Tascam Series 8P Dyna
No nonsense preamp with serviceable compressor. Great addition to any interface with an ADAT input.
Tascam Series 8P Dyna Eight-Channel Preamplifier
An easy way to boost your input count is to plug a multichannel preamp into the ADAT port marked by a red glow on the back of your interface. Tascam’s new Series 8p Dyna is a nice way to do it— eight channels of discrete preamplification and compression for an accessible price tag, all over a single cable.
Physically, the Series 8p Dyna is built tough. Handles on the front face help you easily descend the unit into a horizontal desk rack or pull it out of a full rack case. With gain and compression on each channel, the 16 knobs are quite densely populated although the labelling is clear from all angles. Each channel also has a backlit +48V phantom button. Over to the right is the metering panel with four-stage LED level meters per channel and separate LEDs for compression and overload.
THE INS & OUTS
Of the eight combi inputs, the first two accept DI signals and are on the front panel for accessibility. Oddly the power supply is the wall wart type, not IEC. All bases are covered for sending audio out with eight balanced TRS line outputs and a 25-pin DSUB analogue breakout cable option in addition to the dual ADAT Optical outputs. The highest conversion quality of 192k can only be reached across all eight channels using the analogue outputs, of you can send four channels over ADAT at 192k using both S/MUX outputs. Word Clock in and out ports cater for digital synchronisation with other devices.
Looking under the surface, the preamplifier’s gain range is a modest 52dB – fine for a source that’s throwing out a solid level but not so much for a ribbon mic on a quiet instrument. I had the gain close to maximum when using dynamic mics but thankfully the pres are whisper quiet and don’t introduce much noise. My feeling is 52dB is a little lean for this type of product; 60dB would be more reassuring.
One-knob compression is a notable value add on the Series 8p Dyna. It’s nothing fancy — just a simple analogue variant with a true bypass when the pot is all the way down. The manual reveals that the knob simply adjusts the compressor’s threshold over a range of 30dB with a fixed ratio of 3:1. Attack and release times are not stated.
TO THE TEST
In use I found the Tascam Series 8p Dyna preamps to be clean without being sterile. Wound up to halfway, the one-knob compression did a beautiful job on a drum kit preserving transients while adding punch and weight. Pumping artefacts started to show with heavy compression on acoustic guitar and despite a little squashing of the pick strumming it was all rather musical. On vocals the tone was full bodied. Light handed compression added presence and forthrightness to spoken word although winding it up too far accentuated sibilance and ugly breath noises. Overall, I found the preamp/compressor combination to excel on a number of sources especially if the compressor is used in a more gentle manner.
There’s a lot to love about the Tascam Series 8p Dyna. It’s a no-nonsense preamp with a perfectly usable compressor that’ll complement any interface with an ADAT input. If you are on the hunt for extra channels, have a spare ADAT input and can’t spend big on separate pres and converters, this is for you.