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Pulling out the old 4 track...

 
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mertmo
buyin' gear


Joined: 22 Sep 2004
Posts: 595
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 8:08 pm    Post subject: Pulling out the old 4 track... Reply with quote

Hey everyone.
I'm thinking of doing a record on my TEAC 3440s 4 track. I haven't used it for about ten years, it's just been sitting in a box. Before that, I put maybe 100 or so hours on it, and the original owner only put like 10 hours on it.
This thing's still in great shape, but it's just been sitting for so long, I'm wondering if I should do anything to it, or be careful of anything in particular before I dive in to tracking with it...

Anyone have any advice there?

I used to use it for a mastering deck, just printing to two of the four tracks and it was fucking brilliant. Never really did any serious tracking with it. I'm itching to enforce some old school parameters on myself. 4 tracks will make me REALLY strategize and plan ahead!
And the idea of using one mic on the drums... makes me uncomfortable and totally giddy all at once.

Anyway, just wondering about the potential dangers of simply firing the thing up and going for it without doing any maintenence...

Thanks.

ps. Never did any maintenence to it when I used it ten years ago either. (aside from demagnetizing the heads... don't really think that counts as maintenence, tho.) Come to think of it, I bet it's not been touched since it left the factory.
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mcijh
alignin' 24-trk


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 60
Location: Nashville, Tn.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 9:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Pulling out the old 4 track... Reply with quote

Blow it out w/ an air compresser @ about 120 Ppsi. Clean all the metal guides and heads w/ alcohol, clean rubber w/ 409, or another household cleaning product, and then water. don't get anything into any bearings.

Take the back cover off and check the belts. The may be dry rotted by now.

Have fun.

SS
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joel hamilton
zen recordist


Joined: 19 May 2003
Posts: 8878
Location: NYC/Brooklyn

PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 11:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Pulling out the old 4 track... Reply with quote

The project I play in called "the book of knots" is doing a collaboration with Tom Waits, and I had to haul out the old four track, as he requested a mono submix of the songs he will be singing on. That leaves three tracks for him. It felt really good to haul the thing out, and print stuff to it. I wound up printing our violin players string arrangement to a pair of tracks and printing them back to 24 track just for the sound of it. Awesome.

I have been debating whether or not to simply mix it from the 4 track when I get the tapes back from Tom.
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mertmo
buyin' gear


Joined: 22 Sep 2004
Posts: 595
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2005 1:03 am    Post subject: Re: Pulling out the old 4 track... Reply with quote

mcijh -
Thanks for the tips. Much appreciated!

Joel -

Cool. A project with Tom Waits, that's awesome! Always loved the Black Rider... What a great artist.
Yeah, I can't wait to fire this thing back up. Now that I know more about how to listen than I did when I was using it before. I want to know what the electronics sound like when they're pushed, etc. One thing I never did was listen to the difference between the line inputs and the mic inputs on the front of the deck.
This deck has major sentimental value, too. It was given to me when I was a teenager, way before I had a clue how to put it to use, by my uncle in law, Andy. Andy was the drummer for UFO!!!!!! How cool is that!? I'll never forget it, it was one of the nicest things anyone ever did for me. He was visiting for christmas and we were talking about music and I told him I wanted to get into recording. I was all of 17 at the time. He told me about this old 4 track that he bought when the band was together, and he had barely used it, etc. He told me he would send it to me when he got home, and I expected to never hear about it again. BAM! two weeks later this huge box shows up at my doorstep with my name on it. Still blows my mind that he did that for me, I had barely even met him.

On top of all that, I just love that my deck has 70's rock cred....
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mcijh
alignin' 24-trk


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 60
Location: Nashville, Tn.

PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2005 1:27 am    Post subject: Re: Pulling out the old 4 track... Reply with quote

Don't get too hyped.....it's a consumer deck, but it is high end consumer. And lucky for you, I have two in my warehouse, so it can be repaired.

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gevermil
takin' a dinner break


Joined: 17 Jul 2004
Posts: 172
Location: chicago

PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2005 1:57 am    Post subject: Re: Pulling out the old 4 track... Reply with quote

man < iloved my old 3340
stuff sounded good on it and it was a fun challenge to plan the tracks
I doubt youll have to worry about any transport issues
you may have some capacitors that complain but just demag it and let er rip
I used to set the levels just to distortion point then pull it just a hair back.
makes for a great rock sound
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brianroth
tinnitus


Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Posts: 1164
Location: Oklahoma City

PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2005 2:00 am    Post subject: Re: Pulling out the old 4 track... Reply with quote

BEWARE of using an air compressor since you can blow crap into mechanical bearings. Better to use a vacuum of some sort.

Bri
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mcijh
alignin' 24-trk


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 60
Location: Nashville, Tn.

PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2005 4:11 am    Post subject: Re: Pulling out the old 4 track... Reply with quote

Gevermil...Dude: I don't worry!!.....That shit makes you old. Demag a cap? HHHHHHHHHmmmmmmmmmm.....I don't think there's a paper on that. Now, setting the levels just below distortion, ...that's documented and called "that guitar effect". Or, technically,....tape saturation.

Ok, Brian, ...that's better than nothing.

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subspaceplatform
audio school graduate


Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 19

PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2005 4:29 am    Post subject: Re: Pulling out the old 4 track... Reply with quote

What a trip. I just bought a Teac 3340s with the intention of making a record on it. We've done basics for 7 songs already, and it has been a blast so far. It's incredibly liberating to just record and bounce as you go, no backtracking or fixing, working on pure instinct, and accepting the flaws that occur along the way as part of the work as a whole. After years of Pro Tools, it's a great change of pace. I'm strongly influenced by early Pavement and GBV records for this project, but it is actually sounding a little more hi-fi than that so far (although after everything is bounced a million times during overdubs, who knows what it will end up sounding like).

To complete the aesthetic, we're using one mic for drums (Neumann M149 in omni mode about 6-7 feet away from the kick drum and 6 inches or so off the floor, pointed towards the bottom of the kick).

One thing to watch out for: if you're running @ 15 ips, there is a +3 dB bump at 100 Hz (no LF adjustment available), so you might want to shelf EQ -3 dB at 100 Hz before hitting tape, ESPECIALLY when doing bounces.

I'm using 456 and I can generally slam the hell out of the meters without distortion, which helps to clear the noise floor. So just ignore the meters, basically. The real "0 dB" is actually +6 dB.

By the way, the sync head on my deck sounds like absolute garbage (no high end), is this typical for these machines? Everything sounds good on playback.
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