The Tascam 388

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vicshat
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Post by vicshat » Thu Jun 30, 2016 5:55 am

kslight wrote:
vicshat wrote:This was my first time using the pgm ins but I was able to record from tape out 1 to buss 7 in with no problem.

When I tried it from 1 out to 5 in I could hear track 1 by monitoring 5. When I record it I get no sound on playback, BUT the channel 5 meter did move upon playback this time.
Out of curiosity, is the sound any better now when you go off of channel 5's tape out and pgm out 5?
You mean going

tape 1 out - PGM 5 in - PGM 5 out and track 5 tape out?

I will give it a shot when I get home this evening.

vicshat
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Post by vicshat » Thu Jun 30, 2016 7:05 am

Is it worth the effort to try swapping the entire head assembly? It seems easy enough but I'm not sure if it would require some calibration or anything after swapping them.

I can't imagine something happening to the heads while putting it back together but if it's as simple as swapping the assembly I'd be wiling to try. Would give me chance to check out the status of the other head assembly too.

kslight
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Post by kslight » Thu Jun 30, 2016 8:06 am

vicshat wrote:
kslight wrote:
vicshat wrote:This was my first time using the pgm ins but I was able to record from tape out 1 to buss 7 in with no problem.

When I tried it from 1 out to 5 in I could hear track 1 by monitoring 5. When I record it I get no sound on playback, BUT the channel 5 meter did move upon playback this time.
Out of curiosity, is the sound any better now when you go off of channel 5's tape out and pgm out 5?
You mean going

tape 1 out - PGM 5 in - PGM 5 out and track 5 tape out?

I will give it a shot when I get home this evening.
No, so assuming you got something recorded when you went direct in via pgm in 5, now I want you to try monitoring tape out 5 by itself, as well as pgm put 5 by itself. Just trying to see if it still sounds bad.


I don't think it's the heads, based on what you've said. I think it's happening right before it gets recorded.

vicshat
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Post by vicshat » Thu Jun 30, 2016 8:08 am

Okay, I see. I will test that later this evening. Thanks for your help!

vicshat
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Post by vicshat » Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:19 pm

Okay just tried the whole last process again with a clear head and I think the meter movement I saw last night was really from the incoming signal from tape out 1. :oops:

PGM out 5 and tape out 5 both have the weak signal coming out when I try recording something from track 1 to track 5 and playback.


If I play something that has been recorded to track 5 before the problem started the tape out is loud and clear. The PGM out is much weaker (though not as weak as something newly recorded to 5). All the other tracks seem to have the same level from PGM out or tape out.

Colorblind
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388 into Pro Tools

Post by Colorblind » Sat Jul 09, 2016 11:48 am

Hey Gang,

Is it possible to record onto the 388 while simultaneously dumping the recorded (delayed) signal into Pro Tools?

Right now I'm going out of an external preamp into the PGM Buss In. I've tried using the Tape Outs but wasn't getting any signal. I've also tried the PGM Buss outs. I've got signal at the XLR Stereo Outs without arming the transport, which leads me to believe I wouldn't be monitoring off the record head with those outputs.

I'm probably missing something simple, maybe y'all can help.

Thanks!

kslight
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Post by kslight » Sat Jul 09, 2016 3:08 pm

vicshat wrote:Okay just tried the whole last process again with a clear head and I think the meter movement I saw last night was really from the incoming signal from tape out 1. :oops:

PGM out 5 and tape out 5 both have the weak signal coming out when I try recording something from track 1 to track 5 and playback.


If I play something that has been recorded to track 5 before the problem started the tape out is loud and clear. The PGM out is much weaker (though not as weak as something newly recorded to 5). All the other tracks seem to have the same level from PGM out or tape out.
So I had a problem that seems like yours with one of my machines today. I routed a mic from channel 1 to all channels at once and channel 7 was barely moving. I recorded and played back and it was distorted. I went to an older previously recorded tape and channel 7 played back fine. I popped the back panel off and swapped a couple of the record PCBs around and it works great on all channels. I'm guessing there was a bad or dirty connection with how one of those cards was seated.

I am pretty sure you said you tried this, but I thought I would share anyway.

kslight
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Re: 388 into Pro Tools

Post by kslight » Sat Jul 09, 2016 3:10 pm

Colorblind wrote:Hey Gang,

Is it possible to record onto the 388 while simultaneously dumping the recorded (delayed) signal into Pro Tools?

