Tascam 38 - What to expect?

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earl parameter
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Post by earl parameter » Tue Jun 27, 2006 11:07 am

"The more I read about this, the more freaked out I get." thats good that means your taking it seriously. once you get going with it though you'll be fine. yes any jostling or dropping or moving can knock it out of alignment. also pop off the bottom and make sure all of the cards are pushed all the way in. biasing with this machine will need to be done to match the tape formula your using and then should be fine for a while if you don't change it too far. maybe 456. the whole calibration and alignment once finished (if its not moved a lot) should be good for a long time as well by that i mean like 6 months. Maybe? my heads don?t like to stay in phase very long so if things seem off run in sync only until you can get it aligned again. you should still clean and demag it every day before use though. as far as being bent, one way to make sure is that the tape should be perfectly horizontal all the way through. i can't really explain it any other way. basically nothing should be bent. can you post a picture? unless you plan on getting an mrl and osc and everything else i would say bring it to a real tech first and let them know what tape your going to use and have it set up for you. then be very careful bring it back home. no slamming. relax its not like life, you get a manual for this, and you can try over and over again until its right.

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Post by ryangobie » Tue Jun 27, 2006 1:37 pm

Brian,
Would you mind posting a link to a Oscillator kit you'd recommend. A while back i got a mx5050, one of the old ones that comes in two parts, and shortly after I got a sampler/sequencer and got distracted so it's just been sitting. This thread has inspired me to get it going.
weeeee

earl parameter
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Post by earl parameter » Tue Jun 27, 2006 2:30 pm

brian can't they just use one in software and get a multi-meter to measure the voltage on the audio out of their card or board so they know its accurately set? ( like -10db is 0.3V ) they need to do that anyway and meters are cheap - software is free.

but i still want to see the kits for the osc's they have other uses too.

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Post by ryangobie » Tue Jun 27, 2006 3:09 pm

mmm i have meters before and tinker with tube amps so a signal gen would be handy there too
weeeee

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Post by brianroth » Wed Jun 28, 2006 12:08 am

ryangobie wrote:Brian,
Would you mind posting a link to a Oscillator kit you'd recommend. A while back i got a mx5050, one of the old ones that comes in two parts, and shortly after I got a sampler/sequencer and got distracted so it's just been sitting. This thread has inspired me to get it going.
Goto www.jameco.com and type in 20685 in the top "product search" box, then click on the "test and measurement" result.

This LONG URL should be the direct link, if it can be displayed here:

http://www.jameco.com/webapp/wcs/stores ... ctId=20685

While I haven't actually built that card, it's pretty much a direct "lift" from Exar's spec sheets for the oscillator chip.

You supply the mounting box. You come up with the power supply. You mark-up the frequency, etc. calibrations around the knobs.

Maybe I should build up some completed versions of that kit, with box, supply, etc.....

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nick_a
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Post by nick_a » Wed Jun 28, 2006 3:10 pm

i was actually blown away by how good my 38 sounds. i haven't even done a complete alignment. maybe i lucked out, but the things sounds SO GOOD. better than stuff i have done on 2" 24 track. good luck with that thing, man. worst case scenario you buy another machine for parts or whatever.

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Post by brianroth » Tue Jul 04, 2006 1:30 am

crashsick wrote:brian can't they just use one in software and get a multi-meter to measure the voltage on the audio out of their card or board so they know its accurately set? ( like -10db is 0.3V ) they need to do that anyway and meters are cheap - software is free.

but i still want to see the kits for the osc's they have other uses too.
I seem to get behind on some of these threads....

I guess there is no reason NOT to use the "test tones" that are included with a DAW or similar application. In my case, I've always used standalone test gear both on the bench and out in the field.

One "gotcha" with the signals from a DAW is due to the limited high frequency response of the D-to-A convertors, especially running at 44.1K. An analog machine running at 15 or 30 IPS usually has a high frequency rolloff well above the "Nyquist frequency" of 22.05 Khz (at BEST). I am NOT saying we can hear the signals recorded above 20 kHz, but the bias and EQ adjustments work all through the high end of the frequency range and I like to see exactly what is happening until the recorder simply "gives up" at 20 or 25 or 30 kHz.

In addition, I find square wave signals quite useful for tasks besides analog tape recorders and a DAW is incapable of producing a useful square wave test signal at even midrange frequencies.

As for the multimeter....WARNING! Many (most?) multimeters have a severe lack of frequency response above maybe 500 or 1000 Hz. They were designed to measure AC voltages which range from 50 Hz (Europe) and 60 Hz (USA) up to 400 Hz (aircraft and military power systems). Hnece, they are totally inaccurate at higher frequencies.

