Tascam 246 and 424mkIII

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Post by Mark » Mon Sep 11, 2006 12:24 pm

So did I :wink:
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Re: Tascam 246 and 424mkIII

Post by creature.of.habit » Tue Sep 12, 2006 7:14 am

kputnam wrote:It would be cool to send all four tracks into my DAW with the EQ and effects, as I understand the tape outs bypass the mixer. I could accomplish this using the buss outs, right?

I'm glad you answered that, I was fearing noisy adapter problems. I found some better photos and see the inserts and mic/line-ins are all 1/4", right? Here's what I'm looking at... (above the buss outs are the buss-ins, I'm not sure I can read the label?)
diogo wrote:in my experience 244s and 246s have better electronics, weight a ton (back in the day where that meant something)
Heh, it also means the shipping is more expensive :)! I think you've convinced me the 246 is nicer. Plus, seeing the line-ins are 1/4" is a relief, 'cause using an adapter to record bass/guitar direct sounded irritating.
hey kputnam,

to be honest, when i had the 246 and the 488, that was intended for recording to the 246 and then dump stereo tracks into the 488...had i known what i was getting myself into...

of course that this prooved unusable, apart from dumping 4 tracks into 2 (hard panned left and right) and then use the other 6. it's not a good way to work i think, but it can be fun...just watch out for your "intentions" with the setup...hopefully there's not much you cant do with these, but they are fairly limited and you either work around that, or simply accept it.

if you wanna send 4 tracks into the computer, you can do so, but then you wont be able to sync them with whatever you're gonna record on the 246 (if this is what you have in mind - sorry if it aint and if you know all of this already). you would have to be incredibly lucky to be able to press record on your daw and play on the 246 or whatever at the exact same time as you did when you recorded the first 4...it's simply not (very) possible.

there's no way around this, unless you record your main 4 tracks there or something, maybe bounce internally once, and go from there into your daw, and then record the "secondary" tracks directly into the soundcard. THE sound will be there, and THE sound on some tracks, might actually work a lot better than that sound on everything...might be a cool mix, but that's up to you. again, sorry if you know all of this already.

i never got around the 246 so to speak, disapointed as i was to finally understand what i had intended was simply not possible. plus bouncing from cassete to cassete aint pretty. so now, i either take the 244 for what it is when i only need 4 tracks, or bounce. i can get 10 tracks out of the 244, but not without limitations...and this again might be important...when you bounce, you will retain eq, gain, etc...but you will only retain fx if hard panned to the left (in case you're bouncing to track 4) or hard panned right (in case you're bouncing to track 1). needless to say that you're bouncing to mono, so you won't retain panning.

this might freak out some folks at first, but if you get good separation to begin with, things will sound cool in mono. i aint no model to anyone, but i like mono drums miced with two mics, so that's no problem, i dont have a problem with mono bass either, and the acoustic guitar always goes in the middle (well usually)...so that's 3 tracks i dont mind bouncing and having in mono..and you can always adjust them a little to the left/right once it's bounced. same with bouncing to track 1 (it will only "catch" the left buss).

also make sure that, when you're recording 2 mics at the same time, if you wanna get some decent separation, make sure you pan the tracks hard right and left. it matters.

adapters/transformers are important...for instance im running my 12ay7s into the line ins, but the pres are balanced, and the line ins arent..i havent done the math, but i fear i might fry the circuits if i use it like this. so if you're running balanced to unbalanced, be safe and get an adapter with a transformer (a balanced to unbalanced cable is not enough). if you have, for instance an unbalanced 1/4" compressor and need to run it into the rcas, then a jack to rca cable will suffice.

hey don't worry about shipping, it'll be the best 10 extra bucks you ever spent ;)

the 246 is in fact a much better/able machine, but it will depend on what you're trying to do. for me, the big plus on the 246 in comparison to the 244, was the extra aux in (something you can work around in the 244 with the aux panning, ex:. pan hard left:. reverb; pan hard right:. delay - two seperate devices), and the eq.

