Let's possibly try and get some perspective.
I started with worse...two track teac machines, and plain old stereo cassette. Cheap old Pioneer stereo mixer. Some foot pedals and a realistic reverb.
Then a Ross four track, had probably the most fun in my life with that little thing. Still have it, about to recap it, and take it on vacation with me this summer. Should sound great with some Telefunkens and API's etc..
Never got a Tascam 4 track, but all my friends had them.
In the late 80's got a Tascam 1" track, and a Tascam M520. Made many records that hold up well today with it. Paid my mortgage using this setup for a few years, then upgraded.
This Tascam machine can be heard on several major label releases. Damn those crappy Tascams...
Then ADATS and DA-88's came, which were worse...maybe way worse
as far as tonality.
I'm not sure if this post was a joke... a bit confused. Tascam is not Studer....duh....but they made some good stuff that was utilitarian, and perfectly usable to make money with.
I have some old four track cassette stuff that sounds pretty damn good compared to what I hear from budget studios on the internet nowadays...IMHO.
Sure there is better that Tascam, but if you are careful, and have good source, players, and technique, you can make a damn fine recording with that stuff.
Definitely good for starter setup. Think about before all that, in the 60's and 70's what your choices were in that price range, and figure in inflation.
Those Tascams were comparatively light years ahead, even with the cassette vs. reel thing.
Maybe yours was broken?
Corrupt our hearing?
Nah, the poster who mentioned mp3's....those corrupt this generations hearing, as it's missing half the damn information that was there in the original source. Same with digital in general, but whatever.
I think the reason there is soooo much bad sounding material out there today, is that there are sooo many people doing it. And everyone can't be great at it, yet everyone releases what they do to the public regardless.
Therefore, you hear more crap.
The little Tascams might have added hiss, wow, and flutter, and not had the greatest dynamic range, but at least the info was there.
If Tascam, Fostex and others had not made the push to bring the recording thing to the home market as hard as they did, who knows if we'd have all that's available to us today. Maybe it wouldn't be as popular, or accessible.
My two cents.