Why Did I Buy A Tape Machine?






The Backstage Journal Podcast


Rhett Shull 2

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  • Wow what a throwback. I had that same beast.

    Joe Reed
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • I have 1 of these Tascams, I love it!

    Bob H
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • my tapes sound the same after 30 years sound good and the machine is way more user friendly than digital I have some music videos on youtube but i only recorded with the camera mike

    john darmiento
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • Get the 30min 60min tapes. The 90min tapes will drag and wear out the Tascam faster. FYI.

    William Villagomez
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • That Ampex ATR700 machine in front of you is phenomenal, actually. Properly set up, that thing sounds better than almost anything I ever heard in person when recorded at 15 ips. I stumbled across this video totally by accident, but I am glad that I did. You seem to have a good handle on things. Have a great day.

    Paul Callas
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • I love analog. No visual bright shiny objects with 30,000 options to pick from and lure you in like a casino machine, it's all about sound. Does take a build for it; outboard effects, compressors, real boards; can saturate tape, natural compression rate with it as well. I still record home studio – I've done digital recording outside – on 1/2" 8 track, then mix down to digital so: ADD is my setup. I use an electronic drum kit for drums, which tape warms up nicely, electronic kit on a raised floor board for footfall works for the city living I do. Never gave up analog…wish they'd make them again. Mara Machines out of Nashville is a boutique house that works on updating old MCI machines, then sells them and services them too, meant for recording studios…check them out. They even have 8-track 2" machine, I don't know that it gets any better than that. Honest, simple, and YOU have to make it sound great, but when you do it can bring a tear to your eye. Don't know that a 1/8" head with 4-tracks is the best way to go about getting the best analog sound, but it has its charms even on cassette form, but cool buy. Tape width and inches-per-second make a big difference. Hope you enjoyed that. Cheers.

    Posted July 31, 2020
  • Because you’re a moron and don’t use tape, for the tape sound inside your daw for a couple tracks. You’re small minded and don’t use your brain very well, otherwise you’d do that and stop seeing things in black and white.

    why parceti
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • Ok, you bent my arm, im buying a tape machine.

    Gregory David
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • Simplicity is a characteristic of greatness. Superb counsel for any musician/songwriter that really desires grassroots creativity.💥💎💎💎💥

    Posted July 31, 2020
  • Wonderful video, Rhett! Thanks for the thought-provoking, quality content!

    Scott Hoverman
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • I still have a Portastudio 414. Hasn't been out of the box in at least 10 years. Thanks, now I miss it.

    Michael McKenna
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • the people affect the machine and the machine affect the people… you think you are free but technology is changing your style and in any case do not believe the equation new = better 😉 this is my point of view more related to technology in general than music….

    nello bello
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • Nice video. Just recently picked up my own 424

    Eddi Flores
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • I have that exact model bought it brand new for $400 in 2000. Used once and never used it again. Bought one with a hard drive couple of years later. The Tascam is still in my closet practically brand new.

    William Patterson
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • I'm an old git who had a 4 track cassette in 1989. Wow, I loved it. Never adapted to digital, like you say, your hands play the instrument.

    Fred Walker
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • I'm 49 years old and started recording on a Tascam Portastudio. I did loads of demo's on it and probably still have the tapes somewhere. I later moved up to 1/4inch reel to reel which produced some of the best sounding recordings I have ever heard from a home studio and I regret ever selling it. Seeing this video also makes me want to dig out my old Olympus OM10 35mm camera and take some more pictures with it. I used to shoot b/w and develop and print my own pictures. Coincidentally, I started watching Christian Henson's channel about a month ago after using some Spitfire Labs stuff, he's quite inspirational and has a lot of interesting things to say.

    Darren Livy
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • Thanks this is new life in an old dog!! I found you while looking how to learn to do EXACTLY what you"re describing. i might be down right now but damn sure not OUT!!

    Rodney Cox
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • Loved how you tied film photography into this, I feel the same way. Great video, man! Keep up the good work!!

