The new year is already in full swing and Musicradar.com’s Gear Expo 2022 is listing the best pieces of kit that will rock the music recording community. From recording software to drum machines and keyboards, our favorite brands are rolling out new iterations and gear to help us reach the high notes in 2022 and beyond. We handpicked the three new releases we are most excited about that we have added to our studio setup: the TMA-2 Studio Wireless+ headphones from AIAIAI, the Tascam Portacapture X8, and the Zoom R20 multitrack recorder.
AIAIAI TMA-2 Studio Wireless+ headphones
We’re big fans of Bluetooth headphones on our commute times to the studio and we have been hoping for a model that would work with music recording, too. AIAIAI finally steps up with their super reliable TMA-2 Wireless+ headphones. Their W+ Link technology has solved all latency issues and delivers stable and lossless audio. Finally, we can ditch that coiled cable that always gets in the way and shackles us to the mixing panel.
AIAIAI’s purpose-built studio headphones boast an autonomy of 80 hours of playback time and use bio-cellulose diaphragm drivers that keep distortion at bay and deliver crisp sound, even at high volumes. They also sit very softly on the ears with memory foam cushioning that will make long hours of recording much more comfortable. The AIAIAI TMA-2 Studio Wireless+ headphones can be yours for $350.
Tascam Portacapture X8
We’ve been using the Zoom H4n field recorder for years and absolutely loved it. But its retirement has been long due and looking for an upgrade we obviously considered the Zoom H8 field recorder. But after a bit of research, we decided to go with the new Tascam Portacapture X8, instead.
We’ve been using the Portacapture to record ambient sounds in the field for SFX. But it’s also been serving us very well for a multitude of applications in the studio.
The Tascam Portacapture X8 delivers 192 kHz multitrack recording and has 6 setup modes that you can conveniently dial in on the 3.5-inch color touchscreen. For field recording, we use the built-in 14.6 diameter condenser microphones through Tascam’s proprietary HDDA preamps, but you can also use the XLR, 1/4-inch, and several other connections for up to eight tracks of multitrack recording. The Portacapture X8 also comes with several built-in filters and effects. The price is currently set at $499.
Zoom R20 multitrack recorder
If you’re not planning on leaving the studio, you will be better off with a proper tabletop multitrack recorder and the Zoom R20 is a great option. The R20 is a 16-track multitrack device that records up to 24-bit/44.1 kHz through 1/4-inch and XLR connections, two of which support phantom power.
The R20 has a terrific user interface where the number of physical controls is surprisingly limited to just a fader, a gain knob, and a few other buttons. All other features are accessible through the touchscreen. This makes the R20 user interface very similar to that of a DAW, timeline included. The touchscreen also gives you access to an EQ and other effects and filters. You can even import samples via USB or SD card. The R20 can be remote controlled via the dedicated phone application. The Zoom R20 comes with an MSRP of $399.