The Tascam 388

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Scodiddly
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Re: The Tascam 388

Post by Scodiddly » Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:24 pm

Dandna wrote:
Thu Apr 30, 2020 11:55 am
one last thing - after we had put it all back together as i unplugged my guitar (which i had been using as a sound source to check the problem) I noticed the needle on the VU meter went up to just below -20.
Every time i held the tip of the jack onto the metalwork of the guitar the meter seemed to register a very low signal (i was using a balanced XLR to 1/4" jack to plug my guitar into the XLR input of the 388).
Possible some DC leakage into that input which the guitar drains away. Check for leaky capacitors.

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Re: The Tascam 388

Post by Dandna » Fri May 01, 2020 4:56 am

hi
yes, channel 4 can be routed to any track (other than 4) on the tape, and the other channels can be routed to every track except track 4. An old tape also plays back track 4 fine, and when I record onto track 4 it erases the previous material, so im assuming the erase head and play head are working.

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Re: The Tascam 388

Post by Dandna » Fri May 01, 2020 6:51 am

Scodiddly wrote:
Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:24 pm
Dandna wrote:
Thu Apr 30, 2020 11:55 am
one last thing - after we had put it all back together as i unplugged my guitar (which i had been using as a sound source to check the problem) I noticed the needle on the VU meter went up to just below -20.
Every time i held the tip of the jack onto the metalwork of the guitar the meter seemed to register a very low signal (i was using a balanced XLR to 1/4" jack to plug my guitar into the XLR input of the 388).
Possible some DC leakage into that input which the guitar drains away. Check for leaky capacitors.
ok, thanks!

kslight
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Re: The Tascam 388

Post by kslight » Fri May 01, 2020 8:11 am

Dandna wrote:
Fri May 01, 2020 4:56 am
hi
yes, channel 4 can be routed to any track (other than 4) on the tape, and the other channels can be routed to every track except track 4. An old tape also plays back track 4 fine, and when I record onto track 4 it erases the previous material, so im assuming the erase head and play head are working.
Maybe there’s something out on the buss? Op amp or Logic issue maybe...I’m not sure, that’s above my pay grade.

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Re: The Tascam 388

Post by Dandna » Fri May 29, 2020 3:59 am

okay, so latest on the 388 repair job. We've tried swapping over the input cards, no change, so its not the input. Managed to get to the meter amp PCB and swapped around the plugs for the meters for channels 3+4 (4 being the meter than isnt registering) with the plugs for the meters for channels 5+6, and hey presto 4 worked, but the problem was now on channel 6, as would be expected.
So the problem isnt the meter amp PCB (also checked continuity on those two cables, channels 3+4 and 5+6, theyre fine).

IMO this has narrowed it down somewhat to either Buss A, or Buss B. The input cards all go to Buss B first and are then distributed to Buss A. Buss B has the track select buttons on it, which all seem to be working, flashing red etc (and any channel can be assigned to track 4). Buss A is where the assigned inputs are then distributed to the track and therefore the meter amp PCB.

Any ideas what we might be looking for on Buss A PCB?

Other option is Ive found one on ebay for 48 bucks, but as im in the UK the seller wont ship it.

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Re: The Tascam 388

Post by Bill B » Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:03 am

Hello there,

New dude from NL exact Same problem here
Did a fair deal of recapping, all is fine except channel 5,
Nearly any sound,
Checked everything but I think it’s some op-amp on bus A or B.

Can some body put me In the right direction??

Best Bill :blush:

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Re: The Tascam 388

Post by Dandna » Mon Jul 20, 2020 1:05 pm

hey man,
I bought the second Buss A PCB and swapped it with the one in my 388 and... no change :(
now think were narrowed it down to the meter amp PCB (i know, i know, we thought wed ruled this out). have traced the signal through the meter amp card and *think* the problem might be a capacitor along the chain. there seems to be a voltage discrepancy on 4 that isnt there on 3...
might be a case of doing one at a time and keep checking as we go.

good luck with yours!
Last edited by Dandna on Mon Jul 20, 2020 1:07 pm, edited 3 times in total.

RIFF
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Re: The Tascam 388

Post by RIFF » Tue Nov 03, 2020 8:56 pm

Hi, Im from Southern California, & am looking for someone with a 388, or even something compatible.
I recorded an album years ago & would like to do a digital transfer. If needed, for ease, I have an ADAT, Hard Drives, etc.

Thanks!

numberthirty
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Re: The Tascam 388

Post by numberthirty » Tue Nov 03, 2020 9:48 pm

RIFF wrote:
Tue Nov 03, 2020 8:56 pm
Hi, Im from Southern California, & am looking for someone with a 388, or even something compatible.
I recorded an album years ago & would like to do a digital transfer. If needed, for ease, I have an ADAT, Hard Drives, etc.

Thanks!
I came across The Tape Farm by way of it's YouTube channel. It looks like they might be able to hand the transfer that I believe you are discussing.

http://www.thetapefarm.com/services.html

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Re: The Tascam 388

Post by TijuanaKez » Tue Dec 01, 2020 2:07 pm

Firstly hello to the Tape Op forum!

