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The Tascam 388
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kslight
dead but not forgotten


Joined: 13 Oct 2009
Posts: 2179

PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2016 5:41 pm    Post subject: Re: The Tascam 388 Reply with quote

You bet, though I fear this forum is coming to a close I still check back out of habit.

On the contrary, I do think the 388 is fairly simple to open up and work on...provided you have parts and a little know-how. I know only enough to get into trouble and still I found it pretty nice inside versus some other devices I've been in...

I think ITB people sometimes have a tendency to meddle rather than commit. Being able to edit precisely is nice, recall your mixes, etc... But there's a point where shit does not get better. I think that overlaps into the graphic and video world too...people go crazy Photoshopping and re-editing their films simply because they can. But the technology doesn't make good or bad art, it does kind of help enable it... It boggles my mind when people spend tens of thousands of dollars recording in a fancy studio only to edit and sound replace to death..

When faced with almost zero limitations, people can start to get silly, putting up dozens of mics on drums for no reason, etc...when 2 or 3 or 4 mics can sound just as good, if not better.. Great thing about a conservative mic setup is you can't go back and put Steven slate RHCP sounding drums on it. I dunno when everyone decides that sounds good... I have a tendency to love art that's a little more raw...low budget films, live concert recordings, etc...

But ITB sounds great too and you can do a million things, I'm sure there's a hundred thousand d-bags on the internet that say why bother with tape, especially inferior formats like cassette and 1/4" 8 track...but I say whatever man it's your canvas, if you get your art out with it the way you want it fuck them.
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markjazzbassist
steve albini likes it


Joined: 25 Apr 2011
Posts: 365
Location: Cleveland, OH

PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:10 am    Post subject: Re: The Tascam 388 Reply with quote

kslight wrote:
You bet, though I fear this forum is coming to a close I still check back out of habit.

On the contrary, I do think the 388 is fairly simple to open up and work on...provided you have parts and a little know-how. I know only enough to get into trouble and still I found it pretty nice inside versus some other devices I've been in...

I think ITB people sometimes have a tendency to meddle rather than commit. Being able to edit precisely is nice, recall your mixes, etc... But there's a point where shit does not get better. I think that overlaps into the graphic and video world too...people go crazy Photoshopping and re-editing their films simply because they can. But the technology doesn't make good or bad art, it does kind of help enable it... It boggles my mind when people spend tens of thousands of dollars recording in a fancy studio only to edit and sound replace to death..

When faced with almost zero limitations, people can start to get silly, putting up dozens of mics on drums for no reason, etc...when 2 or 3 or 4 mics can sound just as good, if not better.. Great thing about a conservative mic setup is you can't go back and put Steven slate RHCP sounding drums on it. I dunno when everyone decides that sounds good... I have a tendency to love art that's a little more raw...low budget films, live concert recordings, etc...

But ITB sounds great too and you can do a million things, I'm sure there's a hundred thousand d-bags on the internet that say why bother with tape, especially inferior formats like cassette and 1/4" 8 track...but I say whatever man it's your canvas, if you get your art out with it the way you want it fuck them.


great post. i agree that when the options are limitless often times the tendency is to overmix/produce/replace tracks and butcher it. i'm with miles davis, "there are no mistakes" keep the shit in, it's what makes it art and beautiful.

i've finally got enough scratch to get a recording rig again (went broke and had to sell it all to pay rent a year or so ago) and i'm taking what you have said into mind. i'm thinking maybe just a 2 track reel, 8 channel mixer and recording live. spend more money on my space and work on my band/friends actually learning to be musicians and play the songs and learn to solo. instead of just comping everything and trying to perfect it. also 2 tracks are cheap Smile
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Recorded on a Tascam 388 - http://earthtone.bandcamp.com/
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kslight
dead but not forgotten


Joined: 13 Oct 2009
Posts: 2179

PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 1:05 pm    Post subject: Re: The Tascam 388 Reply with quote

markjazzbassist wrote:
kslight wrote:
You bet, though I fear this forum is coming to a close I still check back out of habit.

On the contrary, I do think the 388 is fairly simple to open up and work on...provided you have parts and a little know-how. I know only enough to get into trouble and still I found it pretty nice inside versus some other devices I've been in...

I think ITB people sometimes have a tendency to meddle rather than commit. Being able to edit precisely is nice, recall your mixes, etc... But there's a point where shit does not get better. I think that overlaps into the graphic and video world too...people go crazy Photoshopping and re-editing their films simply because they can. But the technology doesn't make good or bad art, it does kind of help enable it... It boggles my mind when people spend tens of thousands of dollars recording in a fancy studio only to edit and sound replace to death..

