TASCAM 244 Portastudio

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by preactor, Jul 20, 2019.

  1. preactor

    preactor Tele-Meister

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    I have inherited one of these critters with some issues. I have replaced all of the belts. The recorder will play but not record. All the meters indicate that I am getting a signal. Tape is running in the record mode but no sound. Anyone with any ideas? Nothing on VU meters or tape on playback.
     
  2. codamedia

    codamedia Friend of Leo's

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    If there is a problem with the machine, the fix will likely be prohibitive in cost.

    Are you 100% sure you have configured it to record a track? User error is very easy on these devices ;)
    If you have any doubt - prepare the machine to record a track, take a nice clear picture and post it here.

    The basic steps are....
    1. Set the record switch appropriately. Normal recording operation is set to the left (sync). When set to the center (safe) NOTHING will ever record. That is playback mode.
    2. Select the track to record on
    3. Pan the input of the signal you are recording to the correct side. Pan left to record on tracks 1 or 3, and pan right to record on tracks 2 or 4.
      EG: If you want to record on track three, set the recording mode to Sync, engage record for track 3, plug into a channel and pan that channel to the left, set the level.
    4. Now press both the RECORD and PLAY buttons to engage recording.
    Alternatively... set the record switch to "4-track" to test. Each channel will route directly to it's own track. Send a signal to each channel and press "record/play" to start recording. See if anything makes it to any of the tracks.

    All is not lost. Even if you cannot get the machine to record - it's a nice sounding little mixer with great routing options :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
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  3. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I just typed "tascam 244 manual"
    into my search engine and the PDF loaded right up , this may help you, I know there was a slight operational difference in the 2340 and the 3440 4 track reel to reels , so it may be a switch setting of some kind , I have used these long in the pastso my memory of them is a little cloudy , But I would not hesitate to use one if I had it.
     
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  4. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

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    This might sound silly, but did you take out the tabs on the top of the actual cassette enclosure?

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    I had a tascam cassette style recorder. Not sure it was your model though. One thing to watch out for, it doesn't record in normal format. At least not if you record as 4 separate tracks on the cassette. All the tapes I made back then cant be played on anything else.
     
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  6. woodman

    woodman Grand Wazoo @ The Woodshed Gold Supporter

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    Impressive job by Codamedia running down those steps — yeah, when I got my first Portastudio in '86, seemed like it took me weeks to get it all together! And I doubt if I could run that gantlet again today if you held a gun to my head. But once you learn to run that maze, well ... then you get to learn running other mazes, like bouncing tracks!

    Schmeee said: it doesn't record in normal format.

    Definitely not! That thin little ribbon of tape, divided into quarters, uses the two outside strips for tracks 1 and 4 and the two inside tracks for 2 and 3. I used to record drums, bass and rhythm guitar on tracks 1,2, and 3, then bounce them onto track 4 so I'd have three more tracks to record vocals, lead and whatnot. After you complete a project, you want to mix it down to stereo, because when you play that tape back on a stereo tape player, the audio will be meaningless. ... Does yours have the DBX noise reduction unit? Extremely useful!

    It'll be hard to get the most out of it without tracking down a manual and going over it several times. Good luck!
     
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  7. Sparky2

    Sparky2 Friend of Leo's

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    I own a Tascam PortaTwo Ministudio recorder, in nearly brand new condition.

    Still works like a champ, though it only (obviously) records to cassette tapes, in a four-track fashion.

    Preactor, if you are interested in recording to such an archaic format, I would certainly entertain the notion of selling/sending it to you.

    I bought it brand new in the 1980's, and used it sparingly.
    It's been babied, and well taken care of.

    :)
    Tascam Porta 2.jpg
     
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  8. Archtop Bill

    Archtop Bill Tele-Meister

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    I used a 244 for years. You will need to get the manual as suggested above. Recording with one of these Portastudios is not as intuitive as you would expect. You may also need a matching transformers if you are using condenser mics.

    While a fun, lo-fi way to spend an afternoon, superior results will be had with a modern Tascam.
     
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  9. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    I own a 244, its really easy to make a simple error arming/recording a track. I pull it out now and then and mess with it, then after about 20 min, put it back for another 5 years !

    I have used it many times over the years for transferring tape to MP3. grab the manual here >>> https://www.vintageshifi.com/repertoire-pdf/Tascam.php

    Also be certain, as mentioned above, that the cassette tape SAFE tab is not removed. A common occurrence which caused many to read the operators manual for 30 minutes before they realized the SAFE tab had been removed ! A small piece of tape fixes that in a NY minute !
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
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  10. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Of course it's silly, you can't press record and play and have the tape turn when those are pulled out. I've never owned a recorder that lets you and don't think they exist.
     
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  11. preactor

    preactor Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for all your help. It was "free" and I was hoping to get it working. I do have a DP-03 that I use otherwise.

    Thanks for taking a lot of time to analyze my situation. It will be a couple of weeks but I will follow up with Y'all.
     
  12. codamedia

    codamedia Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks... I don't have it anymore, but the Tascam 244 is part of my DNA :)
    I was on the road full time (40+ weeks a year) from 1984 - 1996.... I'm convinced my trusty Tascam is what saved me from losing myself to alcoholism.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
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  13. preactor

    preactor Tele-Meister

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    Now that is a GREAT testimonial!
     
  14. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

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    Okay.
     
  15. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

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    Ah, the good old days of the Portastudio!

    I would lay down a drum track with an Alesis SR16 and fun would begin. Record a guitar, bass and then bounce the bass and drum to the open track and go on from there. The dynamic range wasn’t great and My final mixes were a little dull but it’s where i learned about recording.
     
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  16. woodman

    woodman Grand Wazoo @ The Woodshed Gold Supporter

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    Yeah, I spent countless hours having good clean rookie fun! I used to crush those heads, pegging the meters for that snarl I didn't understand til later was garbage! And on tracks that required a lot of takes, you could hear punch-ins going off like firecrackers through the headphones! :lol:
     
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  17. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

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    Or play 3 tracks forward and the last guitar solo track, take the tape out
    and reverse to the other side and then record so it will playback backwards?

    .....or was that just me?
     
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  18. simoncroft

    simoncroft Tele-Meister

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    I sold literally hundreds of these machines – and its predecessor the 144 – back in the 1980s, and I probably still have a manual 'somewhere' if anyone gets really stuck. One of the other reasons the recordings are not compatible with normal stereo cassette machines is the tape runs at double speed for increased quality.

    The dbx was a standard inclusion, whereas it was an expensive option on the reel-to-reel 3440. The 3440 sold for £1,000 in the UK, and I think the dbx unit was something like £300. when the 144 came out, it was about half the price, so there was a massive stampede of buyers who'd halfway saved up for a 3440 and suddenly discovered they could have a multitracker, with a mixer, today!

    You can definitely engage Play but not Record. I think that's what you meant, but I thought I'd clarify.

    Er... no it wasn't just you. A friend of mine used to do it on 24-track, but it was a dangerous thing to do if you didn't have a fully logged track sheet and a clear head. A few times, a cry of "Oh no! It should be Track 14, not 15..." would go up, meaning that a take had disappeared forever. :eek: I still do it in Logic Pro, but it's a somewhat safer exercise!
     
  19. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    You usually have to press both to record.
     
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