Right now I'm going out of an external preamp into the PGM Buss In. I've tried using the Tape Outs but wasn't getting any signal. I've also tried the PGM Buss outs. I've got signal at the XLR Stereo Outs without arming the transport, which leads me to believe I wouldn't be monitoring off the record head with those outputs.

I'm probably missing something simple, maybe y'all can help.

Thanks!

I don't think so, if I'm not mistaken that's something you need a three head machine for.

hithere
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Considering Getting One

Post by hithere » Thu Sep 01, 2016 3:17 pm

So it's no secret the prices of these things have risen dramatically over the last few years. I was lucky enough to have one for a very short time a few years back, but didn't have the space or time to realistically keep it. I continued working in other studios but have the bug to get back to home recording.

Here I am again a few years later, with a new Imac, an Apogee Duet 2, and Pro Tools with a bunch of plugins that I do not fully utilize that technically blow the 388 away. That being said, All I can remember is how much closer my electric guitar tones sounded to what I hear in my head than they do now through Pro Tools. I am a musician first, and a passable engineer second and here I am checking out these videos on Youtube totally digging these recordings with the 388

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdyWw-wDES4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Elodwqcgf5s

I can't help but think that beyond the technical limitations, the focus on performance over editing, the focus on arrangement vs automation, having a few key pieces you know well, that perhaps above all these machines are just simply more forgiving than the high resolution 96k audio. I have read opinions that these almost mask bedroom recordings in a pleasing "mid-fi" way.

Does anyone have any opinions on this thing from a "musician's perspective" before an engineers perspective? As in tracking yourself at home, keeping it simple, bouncing, natural compression, glue, hands on EQ, etc.

Would be super interested in getting one of these and having a good mastering engineer perhaps add in some extra bottom if necessary.

kslight
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Re: Considering Getting One

Post by kslight » Thu Sep 01, 2016 6:15 pm

hithere wrote:So it's no secret the prices of these things have risen dramatically over the last few years. I was lucky enough to have one for a very short time a few years back, but didn't have the space or time to realistically keep it. I continued working in other studios but have the bug to get back to home recording.

Here I am again a few years later, with a new Imac, an Apogee Duet 2, and Pro Tools with a bunch of plugins that I do not fully utilize that technically blow the 388 away. That being said, All I can remember is how much closer my electric guitar tones sounded to what I hear in my head than they do now through Pro Tools. I am a musician first, and a passable engineer second and here I am checking out these videos on Youtube totally digging these recordings with the 388

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdyWw-wDES4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Elodwqcgf5s

I can't help but think that beyond the technical limitations, the focus on performance over editing, the focus on arrangement vs automation, having a few key pieces you know well, that perhaps above all these machines are just simply more forgiving than the high resolution 96k audio. I have read opinions that these almost mask bedroom recordings in a pleasing "mid-fi" way.

Does anyone have any opinions on this thing from a "musician's perspective" before an engineers perspective? As in tracking yourself at home, keeping it simple, bouncing, natural compression, glue, hands on EQ, etc.

Would be super interested in getting one of these and having a good mastering engineer perhaps add in some extra bottom if necessary.

Yah the prices are definitely up there... I did the unthinkable a couple months ago...I sold two of my three 388s.

It was not an easy decision. But for the work I'm doing now I just don't see them as all that practical. Still kept one just because it's fun...

I'm a musician first, engineer second...I only pursued engineering to further my own recordings.

For me there a few reasons the 388 appeals. There's definitely something about the immediate and tactile nature of using it. The sound has something going on, which doesn't work in all scenarios...but sometimes it's cool. I like playing with the gain staging and the pitch control... And being able to commit to sounds and do sound on sound type things with the internal bussing and patching in effects...it's an interesting tool to have. I like using it because I know I'll come up with something different than if I was not.

But my main focus lately has not been personal recordings for my own amusement, in a commercial/deadline driven environment the 388 is obviously not practical and I wouldn't use it for projects I knew I would deliver to film, for example.

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markjazzbassist
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Post by markjazzbassist » Fri Sep 02, 2016 7:04 am

the prices have gotten so out of control you can now purchase a tascam 38, mixer, cabling for less than a 388. a better machine and mixer for less. heck you can get an otari mx5050 8 track and mixer for less.
Recorded on a Tascam 388 - http://earthtone.bandcamp.com/

kslight
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Post by kslight » Fri Sep 02, 2016 8:48 am

markjazzbassist wrote:the prices have gotten so out of control you can now purchase a tascam 38, mixer, cabling for less than a 388. a better machine and mixer for less. heck you can get an otari mx5050 8 track and mixer for less.
True, though the form factor of using a 38 and an outboard mixer/dbx is far less convenient and tape is comparatively expensive. But I've got one of those sitting around too...