So I bought a Tascam 388 years ago and just retrieved it from storage. I had to order a new capstan belt, but now that's on, most things work ok.

Just a couple of things that would be nice to sort if possible, and I've had zero experience working with maintaining machines before.

A. The signal recording to tape seems very weak and missing a ton of top end. I've cleaned the heads with Isopropyl. Could it just mean I now need to demagnetise the heads? I've been looking for de-maggers, but even they seem very hard to find in Australia.

B. Fastforward is real fast, but rewind is super slow.

C. When rewinding, the transport sometimes gets stuck and will only respond to fast forward.

D. Tapes that came with the unit are in pretty bad shape which is cool for some stuff as I generally want to use the tape as a way to do lo-fi treatments to individual tracks. But if I want to buy one decent tape, what should I look for?

Other meanderings...

As I'd generally just use one track, could I effectively turn this into a 1/4' 2 track machine by panning channel 1 centre, and engaging all the assign and record buttons?

Also, I've been thinking about building a passive summing box to route into a GTQ2 (nevesqe preamp) for makeup. Could I save myself the trouble and use the 388 mixer for this? Or is the mix buss / line amp / EQ circuits generally regarded as pretty lowfi in this unit and I'd just be unnecessarily crapifying everything?

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Re: The Tascam 388

Post by markjazzbassist » Tue Dec 01, 2020 6:47 pm

you need to clean the head, but also the rest of the tape path, all the stuff the tape touches. especially the pinch roller, that gets the dirtiest and can affect the speed of the unit. try cleaning like made until the q tips come back clean. on all those parts. 99% isopropyl alcohol.

for tape you want Recording the master LPR-35 in a 7" reel.

don't use old tape unless it was stored properly, if it was just in the unit, throw it out. only use the RTM LPR 35, or is you go for old tapes you can scour ebay for Scotch 207 again in 7" reel. make sure it's NOS (new old stock) and sealed. that tape was my favorite and is not a Stick Shed Syndrome tape. Speaking of SSS, google it, and you'll see why not to use old tapes (unless they are non-SSS like Scotch 206 or 207).

no you can't turn it into a stereo 2 track, because the head gaps and track widths make it meant to be used as an 8 track. if you don't want to use it like that, clean it, fix it up, and sell it for a fortune, these go for 2k+ in working condition. you could buy a nice Otari MX5050 with that and have plenty of money left over if you just want a 2 track.

jacksaturn
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Re: The Tascam 388

Post by jacksaturn » Tue Dec 01, 2020 7:47 pm

TijuanaKez wrote:
Tue Dec 01, 2020 2:07 pm
As I'd generally just use one track, could I effectively turn this into a 1/4' 2 track machine by panning channel 1 centre, and engaging all the assign and record buttons?
Ditto what markjazzbassist wrote - if you only want to record to one or two tracks, the 388 is overkill. The condition of these old machines can be a crapshoot - things like head wear and worn out components can contribute to the degradation of the sound. If you discover that its repair is beyond your capabilities but you're still set on a tape recording format, sell it in partially non-working condition -- it'll still command a nice price -- and put the money toward a 2-track/stereo deck.

Jack
Last edited by jacksaturn on Tue Dec 01, 2020 7:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Tascam 388

Post by vvv » Wed Dec 02, 2020 8:55 pm

FWIW, I just dug up some old recordings; the first 4 tunes (mebbe a couple others) here have the drums recorded on a 388, all else on a Porta 1:
https://vlayman.bandcamp.com/album/scum ... -cover-e-p

388 drums had 2 C1000S for OH, an unknown kick mic, and 57's. All else was SM58's.
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Re: The Tascam 388

Post by Mark » Fri Dec 11, 2020 12:55 pm

Does anyone know the best way to hook a MIDI to tape synchroniser, like Tascam's MTS30, up to a 388?
WWRHS?

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Re: The Tascam 388

Post by wicknykids » Wed Jan 20, 2021 1:01 pm

Heyy, first post here, thanks to everybody who's contributed to this thread in the past, I've read through all 37 pages of it. :worthy:

So I am borrowing a 388 from a friend who is "borrowing" it from his friend who probably forgot about it. This thing hasn't been used probably for at least 8 years, but possibly way more than that. I'm really not an electronics guy, I don't have a soldering iron or any way to test parts but I've done a bunch of preliminary contact cleaning on the insides as well as the heads and reseating the cards like this thread explains. I haven't yet done any swapping of the cards though.

At first it appears that all the tracks record my test tone except 4 and 7 but when I put the tape on backwards there is no playback on track 2 (which matches with 7) and also strangely track 4 (weird that track 5 plays what was recorded onto track 4 before...)

So track 4 DOES record but doesn't playback from tape and Track 7 doesn't seem to record but DOES playback from tape. This is this same whether I record using the mixer or use the PGM inputs in the back. Tape outputs demonstrate the same.

Do these problems ring bells with anyone? Any other tricks I can try before I either give up and use it as a 6 track for the time being or maybe try to find a willing tech in the Philly area?
Thanks for reading...

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