Tascam Model 12

Published 3 years ago on November 3, 2020

By Jonathan Graham

Gi75....Studio to Stage....Tascam Model 12


Tascam Model 12

MSRP: (UK) £599 / (US) $799


Straight Forward/Feature Rich – 5

Specialised/Versatile – 7

Affordable/High End – 3

Studio/Stage – 3.5


For fans of –

Easy-to-use multi-track recording solutions

Lightweight yet rugged gear

Portastudios of old


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Tascam Model 12


Whether you use it for rehearsal, live shows, or studio production, the Tascam Model 12 is a great-sounding, multi-track recording solution. The Model 12 boasts a classic analogue mixer-style design that's both intuitive and immediate. Tom Quayle tells us more.

Here at Gi, we've already checked out Tascam's Model 16, a fantastic and fully-featured analogue mixing desk featuring an inbuilt SD-card based multi-track digital recorder and USB audio interface capabilities. Now Tascam have released their Model 12 – a smaller sibling to the Model 16 and 24 mixers, sporting a more compact design whilst padding out the already impressive feature set even further thanks to the addition of a DAW remote-control mode.

As with the larger 16 and 24 variants, the Model 12 is a great quality analogue mixer comprising six mono channels, two stereo channels and a pair of TRS insert points for a total of 12 inputs. You also get the same 12 track (16/24bit, 44.1/48kHz) multi-track digital SD-card recording capabilities and USB audio interface functionality of the larger models, this time upgraded to USB-C for the most up to date connection standard (backwards compatible with USB-A for older PC's and Macs).

Unlike the Model 16 and 24, Tascam have integrated basic DAW control into the Model 12 (using the HUI/MCU protocol), allowing you to use the onboard 60mm faders, REC arm, Solo, Mute, Pan, Jog Wheel and transport controls in all the major DAWs on the market whilst in DAW Mode. The control on offer is limited due to the lack of motorised faders and infinite pan pots, so don't expect to be doing complex automation tasks or recalling mixes with the Model 12, but for basic use it is superb and a highly welcome additional feature. Tascam provide walkthrough information for connecting the Model 12 to all the popular DAWs such as Cubase, Logic, Pro Tools and Digital Performer and whilst the ever more popular Studio One isn't explicitly supported, the Cubase mode works fine for basic mixing tasks.

Using the 'Mode' switch, each channel can be assigned to listen to the live analogue inputs (featuring Tascam's superb Ultra HDDA preamps) in Live mode, the outputs of your DAW in PC mode or the various tracks of the Multitrack recorder in MTR mode. These modes can be switched independently per channel allowing the user to combine the live, DAW and Multitrack recorder inputs in a single session, all of which can be output to the Main balanced XLR outs or TRS Sub outs and Aux's as required and mixed using the onboard faders, EQ, compression and effects sections.

The I/O section has been moved from the front/top of the mixer to the back panel to keep the Model 12 as compact as possible and each of the analogue inputs features a combi XLR/Jack socket that can be set to balanced line or Hi-Z input as required. Global +48v Phantom Power can be switched on for condenser mics and there is a ton of gain available on every channel for running even troublesome mics like the Sure SM7b or Royer R-121 that require a lot of gain.

Each of the channel strips provide 100hz low cut switches, single knob compression and a 3-band EQ with a sweep-able mid frequency with up to 15dB of boost or cut. A 3-band master EQ with semi-parametric Mid control is also provided that can be assigned to either the Main Mix or Aux 1 output as required.

The Aux outs have been cut from 3 to 2 on the Model 12, but for most people this will be more than enough with Aux 2 assigned by default to the excellent onboard effects section, featuring 16 effect types covering all the expected bases from reverbs to delays and modulations that can be edited and stored as presets.

As with the Model 16 and 24, both the internal multi-track recorder and DAW outputs can be mixed and summed to the main mix, sub mix and Aux outputs using the analogue channel strips, allowing you to mix with real controls and the built in analogue compression, EQ and digital effects out of the box. A pair of Headphone outs with independent level controls allow users to collaborate on or hear individual mixes via the Aux or Main Mix busses as required. Full PFL, AFL and solo-in-place options are available for each of the channels too.

Combining the various input modes allows you to create complex live or studio setups combining live instruments or vocals with DAW and/or MTR tracks at the same time, all running through the analogue channel strips for real-time mixing or recording. The possibilities are enormous for anyone wanting to combine live playing with pre-recorded tracks and the fully integrated MIDI in and out allows for full midi timecode synchronisation or triggering of midi devices from the Model 12.

The brand new 'Vamp' mode adds even more creativity to live performance or practice, allowing users to loop up to ten sections of a song or recording with selected in and out points. Setting loop points is very straight forward, and these can be saved per song and recalled or set to loop in real-time for all manner of creative possibilities on stage or in the studio. You can extend a chorus or solo section, loop a small piece of audio for special effects or practice a difficult section over and over before recording a take.

All the powerful multi-track recording capabilities of the Model 16 and 24 are included with the Model 12, such as Overdubs, Punch in and out, stereo bounce downs and exporting of Wav files for editing and mixing in your DAW. You can even import WAV files into your session from an SD card or playback/record external audio using the built in Bluetooth connection or dedicated Mobile Device input.

A highly customisable click/metronome has also been included with the Model 12 that can be routed to its own dedicated output or the Main/Sub/Aux outs. The time signature, tempo, click type and a count-in mode can all be selected and customised using the in-built screen and controls. The screen provides an excellent and flexible metering operation with a bright, segmented master L/R hardware LED showing the Main Mix output level.  

Tascam have also included some powerful features for live streaming too, allowing users to sum all 12 channels down to a single stereo pair over USB for use in whichever streaming app is being used. This allows for complex real-time mixes utilising any combination of the analogue, MTR or PC inputs that can be streamed with pristine audio and real-time control over levels, EQ, compression and effects. The mobile device input even has a mix-minus feature, removing vocals or guitar solos from a mix to create ready-made play-along tracks.

The Model 12 is an absolute powerhouse of a device with an amazing feature set, build and sound quality for such an affordable price point. As we said with the Model 16, to buy each of the standalone devices required to get this level of functionality would cost a small fortune and, with the addition of DAW control, the Model 12 only enhances this value proposition further. For live streamers and performers wanting to record their sessions or have the flexibility of real-time mixing with superb preamps, EQ, effects and compression, or those looking for a compact and powerful standalone multi-track digital recorder and audio interface, the Model 12 is an absolute no-brainer. Highly recommended!















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