Review: Tascam Portastudio Brings 4-Track Recording to iPad with Vintage Vibe

Posted on December 9, 2010 by

TASCAM’s Portastudio brings 30 years of easy-to-use home recording to your iPad. Based on the PORTA ONE recorder that revolutionized recording in 1984, the Portastudio app records up to four tracks with a vintage vibe.

Record one track at a time using the built-in mic or a headset microphone connection, monitoring on authentic VU meters. A cassette transport with position counter tracks your position while you mix with level, pan and EQ controls. When you’re ready to mix, the built-in mixdown function saves your song as a CD-quality WAV file. Your mix appears in iTunes when you’re finished, ready to share with friends and bandmates.

A generation of your favorite bands crafted their songs with Portastudios, now it’s your turn. Start capturing your songs with the company that invented home recording using Portastudio by TASCAM. Get it now from the iTunes App Store.


When you launch Portastudio you will see the main screen:

Portastudio App Callouts

1. Record (“REC”) Hold this button while pressing Play to record a track
2. Play Plays back what you’ve recorded. If you haven’t recorded anything, pressing play has no effect.
3. Rewind (“REW”) Move to the beginning of the song.
4. Fast Forward (“FF”) Move to the end of the song
5. Pause Stop playback until Pause is pressed again.
6. Stop Stop playback or recording
7. Counter Displays your song position, 000 being the beginning of the tape
8. Song Name The name of your song, as set in the Cassettes screen
9. Input Gain Raises or lowers the level of the microphone that will recorded to a track
10. Input Assign Specifies which track you will record on, 1 through 4.
11. Input Safe Removes the Input Assign so that you can’t record accidentally
12. Cassettes Opens the Cassettes window, where you can create new songs and rename them.
13. Mixdown Opens a dialog box which allows you to name and then record a stereo mix of your song.
14. Master Fader The overall level of your stereo mix – pull this down at the end of your mixdown for a fade out
15. Channel VU meter Shows the level of a track during recording or playback
16. EQ High A shelving EQ that adjusts the high frequencies up or down for that track
17. EQ Low A shelving EQ that adjusts the bass frequencies up or down for that track
18. Pan Changes the left/right panning for the track
19. Level Adjusts the level for the track.

What’s in the Cassettes Window

Portastudio uses the Cassettes library to load and save your songs:

Portastudio Cassettes callouts

1. Cassette Name Touch this field to bring up the iPad keyboard and name your song
2. Cassette Choose one of the 20 cassettes to select it for loading saving or deletion.
3. Load This button loads the selected cassette
4. Save This button saves the current cassette
5. Delete This button deletes the current cassette

To Make a New Song

1. Press Cassettes
2. Select the Blank Cassette at the bottom of the list
3. Touch the Cassette Name field and give the song a name (optional)
4. Press Save

To Record a Track

1. Press one of the Input Assign buttons, 1 through 4
2. Test the microphone. (If you are using the built-in iPad microphone, you can still plug in a pair of headphones for monitoring.)
3. Adjust the Input Trim so that you’re recording somewhere around 0VU on the track’s meter
4. Press and hold the Record button and pres Play

When you are finished recording, press Stop
To Record a Mix

1. Press the Mixdown button
2. Name your mix using the iPad keyboard
3. Press the “Do It!” button!
4. You can adjust your mix while it records using the level, pan, etc.

Note: If you press the Stop button before the end of the song, your mix will be cancelled.
To Listen to and Share your Mix

1. Connect your iPad to a computer and launch iTunes
2. Select your iPad in the left column of iTunes, then click on the Apps tab
3. Scroll down to File Sharing and select Portastudio in the list
4. Select your mix in the Portastudio Documents window and click “Save To…”
5. Find a location on your computer and click Choose

You can now open your mix in an audio editor, upload it to Soundcloud™, or drag it into your iTunes library to convert it to an MP3 and share with your friends.
To Delete a Song

1. Press Cassettes
2. Select the Cassette you want to delete
3. Press the Delete button
4. Press continue

Check out the official Tascam product page for more information and updates at…



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