but as said, the aux in thingy can be worked around (although you can go up to 4 fx devices in the 246 with the 244 logic i just mentioned there) and the eq wasnt enough to keep it (i have decent mics and decent pres, so in my (very humble) opinion i'm putting good tracks in, so rarely do i use any eq at all). plus, eq wise, for me, the simpler the better.

now it's up to you to decide what you need...for me the 246 had lots of things i would try to use and waste time with, or not use at all, ever. so the 244 was it, and honestly it sounds very good. if you have decent pres and mics, in my experience, it's worth it (i get a lot more of it, even with all its limits, than i was with the level of soundcard i can afford (alesis io2), it's not better or worse, considering you're using the same pres/mics/instruments - it's just different and much MUCH more interesting/analog).

most of the hiss people complain about comes from the built in pres (which are cool, but def. not on everything) and the eq.

thing with the 244 is, you cant escape the dbx, at least i dont think you can. cant remember on the 246 though. but thats ok if you ask me.

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Post by The Real MC » Tue Sep 12, 2006 11:19 am

Yeah the 246 pres aren't stellar but the EQ is effective. And the dBX can be defeated on either all tracks or on track 4, for SMPTE striping which I use on my MIDI studio.

Does the 244 have double speed like the 246? Double speed on the 246 increases the high end.

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Post by creature.of.habit » Wed Sep 13, 2006 12:30 pm

The Real MC wrote:Yeah the 246 pres aren't stellar but the EQ is effective. And the dBX can be defeated on either all tracks or on track 4, for SMPTE striping which I use on my MIDI studio.

Does the 244 have double speed like the 246? Double speed on the 246 increases the high end.
i didnt even remember that about the dbx on the 246...i dont think its doable on the 244 though, the decoding happens at about eq stage or something..or even later at aux stage. i just dont care about it...

i think the 244 has double speed...it has 3 stages, cant remember the speeds MC, but idd bet it's the same as the 246.

one thing though..i dunno if it's the same with your 246, but the only "hiss" i'm getting out of my 244 is happening on the deck (and getting to the tape through the mics). my 244 has a lot less tape hiss than the 246 i used to have - maybe its the dbx, but i cant remember doing anything to escape it during the breaf time i had the 246 and there was a lot more hiss....

the godamn deck itself has issues though, while it's recording it makes weird noises, that's pretty much the sole "noise" i get on tape at this point.

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Re: Tascam 246 and 424mkIII

Post by high five » Wed Sep 13, 2006 5:51 pm

diogo wrote:of course that this prooved unusable, apart from dumping 4 tracks into 2 (hard panned left and right) and then use the other 6.
I'm not planning to do much bouncing, but is it possible to bounce down to 2 tracks using just one machine? The 424 manual describes how, so I assume the 246 can do it too. I understand each generation sounds worse, but for my purposes, that's all the better.
diogo wrote:if you wanna send 4 tracks into the computer, you can do so, but then you wont be able to sync them
Yeah, I figured. Plus, the tape motors won't run exactly the same speed each time, so even if you could line them up at the start, it might be off later in the recording. It's something to experiment with (like doing ADT by dumping the same track twice to get some phasing, and adding some delay in the DAW), so no disappointment here!
diogo wrote:so if you're running balanced to unbalanced, be safe and get an adapter with a transformer (a balanced to unbalanced cable is not enough).
Oh, real glad you brought that up. Yes, all my gear is balanced and I was just going to be stingy! I've been wanting to get a passive DI to try re-amping, so maybe I could use that and kill two birds with one stone?

Right now I'm using a Grace 101 preamp (super clean) and a Presonus Firebox with Logic. Everything is pretty clear, plain and flat. It'd be great to have something with character, and to take over to friend's places. Plus, I've wanted to do all the fun things with tape like varispeed, recording backwards, slamming the meters for effect, etc. But most of all, I just need to get away from this computer... once I sit down here to write or record, I feel distracted and stuck at a desk.