    Morgan Anderson
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • I have to agree with must of the comments against tapes, but I understand the reason behind of buying old school things and try them. The deal is, in must of the actual music there is a lack of spirit and talent that are compensated with surgical repairs (hyper EQ, autotune, time align), just to get the product done. With old school methods the only solution is talent and commitment from everyone. Tape-based music gives more soul, humanity and imperfection like our nature. And there lies our taste for music.

    Cazador Nocturno
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • That flair was pretty interesting by the way. I thought it was by design! haha.

    Studio 3B
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • So right on. Thank god for insightful people like you. Thanks for the vid.

    Richie Moore
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • i've been trying to justify getting a tape recorder to my friends. they think it's pointless. the only reason i hesitate is getting a good bass sound. any thoughts on that?

    Rob Ingram
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • Any lover of music and recording should love this video. Especially without auto tune😳you have to sing and play it right no matter how many times you have to do it.Big ups bro✊🏾🎹

    Ernest Enoch
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • Where are the two you tubers you mentioned linked?

    Sean Crowne
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • I started on one of those as a teenager. They definitely make you a better musician. My younger cousins that only grew up with the modern stuff can't track their guitars in one take 🔥🔥. You learn really fast to not F- up on your playing because it's way easier to nail it in one shot that to punch in or piece together.

    Aaron S.
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • Man, I used to own all this stuff…. 🙁

    Henry Kirsch
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • Video starts at 4:11 for those who care.

    Zachary Drummond
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • Well said.

    Trey Da truth
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • recording on a 4-track tape recorder, if nothing else, makes you a better player. with Pro Tools, if you mess up, you can have your engineer punch you in at the part where you messed up. If you suck at playing lead, you can literally record each note individually, and then go back, mix it all together, and make it sound like you're better than Eddy Van Halen. However, on tape, you can't do any of that. You have to play the whole song through each time, and if you mess up at the very end of the song, you have to choose do you keep that take, or use a different take where you got all the way through but it wasn't as good as the take you messed up at the end on. And for lead, there is no punch ins- it's all on what can you really do. having those limitations forces you to do what a lot of players don't do nowadays- PRACTICE!

    Kyle Veazey
    Posted July 31, 2020

    Posted July 31, 2020
  • I still record on tape

    Adam LaTour
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • so more than a year and a half later – are you still using this thing?

    Posted July 31, 2020
  • I saw this video a couple of month ago and ever since watching, I wondered, if you’d actually show us what you did with the equipment. Having been around back when the 4-track recorders where the only halfway affordable means of recording your own music, I was kinda bummed when I saw the video.
    If you don’t mind, I would like to tell you about the wildest ever recoding setup I did, back in the day. We are talking 1991 btw.
    First a list of equipment we used (we, as in me and my pal Strauch):
    A Mac Classic with »Trax« (I hope I remember the name of the program right), a MIDI sequencer program
    A Tascam Porta Two
    A Roland 626 Drummaschine
    A Yamaha Sy 55
    A Hofner 176
    A Marathon Bass
    An 8 Channel Boss mixer.
    Our goal was to add synthesiser track to a regular analoge recording (or vice versa, if you will). Now bear in mind, the Porta two is a regular 4-tracker only. It has the capability of ping-ponging though, but of course that did not really enhance the sound quality at all. Our main problem was synchronising MIDI and regular instruments. We could have recorded a stereo sum into the Tascam, but that would have limited the number of track to the MIDI tracks (1+2) plus a guitar and a bass, or two guitars if we’d recorded another guitar while pingponging. That was no option, since we wanted the best sound quality possible and in stereo.
    The biggest problem was, how do we do the triggering. The 626 was the only device that could be triggered by a sync-track. So our solution was:
    Recording a sync-track on to channel 4 of the Tascam.
    That gave us the possibility to trigger all of the instruments at once. This meant, the Tascam was driving the 626, the 626 drove the Mac with Trax who then played the sequence to the sy55 and to the 626 (that way we would not have to hand program all the MIDI tracks into the 626 and sy55 – a real pia!). All digital devices' audio channels where plugged into the mixer via quarter inch) and the mixer went into channels 1+2 of the Tascam. Thus we were able to record the MIDI sequences while at the same time recording one guitar or bass and put that into the mix. No punch-ins, though, since triggering did not work that way. So on those four or five 4 minute songs, all had to be recorded from start to finish.
    After that, we recorded another guitar on channel 3 and the bass on channel 4, thus getting the best sound quality out of that setup while retaining the possibility to put the bass and second guitar into the stereo panorama.
    Was it worth it? Absolutely. Would we have done it differently if we had the equipment? Most definitely. The whole thing was a pain with cables flying all over the place and a lot of stress. Aside from some flaws, the thing worked fine for these songs (which I had digitised some 20 years ago and still listen to every once in a while).
    The sound quality, for its gear used is pretty good, but in no way comparable to modern standards. Still, I am glad to have been able to pull that off and present those songs at an art exhibition in 1991.

