yamaha mt44 - old 4 track
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16th December 2008
Old 16th December 2008
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yamaha mt44 - old 4 track

I found my dads yamaha mt44 , its an old 4 track cassette tape recorder .

I don't know much about tape , are 4 track cassette tape recorders decent or are they pretty much crap ?

This one looks pretty high quality .
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16th December 2008
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I think that's the model number I had years ago. Don't you have to put foil on the cassette to turn it into a four track recorder?

Anyway.. for learning recording techniques they are great. Trying to stack parts onto just four tracks is a great way to learn.

As far as quality goes...uh...not so much. Casette is not a high quality medium although they work just fine for demo's, song writing, etc.

Get it out a play with it. You will learn a lot trying to get a "store bought" quality recording with that unit..
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16th December 2008
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I have never heard of putting foil on a cassette.

I had a couple four tracks over the years. Back in the day I did tons of stuff on them and I think they really force you to work on your recording technique. I learned a lot on them.

The quality is not what you would get with modern equipment.
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16th December 2008
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Yamaha 4-tracks were the best of the breed; they used dbx noise reduction which was definitely better than Dolby for live material.

I'd definitely recommend giving it a try! Get some head cleaner and swabs at Radio Shack (or if Radio Shack doesn't sell that stuff any more, some Q-tips and the purest alcohol you can find) and give the heads a cleanup and go to town - some of the most fun recording experiences of my life were with a machine just like this. They're rock-simple to operate, and while the quality isn't as good as what we're used to today, you can definitely get a cool recording on them.

A few suggestions:

-- SLAM the levels. You'll need to practice a bit, but definitely work with the meters up in the red, especially on dynamic material like drums. This will give you a little of that analog crunch and a nice, unified quality that can sound pretty tasty.

-- Use the best tape you can find. Maxell XL-II S was my favorite, as it could handle higher levels that the regular XL-II. Looks like you might have to look on eBay for these, but the regular XL-II does seem to be available, and it will get you going.

-- Have fun! Even if you just futz around with it for a few months, you'll learn a lot, and get a taste of the old days. And you'll earn the right to cop an attitude with people and say things like, "Well, you know, those of us who learned how to record on tape really had to UNDERSTAND the technology a lot better than you kids today."
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16th December 2008
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Thanks for the advice ,

Yeah you gotta put foil on the tape , something like that , it had stickers you put on the tape to make it a 4 track .

So the quality is pretty poor ?

I got some good pre amps to run into it and wanna do some old school rock .

I guess I'll just try it out,
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16th December 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCtoDaylight View Post

A few suggestions:

-- SLAM the levels. You'll need to practice a bit, but definitely work with the meters up in the red, especially on dynamic material like drums. This will give you a little of that analog crunch and a nice, unified quality that can sound pretty tasty.

-- Use the best tape you can find. Maxell XL-II S was my favorite, as it could handle higher levels that the regular XL-II. Looks like you might have to look on eBay for these, but the regular XL-II does seem to be available, and it will get you going.

-- Have fun! Even if you just futz around with it for a few months, you'll learn a lot, and get a taste of the old days. And you'll earn the right to cop an attitude with people and say things like, "Well, you know, those of us who learned how to record on tape really had to UNDERSTAND the technology a lot better than you kids today."

I'm gonna look on Ebay for that tape .

Slamming the levels should be fun , I want to get everything fuzzy and old sounding , like an old Stooges recording .
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16th December 2008
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Yo ScumBum,

I think, stuffed in a box somewhere, I have a bunch of BASF Chrome Cassette tapes from my old 4-track days. PM me an address, and I'll see if I can find them and send them to you.
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16th December 2008
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Everyones alot nicer down in the low end forum ,
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16th December 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScumBum View Post
I'm gonna look on Ebay for that tape .

Slamming the levels should be fun , I want to get everything fuzzy and old sounding , like an old Stooges recording .
Nice! The 4-track might be right up your alley then. A couple of bounces (where you mix 2 or 3 tracks down onto 1 or 2) will add to the effect.

What you might try, as you're getting a feel for level-setting (which is really an art) is having a few friends over and setting them up to play something like guitar/bass/drum. Have them play a verse or two and a chorus of some song they know well, and try recording it with the faders set at different levels....keep notes on each take and where the meters were hitting. After you've captured a few, you can listen back and see how various levels of "slam" affect the sound.

When overdubbing, you have to be a little careful. Say you have two tracks already down on tape and are recording a new one on an adjacent track. If you hit that new track too hard, it can knock out some of the recording on the track next to it, which sounds like a loss of high end or volume when you play it back. Voice of experience here!

Good luck, and enjoy yourself!
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16th December 2008
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And maybe on down the road that machine will be good for lo-fi stuff too (ala the "Street Fighting Man" acoustic sound).....
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16th December 2008
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I researched and found the yamaha mt400 , and it can record at double the normal speed at 3¾ inches per second (9.5 cm/s) .

Is that pretty decent ? Its half of 7½ ips
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17th December 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScumBum View Post
I researched and found the yamaha mt400 , and it can record at double the normal speed at 3¾ inches per second (9.5 cm/s) .

Is that pretty decent ? Its half of 7½ ips
The double speed helps a LOT, compared to other 4-track cassette units. But you have to keep in mind that the cassette tracks are only half as wide as 1/4-inch open reel tape would be. So even though you're running at half the speed of 7.5ips, you're only getting one-quarter the actual tape area.

Anyway, definitely run it at double speed - it's night and day compared with regular cassette speed.
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4th December 2010
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23rd October 2013
Old 23rd October 2013
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Anyone know why scum bum was banned?

And any further word on this 4 track?
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