Tascam 424 Portastudio - Use it or Lose it?

teleplayr

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I always had "Reel to Reel" recorders and copied the finished product to cassette.

I used the fastest speed possible and they were usually decent recordings. But like others have said, they're all "Out of date" compared to today's means of recording.
 

scottser

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i see those things go for way more than they're worth, cassette tapes too.
i'd sell it if i were you.
 

Nick Fanis

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Sell it or keep it for further investment.
Anyone ACTUALLY using one is totally nuts in this day and age.
Of course there ARE nuts who prefer riding a donkey to work instead of driving or using public transportation :)
 

985plowboy

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I still have mine.
Perhaps one reason folks want them is because if you recorded on a 4track you can’t play the dang tapes on anything else but a dang 4track.
Maybe folks are sitting around staring at a shoebox of band cassette tapes without a way to listen to them.
 

mindlobster

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Music production isn't always about speed and convenience. Sometimes it's about getting a working method that fits the material, and matches the sound in your head. My personal compromise - I've recently recorded an EP with this. It's like a digital version of the old cassette machines. It has four tracks only (two are stereo, so it's six channels), and two built-in microphones. We recorded drum machine/spoken word/upright bass (direct, no preamps or pedals)/field recordings. Then moved the SD card to computer for mastering. Sounds great and the favourite workflow we've used so far. Would I do everything like this? HELL NO, but it suited our project and paid off.
tascam.jpeg
 

ClashCityTele

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Prices are similar in the UK.
I have a Yamaha MT1X 4 track, which I still use now & again.

Keep it, try it out. It creates a whole new discipline from multi track DAWs.
 

Junkyard Dog

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Music production isn't always about speed and convenience. Sometimes it's about getting a working method that fits the material, and matches the sound in your head. My personal compromise - I've recently recorded an EP with this.

Those look cool, and TASCAM is blowing them out right now on their website for $149 with a free SD card, headphones, microphone, and free 2-day shipping. Very tempting!
 

mindlobster

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Those look cool, and TASCAM is blowing them out right now on their website for $149 with a free SD card, headphones, microphone, and free 2-day shipping. Very tempting!
Nice! I'd recommend it to anybody who appreciates the workflow. There's also an eight-track version for not much more money, but I didn't even want that :)
 

rocking rooster

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I had a Tascam 144 for many years and learned a lot about home recording from using it. In the end one track stopped working and the tape transport got really noisy. Last year I bought a Tascam DP32SD and took the old 144 to the tip. I know these days most people use DAWs and record to a computer but it's not for me. I like the self contained nature of a Portastudio and the portability of it. For about £500 I've got so much recording power with all the advantages of copy / paste, non destructive editing etc etc.
 

standup

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Some years ago I inherited my brother’s Tascam 424 Portastudio 4 track recorder that he used to record his two-man band, the Village Bilgepump.



But then, thinking further, I wondered well, if these units have such value still, maybe I should try using it for my simple recording needs. Maybe there is something special in that analog sound or whatever. And if I did use it, it would be like keeping a part of my brother with me, making music together, in a sense.


View attachment 986460
I would say give it a try. See if recording on this thing makes you feel connected to your brother. See if it’s fun to record this way.

I mostly record ultra-clean digital audio to a computer.

but I still have and use 4-tracks—because for me, it’s fun. I know other people around the country I can drop a cassette in the mail to, and we can build songs up one track at a time. I’m into it, I consider it a challenge to get the best sound out of these machines. It has a certain lo-fi sound that I enjoy.

I like that there’s no undo. You have to actually play your part.

here’s a track recorded by 4 different people around the country, in a throwback 60’s garage rock style. I’m doing vocals and lead guitar (on one track, played in one take):
 

Engine Swap

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Fun, but you can do way more with garage band and an interface.

Make hay while the sun shines and sell.

Having said this, I still own 2 (!) of these. I keep telling myself I’m going to digitize my early 90s output. Wish you could export individual tracks.

For its time, I loved my 424. I would rank it as one of the best pieces of gear I’ve owned.
 

Nubs

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Some years ago I inherited my brother’s Tascam 424 Portastudio 4 track recorder that he used to record his two-man band, the Village Bilgepump.

As far as I know, it still is in fine working condition. I once loaned it to a friend around 8 or 9 years ago and it worked fine, but otherwise it’s been sitting in a cabinet in my garage over the 16 years since my brother passed.

For my meager recording needs, I have just used a scarlet 4i4 and garage band, and it’s enough for the few recordings I make. So I was thinking maybe I should just get rid of the Tascam, give it away or something, assuming it had no value anymore.

But then I did some searches, and saw these things go for up to $500 on Reverberate , heck I even saw one non-working one just for parts that was listed at $250 plus $50 for shipping. Hmm, I thought, maybe no need to just give it a way, if I could make some decent coin from it.

But then, thinking further, I wondered well, if these units have such value still, maybe I should try using it for my simple recording needs. Maybe there is something special in that analog sound or whatever. And if I did use it, it would be like keeping a part of my brother with me, making music together, in a sense.

So what do you folks think? Is this unit something I should definitely check out (btw, I have lots of good, new old stock, still-in-wrapper, high quality blank cassettes amongst my hoard of things past), or should I not bother with figuring out how to use this antiquated device and just stick with the stuff I am currently using and am already familiar with?

View attachment 986460
If you don't want this, I'll totally buy it!!
 

BelairPlayer

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Some years ago I inherited my brother’s Tascam 424 Portastudio 4 track recorder that he used to record his two-man band, the Village Bilgepump.

