Hooking Up a Tascam TM-D1000 to My SoundCard
May 17, 2007 10:02 AM   Subscribe

How do i intergrate a Tascam TM-D1000 mixer into my setup?

A friend let me borrow his Tascam TM-D1000 digital mixer. I have never owned a mixer (I do everything "in the box") so setting it up is a bit of a msytery. I have a M-Audio Delta 1010LT soundcard, so I need to hook the Tascam into that. I want to plug in my Shure SM58 mic, and Roland Fantom XR into it. What kind of cables will I need to do this?
posted by FireStyle to Media & Arts (8 answers total)
For real? Just use an XLR cable for the 58, jack and/or MIDI cables for the Fantom, and whatever goes between the 1010 and TM-D1000 for that, probably jack cables, possibly RCA or XLR. Does this answer your question?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:17 AM on May 17, 2007

what do you actually want to do with the mixer that you can't do now? as far as i can tell it's a 7 year old piece of equipment that can do some sort of digital conversion (not necessarily well from the comments i've googled). you CAN'T use this as a control surface (which is something i'd like to add to my setup) for cubase/protools/garageband.

basically it's a 6 year old budget level preamp/mixer. if you only want to plug two things into it that you can already use with your sound card, it seems like it's not going to be particularly useful.
posted by noloveforned at 10:24 AM on May 17, 2007

You might want to read this to get an idea of the TM-D1000's capabilities.

How you hook it up really depends on what you want to do with it. Are you looking to just use it as a set of preamps, basically? Or do you really want to do all your mixing 'live,' and just use the computer as a mixdown recorder? (I can't believe anyone would really want to do that.)

The problem is the interconnects. The TM-D1000 is a digital mixer, and it has 8 channels of output on the TDIF-1 (25-pin D-sub connector), plus two more conventional AES/EBU or SPDIF outputs.

But the problem is that your sound card doesn't speak TDIF, it's basically a TASCAM-only thing (unless you have a converter, which I'm going to guess you don't want to run right out and buy, because you could probably just get your own mixer or a USB control surface for a lot less).

So really, you're limited to using the board pretty much as an analog mixer. You can hook up 8 analog inputs to the mixer, via XLR, do your mixing, and then use its two conventional digital outputs (the SPDIF ones) to connect to your soundcard. All you'll do on the computer is record the stereo output. If you're used to multitracking (recording all the channels independently and then mixing down in software), you'll probably find this frustrating and limiting.

So anyway, I'm not sure it's going to be that helpful. Maybe you could use it for producing monitor mixes or something -- a mixer is always fairly useful in a studio -- but honestly unless you have other gear with a TDIF-1 connection, it's a shining example of why proprietary interconnects suck.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:53 AM on May 17, 2007

After looking harder at the specs on your soundcard, I realized it only has stereo SPDIF (for some reason I thought it had more digital I/O channels). So even if you got a TDIF to SPDIF format converter you'd still need a new soundcard (probably you'd want to get one with ADAT Lightpipe on it, and get a TDIF-to-ADAT converter) but just for that you're probably talking about more than a USB control surface and some preamps.

Honestly I don't see any reason for you to use this board; you've already got 2 balanced XLR ins on your soundcard, for your microphone -- if you need more, get yourself a couple of good mic pre's and hook them up to all of those extra RCAs.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:08 AM on May 17, 2007

Depends what you want to use this thing for. I use a mackie as a frontend to my 1010, but that's basically just using it for the preamps, which works well for me. To do this, you want to run TRS cables from the channel inserts of your mixer to your 1010's inputs. This is essentially disabling the mix functionality of these channels, but you can use the other half of the TRS cables to bring something else up on those channels (say...the outputs of your 1010, but I don't like to operate this way personally).

I'm assuming that since you borrowed this you aren't going to run out and by some sort of a TDIF box for this thing. This means if you want to run this like a mixer so you can mix OTB, you are going to need to run regular cables from your Delta outputs to either the line inputs or channel insert returns of the mixer. The cheapest way to do this is to get a 8ch 1/4" snake from Hosa. Barely more expensive and better is to get the same product from Audiopile.net. If you're gear is set up real close together you could also use 8 patch cords if you have them. You will also need one S/PDIF cable to connect the 1010's S/PDIF channel to a S/PDIF in on the mixer (optional).

Now, unless you have a lot of outboard, this is going to be a step backwards from what you're doing now, unless you just love the sound of all the converters you've got going. The big voodoo people talk about in OTB mixing is analog summing, which you're not going to have. Instead, you're going to have additional distortion and aliasing from another set of digital-analog-digital-analog conversions, at a lower precision than is happening when you mix ITB (provided you aren't using crap software) and you are still going to have digital summing. If you do have a lot of outboard, this could be pretty cool and convenient and could really ease up your lag issues. On the other hand, that's a bunch of theory. Maybe if you plug it all in it'll sound cool, and maybe you'll just find that you can mix better with faders than with the mouse. Good luck.
posted by jeb at 11:13 AM on May 17, 2007

thanks for the comments. The problem was the Delta 1010LT's mic preamps doesn't get enough gain to produce an audible signal. I will be buying a Tascam FW1082 soon to fix that issue, and he let me borrow the mixer for the time being. So yes essentially, I'm using the mixer as a preamp. Using the idea of pluging the stereo outs into the delta's in works great and is exactly what i wanted to do. I only have my keyboard and fantom xr running through it anyways.

but now the problem I'm having is when sound goes through the board, there is an audible hiss, and then a sustanined sound is cutoff. so when there is no sound it is quiet, and when there is a sound there is a hiss and the sound dies quickly? any reason to this?
posted by FireStyle at 6:23 PM on May 17, 2007

There is probably a noisegate effect that's on in that things little DSP fx section, or something with a noisegate or noisegate-like behavior (expander), or a really bad compressor. I suggest if you only want to use the preamps use the channel insert points to take that other crap out of your signal path.
posted by jeb at 3:17 PM on May 18, 2007

that's exactly it... thanks much! i'm back in action
posted by FireStyle at 8:08 AM on May 21, 2007

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