Tascam showed a FireWire interface developed with Frontier Design Group that combines a 24/192 stereo audio interface with MIDI I/O in a streamlined design that also features transport buttons and 8 short cut keys (plus a shift key). In the crowded field of stereo interfaces, the FireOne’s added control and ergonomics may provide a welcome solution to many home studios. The FireOne is scheduled to ship in March with a street price of $299 and will include Cubase LE or Ableton Live Lite (TBD).

Tascam FireOne Product Page

Ed.: Audio interface plus mic pres plus transport controls plus MIDI? I’m already interested, and the price sounds terrific. To me, the question then becomes, how good is the audio interface itself, and do you need transport controls on your audio interface — the latter depending on how you work. As for quality, I’m skeptical of these big-spec numbers; they’re a bit like megapixels on cameras in that they say nothing about the quality of the circuitry and converters. But this definitely is on the top of our to-watch list from NAMM. Specs below, summarized from from Tascam:

  1. 2-in / 2-out FireWire Audio Interface (up to 192/24), bus powered
  2. Up to 192kHz/24-bit audio resolution
  3. Two XLR mic inputs with phantom power and pad
  4. 1/4″ high impedance input for recording guitar direct Hey, Tascam — that’s guitar or bass. Poor bass players.
  5. Two 1/4″ stereo headphone outputs
  6. Control surface: weighted, backlit jog wheel, transport controls, eight DAW shortcut keys
  7. Stereo LED meter
  8. Footswitch input, MIDI in/out

Josh Jancourtz has been covering and photographing the NAMM show’s latest gear, special to CDM.