At AES 2000, TASCAM debuted the DM-24, a digital console designed for studio applications. This preview is based on information supplied by the manufacturer. Pro Audio Review is planning to publish a complete, hands-on review in an upcoming issue.
24-track/24-bit digital console
The DM-24 ($2,999) is a small-format digital recording console designed for project and commercial studios. Its 24-track/24-bit specs are ideally suited for use with 24-track digital recording devices, such as MDM arrays or standalone hard-disk recorders.
The DM-24 comes on the heels of the MX-2424, TASCAM’s popular 24-bit hard-disk recorder, and they are clearly considering this to be an ideal partner. According to TASCAM, the concept behind the DM-24 is high-resolution audio, flexible routing, built-in automation and effects, dynamics processing and parametric equalization.
With the ability to handle full 96 kHz sampling rates, the console is clearly aimed at the price-conscious buyer who is looking for a reasonable studio centerpiece with the ability to record at higher resolutions.
The DM-24’s 24-bit digital converters and up to 96 kHz sampling rates make a variety of applications possible, including mixing for standard CD as well as surround encoding or DVD authoring. TASCAM has a history of moving pro audio standards into the reach of home and project studios, a point driven home by Mike McRoberts, TASCAM’s international product development manager.
TASCAM claims the DM-24 is the first affordable mixer with 24/96 throughout the signal path, and points to full transport control, LED ring encoders, hierarchical grouping and 100mm touch-sensitive moving faders as professional touches. There are three layers of fader control on the DM-24. Layer 1 controls mic/line inputs 1-16 during tracking, and handles tape returns
1-16 on mixdown. Layer 2 controls tape returns 17-24 and channels 25-32. Layer 3 handles bus masters 1-8 and auxiliary masters 1-6. Faders can also be assigned to other functions such as channel aux send levels and MIDI controller data.
Operation is familiar digital console fare. EQ is adjustable via three rotary controls: gain, band and Q control. Settings for EQ and panning are indicated via the LED display on the knob ring. An LCD provides control for tweaking sends and other parameters via additional soft rotary controls.
The DM-24 promises powerful automation capabilities that are built into the mixer, rather than via external computer or software. Up to eight mixes can be stored in the console and, once a new mix is opened, the unit automatically goes into automation mode so that any static settings are instantly saved, and dynamic moves are written with one key press. In addition, automation data is off-loadable through the MIDI port.
I/O is accomplished through 16 analog inputs with XLR mic, 1/4-inch line inputs, and analog TRS inserts on each input channel. Also standard are 24 channels of TDIF interfacing, eight channels of ADAT optical I/O, two stereo AES/EBU and two stereo S/PDIF I/O interfaces.
Two expansion slots make additional analog or digital I/O port possible, as well as a cascade card to link two DM-24s together, allowing 64-channel operation. The control surface also includes a jog/shuttle wheel and recorder-style transport buttons that are capable of issuing commands to MIDI Machine Control-compatible transports (MMC).
The DM-24 also features 1/4-inch TRS inserts that can be assigned to any digital recorder return, as well as additional audio routing options. Standard outputs and monitoring choices are also provided (2 x 1/4-inch headphone jacks, 2 x 1/4-inch TRS jacks for the control room 2 x RCA jacks for the studio). TC Electronic and Antares provided reverbs, mic modeling and speaker modeling for the DM-24.
Configurable gates, fully parametric 4-band EQs and compression are standard on each of the 24 input channels, providing a foundation for most mixing projects. The DM-24 also provides eight auxiliary channels for effects returns and other needs. Each channel also features delay with what TASCAM claims to be an innovative circuit design able to compensate for fixed latencies within a digital studio.
TASCAM’s MX-2424 has already caused a stir „ bringing in a multitrack hard-disk recorder at a price that would have been absurdly low just a few years ago. It looks like the manufacturer is up to the plate again with the DM-24. If the console, when released this summer, matches its advertised features with quality execution, we could be looking at the new small-studio standard.
Contact TASCAM at 323-726-0303; www.tascam.com