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I'm about to buy a Tascam 16-track tape recorder
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MickeySmid
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#1
17th January 2008
Old 17th January 2008
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I'm about to buy a Tascam 16-track tape recorder

After getting a 4-track teac last week we got so into using tape again (after more than 10 years of digital), that I started looking around.

I can get a good condition Tascam 16 track 1 inch tape, for about 1800 euro. In combination with our toft atb16 this would be really cool. Digital and analog setup etc.

Anyone any tips. Should I not get it!?

I think it uses these tapes:

http://images4.thomann.de/pics/prod/126551.jpg

which you can still get new...


M.
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17th January 2008
Old 17th January 2008
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17th January 2008
Old 17th January 2008
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Does it have the built in DBX noise reduction?
If it DOES then turn that off for sure!

See how hot you can hit the tape.
I am not sure if you can crank those decks up to +9 over 185 nwbr.
Personally I'd live with the extra noise/hiss and not use the DBX.

Interestingly enough, I met a guy who is an audio tech in Las Vegas named Alan Christman who was once the guy that did the set-up and calibration on those decks at the factory in Montebello, CA. I talked to him last year and he worked at the Luxor and was on the Blue Man Group crew.
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17th January 2008
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It does have the noise redux build in yes... I will have a look at it next week, seems to be in good shape...

I was impressed with the sound of the teac 4 track I got (exc. some technical problems, a great purchace), and wonder if this tascam will sound less/better, same rock&roll sound, more/less colored. Will have to see.

thanks for the replies so far,
M.
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17th January 2008
Old 17th January 2008
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Is it an MS-16?

If so it's a decent solid machine. I had one for a few years. The DBX wasn't great and was switched out most of the time, although it did come in handy as an effect now and again.
They can just about handle +9, but I always ran 456 so never really tried.

Enjoy!
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17th January 2008
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Even if the record amps won't drive the heads/tape all the way up to +9 you could easily run at +8.

I recorded for years at +8 on 456 w/o any problems.
You have to watch what you are doing, but it definitely sounds beefier AND much quieter.
In fact, I routinely recorded +9 on 456 when people used rental tapes for short one day sessions.
I know from a VERY reliable source that AIR studios set up their multitracks to +10 over 185 nwbr. This might not have been for every session/engineer/producer, but they DID do it.
Again, you had to be careful, but sounds fine if you know what you are doing.

That deck will sound worlds better than a Portastudio or any narrow track width format.
TASCAM was the king of compromise when it came to track width.
Sixteen tracks on 1" really did require noise reduction, but if you are doing rock-n-roll it can be OK to not use the DBX.
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17th January 2008
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We'll need a boat to bring it to holland! Where are you? Alabama :O
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17th January 2008
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I bet that TEAC sounds better then TASCAM..
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17th January 2008
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WHY... would the TEAC sound better than the TASCAM?
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17th January 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ihearsounds View Post
I bet that TEAC sounds better then TASCAM..
Haha, I presume thats a joke?

I've never seen +10 tapes from AIR but don't doubt it happened. I very much doubt 16-tracks on 1" 456 could handle that level very well at all.
I used +4 with no noise problems, only for Rock n Roll mind, quieter stuff did need the DBX.
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17th January 2008
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TASCAM professional decks are alright in my book. I've got two 48's myself.

I don't know if I'd want to pay $3600 for a 16 track TASCAM though. That seems a bit high.

Of course, I live in L.A. and tape machines wash up locally on the major bulletin boards all the time. Like I just saw an 16 track MTR of some kind selling for $1950 American.

If you do buy it, make sure you get the stand with it!!!!

With most TASCAM decks of that era you have to calibrate them from the bottom. You want the stand!!
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17th January 2008
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Align it to +6 (370nWb/m), use new tape, hit it hard.

Tape tension is critical, get a full mech alignment too.

Mind that good tech services plus a few random parts will add to the cost...

Good machine, price too high.
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MickeySmid
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18th January 2008
Old 18th January 2008
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Thanks guys... I know nothing about Bias, aligning etc. Will have to get someone in to work this for me, and I have found the man, pretty expensive though this man.

The price of the machine... because the dollar went down compared to the euro, this does not mean we make more money than before, or our money is worth more... In practice you should think 1 dollar = 1 euro if you talk about investing in something... Perhaps a little more... so the price will be.. say "1900 dollar". I mean something that costs a dollar in the us, costs a euro here... not always, but in most cases...


Anyway... I think we'll get it... still a few days to think it over.

M.
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18th January 2008
Old 18th January 2008
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macmod is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by MickeySmid View Post
It does have the noise redux build in yes... I will have a look at it next week, seems to be in good shape...