Thanks a lot Mark, diogo, and MC. You've all been very helpful!
The Real MC wrote:If you want to hear the 246 in action, click on http://www.mojoboogieband.com/html/music.html and check out anything under "Feeling Lucky"
That was great, I liked "Chain of Fools" especially. Love that organ too! There's a lot of depth (the guitar "On Broadway")... is that the reverb on stage or doubled guitars? How was it all mic'ed recorded? I'm curious what I could do to reproduce that "live concert" sound apart from going to a stage and recording.

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Re: Tascam 246 and 424mkIII

Post by creature.of.habit » Thu Sep 14, 2006 2:59 am

kputnam wrote:I'm not planning to do much bouncing, but is it possible to bounce down to 2 tracks using just one machine? The 424 manual describes how, so I assume the 246 can do it too. I understand each generation sounds worse, but for my purposes, that's all the better.

Oh, real glad you brought that up. Yes, all my gear is balanced and I was just going to be stingy! I've been wanting to get a passive DI to try re-amping, so maybe I could use that and kill two birds with one stone?

Right now I'm using a Grace 101 preamp (super clean) and a Presonus Firebox with Logic. Everything is pretty clear, plain and flat. It'd be great to have something with character, and to take over to friend's places. Plus, I've wanted to do all the fun things with tape like varispeed, recording backwards, slamming the meters for effect, etc. But most of all, I just need to get away from this computer... once I sit down here to write or record, I feel distracted and stuck at a desk.
.
hi kputman,

i guess that if one's worried about fidelity, we shouldnt be here to begin with right? ;) so boucing is fine in my view, as long as done right and if things sound good and seperated on the way in. there's a few things you can do..it's not much, but it'll be better than to bounce and bounce on the machine itself - simply bounce 4 tracks to 1 (yes, you can do this by using input 4 at the same time you're recording/bouncing to track 4) and record the other 3, mix, and throw that into the daw. then get a new tape and get those 7 tracks into a stereo track on the 4 track (hard panned L&R). then record on the other 2 - that's 9 tracks right there. it's ugly, but it's doable. especially if you have decent outboard stuff, which you do. it'll make you mix in advance and make tough decisions, but it'll get better.

if you wanna stay in the 4 track, you can bounce 1;2;3 and input 4 into track 4 (that's 4 tracks). you can then record on 3;2 and dump that into track 1 using input 1 again as before (with input 4) - that's 3 tracks = 7 tracks. then you have 4 tracks on track 4, and 3 tracks on track 1, and at this point all you can do is balance the signals, no panning. track 2 and 3 are there just begging to be filled = 9 tracks. pretty ugly and messed up, but i dont care lol

itll depend on what kind of music you're recording as well i guess...i'm looking for an "old" sound (arent we all?), so this kind of degradation is fine with me, besides i trust/really like my mics and pres, and the tone is there, messed up or not, it's there. plus i can get all kinds of distortion out of pretty much anything there, and it wont sound as nasty as digital distortion...you can get away with a lot, and things sound like..err...glued.

passive DI..i have 2 cheap ones, that i use for bass and sometimes to run the final mix into both my 12ay7 pres. it works sometimes. but i'm not seeing (at least not with mine) how a DI can turn a balanced signal into an unbalanced one. i think you need a propper adapter for that....im searching for some cheap ones.

i hear you about the computer...i have a decent soundcard that sounds a whole lot cleaner and "better" than the 244, but it's not fun, i dont get my hands dirty like i do with analog, i dont get to make tough decisions and to deal with gear limitations, etc, etc, etc.

i'm learning a lot more about getting sounds right on the way in, and i dont have second thoughts about mixing with my memory man into the aux in, or the rat, or whatever, or even using the 12ay7 as a compressor. everything goes.

the only thing i worry about is cleaning and demagnt. the whole thing...i never do, but i worry about it. thats the one part of 4 trackingi could really live without.

character...a lot! :shock: i also have a tascam 22-2 to mixdown to, which is now busted, which i also recomend if you want to add the analog feel (as much as you can with 1/4" tape and a prosumer deck) to your final mixes...if you want saturation and a glimpse of what analog can do, this is great. but if you want grainy and rough, a decent porta is it...get both!

