Thunderbolt: The ultimate in high-speed connectivity
More than twice as fast as USB 3.0—not to mention twenty times faster than USB 2.0 and twelve times faster than Firewire 800—Thunderbolt is the interconnection technology of the future. Co-developed by Apple and Intel Labs, it allows signal to be transferred at an incredibly fast 10 gigabits per second, which means virtually no latency. Thunderbolt interfaces such as the TAC-2 are also unaffected by computer jitter (slight variations in timing), so there's no need to connect an external master clock source.
In addition, Thunderbolt carries 10 watts/18 volts of power (as compared to the 2.5 watts/ 5 volts carried by USB 2.0)—enough to provide stable phantom power. This also allows the use of high-end components such as the Burr Brown PCM4202 analog-to-digital converter and AKM AK4396 digital-to-analog converter in the TAC-2.
The TAC-2 performs 4-times upsampling during both analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog conversion. In other words, when the sampling frequency is set to 44.1kHz or 48kHz, the TAC-2 processes the signal at high resolution 176.4kHz or 192kHz. For A/D conversion, this means less aliasing noise; for D/A conversion, this means increased clarity and fidelity.
The Ins and Outs
The Thunderbolt port on the rear panel carries digital signal to and from your computer as well as carrying power to the TAC-2. Two combo XLR/TRS inputs are provided for the connection of mic- and line-level signals, and there's a handy Hi-Z (high impedance) unbalanced input on the front panel for direct connection of passive electric guitars and basses using a standard 1/4" guitar cable. The TAC-2 also offers two balanced TRS output jacks which allow you to connect the TAC-2 to your monitors, as well as a dedicated 1/4" stereo headphone jack. All TAC-2 audio jacks use the industry standard Pin 2 hot on XLR connectors and Tip hot on TRS connectors.
The TAC-2's single rotary control knob is used to set input, output and headphone levels and to provide +48 volts of phantom power to the selected input, allowing you to use the TAC-2 with any kind of microphone, from low-cost dynamics to expensive studio-quality condensers. Seven-segment LEDs show continuous signal strength as well as input/output overload clipping.
Zoom TAC-2 MixEfx
TAC-2 MixEfx is a free Macintosh application designed specially for the TAC-2. With TAC-2 MixEfx, you can set mix parameters and add high-quality effects such as reverb and echo. Other features include a low cut filter, phase reverse and AUTO GAIN control for each input. There's also a LOOPBACK function that allows you to blend the input signal and playback signal for zero latency. TAC-2 MixEfx has three memory slots for saving user settings with quick recall.
APPLICATIONS: Using the TAC-2
Whether using it in your home studio or on the road, you can rely on your TAC-2 to deliver pristine audio. Here are just a few suggestions of ways you can use it:
Recording voice and instruments into a DAW
Enhance your music by adding your own instruments and voice. The TAC-2 makes it easy to do: Simply connect microphones and instruments to the inputs and then connect the TAC-2 to your computer's Thunderbolt port. The extreme low latency provided by Thunderbolt technology ensures that you can overdub to existing tracks with little or no audible delay.
Routing audio signal to and from editing software
Just connect the TAC-2 to your computer via Thunderbolt and then plug the audio source (such as a portable recorder, mixing console or music player) into the TAC-2's inputs. You can monitor signal coming from the software via headphones or by connecting the TAC-2 outputs to amplifiers or self-powered speakers.
Onstage playback of audio from your computer
during live performance
Got some great sounds in your laptop? The TAC-2 can bring them to life—simply connect it to your computer with a Thunderbolt cable and then connect the rear panel TAC-2's TRS outputs to your mixing board or PA system. That's all it takes to turn your laptop into an instant live instrument.
Listening to high-resolution streaming audio
through headphones or connected speakers
MP3s can sound good, but high resolution audio files—24/96 or 24/192 WAVs—sound way better. Now you can enjoy streamed high resolution files in full fidelity by connecting your computer to the TAC-2 via Thunderbolt and using the TAC-2 headphone jack instead of the one on your computer. Alternatively, you can use the rear panel balanced TRS outputs to connect the TAC-2 to your speakers.
Features at a glance
• 2-in/2-out high speed Thunderbolt™ audio interface
• Support for recording and playback up to 24-bit/192kHz
• Ultra-low latency audio streaming
• Two combo balanced XLR/TRS input connectors
• +48V phantom power for each input
• Hi-Z input jack allows direct connection of electric guitar or bass
• Two balanced TRS output jacks for connection to amplifiers or self-powered speakers
• Dedicated headphone jack with independent level control
• 7-position LED metering for input, output and headphone volume
• High-performance Burr Brown mic preamps with up to +60dB of amplification
• 4x upsampling during A/D and D/A conversion for reduced noise and enhanced fidelity
• Asynchronous transfer system unaffected by computer jitter
• Simple user interface—all operations controlled by a single rotary knob
• Bus powered—no AC power required
• Rugged yet compact and lightweight
• Works with all Thunderbolt-equipped Macintosh computers running OS X 10.8.5 or later