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markjazzbassist
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Post by markjazzbassist » Fri Sep 02, 2016 8:58 am

kslight wrote:
markjazzbassist wrote:the prices have gotten so out of control you can now purchase a tascam 38, mixer, cabling for less than a 388. a better machine and mixer for less. heck you can get an otari mx5050 8 track and mixer for less.
True, though the form factor of using a 38 and an outboard mixer/dbx is far less convenient and tape is comparatively expensive. But I've got one of those sitting around too...
i agree. i love the 388 just as much as the next guy, just if i was building a little home studio the Otari and 38 would be more exciting. The 388 has the "it" appeal and the all in one package makes it great for Tape first timers (was for me). It's the perfect entry into the analog realm.
Recorded on a Tascam 388 - http://earthtone.bandcamp.com/

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Post by kslight » Fri Sep 02, 2016 9:37 am

markjazzbassist wrote:
kslight wrote:
markjazzbassist wrote:the prices have gotten so out of control you can now purchase a tascam 38, mixer, cabling for less than a 388. a better machine and mixer for less. heck you can get an otari mx5050 8 track and mixer for less.
True, though the form factor of using a 38 and an outboard mixer/dbx is far less convenient and tape is comparatively expensive. But I've got one of those sitting around too...
i agree. i love the 388 just as much as the next guy, just if i was building a little home studio the Otari and 38 would be more exciting. The 388 has the "it" appeal and the all in one package makes it great for Tape first timers (was for me). It's the perfect entry into the analog realm.
Yeah I mean if you're a studio it makes sense to step it up a bit. But the 388 to me is the ultimate at home reel to reel setup just for quick jamming and cheap personal use. I had a 688 too but I found the scenes and such very annoying and nowhere near as fun as the 388 to use. Wish Tascam would #makeamericatapeagain

hithere
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Thanks for the responses

Post by hithere » Fri Sep 02, 2016 1:23 pm

Thanks for some good conversation kslight! Good stuff about the 38 / Otari as well. Have been looking into those as well for a while.

I am aware these things aren't the easiest to open up and work on, and I definitely understand the perspective of someone who lived with working in the limitations and hassles of these machines because it was what was available at the time. I am sure if I had grown up doing the same I would be so thankful for the technology we have now for very low prices.

Some opinion on the mixes I posted, myself I find them filled with "vibe" and the typical annoying "warm analog" statement. This includes the muddy lack of high frequency content that I am all too familiar with tracking through an Apogee Duet. I am sure it may seem like a step backwards. I also listen to a lot of low fi / mid fi indie rock, which rarely features snapping drums to a grid, autotune, or comped guitar solos.

I suppose the question I am trying to raise for myself is both a workflow and getting from point A to B in finishing my own solo tracks. I can also do a couple mixes, print them through my duet, and have a professional studio do the mastering.

As I stated I am a musician first who has dabbled in recording and taken some classes over the last decade. The saying that limitations breed creatively I think is particularly true when someone is recording themselves, as I find myself constantly undoing / never finishing tracks since I have gotten into DAW recording. It'd be nice to just accumulate hardware pieces, and know them well. I seem to lose perspective regularly, toying with drum sampling plugins & vsts recorded in amazing studios that bear no physical or spiritual connection to my bedroom track. I have never been a fan of it aesthetically either, I always seem less focused on performing. If I am in a studio and someone else is manning the computer it's a different story of course. I am aware how many amazing records have been made completely ITB as well.

I wouldn't mind having a machine that smears my signal, and isn't "high fidelity", and may have a limited dynamic range compared to 196k if it gets me where I need to go easier.

For instance the idea of me Mic'ing a kit with a 3 mic technique, some old DBX compressor, and bouncing the tracks down, tweaking some EQs, and moving on without being able to look back seem incredibly alluring to me. I am sure I could just setup my DAW the same way but... part of it is a mental thing. Not looking at a screen, paying more attention to getting good sounds, learning from mistakes.

I should mention it's for my own music, so quick mix recall is not a disadvantage.

It's always cool coming on Tape Op, as I am sure tons of people would think a lot of this is silly, and a huge step backwards, but always good knowledge and inspiration for people who are going against norms, and being non combative and helpful about it.

But maybe I am better off getting an Apollo Twin, using the plugins in an old school way, and setting up smaller Pro Tools sessions for myself. We will see!

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