Tascam 52...do I need it?
Old 15th April 2010
  #1
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Tascam 52...do I need it?

Last night I was at an old friend’s house. He fired up his Tascam 52 Reel to Reel deck from the late 80’s and played some ¼” masters of some projects we did back then. I have to say it still sounded very good with those old tapes. He asked me if I was interested in buying the 52 for $250.00. He needs some cash to put towards a new preamp he wants to buy. It has all of the hubs and even a metal take-up reel.
My questions are:
1 – With todays digital world what would I ever use it for?
2 - Can I use it for any special sound?
3 – Is it worth $250.00

Thanks!

Wirenut
Old 16th April 2010
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Nobody?
Old 16th April 2010
  #3
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Do you NEED it? Probably not. To me however, the question is do you WANT it?

I've got a 42, and it's a very solid 2-trk deck. The 52, a bit more so ... and it's the top of the TASCAM line as far as these things went.

I've always loved the full sound and solid operation of the controls when I fire the 42 up. Occasionally I'll track live to it. Lots of useful headroom, tape saturation for days. Of course, in the world of 24-bit 96+KHz rack mount or hand held digital recorders and DAW's, no one HAS to have such an unwieldy beast of a machine. But then again, why the hell not?

$250 ? How much of a deal this is depends on the physical condition. If it's been maintained in excellent to very good condition, then 250 is a deal. If it's been poorly maintained or has issues, things that are more involved than routine maintenance (i.e., worn heads or tape path components) then perhaps not. One thing to factor in is you have to be able to maintain such equipment, if you want the machine to last & perform at it's best. Whether you maintain it yourself or farm it out, the result is it will cost you more than the initial purchase, and probably a lot more. So taking all of that into consideration, is what will determine it's actual cost basis & worth to you. I can tell you that a very quick net search, turned up only a few current prices for the 52 - all of which were significantly higher than 250.

Having said all that : if it's a labor of love thing (and when isn't analog a labor of love today?) the decision becomes a lot easier.
Old 16th April 2010
  #4
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I have 2 Tascam 42's and a 42-B, I would snatch that up in a minute!
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Old 16th April 2010
  #5
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$250 is a great deal if it runs. You say it does with the tapes you listened to at his house. I'd snatch it up in a second.

I have a 52-B. They are very nice machines; TASCAM's top of the line in a half-track machine. They're built like tanks and weigh about half as much.

If you purchase the machine, I'd have it looked over and have an alignment and calibration performed to make sure it's at 100%.

I may be selling mine down the road, but it will be far more than $250.
Old 16th April 2010
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Thanks for the replies folks...and well I bought it last night. I am the owner of a Tascam 52 1/4" reel to reel. The previous owner gave me 3 new 10" reels that were never used and still in plastic. According to him the deck was calibrated last around 2003 and biased for Ampex 456 tapes.

Now to find someone in Philadelphia or surrounding area that can calibrate it. Anyone know a place within 50 miles of Philly that can do this?

Wirenut
Old 16th April 2010
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wirenut View Post
Thanks for the replies folks...and well I bought it last night. I am the owner of a Tascam 52 1/4" reel to reel. The previous owner gave me 3 new 10" reels that were never used and still in plastic. According to him the deck was calibrated last around 2003 and biased for Ampex 456 tapes.

Now to find someone in Philadelphia or surrounding area that can calibrate it. Anyone know a place within 50 miles of Philly that can do this?

Wirenut
Congratulations, and welcome to the club!
Old 16th April 2010
  #8
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niiiiice
Old 21st April 2010
  #9
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A little bummed today! Last night I tried to record with my new 52. Everything was looking good during the recording process. Meters bouncing around 0db etc... When I went to hear the recording back it was nothing but slight crackling noises around the peaks. I was using some NOS tape Scotch 151 (Mylar/Polyester). Maybe the tape is bad. I am going to purchase some new RMGI 911 standard bias tape from Full Compass and try it again.
Old 22nd April 2010
  #10
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Do a search for Tascam related keywords. There have been quite a few threads here where these exact symptoms have been discussed. I know I've contributed to a few.

Briefly, these decks have a known problem if they sit too long. In my experience, discrete components have gone bad -- specifically the relays on the channel control cards. Since you heard it working in repro mode just the other night, it may be that the problem lies in the record circuitry. Have you verified whether you get meter movement on playback , even though there is no sound? I had the exact opposite symptom on my 58 - good meter signal from a pre-recorded tape, with meters swinging away but nothing audible on playback.

Shouldn't be too expensive if this is the culprit - around 100-125 I'm guessing. You could also pull the channel cards and try cleaning the relays yourself, or replacing them if you are handy with the solder.
Old 22nd April 2010
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingDaddyO View Post
Do a search for Tascam related keywords. There have been quite a few threads here where these exact symptoms have been discussed. I know I've contributed to a few.

Briefly, these decks have a known problem if they sit too long. In my experience, discrete components have gone bad -- specifically the relays on the channel control cards. Since you heard it working in repro mode just the other night, it may be that the problem lies in the record circuitry. Have you verified whether you get meter movement on playback , even though there is no sound? I had the exact opposite symptom on my 58 - good meter signal from a pre-recorded tape, with meters swinging away but nothing audible on playback.

Shouldn't be too expensive if this is the culprit - around 100-125 I'm guessing. You could also pull the channel cards and try cleaning the relays yourself, or replacing them if you are handy with the solder.
Thanks KingDaddyO. I know now that it is not the tape. I recorded on the Scotch 151 with another old Akia home deck that I have and it sounded fine. I have NOS 456 that came with the 52 however they are from the mid 80’s so I should probably bake them first. I have not figured how I’m going to do that process yet.

I am having a problem finding an owner’s manual and a service manual for the 52. I saw on another thread that someone else found a service manual however I replied to the message asking where they got it and they never responded back. I am afraid to go in blind and start pulling boards without a road map.

Do you have any suggestion where I can get at the least a service manual?

Wirenut
Old 23rd April 2010
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wirenut View Post
Thanks KingDaddyO. I know now that it is not the tape. I recorded on the Scotch 151 with another old Akia home deck that I have and it sounded fine. I have NOS 456 that came with the 52 however they are from the mid 80’s so I should probably bake them first. I have not figured how I’m going to do that process yet.

I am having a problem finding an owner’s manual and a service manual for the 52. I saw on another thread that someone else found a service manual however I replied to the message asking where they got it and they never responded back. I am afraid to go in blind and start pulling boards without a road map.

Do you have any suggestion where I can get at the least a service manual?

Wirenut
You can prob find better prices or maybe even FREE - try da' Google. In the meantime here is a quick link to one fellow who will be glad to send you the stuff 'at a price':
Tascam (Teac Tascam Series) High Quality Service Manuals User Owner Instruction Manuals Schematics Brochures Literature Printed PDF (some FREE)
Old 23rd April 2010
  #13
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Teac America, Tascam still sells manuals. TASCAM
VP
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