TASCAM Model 16

After my Scarlet 18/20 stopped working I did not have time to replace it for quite a while. I finally did it this year and decided to go for a completely different experience. I got Tascam Model 16 that I got on special pre price increase. I could not be happier. Very satisfied with this machine. Gives me everything I want with additional benefit of a visual and tactile experience that you just don’t get with average interface. Fully recommend. Works 100% with ARDOUR on Linux.

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Did you consider other similar products like Zoom Livetrak ? If you did what made you choose Tascam over the other products ? The reason I ask is I’ve been thinking of buying one of these also (sometime in the future).

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Not the OP, but personally I tend to prefer Tascam to Zoom. Primarily personal preference but I have just in general had better experiences with Tascam, ranging from build quality to things like gain structuring affecting sound, to in some cases mic pre quality, etc.


@mhartzel I guess I was looking for an analog mixer, not digital. Also Tascam is 16in 16 out while L20 is 22in and 4 out. I also looked Model 24 but it was too big for my desk. Otherwise I would have bought that one.

@seablade same here. Zoom somehow does not ring “quality” to me. It’s only irrational personal preference though. I only have one Zoom device, an old ZOOM 7010.

I don’t know much about the history of Zoom products but I thought that the F8 was a stellar piece of equipment while I owned it. I “upgraded” to the SoundDevices MixPre-6 II but, to be honest, it feels like apples and oranges.

Heh well there is a definite jump between the Sound Devices and Tascams or Zooms honestly:). I also have a SDMixpre6-II and love it, though having issues with it on Linux (I think I need to look into USB quirks for it, but haven’t had time).

That being said it isn’t that Zoom doesn’t make decent products for the price, but that I find they compromise just a little more than I would like and have had better luck with Tascam is all:). I don’t think I would have a problem using a Zoom to do some quick field recording, just would prefer Tascam, and would take my SD any day of the week over both:)


Agreed when it comes to the high-end SoundDevices stuff like Scorpio…they are in a league of their own. As for the MixPre series it seems like they are marketed to the Zoom F4/8-type crowd with similar feature sets especially now that F6 and MixPre-II share the 32-bit float recording option. The build quality of the SD seems better than Zoom but there’s no way I could reliably pick which pre-amp is which. Both extremely quiet and neutral…And I should add neither let me down on critical concert recordings. Anyway, between Zoom and Tascam I’ve had good experiences with both. My very first USB classical recording was done with a US-122L :wink: Before that it was good ol’ mini-disc with the Sony ECM-MS907.

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I can’t find those 16 outputs on the Tascam Model 16, I find only 9, Maybe there’s a typo in your post. Zoom Livetrack L-20 has 8 outputs, since the 6 headphone jacks can be turned into balanced outputs and each can have a different mix on it.

I think the competing products have quite similar features and one probably chooses based on a couple of features that are differing. Like Zoom has a level meter beside every fader and Tascam does not.

It’s a “positive” problem to have to choose between many competing products. How spoiled we are, a 8-track open reel recorder used to be very very expensive and now we have products like these within reach :slight_smile:

@bachstudies both F8 and MixPre-6 are completely different products. I wanted an analog mixer with as many phantom powered inputs, line inputs and channel strips as I could fit on my desk. All inputs also needed to be on the top of the unit. Another option I was looking at was a rackmount unit with inputs on the front panel. Something like Soundcraft Ui24. Again easy access to all inputs was important to me. There are other units I looked at but I chose Tascam from what was available within the price range at the time. I decided not to worry too much about 96Khz+ resolutions with 32Bit sample rates as I am hooking this up to a computer (although 12 core with 64GB memory) that is more than a couple of years old. The setup works really well. I have had no issues so far. It took me a while to work out the routing and I think this is where the visual character of a mixer, rather than standard interface helped a lot.

@mhartzel no typo. As it states on Tascam website 16 outputs and 16 inputs. Actually there are 14 audio inputs and 16 audio outputs. Two inputs are midi used only for time code sync. I am using them all as they are all assigned to various instruments and microphones and Ardour can see them all fine.

I still can’t find those 16 physical audio outputs although I downloaded the manual and double checked features on Tascam website:


The 9 outputs mentioned in the manuals specification section are:
Main L + R
Sub L + R
Aux Mon 1 + 2
Aux FX 1
Control Room L + R

You are probably talking about something else than physical audio outputs ? If you mean channels to multitrack recorder then Tascam has 16 in 14 out and Zoom has 22 in 20 out.

@mhartzel Sorry, we are talking about two different things. I was talking about in - outs on the USB audio interface, not speaker, phones, monitors…
I don’t really use monitor outputs (yet), only headphones and master speaker outputs. And I don’t need multiple headphone outputs or anything like that.
And according to ZOOM website, L20 has 22in and 4 out on the USB interface. That is one of the reasons why I did not select it.

From ZOOM website:

  • 20 discrete channels (16 mono plus 2 stereo) with XLR or ¼-inch connectivity
  • 22-track simultaneous recording, 20-track playback
  • 22-in/4-out USB audio interface connectivity

Yep, I realize this. I was simply countering the idea that Zoom “does not ring ‘quality’ to you”. F8 has been used by many classical engineers on location. For the type of device you ended up going with, I have my eye on the Soundcraft Signature 22 MTK Mixer (or one of its smaller siblings). Apparently they work well with Linux too.

Does Jack show 'capture_1, capture_2,…capture_16; ie one USB audio input for each slider?

@bachstudies Soundcraft MTK series mixers were serious contenders. I can’t remember why I did not like it in the end. I think they would be just as good.

@Daniel_Albers Yes. All outputs and inputs are showing plus midi channels for synchronisation of internal recorder with Ardour. Not sure if I ever use that, but I might be mastering down to internal recorder instead of routing back to ardour.

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