TASCAM 388, won't record

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Jerksworld
audio school
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:13 pm

TASCAM 388, won't record

Post by Jerksworld » Fri Apr 26, 2019 1:47 pm

I recently inherited my father's 388. I lugged it home and got it all powered up, but to my dismay, it wouldn't play. So, I cracked open the back and found that the capstan belt had corroded into a sticky black goo (apparently a common issue.) Easy peasy. Simple enough I thought. I replaced the belt, and what do you know... it plays, but far to slow. So, I then took apart the reel assembly, did some cleaning/adjusting... and it plays back at normal speed! Success! I thought. Now, my issue is, I can't get the thing to record. It plays back previously recorded tape just fine, when a mic or guitar is plugged in, you can hear it loud and clear, the VU meters are doing what they're supposed to.. but when you play it back.. nothing. I have the user manual and I followed every step to a t, but I can't get the damned thing to record. Any help appreciated! :)

kslight
moves faders with mind
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Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 7:40 pm

Re: TASCAM 388, won't record

Post by kslight » Fri Apr 26, 2019 2:12 pm

This may sound redundant but to provide meaningful help vs shooting in the dark, Can you outline verbatim all of the steps you are taking to record and playback? Are you plugged into the headphone jack vs speakers, etc...tell us as much as you can.

Jerksworld
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Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:13 pm

Re: TASCAM 388, won't record

Post by Jerksworld » Fri Apr 26, 2019 5:02 pm

Yea no problem, I followed the instructions in the manual.

(This is with tape already loaded properly)
power off, plug mic or instrument into mic or line inputs of channel 1

plug in headphones

power on

make sure dbx is on (both front panel and rear switches)

set input in channel 1 to mic or instrument (i tried both, mic and electric guitar)

play or speak into mic watching OL indicator light, turn up trim until light flashes, then back off the trim slightly until light stops flashing. (i did this with a mic, in that i used an un-amplified electric guitar that wouldn't trigger the OL)

Set eq to 12 oclock

adjust channel 1 fader to 7 or 8

make sure AUX PRE/POST is in the pre(up) position

set AUX and EFF rotary controls to their off positions (all the way left)

set assign switch 1-2 to on position making sure other assign switches are off

press switch marked stereo in control panel

adjust ODD PGM master fader to 7 or 8

press #1 switch in record function (light starts blinking)
(I should note that at this point i can hear myself through the mic loud and clear)

make sure PGM/CUE switch is in cue position (up)

make sure AUX/EFF/LR switch is in the LR position (up)

make sure VARI/FIX/EXT switch is in FIX position

adjust stereo master fader to 7or 8

adjust monitor gain to 3 oclock position

adjust volume in headphones accordingly

press record and play buttons

play instrument

when finished, press RTZ

press record function 1 switch turning it off

press play and "listen" to what you recorded

I followed these instructions verbatim

sound for sandwiches
gimme a little kick & snare
Posts: 89
Joined: Tue May 12, 2009 12:35 pm
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: TASCAM 388, won't record

Post by sound for sandwiches » Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:20 am

I recently solved the same problem, with my Tascam 38 (different deck, same problem). I had had it in storage for about 2 years, worked and clean when packed away. I was able to play back existing material but not record. I had to demag the tape path and meticulously clean everything, and then it recorded fine. I should have done all that stuff first, but I can sometimes be impatient.

If you don't have a demagnetizer, I recommend picking one up. And some 90% or higher isopropyl acohol and some lint free swabs. They will be your friend.

kslight
moves faders with mind
Posts: 2579
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 7:40 pm

Re: TASCAM 388, won't record

Post by kslight » Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:46 am

Jerksworld wrote:
Fri Apr 26, 2019 5:02 pm
Yea no problem, I followed the instructions in the manual.

(This is with tape already loaded properly)
power off, plug mic or instrument into mic or line inputs of channel 1

plug in headphones

power on

make sure dbx is on (both front panel and rear switches)

set input in channel 1 to mic or instrument (i tried both, mic and electric guitar)

play or speak into mic watching OL indicator light, turn up trim until light flashes, then back off the trim slightly until light stops flashing. (i did this with a mic, in that i used an un-amplified electric guitar that wouldn't trigger the OL)

Set eq to 12 oclock

adjust channel 1 fader to 7 or 8

make sure AUX PRE/POST is in the pre(up) position

set AUX and EFF rotary controls to their off positions (all the way left)

set assign switch 1-2 to on position making sure other assign switches are off

press switch marked stereo in control panel

adjust ODD PGM master fader to 7 or 8

press #1 switch in record function (light starts blinking)
(I should note that at this point i can hear myself through the mic loud and clear)

make sure PGM/CUE switch is in cue position (up)

make sure AUX/EFF/LR switch is in the LR position (up)

make sure VARI/FIX/EXT switch is in FIX position

adjust stereo master fader to 7or 8

adjust monitor gain to 3 oclock position

adjust volume in headphones accordingly

press record and play buttons

play instrument

when finished, press RTZ

press record function 1 switch turning it off

press play and "listen" to what you recorded

I followed these instructions verbatim

Did you switch channel 1 from “mic” or “line” to “rmx” before playing back?

Do you see signal bouncing on the meter upon playback?

Jerksworld
audio school
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:13 pm

Re: TASCAM 388, won't record

Post by Jerksworld » Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:28 pm

Just tried that, no dice. Also tried same setup with a brand new reel, same result.

Jerksworld
audio school
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:13 pm

Re: TASCAM 388, won't record

Post by Jerksworld » Sun May 05, 2019 7:08 pm

sound for sandwiches wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:20 am
I recently solved the same problem, with my Tascam 38 (different deck, same problem). I had had it in storage for about 2 years, worked and clean when packed away. I was able to play back existing material but not record. I had to demag the tape path and meticulously clean everything, and then it recorded fine. I should have done all that stuff first, but I can sometimes be impatient.

If you don't have a demagnetizer, I recommend picking one up. And some 90% or higher isopropyl acohol and some lint free swabs. They will be your friend.
THANK YOU! ill see what I can do!

Jerksworld
audio school
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:13 pm

Re: TASCAM 388, won't record

Post by Jerksworld » Sun May 05, 2019 7:08 pm

sound for sandwiches wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:20 am
I recently solved the same problem, with my Tascam 38 (different deck, same problem). I had had it in storage for about 2 years, worked and clean when packed away. I was able to play back existing material but not record. I had to demag the tape path and meticulously clean everything, and then it recorded fine. I should have done all that stuff first, but I can sometimes be impatient.

If you don't have a demagnetizer, I recommend picking one up. And some 90% or higher isopropyl acohol and some lint free swabs. They will be your friend.
THANK YOU! ill see what I can do!

BillW
audio school
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jun 02, 2019 11:20 am

Re: TASCAM 388, won't record

Post by BillW » Mon Jun 03, 2019 1:41 pm

Any update on this?
I seem to be having the same issue. Everything works correctly but when I playback something I just recorded it is so faint that I need to crank up everything to max and I can barely hear it.
I hadn’t used the unit for a long time. I cleaned and demagnetized the heads. Still didn’t help. I will try cleaning the heads again because last year I played back a reel for the first time in years and heard squeals, I discovered that my Ampex tapes got the dreaded sticky shed disease. I have a few old 3M tapes that seem ok though.

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