When faced with almost zero limitations, people can start to get silly, putting up dozens of mics on drums for no reason, etc...when 2 or 3 or 4 mics can sound just as good, if not better.. Great thing about a conservative mic setup is you can't go back and put Steven slate RHCP sounding drums on it. I dunno when everyone decides that sounds good... I have a tendency to love art that's a little more raw...low budget films, live concert recordings, etc...

But ITB sounds great too and you can do a million things, I'm sure there's a hundred thousand d-bags on the internet that say why bother with tape, especially inferior formats like cassette and 1/4" 8 track...but I say whatever man it's your canvas, if you get your art out with it the way you want it fuck them.


great post. i agree that when the options are limitless often times the tendency is to overmix/produce/replace tracks and butcher it. i'm with miles davis, "there are no mistakes" keep the shit in, it's what makes it art and beautiful.

i've finally got enough scratch to get a recording rig again (went broke and had to sell it all to pay rent a year or so ago) and i'm taking what you have said into mind. i'm thinking maybe just a 2 track reel, 8 channel mixer and recording live. spend more money on my space and work on my band/friends actually learning to be musicians and play the songs and learn to solo. instead of just comping everything and trying to perfect it. also 2 tracks are cheap Smile


I'd like a two track, I find it slightly ironic that I have had a hard time finding decent 2 tracks in acceptable shape locally but have had so many 8 and 16 tracks.

I have had ideas stewing for what I want to do next with the 388, and I finally started a new tune yesterday. An old band mate had sent me lyrics for a song he wanted me to write, so using that I built a structure of rhythms by sequencing my Nord Modular with the Nord Beat app on my iPad, and routed various parts to pedals, compressors, and an old Sansui tube mixer. Satisfied with the sounds in all their noisy glory, I took to "performing" all of my sequences live into the structure of the song (created by pen and paper) because the Nord app doesn't let you chain your sequences into a full song adequately. I tried it over a few times but the final take I used I made a few errors (not switching to a new pattern fast enough so the previous one plays too long) so I decided to the best thing to do at this point was dump it into Pro Tools.

I transferred all 4 tracks at once via my Motu 1248. The first thing I did was group all the tracks together, made markers for all my sections, and fixed my above mentioned mistakes... then seeing that everything (obviously) doesn't line up to the grid...I decided I would need to edit it more or less to the grid so that I would be able to add more sequenced parts with relative ease and potentially restructure the song later. If this song was just me I probably would have said f it and left the timing all warbly but because it was a collaboration I thought better to do it now than deal with it later. A couple hours later...more or less in time. I left it a little loose, not type writer-y, but was still a tedious process as it was drifting frequently.

I also went and stripped silence on the tracks (I didn't use dbx this time around)...but ended up undoing that on the bass drum track because it all sounded weird without some hiss going on... Now ready to take it somewhere....

In hindsight, I should have printed a click track to the tape to facilitate easier editing as well as have a "trigger" source to trigger my other synths and stuff. Next time I also may try dbx on (I go back and forth on this one). And maybe I should just sequence using the computer instead of the Nord beat app.

Was fun, soaked up most of a lazy Labor Day and I was happy with the results, though definitely not the fastest process.
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the_snowfields
alignin' 24-trk


Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 53
Location: portland, or

PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 1:40 pm    Post subject: Re: The Tascam 388 Reply with quote

Apologies if the answer is in this thread somewhere but the search function brings up a bajillion unnessary hits so I thought I'd just drop in quickly on the experts: has anyone divined a nice workaround for soloing tracks in the monitor section? Or is this not doable?
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Egoless
audio school


Joined: 07 Apr 2016
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 9:15 pm    Post subject: Re: The Tascam 388 Reply with quote

I have 388 for some time and love it, but I never did overdubs on it, the manual is a bit confusing and whatever I try doesn't work so I would appreciate some help...

So, let's say I have something recorded on track 1 and I want to overdub and record something else on top. What's the procedure?

Thank you!
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eh91311
re-cappin' neve


Joined: 07 May 2003
Posts: 767
Location: NW Los Angeles

PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:17 pm    Post subject: Re: The Tascam 388 Reply with quote

Egoless wrote:
I have 388 for some time and love it, but I never did overdubs on it, the manual is a bit confusing and whatever I try doesn't work so I would appreciate some help...

So, let's say I have something recorded on track 1 and I want to overdub and record something else on top. What's the procedure?

Thank you!