I was impressed with the sound of the teac 4 track I got (exc. some technical problems, a great purchace), and wonder if this tascam will sound less/better, same rock&roll sound, more/less colored. Will have to see.

thanks for the replies so far,
M.

*dutch mode on*

is het een 3440 of 3340 die je zo goed vindt klinken?

*dutch mode off*


Pls keep us posted how you like the ms-16 (as compared to the Teac)

Regards,
Macmod
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18th January 2008
Old 18th January 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macmod View Post
*dutch mode on*

is het een 3440 of 3340 die je zo goed vindt klinken?

*dutch mode off*
Pls keep us posted how you like the ms-16 (as compared to the Teac)

Regards,
Macmod
TEAC A-2340SX which is almost like the Teac 3340, only with less bigger tapes (same tape 1/4 inch)... The 2340 uses 18cm tapes, no bigger... It looks the same... I'm not sure if the 3340 plays/records faster, I don't think so.

*dutch mode on*

Ik hou je op de hoogte! De teac heeft echt een magnetische zompige sound, die ik nog niet met een 'magneto' plugin kon krijgen. Maar ik heb 'm net en hij is niet goed afgesteld, ruist ontzettend.

*dutch mode off*

Mickey
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18th January 2008
Old 18th January 2008
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i would look for an otari mtr-90 - it may be 4000 euro, but it will be much
more of a machine - tape is the best way to record music in my opinion - i wasted
time and money trying to make digital sound good, then 1/2" tascam 8 track
then 1/2" otari 4 track which still sounds amazing and then studer A827
if you are really in this - if this is who you are and will be for the coming years -
find the mtr-90 for 4000 euro - much, much, much better machine, when more
money comes in, and if the euro stays strong you can have a 2" 16 track headstack
built for you in the usa for 5000 euros - this plus the transport and electronics
of the otari will be be worth the extra time and money 2" 16 track is the finest
recording medium that humankind has created - it is ten times better than 1"
16 track

just my thoughts
maybe you are 21 and you can afford to do
this twice.....
since you have got RMG right there....
think about it...
the otari was built to
last.....
maybe someone overthere will
let go of an A827 or A820 or an A800

be well

- jack
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18th January 2008
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I spent plenty of time on TASCAM multitracks back in the early and mid 80s, 16s and 8s (and my own series of 4 tracks).

It would not be my first choice if I was going to go back to tape. (Also, maybe it's just 'cause I'm doing the currency conversion from our tiny Bush-brain sized dollars, but that price seems high.)

But I'm not going back to tape.

PS... I learned to hate dbx NR.
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18th January 2008
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you can get a 24 track 2 inch for 2500 US today
#19
18th January 2008
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For that price I'd think you'd be able to find a couple old Studer 16tracks machines laying around somewhere over there!!!
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20th January 2008
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Since we are talking about tascam ms 16

Hey I just bought a ms 16 real cheap. Don't know if it works cause one of the tape hubs is missing and Tascam doesn't make them any more. Anybody know where I can get one?
#21
21st January 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MickeySmid View Post
TEAC A-2340SX which is almost like the Teac 3340, only with less bigger tapes (same tape 1/4 inch)... The 2340 uses 18cm tapes, no bigger... It looks the same... I'm not sure if the 3340 plays/records faster, I don't think so.
Hi Mickey,
Actually, the 2340 had (has) a top speed of 7.5 ips, whereas the 3340 (and the 3440) run at 15 ips. Quite a plus for the 3340/3440.
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21st January 2008
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I have a MS-16. That machine with full options was around 16K new. I love mine. You will too because it's very economical to operate and easy to maintain. Bulletproop. Find a microlynx to sync it to your DAW and you've got a winning combo.
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21st January 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mintytowel View Post
Hey I just bought a ms 16 real cheap. Don't know if it works cause one of the tape hubs is missing and Tascam doesn't make them any more. Anybody know where I can get one?
Yep that's an easy fix. Do a search over at Tascam Forums under my name and you'll see that I gave instructions on how. It really uses the same clamp as the eight track. But most aren't aware of it.

EDIT: heres' how use the 1/2" clamps still available on the MS-16.
TASCAM Forums Member Supported -> Ms16 Reel Clamper=

EDIT #2: I think I just read on another thread that you have a Toft ATB also. Wait til you hear how awesome a MS-16 sounds through it.

