Designed for gamecasters—i.e. those who broadcast their gaming prowess over the web—as well as podcasters wishing to expand their horizons, the Tascam MiNiSTUDIO Creator US-42 is a high-speed USB 2.0 interface. It's capable of capturing 24-bit/96 kHz audio, compatible with Mac and Windows computers, works with most DAW software, and can even interface with iOS devices using an adapter (available separately). With its intuitive layout and various inputs for recording the human voice, it can give you the tools to introduce many elements into the milieu of your podcast, such as the ability to record guitar directly, as well as the support for two microphones at once—should you have guests coming over to chat.
For inputs, the US-42 sports two High-Definition Discrete-Architecture preamps, two combination XLR/TRS connections, a 3.5mm jack suitable for headset mics, and an auxiliary 3.5mm stereo input most agreeable for introducing the signal of consumer-grade audio equipment. In addition to the stereo RCA outputs for connecting to monitors, the unit offers two headphone outputs-one 1/4", one 3.5mm-as well as 48V phantom power for condenser microphones and support for 4-pole headphone/mic configurations.
The US-42 features an efficient hardware layout that clearly displays its various features. Glancing at the tabletop interface, you'll see the sizable level meter in the middle for monitoring incoming signal. It sits between two combination XLR / 1/4" TRS jacks for accepting your microphone signals. Below this row of features, a reverb-blend knob sits prominently between two input-selector switches.
The lower portion of the interface clearly shows two output knobs—one for monitors, one for your various headphones—three pads for triggering on-board sound effects, and an effect on/off pad. Thus, while creating your broadcast, you'll have the tools you need to keep the show running at your fingertips.
This device comes with software for better utilizing the hardware component of the US-42. The software features two panels, giving you an Easy view into the system and an Expert peak behind the curtain, so to speak.
The Easy panel breaks down your options for manipulating signal into three overarching categories: Sound (presets for your particular sonic setup), Effect (presets for manipulating your vocals upon pressing the effect on/off pad), and Reverb (types of ambiance with which you can effect your vocal). Beneath these knobs, you can assign the sounds of the trigger pads, and set their volume as well.
The Expert panel, on the other hand, gives you comprehensive controls of the US-42's compressor, equalizer, and reverb. In this panel, you also have control over buffer size, as well as the ability to manipulate the trigger pad's settings further; for example, you can set the rate of fade-in and fade-out for the sample being triggered.
Notable Features at a Glance
2 x HDDA (High Definition Discrete Architecture) Preamps
2 x XLR/TRS input jack for balanced inputs
1 x 3.5mm input for headset microphones
1 x 3.5mm stereo aux input for connecting portable audio players, game devices, etc.
48V phantom-power support for condenser microphones
Support for connection of 4-pole earphone with mic
Support for direct guitar input
Support for low-level dynamic-mic input signals
On-board DSP effects, including equalizer, compressor, several types of reverb, and special vocal effects
Input monitoring allows you to hear incoming signal before it's transmitted
3 x self-lighting, velocity-sensitive trigger pads
Reverb knob allows you to manually adjust amount of wet signal
Voice Effect on/off button
Clearly labeled "ON AIR" button to start transmission to your computer
3.5mm stereo headphone jack
1/4" headphone output
Separate controls for line- and headphone-output volumes
BROADCAST/CREATOR mode switch