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Tascam 388 Maintenance, Repair and FAQ thread
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hughman
audio school


Joined: 12 Feb 2015
Posts: 1
Location: United States

PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2015 2:27 am    Post subject: 388 Power Supply Reply with quote

Hey guys, figure this is about as good a place to post this as any. Im considering picking up this 388 machine nearby for a decent price but the owner says it "needs a new power supply". He doesn't claim to know anything more than that, as he says it's just what a tech told him who looked at it. From the sound of it these guys aren't the easiest to work on but I haven't been able to find much concrete information about work on the power section. It does seem like a bit of a crazy gamble but I have been interested in these for a while for the all in one analog setup aspect as I'm very interested in working on tape, just wanted to get an idea of how probable a fix this might be. I've got a lot of experience woking on guitar amplifiers, pre amps, mics, etc., never a board though. I have a few buddies with more experience than I have who could probably provide some assistance but I don't want to be getting in too far over my head.
This is a pretty vague open ended question but any insight would be appreciated.

Thanks,
E
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kslight
dead but not forgotten


Joined: 13 Oct 2009
Posts: 2170

PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2015 9:00 am    Post subject: Re: Tascam 388 Maintenance, Repair and FAQ thread Reply with quote

I don't think the 388 is all that difficult to troubleshoot and service. Everything is modular too so if the problem is just the power supply, just pull it out. There are a few parts that are unobtainable without a spare machine though, like the heads...but it is a 30 year old machine so..

My only hesitations of this transaction would be if the power supply really is the problem or something else...and of course the asking price. If the price was fair enough, you could easily scrap the machine on eBay and make your money back if it turned out unrepairable...but if the problem really is just the power supply should doable. It'd be easier to make an intelligent judgment if the seller conceided the symptoms that made them determine that it's the power supply...
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groupsound7
audio school


Joined: 01 Oct 2014
Posts: 2
Location: Philadelphia PA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2015 1:33 pm    Post subject: 388 Playback Tension Problem Reply with quote

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVq1aSEUi8g

Hey folks,

I rescued a 388 from a friend's moldy basement and took it to the doctor (Bucks County Electronics), and turns out the thing was in pretty good shape. Dropped a pretty penny to give it some TLC and get it recalibrated, cleaned etc.. Its been about 8 months since then, and its given me endless hours of joy in recording and producing friends and my own music. I've been a diligent cleaner and demagnetizer, but recently it started to act up.

I was in the middle of recording when suddenly, the rewind function wouldn't work. I'd press the button and you could hear the start to whir, but it would quickly give up. I looked on this thread and found the resistors to adjust rewind tension and that fixed my problem. Cool! But now, whenever I hit play, the left tension arm kind of sits slack, and the tape runs slack for about 3 or 4 seconds, as the feed eventually pulls it up, and slowly nudges the left tension arm up slightly, but not to where it normally would sit. Did I totally mess up the tension calibration when I changed the rewind resistor?? I know there are resistors to change tension arm position, but they didn't seem to make any difference either.

Here's a link to youtube video that shows what happens. Would really love to fix this problem on my own rather than drop another 400 for what seems like a minor repair.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVq1aSEUi8g
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kslight
dead but not forgotten


Joined: 13 Oct 2009
Posts: 2170

PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2015 4:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Tascam 388 Maintenance, Repair and FAQ thread Reply with quote

Without giving you a real technical answer, and I can't watch your video right now, my experience with those trimmers is that they are all related so if one doesn't get you all the way there you need to adjust a different one, and then probably go back and tweak the first one, et cetera... There's some trial and error and to get it right, with playback, ff, rw, tension... Oh and bad tapes will give you the illusion that you need to adjust, watch out for that!
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mostfamiliar
alignin' 24-trk


Joined: 07 Apr 2008
Posts: 71

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 7:49 pm    Post subject: tracking bright Reply with quote

Not sure if anyone will see this in time but does anyone have advice on tracking bright with this beast? Can I use the EQ on the board while tracking? Should I try to only use bright mics? I was hoping to do a session with DBX off this time so I want to get the best sounds possible without it. Any other tips? I try not to push the levels too hot because I've found that I get a lot of distortion but balancing that with the noise floor has proven tricky.
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kslight
dead but not forgotten


Joined: 13 Oct 2009
Posts: 2170

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 8:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Tascam 388 Maintenance, Repair and FAQ thread Reply with quote

Yes. If I know I will need top end I will often boost some high-end going in with the onboard EQ. Can always draw it back when mixing to cut back on some noise.

Bright mics/sources can help, chinese condensers definitely have a place recording into a 388, in my experience. But you shouldn't *need* to if you don't have 'em.

I would generally avoid the "overload" lights unless you are going for an effect, but otherwise I find it can help to push it a little.. Generally I'd go for a range of 0db to +3db on the meters…but I don't go for an exact science, and depends on the source and the tape on the machine. My drummer hits hard and the snare mic input is inevitably always overloading, since I'm too cheap to buy an inline pad I just drop the channel fader down a little bit or pull the snare mic back…works for rock and roll.

DBX is not as essential as you might think, unless you're trying to do acoustic music, IMHO. You'll be fine without it if you don't want it…but it is worth experimenting with.

I find that creative multiband compression while mixing and strip silence can go a long ways towards making the noise manageable without DBX.
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mostfamiliar
alignin' 24-trk


Joined: 07 Apr 2008
Posts: 71

PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 1:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Tascam 388 Maintenance, Repair and FAQ thread Reply with quote

Hey, thanks a lot. I'll give your suggestions a try!
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wheyface
audio school


Joined: 01 Jul 2014
Posts: 4
Location: New Hampshire/Boston

PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 11:14 am    Post subject: Card Removal? Reply with quote

Hi there everybody! (I'm looking at you Shredshine)

Is there any good tutorials or instructions for card removal by any chance? Having some problems with some channels after a move and I have a feeling some of the cards have just fallen loose, but I'd love to know what I'm doing before I just start yanking wires.

Thanks!
Ty
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shedshrine
george martin


Joined: 01 Jun 2004
Posts: 1436
Location: sf bay area

PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2015 2:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Tascam 388 Maintenance, Repair and FAQ thread Reply with quote

swapping rec/play amp card in Tascam 388
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kslight
dead but not forgotten


Joined: 13 Oct 2009
Posts: 2170

PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Tascam 388 Maintenance, Repair and FAQ thread Reply with quote

What's really interesting on the initial post on this thread, it talks about how the RW and FF tension trimmers are labeled backward in the manual.... In the manual I got with this machine yesterday, it is correct!
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