Camp Jam is a five-day summer day camp and as a six-day overnight camp, giving kids and teens the chance to learn from and perform with professional musicians. The curriculum includes songwriting, instrumental instruction, playing in a band, studio production, and making a music video. More than 20,000 students have benefited from Camp Jam in the past ten years.
TASCAM is a sponsor of Camp Jam, and the TASCAM US-20×20 audio/MIDI interface has become a key tool for the camp’s recording and performance programs.
“I love the TASCAM US-20×20,” enthuses Camp Jam vice president of operations Steve Freeman. “Our program includes a recording and songwriting camp where the campers write a song together and record it using the US-20×20 as the recording interface. We like that the US-20×20 has built-in mixing and compression, and EQ on every channel, so we can create monitor mixes with processing, which is huge. And it’s USB 3, which provides terrific performance.”
Camp Jam’s National Recording director Charles Powell points to the US-20×20’s flexibility as another major benefit. “The US-20×20 is the most versatile piece of gear I can imagine,” Powell insists. “It has combo inputs on the front so we can plug in mics, guitars, or line-level signals from keyboards, which is super flexible. And with word clock and ADAT I/O, it can be integrated into a larger system.”
Because of the ADAT I/O, Camp Jam uses the US-20×20 as an expansion module for concerts, in addition to its main role as a studio interface.
“Every camp has a live concert on Fridays,” explains Freeman. “We have a recording system set up but we often need more mic preamps. The US-20×20’s ADAT I/O and mic preamp mode let us quickly connect it to add eight more mic preamps. And it sounds great. TASCAM’s Ultra-HDDA mic preamps are very clean.”
Camp Jam is held in multiple cities each year. The ten-city 2016 U.S. tour, for instance, includes Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis. Each camp uses whichever DAW software its instructors know best and are comfortable with.
“While standardizing on one DAW would have advantages, we feel it’s more important to focus on the creative process than the software,” Powell acknowledges. “The TASCAM US-20×20 works equally well with all of the DAWs we use, so all camps can use the US-20×20, regardless of recording software. You can even record at up to 192 kHz if the software supports it.”
Asked what he would change about the US-20×20, Freeman retorts, “I love everything about the US-20×20; I can’t find anything to criticize. It’s wonderful just as it is, and you’ll never get it away from me.”