Yes, the way it is advertised in many places is misleading.
As to why I'm bothered - that's a really good question and it fits in with the longer question I was going to post.
You're totally right. I use Logic so everything becomes digital at some point but I guess the question is at what point(s).
I'm not a luddite, quite the opposite. But I do like analogue. I use a tube preamp on my turntable (and also any digital signals going in to my amp, like streaming or - rarely cd's). I have a 1950s German tube radio that I love the sound of even though it's not 'hifi'.
I like the warmth that analogue can add to a sound, especially tubes. But, yes, as you say, everything will be digital at the main stage.
I'm actually totally torn between what to get.
I'm pretty sold on a motorised daw controller - especially the Behringer x-touch. The idea of full control of the daw and effects, compared with just the transport/faders (basically) on the Tascam, is really attractive. Just having the faders automatically reset for each project alone is a big sell. I've never been overly keen on using a mouse/trackpad for music - especially effect and automation - and this feels like it will fulfil a need.
So then I ask myself, well, if I'm using Logic, and the X-touch, the only thing I need to improve is my mic (and maybe a cloudlifter or fethead if I get an SM7B) and an audio interface with more digital channels.
I have two needs.
1) Podcasting - in nearly every case it will involve remote interviewing, so guest audio coming in digitally over the internet (cleanfeed.net or similar) combined with video from skype/zoom etc (I have the video side covered). So the incoming audio is not going to be *great* to start with, no matter how good the system to transfer the audio is, most guests will not have good mics or setups. That said, I still want to do the best I can with it.
2) My own music as a hobby (something I've not done properly for a long time but want to get back in to).
I use a mac, and have Loopback V2, so that allows me great flexibility in internal routing to set up things like mix-minuses etc.
My current AI (the Rubix 24) would work for now as long as I didn't have an external mixer and only used logic - but if I wanted discreet channels to a mixer, it would have to be replaced.
I could use the Tascam Model 12, and then I wouldn't need a new audio interface (at least for now), it will have enough discreet channels for my current needs but at only 48 Khz (frankly, does a higher rate matter for my use? Not really).
Or I could get something like the UMC1820 with 18 discreet channels at 96 Khz. or, if I spent more, a Scarlett 18i20 3rd Gen which would give me 18 discreet channels at 192 Khz.
But, without using ADAT (ie, more expense on converters), they both only give me 10 line-outs if I were to use a mixer too - so that leaves me no better off than using the Tascam Model 12.
However the daw control on the 12 is basic. Transport and faders are good (although the faders are only 60mm), but no recall, no motors, no ability to control effects etc... So I'd want to get a control surface too anyway.
So... (anyone still here?) if I have Logic on the mac, and I have a control surface with motorised faders, and I had an 18 channel AI with midi, and I have Loopback to route internally - what benefit to I get from the Tascam Model 12 over 1) an analogue mixer, and 2) no mixer at all.
At the least, I'd be paying twice for the daw control - why would I use the 12 as a daw control if I had an X-touch or similar? And I don't need the recording features of the 12 either. I have a Tascam 70D that I can use to record backups of interviews etc (ok, not as smooth an operation as having it on the desk, but still usable).
So if I am using it only as a mixer, the signal path and eq are all digital - what does it add apart from my space being taken up?
So that is what is putting me off the 12.
If I am going to run a mixing desk alongside an X-Touch, doesn't it make sense that I don't waste money on duplicated features?
And if I am using logic as daw, and the control surface with that, then what benefit does a mixer give me other than the extra warmth of an analogue desk (a good one, I'm not saying all analogue desks are naturally better than the 12, obviously) and the routing flexibility (that I may not even need)?
I started recording music in the 80s on a Tascam portastudio, then studied sound engineering about 90 or so (the college had some 'modern' equipment, we had Cubase and some samplers, but we still learned to splice tap etc). Never went into music professionally and never will, although I do use it for work related activities of my own.
But that background is what is tempting to towards the combination of a control surface, AI, and an analogue desk.
I know what I need for my immediate use (podcasting), but I already have that (a mic, an AI with XLR input, logic, loopback - not much I can't do with that combination).
But my dilemma is if I am going to invest in improving this system and getting a good system so I can start recording music as a hobby again, what is the best direction for me to go?
Ultimately I guess it's a fair point to say I don't know what I need and wont know for sure until I start recording and mixing music again. But I'm not good at selling on equipment, so I'd rather 1) get it right first time (ha
) or 2) get things that I can build on rather than replace.
Look, I could go pickup a Tascam 12 right now (literally, there is one 20 minutes away and they have price matched Thomman) and it's sooooo tempting. But I'm trying to be sensible - or as sensible as I can be - and pick the right system for both my needs now, my wants now, and leave me with enough flexibility to expand.
Feel free to say 'you need to think more about what you want' - that's true, it's all I've been doing for the last week (and that's based on months of background thinking and years of on/off experience). And feel free to (politely) slap me and say 'Just get the 12 and shut up, it will do what you need and more'
Phew. And that is just using some of the points from the longer question I wrote. I'm still thinking it over so depending on how this thread develops or not
I may post an amended version at some point if needed on a separate thread as there are more people likely to see it I guess.
Thanks for your help.