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"training 101" DVDs

Post by brianroth » Tue Jul 04, 2006 2:46 am

Sleepy_poet wrote: Someone should make a video, like a sex-ed video, only instead of telling you how to have sex and protect from std's, they just show you he ropes of calibrating your tape machine. They could sell them in different volumes. Seriously, a whole website dedicated to selling volumes of these. There would be the Tascam 32,34,38,52,58, Otari MX50, and so on. They could even just do each volume by brand. Otari, Tascam, Studer, Teac, Scully, and so on. Wouldn't that be cool?
When I first read that, I made a mental note (and posted a silly reply here <g>).

Today, it dawned on me that a LONG-time friend has gotten into the "low end of the professional market" video production. I'm talking about stuff along the quality of infomercials vs. HD productions for primetime TV which are shot with Panavision film cameras etc etc.

James and I were roomies back in the early 1980's when James was a "youngster" running live sound and I was "slightly older", working a studio gig. We both ended up getting married and moving in different directions (and we both have "rock and roll war stories" from our time at my house, circa 1981....lol..ask me about the cockroaches that moved in along with James' PA system!!!), but James and I still frequently work together on a variety of projects.

James became intrigued with computer/video editing via off-the-shelf products versus the bazillion $$$ Avid systems that I've been installing in recent years. I've seen some of the DVDs he's directed/shot/edit/authored onto DVD and they look quite decent. Nope, NOT Hollywood widescreen productions with 5.1 sountracks...just decently-shot video.

SO! I ramble too much.

I have some ideas, beginning with "tape recorder 101". That DVD would cover the basic concepts of an analog recorder and clear up things like what each of the "round thingies" are (it's a CAPSTAN or a PINCH ROLLER heheh), etc. Folks who have worked only with DAWs have no concept of WHY there is a "sync" mode on an analog machine. Cleaning, de-magging, why you need a test tape (MRL), etc would be in that video.

Machine-specific stuff would depend upon what I can get my hands onto, Currently: MCI JH-24, MCI JH-110B/C, Otari MTR-90 "MKI", Otari MTR-90 MK III, Otari MX-70, Otari MX-5050B, Otari MX-5050 8 track (I forget the exact version), a few Tascams (versions forgotten), Studer A-80, Studer A-800, Ampex ATR-100, probably other machines if I thought harder.

On the Ampex side, I sure wish there were some AG-440's or MM-1000/1100/1200 machines left in my area. Once you learn one of those, you can move that knowledge to just about any other machine. (Sidebar: I "cut my teeth" on those machines).

Besides recorders, are there any other "training tapes" that might be of interest?

Soldering is one that comes to mind, but perhaps I'm assuming the worst-case after my real-world experiences <g>

I hope Larry doesn't "nuke me" after making this posting; it does seem a bit commercial/self-serving.

Larry, I'll buy a tiny ad in TapeOp (all that I can afford <g>).

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Post by Sleepy_poet » Tue Jul 04, 2006 10:19 am

I tried to mod my Boss GE-7 eq pedal with a mod kit off of ebay. It went horrible. I seriously do NOT know how to switch out op-amp chips.
I think a soldering video would rock it hard. Seriously.

People who use DAW's...I don't think they need a video, at all. The manual for those things explain things well enough. Tape calibration is scarey, so I think a video could be great for a way of training newbees.

I do not have a digital camera, but I can try to get a hold of one. Pictures would be great, then you guys can actually SEE what the hell I am talking about most of the time.

What I have been doing with the tape machine so far is just cleaning the crazy hell out of it. I opened the back, and got alot of the dust off and stuff. I still havn't put the pnch roller on, I couldn't find that oil stuff.
I tried to get Reelprosoundguys.com to take in my machine and refurbish it, but they just gave me the run around and blew me off. Shitty service. I'll probably end up buying a new plastic backing from them though.
I was thinking about buying a new belt or two (how many belts are back there?) and replacing them just to be safe.
Is adjusting the brakes and pinch roller a long, difficult, crazy task?
These "hand tools" you speak of, what do I need exactly? Where can I get them?

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Post by brianroth » Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:16 am

Poet, I wasn't even considering a video explaining how to use a DAW. However, one intended audience would be DAW *users* who have never messed with an analog recorder. Hence my comment about explaing WHY there is a "sync playback" mode on an analog recorder, which is a foreign concept if you've never used a reel to reel multitrack.

I spoke with my friend James today and he's all gung-ho about working with me shooting and co-producing the training DVDs. Perhaps I should start a new "thread" since this has gone a bit off the original topic. I'm open for any and all suggestions.

As for oil to relube the "bushing" of the pinch roller, call your local Ace hardware store and ask if they carry "Zoom Spout" oil, Ace's SKU #12054. If they don't stock it, they will want you to order a case of 12 bottles (!) which is a 1000 year supply!

http://www.acehardware.com/product/inde ... p&kw=12054

In that case, Singer sewing machine oil is a fallback. Places like Hancock Fabrics and even Walmart stock that.