    Posted July 31, 2020
  • I think the connection between film and tape was an excellent point. Nice post.

    Posted July 31, 2020
  • Haha you sound like me. I first started shooting on my dads old canon 35mm and enjoyed it so much vs my instant digital cameras. Then I got a 8track teac 80-8 and was amazed how good it sounded and how the workflow was so different. Made me better at playing cause you can’t just do a million takes so easy. I also ended getting a portastudio too. Analog is fun

    Kevin Suhr
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • I've still got my TASCAM Portastudio 414. Twenty years using that thing … very nice, too. Forces you to plan ahead.

    David Andrews
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • I still have one of those Tascam recorders. Haven't used it in years. It still works. Didn't know that anyone was interested in them anymore. You learn something every day.

    Posted July 31, 2020
  • Give me analog over digital anytime. I have this Tascam new and love it! Works and looks like new due to being cared for.

    Danny Dougin
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • Biggest fight between me and my other guitar player… "Just play it once and duplicate it! It makes things so much easier." No sir…I want our music to sound like people playing.

    Christopher Brickwedde
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • Compliments. Hope to meet you at some point soon. Greetings…

    Alessandro De La Isla
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • I record on a 24 channel Soundcraft Ghost board or a 16 channel Soundcraft board to an 8 track reel to reel using all outboard gear. The only digital I have is a 24 track digital hard drive recorder. I record to the hard drive from each channel and group tracks to tape. I prefer analog, but the hard drive recorder is nice.

    Dave B
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • that´s the way we used to do…i love it

    raul antonio Bianchi
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • That thing is worth money??! I should probably go dig mine out of a box in the garage, dust it off, and get it listed on Marketplace or something.. I always need money I can put towards buying another guitar!

    Todd Beeman
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • Very nice try and get some type 2 or metal tapes while you can lol

    work E
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • With the ridiculous amounts of money people are asking for 20-30 year old machines, many of which don't even work properly, companies like Tascam / Teac must realize that there is a strong market for a new 4 track cassette recorder.
    Seems like only a few years ago when you could still get one of the small Porta models.
    Also I am sure there are 1000s of musicians with old cassettes of demos from the 80s &90s , but no machine to play them on.

    Rob McDade
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • I still have my Tascam 424 from about 1995. I also use a Zoom R16 digital recorder, but rarely go more than 4 tracks.
    i use them together – ie record on the 424 and then dub onto the Zoom or vice versa.
    Another great thing about these cassette machines is you can vari speed them with the pitch control, or change the tape speed, flip the tape over and do back wards recording. You can record quite a hot signal to tape.
    Make sure you use chrome tapes. I got a heap of them
    stockpiled at the end of the 90s.
    The sound is not as good, you get dropouts, hiss, dirty and magnetized heads, etc.
    But in this digital age where perfect sound is pretty much taken for granted, these are now desired characteristics, rather than flaws.

    Rob McDade
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • 4:20… "I'm Trent Reznor."

    4:40… "Just kidding. I'm Troy McClure"

    The Holographic Empire
    Posted July 31, 2020
  • I used to own a Tascam 828 it was killer!! I had to try to record the whole song from start to finish, when I made a mistake, I had to start over…. Bleargh!! It was a great learning experience!

    Posted July 31, 2020

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