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yamaha mt44 - old 4 track
Old 16th December 2008
  #1
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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 .
Old 16th December 2008
  #2
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GZsound's Avatar
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..
Old 16th December 2008
  #3
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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.
Old 16th December 2008
  #4
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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."
Old 16th December 2008
  #5
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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,
Old 16th December 2008
  #6
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Thread Starter
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 .
Old 16th December 2008
  #7
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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.
Old 16th December 2008
  #8
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Everyones alot nicer down in the low end forum ,
Old 16th December 2008
  #9
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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!
Old 16th December 2008
  #10
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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).....
Old 17th December 2008
  #11
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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
Old 17th December 2008
  #12
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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.
Old 4th December 2010
  #13
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Old 23rd October 2013
  #14
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Anyone know why scum bum was banned?

And any further word on this 4 track?
Old 13th October 2016
  #15
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Recently picked one of these up.

For anyone looking to get into 4 track recording, I'll go ahead and recommend this one.

I've been buying up every 4 track that comes up recently and as far as flexibility, ease and immediacy of use and applications outside tape recording are concerned, this is a good one,

Its stereo inputs double aux sends and variable tape speed make it feel like a newly designed piece of gear,

If your"e wondering what unit to try out, I say you can't go wrong with this,

Happy ping-ponging!
Old 24th January 2017
  #16
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Yamaha MT44 Cassette Deck Wanted

Old 18th February 2017
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indebasement View Post
Im looking for a Yamaha MT44 Deck
(found a ton of my old demos from the 80’s!)

If you still have this deck I would be forever grateful to buy it OR rent and return it (since it was your Dad's) ,

please contact me at
519-966-2150
INDEBASEMENT Records & Audio Productions - Windsor Ontario Recording Studio

Jimmy Graham

Sorry but I don't have it any more and I can't even remember what happened to it !!
Old 18th February 2017
  #18
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by nowaysj View Post
Anyone know why scum bum was banned?

And any further word on this 4 track?
I got banned for telling people to join another new forum that had just started .
Old 18th February 2017
  #19
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Personally I thought the MT4X sounded a bit muddy with like 0 headroom. Thought the Tascam Porta Studio's were much better.
Old 18th February 2017
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
Personally I thought the MT4X sounded a bit muddy with like 0 headroom. Thought the Tascam Porta Studio's were much better.
The MT-44 was much better and more expensive than the MT4x. It had 3 separate pieces: the deck, mixer and patch bay.
I had one in the 80's.
Old 19th February 2017
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cavern View Post
The MT-44 was much better and more expensive than the MT4x. It had 3 separate pieces: the deck, mixer and patch bay.
I had one in the 80's.
My bad, thanks for correcting me on that. Kind of a huge point there, LOL.
Old 20th February 2017
  #22
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Old 20th February 2017
  #23
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I've had a few 4 tracks, I like the older tascam ones best. I'm not sure if it's the pre amps in them or the lower tape speed but they sound cooler then the newer fostex or Yamaha ones. I have a tascam Porta two right now. And all you gotta do is put tape over the holes in the top of the tape. Don't know what this foil nonsense is about. And yeah you use type two or type one depending on the sound you are going for. I like the crust and harder compression. Sometimes I'll use old dubbed type two. These recorders are fun.

Edit:
Holy hell I just looked this thing up, what a dream! The patch bay looks really fun/useful.
Old 20th February 2017
  #24
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Old 2nd March 2017
  #25
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it's a fine unit. I still have mine. just for the record and history, in order to have it do 4 track, it came with a piece of reflective tape that covered exactly the size of the tape window. i put a piece of tin foil that covered the window and a piece of scotch tape to hold it on. that worked fine. my guess is that there is a light sensor that looks for the light to reflect off the tape and that activates the 4 track. without the tape it records and plays in 2 track. it made for a quick and painless method of deciding whether or not to play back/record in 2 track or 4 track. this is not the same as putting tape on the punchouts that all cassettes have (to prevent recording).

so don't be at all afraid if you can't find the special tape it came with. tin foil worked fine for me.

i am also of the opinion that it is a much better unit for sound and construction than the porta-deals.
Old 3rd March 2017
  #26
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Hi, just found this forum! Does anyone in the UK still have one of these (MT44). I had one years ago but it died recently and I have a load of old 80s demos I'd love to resurrect. Willing to buy or rent!

Alternatively will the cassettes for these work in any old four track cassette machine/portastudio?

Cheers, Liam.
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