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4 track cassette recorder

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  • 4 track cassette recorder

    I use a lot of cassette tape and open reel machines for my music.
    I still have my Tascam 424 from 1995 which I recorded my first couple of albums on including Earthrock and Touched by the Sun.
    Machine still works perfectly.
    Inspired by a artists and like Amulets and a lot of old school artists such as Conrad Schnitzler, I have been getting into cassette and tape quite a lot as an instrument as well as a recording medium.
    A week or so ago I bought a Fostex X15 4 track for $50 Australian and it needed a bit of fiddling about inside to get it sort of working. I did a few basic mods - ie removed a few components; and it works reasonably well as a crappy lo fi machine.
    Some of the belts need replacing. One has already snapped, replaced with a rubber band while I await a pack of belts from ebay. The ffwd and rwd dont always work; the whole playback system jams intermittently, requiring opening up and giving everything a it of a nudge.
    However it does some sort of a job and $50 is not bad for a 35 year old machine.
    I scan the online markets for 4 track recorders, tape recorders and open reel recorders. One thing is the ridiculous amounts of money people are asking for non working machines.
    Secondly how popular this technology seems to have become again, begging the question When will Tascam or others bring back the humble 4 track cassette recorder?
    I'm glad I kept my machine, kept it in safe storage.

    My points in writing this post...
    1. I recorded an ambient guitar piece on the Fostex machine, which I then dubbed over on to my Zoom R16 digital recorder.
    I hope to share it with you guys soon.
    2. I highly recommend people get into using cassette tapes as part of the creative process - even if it's a mono shoebox type cassette player, or a handheld dictaphone. Introduce that into your signal flow, or record some ambient loops of sounds or voices that you can incorporate into your music, or even live performance.
    3. Depending on your budget and technical inclination try to get hold of an old 4 track cassette recorder. They were still being produced in the early 2000s particularly the more compact ones like the Tascam Porta 02, and you might be lucky to pick one up still in working condition for a good price.
    Hopefully one day soon, new machines will be back on the market.
    I'm sure a lot of people have old 4 track cassettes of old demos under their beds.

    Some of the benefits of using tape.
    . its fun and immediate, nice to work with something physical rather than (or as well as) a mouse and computer screen.
    . it looks cool, especially if you are able to use it in a live scenario. The only thing cooler would be an open reel machine!
    .you can muck around with the pitch control to get vari speeds; some models have actually got various tape speeds as run at the normal tape speeds 1 7/8 ips ( i think) ; double speed for higher quality; and half speed for longer recording time.
    .you can flip the tape over and record backwards.

    Just starting off with some ideas
    Would be cool to hear from you.

  • #2
    I still have my 4-track and 8-track in storage. They were fun to record on, and you could come up with some fun effects and sounds that you could only do with tape.


    • #3
      I am preparing for the next Ambient compilation with a piece of experimental guitar music which I recorded on my Tascam 424. I then 'bounced' it down to stereo on my Zoom R16. From there I use a basic DAW on my old laptop running Linux to do the final editing and a bit of mastering.


      • #4
        hello..on a typical recording device, the account head keeps in touch with 2 of these paths (ie side a). One at that point flips the tape over to record onto the other 2 paths for side b....which obviously is turned around recording (ie in reverse corresponding to side a)
        On a 4track like wot you have, the account head keeps in touch with every one of the 4 heads (albeit interior design of the 4 track machine implies it can likewise peruse from a portion of these heads also whenever required, and just record on each to 3 heads in turn.

        pcb design for manufacturing guidelines
        Last edited by LissieMayo; 08-21-2020, 03:05 PM.