As far as I know, it still is in fine working condition. I once loaned it to a friend around 8 or 9 years ago and it worked fine, but otherwise it’s been sitting in a cabinet in my garage over the 16 years since my brother passed.

For my meager recording needs, I have just used a scarlet 4i4 and garage band, and it’s enough for the few recordings I make. So I was thinking maybe I should just get rid of the Tascam, give it away or something, assuming it had no value anymore.

But then I did some searches, and saw these things go for up to $500 on Reverberate , heck I even saw one non-working one just for parts that was listed at $250 plus $50 for shipping. Hmm, I thought, maybe no need to just give it a way, if I could make some decent coin from it.

But then, thinking further, I wondered well, if these units have such value still, maybe I should try using it for my simple recording needs. Maybe there is something special in that analog sound or whatever. And if I did use it, it would be like keeping a part of my brother with me, making music together, in a sense.

So what do you folks think? Is this unit something I should definitely check out (btw, I have lots of good, new old stock, still-in-wrapper, high quality blank cassettes amongst my hoard of things past), or should I not bother with figuring out how to use this antiquated device and just stick with the stuff I am currently using and am already familiar with?

View attachment 986460
Lots of rubber in those: capstan wheels, motor drive belts, etc. If the rubber isn’t deteriorated/failing already it will be soon. I wouldn’t build a routine around something that’s going to need costly repairs ultimately. We used to get those old capstan wheels resurfaced ( kind of like a retread for tires). I wonder if anyone even does that anymore.
 

chulaivet1966

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Some years ago I inherited my brother’s Tascam 424 Portastudio 4 track recorder that he used to record his two-man band, the Village Bilgepump.
So what do you folks think? Is this unit something I should definitely check out (btw, I have lots of good, new old stock, still-in-wrapper, high quality blank cassettes amongst my hoard of things past), or should I not bother with figuring out how to use this antiquated device and just stick with the stuff I am currently using and am already familiar with?
Howdy nvilletele.....

I have not read other responses.

I'd say: keep it....and you have the blank tapes.
Get out the Q-tips, blow the dust out clean/demag the heads/lubricate the pinch rollers if they look really dried out.
Play some tapes on it to get things loosened up and give it a recording test run.
(EDIT: Plus, it's got a pitch control knob....a useful option.)

You never know when a simple 424 might come in quite handy.
I've used those and the Fostex 280....back in the Cretaceous Period, of course.
It's a familiar tool to all of us, it has it's purpose and takes up very little real estate.
I'd guess you could still find the manual on-line if you don't already have it.

Well....that's my take.

Have a good one.
 
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BrazHog

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Some years ago I inherited my brother’s Tascam 424 Portastudio 4 track recorder that he used to record his two-man band, the Village Bilgepump.

If it is the only memento you have from your brother, I would keep it. Else, I would take advantage of the vintage craze and sell it. And save the proceedings for a rainy day.
 

Maguchi

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Lalaland
Some years ago I inherited my brother’s Tascam 424 Portastudio 4 track recorder that he used to record his two-man band, the Village Bilgepump.

As far as I know, it still is in fine working condition. I once loaned it to a friend around 8 or 9 years ago and it worked fine, but otherwise it’s been sitting in a cabinet in my garage over the 16 years since my brother passed.

For my meager recording needs, I have just used a scarlet 4i4 and garage band, and it’s enough for the few recordings I make. So I was thinking maybe I should just get rid of the Tascam, give it away or something, assuming it had no value anymore.

But then I did some searches, and saw these things go for up to $500 on Reverberate , heck I even saw one non-working one just for parts that was listed at $250 plus $50 for shipping. Hmm, I thought, maybe no need to just give it a way, if I could make some decent coin from it.

But then, thinking further, I wondered well, if these units have such value still, maybe I should try using it for my simple recording needs. Maybe there is something special in that analog sound or whatever. And if I did use it, it would be like keeping a part of my brother with me, making music together, in a sense.

So what do you folks think? Is this unit something I should definitely check out (btw, I have lots of good, new old stock, still-in-wrapper, high quality blank cassettes amongst my hoard of things past), or should I not bother with figuring out how to use this antiquated device and just stick with the stuff I am currently using and am already familiar with?

100%. I have yet to top something I came up with one Sunday morning, early 1990s, a cheap Washburn acoustic that I had a Fishman installed in, an old analog synth, a rented drum machine, and a Tascam 4 track I owned.

If I recall, that unit can record 4 tracks simultaneously. Most 4 track cassette recorders can only record 2 at a time.

So, in practical terms you would have some options. Maybe it would be good for recording band practice sessions?
^^^Yep, basic but solid and easy to work with. Nothing to get in the way of inspiration or workflow. Not high fidelity, especially by today's standards, however good enough for some projects. I break mine out maybe once or twice a year. Still works great. Can transfer initial 4 tracks to digital and polish them and add more tracks, or sometimes 4 tracks is enough for a project. Springsteen recorded the album Nebraska with a Tascam 4 track and 2 Shure SM-57 mics.
TascamPortaStudio.jpg
 
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24 track

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I have the Yamaha version of one of these ( MT2X), I can see a ton of present day uses for it , given some of my other gear like running 4 channel ambient background loops and playing over top of them, it all gets back to how vivid is your imagination. All of these tools were designed for something so what has changed , nothing , digital recording got more complex and in some reguards more flexable however this is just another hammer in the box all things created equal, I can see it as an instrument for use in the system.

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