I'm surprised no one has given you advice by now.
Here's a link to a pdf manual: http://reel2reeltexas.com/Tascam388Manual.pdf
To record to track 1, then listen to track 1 and record something new on track 2, refer to pages 7, 9 & 10 in the online manual.
Most importantly, you have to turn the input channel panpot right to record on even # tracks, to the left to record to odd # tracks. 388's are configured so that you can plug into ch1 and record to channels 2-8 by arming the correct tracks and turning the panpot all the way right or left.
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gogo_man
audio school


Joined: 28 Feb 2017
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 2:40 pm    Post subject: Re: The Tascam 388 Reply with quote

Hey peeps beginner here and recently stumbled upon a 388 that needs some work. Its a few hours away so might take a little commitment.

As far as the work it needs, the ad says "Half of the channels work. Some of the VU meter lights are out." Sounds like something that is solvable. Can anyone help me understand what a worst case scenario (where the machine would only be good for parts) is for a Tascam 388? Also, anyway to check for this worst case scenario? Anything I can ask about before making the 3 hour trip?

I have a nearby tech who is trusted and reliable, but would hate to buy this if there is an issue too big that can't be fixed.
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kslight
dead but not forgotten


Joined: 13 Oct 2009
Posts: 2179

PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:51 pm    Post subject: Re: The Tascam 388 Reply with quote

gogo_man wrote:
Hey peeps beginner here and recently stumbled upon a 388 that needs some work. Its a few hours away so might take a little commitment.

As far as the work it needs, the ad says "Half of the channels work. Some of the VU meter lights are out." Sounds like something that is solvable. Can anyone help me understand what a worst case scenario (where the machine would only be good for parts) is for a Tascam 388? Also, anyway to check for this worst case scenario? Anything I can ask about before making the 3 hour trip?

I have a nearby tech who is trusted and reliable, but would hate to buy this if there is an issue too big that can't be fixed.



Meter lights don't matter really. Yes, they can be fixed. The machine is usable without.

As far as channels go, I have fixed this type of issue (though not on half the channels!) by pulling and reseating various boards.

That's not a guarantee that is your problem, but a cheap starting point.

I would buy almost any 388 sight unseen in a heartbeat for a few hundred bucks, unless it was gutted. A serviced one currently is worth over $1500, I sold two machines for that cost recently and always watch eBay and reverb. I wouldn't pay much more than a few hundred with lots of problems.

The problem with the 388 is that parts are not available except from scrap machines.
Tascam doesn't even have belts anymore, when I last called them. You can find belts on eBay though. If you bought the 388, I would buy a few belts while you can. You'll probably want to change it as soon as you buy it anyway.
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kslight
dead but not forgotten


Joined: 13 Oct 2009
Posts: 2179

PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:12 pm    Post subject: Re: The Tascam 388 Reply with quote

So I bought another 388 today..and this one came with the books! Looking at the PDF manuals that are online, i would say they are pretty poop quality in comparison. I happen to have access to great automated scanners at work, perhaps I should cut this book apart and do a good scan...
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j.harv
gettin' sounds


Joined: 31 Dec 2010
Posts: 118
Location: Cambridge,Ont,Canada

PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:04 am    Post subject: Re: The Tascam 388 Reply with quote

kslight wrote:
So I bought another 388 today..and this one came with the books! Looking at the PDF manuals that are online, i would say they are pretty poop quality in comparison. I happen to have access to great automated scanners at work, perhaps I should cut this book apart and do a good scan...


Nice. Always good to have multiple 388s. And yes, it's good to have an actual manual.
I also have the original service/user manual. That has been a big help and it's a lot better than the dodgy online pdfs.
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kslight
dead but not forgotten


Joined: 13 Oct 2009
Posts: 2179

PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:49 pm    Post subject: Re: The Tascam 388 Reply with quote

So seeking troubleshooting tips.


I'm having transport trouble. Basically you hit play, it engages them immediately stops. FF and RW do the same, often going "limp" after engaging (insert joke) and becoming loose in the path, coming off the guides.

Last night I had FF working, but I seem to have adjusted it to where it isn't right now.

I having been adjusting the trimmers on the reel servo PCB to the best of my knowledge (I've done this on other 388s so I know more or less what to expect).
It doesn't seem that any range of adjustment helps enough to get it to work reliably.

The behavior that is most odd is that when adjusting R112 and R212 (tension arms), they don't seem to visually move. I'm thinking this may be my problem.


What I do know...

1. Capstan belt is fine. Turns as it should, I put a new belt on just to be sure.
2. New manufacture/known good tape loaded.
3. I went to the hardware store and bought all new fuses. Behavior is unchanged.
4. I re-seated the reel servo PCB, no change.
5. When I first opened it, power supply connector "P803" was loose and at least partially disconnected. I reconnected this.



