Let’s get the obvious question out of the way. What is personal broadcast? It’s an all-encompassing term for Podcasting, YouTube videos, Facebook live videos, Internet broadcast and a whole host of other methods of communicating with your audience over the internet.
There are a variety of methods of achieving this by using your phone to high end audio interfaces. Any level of quality would ideally be achieved by some sort audio interface. However what if there were an audio interface that not only gave you high quality audio recording but gave you the ability to actually express yourself? Give you the ability to inject some of your personality when Podcasting, live streaming or a video you were creating? What if you had the ability to inject more you into your work? Well Tascam may have just come up with the perfect solution in the form of the Mini Studios. US-32 Mini Studio Personal and US-42 Mini Studio Creator.
US-32 Mini Studio Personal
So what’s makes these different from any other audio interface on the market. Well they are the first interface to be designed specifically for Podcasting and include a host of features that lend themselves to this task. If we start with the US-32, it uses a single XLR mic input with optional phantom power (activated by the free software) a built Omni direction microphone and a mic headset input. You can select whichever of these suits your need. Recording a video commentary piece? Use the XLR input and a condenser microphone for high quality audio. Need to record a Podcast with a group of friends? Use the built Omni directional mic. Want to make a “let’s play” of the latest video game? Use your microphone headset and keep your hands free to play the game with. That last example brings up another excellent feature of the mini studios, the ability to record your computer’s background as well as your input to the device. This way you can capture movie clips, video game noise and anything else your computer does with your vocals all in the one stream.
The included 3.5mm is also more than just an MP3 input. It allows you to conduct and record phone interviews by just using the US-32. The audio from your interviewee will be captured by the 3.5mm input and you can then hear their conversation through a set of headphones using the headphone out. However the clever part is the person on the other end of the phone will also be able to hear you through one of the 3 microphone options listed earlier. This way you can conduct and record telephone conversation all through the one unit.
So while these are incredibly useful features, the mini studio incorporates some additional functions to make the whole experience more fun. These take the form of velocity sensitive PON buttons. Originally, “PON” is a Japanese mimetic word of pressing a button / key for getting something to react. In this case it would be sound effects. The US-32 comes with 3 different sound effects that you can assign to the PON buttons and best of all you can create your own sound effects and assign them as you like. This is great for playing music beds under commentary, settings of stabs or just adding a bit comic relief when your are Podcasting. Coupled with these PON buttons is a vocal effect button that puts some fun effects on one of the 3 microphone inputs. Pitch shift your voice up to sound like mini Mouse or down to sound like Darth Vader. There is also an echo effect, Radio (slightly distorted walkie talkie effect) and a chopper effect which reproduces the acoustic quality of broadcasting from a helicopter.
US-42 Mini Studio Creator
The US-42 is the slightly larger version of the two units. It swaps out the omni directional microphone for an additional XLR input and has a dedicated monitor output with level control. However the most interesting aspect of the US-42 is the Creator/Broadcast switch. In creator mode you get all the functionality of the US-32 and is great for Podcasts, YouTube videos and live streaming. However when in Creator mode the unit turns itself into a traditional 2×2 audio interface. It stops recording any background elements your computer may be producing and only converts the inputs on the actual device, exactly as you expect a standard audio interface to work. The PON buttons will still trigger off effects or anything assigned to them but you will only hear it through your headphones. This can be useful if you want to trigger off a click track to lay down an initial vocal or guitar line.
So there is obviously a lot of features, tricks and fun you can have with the Tascam US mini Studios that a traditional audio interface just won’t cover. We found a rather excellent video on YouTube by Pro Tools Expert demonstrating all of this so check it out.
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