Tascam 38 (1/2" 8 Track) Troubles

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D-ron
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Tascam 38 (1/2" 8 Track) Troubles

Post by D-ron » Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:07 am

First off, I haven't been to this this board in a long-ass time, so please forgive my ignorance as to what the appropriate forum is to post in. This one just seemed to make the most sense.

Anyway, I have a small project studio where we (my main band) generally use Reaper for recording and mixing (won't get into a list of gear) and that's actually worked out quite well over the years. However, I've been working with a new project and the main guy wants to record to tape, as we're going to be releasing a split 12" with another band and he'd like to try and stay as analog as possible through the whole process. So, I mentioned that I had a Tascam 38 1/2 inch 8 channel and that we might be able to use it. It needed servicing however, so I found someone local that does audio repair (no-one local came up that "specialized" in reel-to-reel repair/maintenance in my search). I asked him if he had experience fixing reel to reels and he said he did. I brought my 38 to him and he called back about 2 weeks later saying that he had it ready and that he replaced all the belts and cleaned it up and that it was in good running order.

After I picked up the machine, I tried it and it seemed fine, but didn't do anything extensive to test it, just recorded some basic sounds that seemed to play back ok, tested the play, REW, FF, etc. However, after about two hours of using it mostly just setting levels, checking sounds and mic placement we noticed scalloping on the tape and that the tracks had a warble to them. The FF and REW also got UNBEARABLY slow after a minute or two. So, after spending $270 on this fix up, the unit is still not very useable.

Which is what brings me here. I need advice. If I bring the unit back to the repair shop under the 100 day warranty and he can't get it to where it needs to be, I'll be at loss. Should I try to find another repair person to do the work keeping in mind I'll have to probably ship it somewhere, which adds to the overall cost? Or should I cut my losses and see if I can sell the unit to try and recoup my costs on it over the years? (If I can get that much for it).

Ultimately I'd LOVE to keep it around, but honestly, I am so ignorant when it comes to maintenance that I'd have to really put my time in to really learn or find someone I trust to do maintenance on it. I just don't have much money at all, so I might just sit on it anyway. I'm just hoping someone, somewhere out there has had a similar experience and has some advice for me. Actually, if anyone knows of a trustworthy repair shop to send it to in Upstate New York (or not too far) I'd love to hear from you as well.

I guess I just never gave up the ghost of trying to work with tape. By the way, what little we did, we got the drums to sound AWESOME with very little in the signal chain (a few prosumer mic-pres and very light limiting/compression).

Sorry for the long winded post. Thanks in advance for any input!

williamsongs
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Post by williamsongs » Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:16 am

There's a guy in Rochester I used to know named Bruce Campbell who might be able to get that thing going. He opened something called "East End Audio" in the - you guessed it - East End neighborhood.

If that doesn't work for you, I know that Mike Finck in Syracuse can get it working. He's working out of a new place called HiOnFi and is worth the drive if you love your tape machine but can't maintain it yourself.

Google them up, I don't have numbers addresses handy but they're easy to find. Good luck, I just can't quit my two reel to reels either.
"Sounds to me like you're just a little bit cranky"

D-ron
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Post by D-ron » Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:24 am

Thanks! I actually took it to "Audio Sound Solutions" in East Rochester. Seems like a nice enough guy and he has home use 2 channel reel-to-reels for sale in his shop, but this problem seems like a bad motor or something more complex and not sure he has ready access to get the appropriate parts.

I didn't know East End Sound was still open. For some reason thought they closed a while back(?). Regardless, I will check both those names out. Thanks again!

E.Bennett
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Post by E.Bennett » Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:51 pm

Are you using a fresh reel of tape? If not, order a new reel of tape, clean the heads and guides THOROUGHLY, then try again.

D-ron
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Post by D-ron » Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:03 am

Just saw this response. Yes fresh tape is a good idea, thanks for the suggestion. Turns out, the "repairman" I initially took it to was a f*ing moron. Way overcharged and did a sh*t job. The place I took it to found that they used another belt that was too thick, cut it to "size" and super-glued it together. Not only that, but there was a twist in it when he superglued it together!

Also, turns out that there was a bad fuse effecting FF and RW. The new guy fixed all of that for under $100. I need to go back to the original shop and let them know what happened. Probably won't get any money back, but at least let them know they screwed up royally.

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