Today, we’ll be taking a look at the Tascam US-1x2HR audio interface.
As far as entry-level budget interfaces go, the Tascam seems to offer the same level of performance.
Let’s go through everything the US-1x2HR has to offer.
Our verdict on the Tascam US-1x2HR
The Tascam US-1x2HR is compatible with iOS and has fairly impressive specs, but there are a number of things that make this unit a bit of a head scratcher.
First, it has RCA outputs rather than TRS, which although technically fine, won’t satisfy any audiophiles out there. It also doesn’t have the ability to record through both inputs simultaneously, which is massively inconvenient.
This unit may be good for beginners, or DJs in need of a small portable interface, but there are a number of units that easily outshine the Tascam – at least through their usability.
I/O and controls
From left to right, you’ll notice that the unit has two LED lights to indicate when 48 V phantom power is engaged and for when USB is connected.
This is followed by an XLR input, paired with a gain control knob and LED lights to show signal and peaking.
The TRS input is the same with gain control and LED markers, as well as a switch to toggle between instrument and line level.
Lastly, you have a line out knob to control your monitoring outputs, as well as a 1/4″ headphone output and its designated volume control.
Turning over to the rear panel, again from left to right, is a Kensington security lock, a 5V DC connection for when paired with a tablet, and a USB Type-C socket.
This is followed by a switch to engage direct monitoring, as well as an input select switch to toggle between the XLR and TRS inputs.
In case it isn’t obvious, we should point out that although the unit has two inputs, you may only use one at a time.
Tascam has chosen to go with unbalanced RCA outputs rather than balanced TRS, which is unfortunate.
They also included two RCA inputs, which might be useful for DJs who need a small-size interface for live shows.
Finally, there’s a switch to engage 48 V phantom power for the XLR input.
The unit provides A/D resolution of 24-bit depth at a maximum sample rate of 192 kHz. This is standard for professional recording applications.
The Tascam US-1x2HR also has a dynamic range of 112 dB (A-weighted) which provides plenty of headroom.
The preamp for the XLR input is an Ultra-HDDA microphone pre which performs fairly well.
It’s quiet, transparent, and offers roughly 57 dB of gain, making it suitable for both dynamic and condenser microphones.
It also has a rather impressive EIN rating of -128 dBu or less, which is a remarkably low noise floor for a unit in this price range.
At home studio
This is a decent interface for home recording, although it’s not without its downfalls.
We can’t even say this is a great interface for singer songwriters because you can only record through one input at a time.
So, if you wanted to capture yourself singing while playing guitar, better luck next time.
This unit is great for mobile recording due to its compatibility with iOS. It’s also small and lightweight so can easily fit into a backpack or suitcase.
The US-1x2HR has a tough aluminum shell and hard plastic knobs, making it durable enough to take on the road without any worries.
The front panel is also angled slightly upwards, making it easier to access the gain and monitoring controls.
Upon receiving the Tascam US-1x2HR, you’ll receive access to Cubase LE DAW and Cubasis LE3 for iOS.
You also get IK Multimedia’s SampleTank 4 SE, which has a variety of high-quality virtual instruments from pianos, synths, to strings.
You also get a 3-month subscription to Antares Auto-Tune, which is unusual for budget interfaces such as this.
Compared to other audio interfaces
Here are some alternatives to compare against the Tascam US-1x2HR. You can also check out our picks for the best cheap audio interfaces and the best units under $200.
Tascam US-1x2HR vs. Focusrite Scarlett Solo
The Scarlett Solo has two TRS outputs, Air mode, the capability to record through both inputs simultaneously, and is the exact same price as the Tascam. Get the Scarlett.
Check out our Scarlett Solo audio interface review
Tascam US-1x2HR vs. NI Komplete Audio 1
The Komplete Audio 1 is the better interface, although if you need something that’s compatible with iOS, you might fare better with the Tascam.
Check out our Native Instruments Komplete Audio 1 review
Tascam US-1x2HR vs. M-Audio AIR 192|4
If you need iOS compatibility, get the Tascam. However, the M-Audio can record microphone and line level simultaneously.
Check out our M-Audio AIR 192|4 audio interface review
Who is the Tascam US-1x2HR best suited for?
This unit is best suited for DJs in need of a small, portable interface to use for live performances.
However, the fact that you can only record through one input at a time makes the Tascam a lot less appealing – even for beginners.
- iOS compatible.
- Decent Sound quality.
- Low noise floor.
- You can only record through one input at a time.
- RCA outputs rather than TRS.