All done now.
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21st January 2008
Old 21st January 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbbubba View Post
WHY... would the TEAC sound better than the TASCAM?
At 7 1/2 IPS with dbx NR the Tascam will not sound as good as the higher speed 4430. That is the first thing I noticed when I bought my 80-8 in the 70's. We were using the 4430 and it indeed had greater dynamic range and S/N.
I have a MS-16 that runs at 15 IPS with no dbx. I have not used it for quite some time but it was a workhorse and had decent sound quality. Remember tape hiss!!!!! Those that recommend a 2 inch 16 trk may be on to something. All these machines need maintenance, reference test tapes, demagging etc. Good luck as there is nothing like the smell of real tape!!!!!!
MickeySmid
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21st January 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkSky View Post
Hi Mickey,
Actually, the 2340 had (has) a top speed of 7.5 ips, whereas the 3340 (and the 3440) run at 15 ips. Quite a plus for the 3340/3440.
Mhhhh... thanks! That is a bummer... for me. :(
Still sounds great this one.
Will check the 2nd hand market for 3440's.

Thanks for all the replies so far...

m.
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31st January 2008
Old 31st January 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkSky View Post
Hi Mickey,
Actually, the 2340 had (has) a top speed of 7.5 ips, whereas the 3340 (and the 3440) run at 15 ips. Quite a plus for the 3340/3440.
Just got a 3440 in. Looks mint!

The guy also had the original 8 track teac mixer (200 euro), and a teac dbx unit (with one multi to the 3440) for 100 euro... didn't buy those yet. Wanted to check the machine first.

Anyway, thanks for all the answers... Will prob. get the 16 track soon, we are looking for a way to transport it, for in the rack it does not fit in any car we got...


M.
#27
31st January 2008
Old 31st January 2008
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what tape for ms-16?

Quote:
Align it to +6 (370nWb/m), use new tape, hit it hard.
I am also a "beginner" on the 16 track Tascam. I bought one with some old reels from a old radio studio. The tapes are almost finished. Will need to choose new once and re-calibrate.

What does Align to +6 mean? Is that a bias thing? Different tapes just means different Bias right? But align is something else?

Quote:
Tommylicious said: I think you could also use RMG SM900 1" tape from our own dutch RMG.
I am in europe. I find 3 tape options:

1. RMG SM900 1" 762M NAB - Dutch International Cyberstore

This one seems the most simular to the famous 456?

Also new:

2. QUANTEGY 499 1" - Dutch International Cyberstore
3. QUANTEGY GP 9 1" TAPE - Dutch International Cyberstore

Both expensive. But which is the one to buy of these 3 and get it fixed for if you want a dirty rock and roll sound? Will all 3 work?

Mr. Toft
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31st January 2008
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I'm sorta anti that many tracks unless its a Stephens or Studer.
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11th December 2008
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Hi all, I'm a newbie, this is my first post...

Mr Toft, +6 (dB) is strictly a level thing. I used to align these beasts back in the olden days, and am running on memory here, so am welcome to corrections...

Ampex created a standard for their then-popular 406 tape, which stated that 0dB on the meter would represent a "flux density" of 185nWb/m (or "nanoWebers/per meter, or how much the microscopic magnetic particles were "disturbed" on the tape, not unlike iron filings being moved about by a horseshoe magnet). Since that time, newer tape formulations (456, 496, etc.) came along that allowed for greater signal levels before the tape started to saturate, allowing you to record as much as +9dB hotter (depending on the tape), thereby effectively reducing your noise by that same amount.

To know what level your machine is set up to in regard to "flux density" or "nWb/m", look at your test tape box. If it says it's 185 nWb/m (Ampex operating level) and you thread it up, and your meters read 0dB when playing back the test tone, then you know the machine is set up to 185 nWb/m. If your meters show a -6dB, it's probably set up to 370 nWb/m (the inverse of the chart below). Setting your machine up to +6dB means calibrating your machine so that when it says "0dB" on the VU meter, it's actually recording 6dB hotter than 185 nWb/m or Ampex operating level. When used as a reference, Ampex operating level defines these other levels:

0dB = 185 nWb/m
+3dB = 250 nWb/m
+6dB = 370 nWb/m
+9dB = 520 nWb/m

Setting up bias is a whole different ball game. Bias, by the way, is only engaged when recording, not when playing back.

Regarding noise, typically the narrower the tracks, the greater the hiss. This is why a 1-inch 8-track machine would have less hiss than a 1-inch 16-track machine, the latter often employing noise reduction techniques such as Dolby, DBX, or SR, or just blasting the tape with as much signal as possible, given the right formulation.

Hope this helps, and that I haven't belabored the point too much.

Scott Morrison
Van Nuys, CA
#30
10th August 2011
Old 10th August 2011
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lipnorth is offline
Tascam MS-16 and companion board

I have an MS-16 and its companion board. It made great recordings.

I am in the U.S. (Connecticut) and interested to sell them. They deserve a good home - I just do not have time anymore to use them.

The MS-16 is on a rollcart.

I have snakes, patch bays and more.

If interested send me a message.
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