The TuneStudio is a four-track mixing console. It works not only as a USB audio interface, but also as a CD-quality (16-bit 44.1KHz) recorder that lets you record audio to an iPod via a built-in dock. It works with the 5G iPod, 2G or 3G iPod nano, and iPod classic.
The TuneStudio looks much like a traditional four-track mixing console. Channels one and two include both 1/4in inputs (guitar plug) as well as XLR inputs, with separate gain controls for these latter two channels. Phantom power (+48V power that some microphones require to operate) is also available to these two channels. Channel three offers left and right 1/4in inputs, while channel four provides left and right RCA inputs. Output is confined to two 1/4in monitor jacks and a 1/4in headphone jack (there’s a 1/4in-to-1/8in adaptor in the box).
The console also includes a USB port, so you can hook it up to a computer. A Recording Menu button brings up the recording screen on 2G iPod nanos and 5G iPods (this button doesn’t work with the 3G iPod nano and iPod classic). There’s also a Compressor button that ensures audio is within the recording limits of the iPod (and to make quieter sounds louder without also increasing sounds that are already loud). A dial below the Compressor button allows you to control how much compression is applied.
Each channel has Level, Pan, and separate Low, Mid, and High EQ controls. There are individual level dials for headphone and monitor playback as well as a master level control.
Unless you are supremely talented, you’re not going to record your pomp-rock opus on here. You can’t layer tracks onto an iPod – each of the four inputs have to be recorded together. If you plug it into your computer you can only record the left and right channels at once, which is a bit limiting. The board also has no special effects, so you’ll have to add them with pedals or on the computer. There are no MIDI inputs, either.
If you’ve ever had a go on a four-track tape recorder, you’d kill for something as simple as the TuneStudio. It’s perfect for plugging in a few instruments and recording ideas and demos. Recording to an iPod is handy and fun, and it doesn’t require a computer, but you’ll get much more out of it if you hook it up to some editing software via USB.