22 MTK boasts ultra low-noise preamps that Soundcraft claims are so quiet you won’t even know they are there. One benefit that the Signature 22 MTK is that the EQs aren’t limited to one or two channels. Instead, every input you use can include an EQ.
You can also switch different AUX buses from post to pre-fader. You can even route each input channel to the different sub-groups. This means that you are going to have great control over where you send external effects.
If you are searching for a great analog mixer and you don’t need a multi-track recorder, this could be the ideal option.
- 22-input with onboard effects
- High-quality faders
- Met design with a high-quality build and durability
- Ghost mic preamps for low noise performance
The Yamaha MG20XU Mixing Desk is a lot lighter than the Tascam Model 24. It weighs just 7kgs and that makes it a fantastic choice for portable use. It still provides a USB audio interface which means that you will be able to easily plugin and play recordings. However, it doesn’t offer the same level of versatility here as the Model 24.
Effects are high grade and similar to the Model 24, you can connect to iPads as well as a range of other tech devices. This gives a more flexible system when mixing sound.
With just 20 channels, it’s not quite as comprehensive as the model 24. However, it still provides enough options for theatre productions or even lives shows. A key detail of this product is that it does provide custom-designed Mic Pres which Yahama claim provide higher quality than existing preamps.
This product is going to be perfect for mid-sized venues as well as schools or smaller studios.
- 20 channels with 16 mic and 20 line inputs
- USB interfacing
- Custom designed preamps
- Lightweight for portability
If you’re looking for a product perfect for recording on the move check out the Yamaha MG20XU Mixing Desk.
Section 6: Conclusion
In the digital age, computers have brought a wide range of possibilities and more advanced tools for audio mixing.
However, there is definitely a trade-off here. With a fully digital system, you don’t get the full hands-on control. Instead, you will often need to hunt through different digital menus to find the right parameters for a particular recording.
That’s particularly problematic for live performances. You don’t get immediate access to fix issues. As such multi-channel analog mixers are always going to be a more suitable option.
With the Tascam Model 24, you get more than a mixer. You gain a full system for 24-track recording, a complete USB interface and a mixer control that offers an analog experience.
This also provides fantastic value for money because everything you need is in one unit.
It’s a modern interpretation of the all-in-one portable multitrack studios, sound engineers used to swear by.
You can check out the Tascam Model 24 for yourself by clicking on this link.
Section 7: Things To Consider Before Buying A Multichannel Sound Mixer
You can use a sound mixer to optimize the visual or audio environment. Sound mixers will give tools to ensure your A/V experience matches your preferences. A mixer will allow you to change the quality of audio signals or combine various signals. You can change the dynamic or the timber of the sound. With the right mixer, you can even mix analog and digital signals too.
You can use mixers for A/V presentations, in conference rooms, broadcasting, and post-film production.
If you are arranging a performance on stage with two separate mics, you need a mixer to combine the different signals. It will guarantee a higher quality of sound.
Make sure you consider these details before buying a mixer.
Digital Or Analogue
Digital mixers are useful because they can program scenes and provide full, graphic EQ on each channel,. They are ideal for beginners because they have an easier user interface. This also makes them great systems for recording.
However, they are difficult to use for live sound. Since each digital board has a different layout you can’t move from one board to another without a learning curve.
Number Of Channels
There’s a positive correlation between the number of channels on a mixing board and the cost. You also need to keep expansions in mind here because adding another mixer for extra mics will add to the expense.
My advice is to get at least 5 more channels than you think you’ll ever need.
Number Of Outputs
Your mixer could include a range of outputs like:
- The main outputs
- Aux sends
- Matrix feeds
You need one aux for every monitor or effects process and matrix feeds are ideal for zoning the speakers. You should aim for up to 10 more outputs than you think you’ll need.
Bands Of EQ
If you do opt for an analog board you need to consider EQ bands and the sweepable frequency. You can cope with as little as two-band EQs.
However, a higher number of bands that are sweepable will give you more control of your sound.
Your digital board will usually have on-board effects. In contrast, analog boards typically have cheap built-in effects. If you’re on a tight budget, on-board effects are the best option compared to a separate effects processor.