Appreciate any ideas. I have another 388 here that I could swap stuff from if I have to. Might swap the reel servo PCB but haven't gotten to that level yet.

Thanks
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markjazzbassist
steve albini likes it


Joined: 25 Apr 2011
Posts: 365
Location: Cleveland, OH

PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 6:23 pm    Post subject: Re: The Tascam 388 Reply with quote

kslight wrote:
I would buy almost any 388 sight unseen in a heartbeat for a few hundred bucks, unless it was gutted. A serviced one currently is worth over $1500, I sold two machines for that cost recently and always watch eBay and reverb. I wouldn't pay much more than a few hundred with lots of problems.


it is wild how the prices have gotten. i bought my first one for 300, next one for 400. around those prices it makes sense, heck i would even stretch to around 800 its a deal because you get a quality mixer and reel recorder in one. but anything over 1000 just baffles me. you can get a 8 track 1/2" or 4 track 1/4" machine and quality mixer for less and it's greater fidelity and 15 IPS. not to mention it will be smaller and weigh less. i realize the 388 does "a thing" but at the price points it's at the "thing" doesn't really make sense anymore. at least to me.
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Recorded on a Tascam 388 - http://earthtone.bandcamp.com/
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kslight
dead but not forgotten


Joined: 13 Oct 2009
Posts: 2179

PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 6:42 pm    Post subject: Re: The Tascam 388 Reply with quote

markjazzbassist wrote:
kslight wrote:
I would buy almost any 388 sight unseen in a heartbeat for a few hundred bucks, unless it was gutted. A serviced one currently is worth over $1500, I sold two machines for that cost recently and always watch eBay and reverb. I wouldn't pay much more than a few hundred with lots of problems.


it is wild how the prices have gotten. i bought my first one for 300, next one for 400. around those prices it makes sense, heck i would even stretch to around 800 its a deal because you get a quality mixer and reel recorder in one. but anything over 1000 just baffles me. you can get a 8 track 1/2" or 4 track 1/4" machine and quality mixer for less and it's greater fidelity and 15 IPS. not to mention it will be smaller and weigh less. i realize the 388 does "a thing" but at the price points it's at the "thing" doesn't really make sense anymore. at least to me.


I don't think the appeal of the 388 is the fidelity, as much as the lack of. When I need fidelity, I'm using my computer.. And it's a lot cheaper and simpler to run a 388 than a 1/2" machine and mixer combo.

I have a 38 sitting here too, never bothered to use it except for testing, because at $100 a reel it's not economical for me to use like the 388 is.
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markjazzbassist
steve albini likes it


Joined: 25 Apr 2011
Posts: 365
Location: Cleveland, OH

PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 7:15 pm    Post subject: Re: The Tascam 388 Reply with quote

kslight wrote:
I don't think the appeal of the 388 is the fidelity, as much as the lack of. When I need fidelity, I'm using my computer.. And it's a lot cheaper and simpler to run a 388 than a 1/2" machine and mixer combo.

I have a 38 sitting here too, never bothered to use it except for testing, because at $100 a reel it's not economical for me to use like the 388 is.


right and the appeal for me was coming in new to analog reel to reel its an all in one unit that i buy and buy tape and bam, i can record/mix. just read the manual and you're there.

fostex did 1/4 8 track and they're cheap, or you could do 1/4" 4 track and just bounce. you're still on 1/4 cheap tape that way. either of those is what i'm going to do in a little bit here once i start getting my studio back (got broke sold it all).
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kslight
dead but not forgotten


Joined: 13 Oct 2009
Posts: 2179

PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 11:27 am    Post subject: Re: The Tascam 388 Reply with quote

markjazzbassist wrote:
kslight wrote:
I don't think the appeal of the 388 is the fidelity, as much as the lack of. When I need fidelity, I'm using my computer.. And it's a lot cheaper and simpler to run a 388 than a 1/2" machine and mixer combo.

I have a 38 sitting here too, never bothered to use it except for testing, because at $100 a reel it's not economical for me to use like the 388 is.


right and the appeal for me was coming in new to analog reel to reel its an all in one unit that i buy and buy tape and bam, i can record/mix. just read the manual and you're there.

fostex did 1/4 8 track and they're cheap, or you could do 1/4" 4 track and just bounce. you're still on 1/4 cheap tape that way. either of those is what i'm going to do in a little bit here once i start getting my studio back (got broke sold it all).


That sucks you had to sell it all. I've thought long and hard how deep I want to go down the 388 rabbit hole but can't bring myself to lose it completely.
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