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Re: Tascam 246 and 424mkIII

Post by The Real MC » Thu Sep 14, 2006 11:01 am

kputnam wrote:
The Real MC wrote:If you want to hear the 246 in action, click on http://www.mojoboogieband.com/html/music.html and check out anything under "Feeling Lucky"
That was great, I liked "Chain of Fools" especially. Love that organ too! There's a lot of depth (the guitar "On Broadway")... is that the reverb on stage or doubled guitars? How was it all mic'ed recorded? I'm curious what I could do to reproduce that "live concert" sound apart from going to a stage and recording.
The guitar player was using a Vox AC15 and he was using the reverb - sweet reverb in those amps. In mono it clashed too much with the vocals so I applied haas processing to make it sit in the mix better and that's why it has that depth and it sounds doubled.

Everything else was recorded dry, I added FX and compression to vocals later. There's stage noise bleeding into the vocal mics, no avoiding that and that may contribute to the "live stage" sound.

Standard mics all around - '57 on guitar amp, '58s on vocals, AKG D321 on Leslie top and cheap RS condenser on Leslie bottom (!), keys & bass were direct, separate mics for kick/snare/toms plus a Sennheiser 441 overheard for cymbals only. Recorded from the four subgroups off my A&H SR416 into the 246, came out pretty nice and those 80s vintage A&H preamps sound sweet.

That organ was a Hammond Porta-B going through a Leslie 760 - as much as B-3 addicts diss the Porta-B (an L-100 derivative), the thing kicks ass.

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Re: Tascam 246 and 424mkIII

Post by FrquincyRecording » Tue Feb 18, 2020 9:22 pm

I have a beautifully restored 246. One cool feature about that model is the ability to turn off DBX on track 4. This is great for striping the tape with SMPTE without the decoding process messing with it. After the tape is striped with SMPTE using a MOTU (or any SMPTE generator), you can have the MOTU sync to it to run as transport for ProTools or whatever DAW using MMC. Makes dumping the 3 remaining audio recording tracks a breeze, free to record on again.

I just enjoy these old machines and recording on them in my spare time.

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Re: Tascam 246 and 424mkIII

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Wed Feb 19, 2020 7:14 am

FrquincyRecording wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 9:22 pm
I have a beautifully restored 246. One cool feature about that model is the ability to turn off DBX on track 4. This is great for striping the tape with SMPTE without the decoding process messing with it. After the tape is striped with SMPTE using a MOTU (or any SMPTE generator), you can have the MOTU sync to it to run as transport for ProTools or whatever DAW using MMC. Makes dumping the 3 remaining audio recording tracks a breeze, free to record on again.

I just enjoy these old machines and recording on them in my spare time.
Holy necro thread!

I'm curious about how/why you're doing this. Are you recording 3 tracks, synching to the computer, dumping the tracks in, and then recording more tracks to dump into the computer? As far as I understand MMC only activates the transport in pro tools. It doesn't synch. If thats the case are you having issues with the new tracks drifting?

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Re: Tascam 246 and 424mkIII

Post by vernier » Thu Feb 20, 2020 3:12 pm

Portastudio fan here. Still have the 144 I got in 1979 ..and wouldn't trade it for anything, lol.

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Re: Tascam 246 and 424mkIII

Post by Mark » Fri Feb 21, 2020 2:28 am

I had a 144. It squeaked. Eventually sold it and got a 414 and then a 388.
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