As for handtools, hmmm...selection of flat and philips head screwdrivers, allen wrenches in both metric and USA sizes would be a start.

I don't recall what belts were used on that particular model, but PRB/Russell Industries is about the only choice left for replacements.


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earl parameter
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Post by earl parameter » Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:49 am

brian shouldn't you be out lighting things on fire. the dvd series sounds great BTW, best of luck on it.


the belt can be purchased here (there is only one for the 38) http://vintage-electronics.net/ cool guy and pretty fast. i think it cost $15 with shipping. make sure you tell him its for a tascam 38 1/2" 8-track in your email.

kind of a pain to get on, the whole face has to come off. i think i explained how to do it around here somewhere. do a search maybe, if not i'll explain it again for you.

as far as parts go (other then the belt, which you should get new. they are all getting old) i'd say if your going to try and fully rebuild it then just get another machine and part it out as needed. it would be way cheaper that way. they come up for sale cheap here. there might even be some now.


brian have you ever considered doing a gear maintenance/service sticky that everyone can add to so this stuff doesn't have to be rewritten every few months. that way whenever someone needs the info everything is right there for them. start with the most discussed machines and add to it as it goes. or maybe a separate forum. broken down by manufacturer or something. tascam, altec, fender, tapeop omni's, etc ...

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Post by brianroth » Wed Jul 05, 2006 2:03 am

Crash, my "fun with fireworks" days are a distant memory <g>. This July 4, I sat indoors and watched some thunderstorms roll through OKC! When I was younger, though, bottle rocket fights were common. Lucky I still have my eyesight and hearing!

I just found my 1989/1990 PRB catalog and there are NO Tascam belts listed. For one moment, I though perhaps the 38 was all direct drive, but if you say there is a belt, I won't argue! I know my ancient Teac 3300S-2T (a rare breed...2 track (NOT a 1/4 track) 7.5/15 IPS machine) does have a belt for the capstan.

(Weird sidebar from the PRB catalog: J.C. Penny's sold reel to reel machines, as did Montgomery Wards, Western Auto, and Sears!)

Re. service stickies...let me think how that could be organized. While I may have the "moderator" title, I'm making this up as I go LOL.

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earl parameter
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Post by earl parameter » Wed Jul 05, 2006 3:41 am

we used to have bottle rocket and roman candle fights at like 30 paces. crazy. once shot one of those big mortar type rounds straight at friends at about 40 paces during a battle but didn't hit anyone thankfully. drunk, stupid, and otherwise - many years ago.


i had to replace my belt so yes its just the one. and the fly wheel is attached to the back of the face section, while the capstan drive motor which it needs to wrap around is in the body so you have to slide on the belt with the face as close to the body as you can get it and thus you have no space to work with, and it keeps dropping off. it sucks to change out.

well i can't think of any way to build subdirectories other then the main forum structure. so building a sticky with links to each specific/appropriately titled thread might be the way to go. maybe give it some more thought, i was just throwing it out there.

a VTVM is more accurate then a digital meter across the freq spectrum right?. they can be had for around $20 on ebay i think. if your patient.

and sears used to carry a lot of very cool stuff back in the day. i have an old danelectro dm-25 tube amp that was supposedly purchased there.


so far off topic

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Post by brianroth » Wed Jul 05, 2006 5:03 am

A VTVM typically had a wide frequency reponse, but so did a lowly analog VOM.

The issue is with "new" digital multimeters. Typically they poop out around 500 Hz on the AC range. The better digimeters are the ones that advertise "True RMS", since most of those have a usable frequency reponse out to 100 kHz or better.


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Post by Sleepy_poet » Wed Jul 05, 2006 8:45 am

Oh, I didn't think you'd make a DAW video, I was just throwing that out there. Not sure why.
But yes, the sync button was confusing for me for a second. It's only on 3 head multitracks, right?
Speaking of 3 head, can I do tape echo with the Tascam 38? Or do I need external devices?

A guitar troubleshooting video would be heaps good. Alot of people have problems with tuning, intonation, and almost all the guitar players I have talked to don't even touch the truss rod (I am one of them). I think any musician should know the ins and outs of how thier instrument works, it's kind of in the job description. Save for pianist, they can hire people. Or maybe I am just talking out of my arse.

So, getting this "parts" machine.
I think that because this is analog recording, and because I was lucky enough to even get the idea to buy a reel-to-reel, I minds well take it all the way. I minds well get this 38 to sound the best it can sound.
I made the decision to be a lifer before this 38 came along.

What do I look for in purchasing a parts deck?

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