Streaming got you needing mic control?
Doing live streaming and need a USB interface to capture your mic? Let’s look at a simple and option from Tascam.
Now this review is part due to Ben Stowe and the crew over at NLFX. I have a few products that has been sent over to me to give my testing and conclusion over. While they have been gracious to provide me with this to test, this is not a paid promotion by NLFX or Tascam, and this is my personal opinion that has not been guided in any way. And anyone that knows me knows that I believe in NLFX because of the quality of service they provide to people. There are real reasons why I choose them for virtually all my investments.
A change in need
Many of us, thanks to everything that has happened in 2020, has turned to live streaming. And one shortcoming that many of us has found out is that you typically cannot use the onboard mic option when broadcasting on things like Shoutcast or OBS. That makes for a bit of a challenge, how to get your voice onto these streams. The solution in a USB interface.
Specifically you need to turn a mic input, be it XLR, 1/4”, or other, into a USB signal so then it can be processed by the software. For a while I use leveraged what I had in my arsenal, a massive Soundcraft Ui24R and one of my Sennheiser Wireless mics. It works, but given the confides of my office it was occupying a lot of space.
Researching for USB interfaces typically nets you a few options, most competent ones typically was reaching $100, $200, or more. It seemed going with something super simple would require a substantial investment. Then I stumbled across the Tascam US-32.
Checking it over
Now looking at this I almost passed it up. It kinda looked a bit, well, Fisher-Price. The construction is plastic, but it in real life it has a somewhat substantial quality to it.
Looking at it from the top you see there is a XLR comb jack, a built in mic that I guess could work in a pinch, a level indicator, a master volume which you can toggle between phantom power mic (which delivers 48v of power), mic, and build in mic options with a smooth radiostat knob. A reverb knob is right next to that, and to the far middle a very large and satisfying On Air button that simply goggles on an off. There is also a headphone jack, three selection pads that is controlled by the software, and an effect button.
On the front a large 1/4” jack, a 3.5 mm jack and separate mic input, and a output dedicated for a mobile device. Handy for those trying to keep a simple camera setup but want to deliver quality audio. You will need a TRSS cable to do that.
On the back is a power toggle switch, a USB 2.0 B-type interface, and a micro-USB input that allows to power up through a 5V power source which is not included.
If you use this with a desktop or hub that delivers power over USB, the device will power up. If you are trying to use this with a mobile device it’s time to dig through your box of wall warts and find one, or of course you can purchase one. But what fun would that be?
Operation is straight forward. If you are going to just do simple operations with this, you do not need the software that you can install on Mac or PC. But if you want to set some EQ curve points, change your effects mapping, or other tweaks, download the software to gain control.
So the first test I did with this was to use my corded Sennheiser 835 microphone and connect to my hub, This is to utilize with Virtual DJ where you get to toggle what your mic source is. It worked flawlessly and honestly having that large On Air button is a nice addition just to give one some visual reference that you are, indeed, on a hot mic.
The next test I did was via OBS Once again things recognized instantaneously. No issues whatsoever.
I also gave this a test with a USB B-type end to USB C-Type end. Power delivered without any issues, and everything recognized as it should.
At $49, this is an absolute bargain. A nice device, albeit a little on the shiny plastic side, but absolutely delivers in quality. So much so that while this was intended as a demo type unit, I bought it for myself. This will save me on some crucial space in my office while delivering quality I can rely on.
So what are you waiting for? Buy it at NLFX now!