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my new analog tape recorders! (reel to reel and cassette) Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 26th March 2010
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

my new analog tape recorders! (reel to reel and cassette)

The reel to reel is an Akai 4000ds mkII, and the cassette recorder is a Portastudio 424 mkIII.

I hate to admit this, but I have never once in my entire life recorded via analog, only digitally. Thus, I have idea as to what I am doing/talking about. Am I in over my head? More than likely. But, luckily, I've got a lot of time on my hands to explore the analog side of recording.

So about 3 weeks ago when I decided that I wanted to start doing some analog recording, I happen to be spending time out of state with my family and found out that my uncle had an old reel to reel he didn't use anymore. So, that's how I acquired the reel to reel. My uncle thought it was still in good condition, but I can neither confirm nor deny that. All I know is that it powers up just fine, and the FF/REW control seems to be working great. Is there only supposed to be one plastic reel on it though? I really want to grab some tape and try it out. Any recommendations on what kind of tape/where to buy it? (And can anyone tell just buy the picture if it looks like it's in good working condition? I can take more if you need them.)

The Portastudio 424 mkIII I was lucky enough to score on Craigslist just recently for a mere $50 dollars. Needless to say, I was pretty happy with my purchase. Can anyone recommend me some good tape to use with it/where to buy some as well? The guy who sold it to me told me to spare myself, and get some good tape, not the stuff at Walgreens.

Thanks for your help.
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my new analog tape recorders! (reel to reel and cassette)-photo-197.jpg   my new analog tape recorders! (reel to reel and cassette)-photo-199.jpg  
Old 26th March 2010
  #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by the a-b theory View Post
Is there only supposed to be one plastic reel on it though? I really want to grab some tape and try it out.

Thanks for your help.
Yes, you have a take-up spool (the one that you have) and when you buy a reel of tape, it will have a spool included.
Old 26th March 2010
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ivmike View Post
Yes, you have a take-up spool (the one that you have) and when you buy a reel of tape, it will have a spool included.
Ah, another question: When I turn the reel to reel on there is a a metal piece in the center the continually spins. Is that normal? (Again, I have no idea what I'm doing here...)
Old 26th March 2010
  #5
Lives for gear
 

Do some research on wiki. Take a bit of time with it. Check what model each unit is and see if you can Google manuals as pdfs. There are some sites that are databases for manuals specifically.

Start working with the portastudio first. The reel to reel may be a bit much too soon. Try Youtube as well because. I've seen some helpful tutuorials there.
Old 26th March 2010
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Oops .. I typed that response pretty fast.

Dude, they're both great machines. The 424Mk2 is fine. The 4000 is a solid reel to reel. Tape may be a bit expensive and hard to find at first but persevere with it.

Write great songs!!

Cheers RAy
Old 26th March 2010
  #7
JDM
Gear Maniac
 
JDM's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by the a-b theory View Post
The Port astudio 424 mkIII I was lucky enough to score on Craigslist just recently for a mere $50 dollars. Needless to say, I was pretty happy with my purchase. Can anyone recommend me some good tape to use with it/where to buy some as well? The guy who sold it to me told me to spare myself, and get some good tape, not the stuff at Walgreens.

Thanks for your help.
You need Type II High Bias cassette tape. I like Maxell XLII 60, Akai GX 60, Sony UX 60 and TDK SA 60. See if you can score a couple of each to find the one that you prefer. Keep the tape at a max of 60 mins because of tape thickness. The shorter the time the better.
Old 26th March 2010
  #8
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ray_subsonic View Post
Do some research on wiki. Take a bit of time with it. Check what model each unit is and see if you can Google manuals as pdfs. There are some sites that are databases for manuals specifically.

Start working with the portastudio first. The reel to reel may be a bit much too soon. Try Youtube as well because. I've seen some helpful tutuorials there.
Will do, thanks! Already started watching some videos and figuring this thing out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDM View Post
You need Type II High Bias cassette tape. I like Maxell XLII 60, Akai GX 60, Sony UX 60 and TDK SA 60. See if you can score a couple of each to find the one that you prefer. Keep the tape at a max of 60 mins because of tape thickness. The shorter the time the better.
Thanks, man! I'll do that! I apprecaite it.


Any one know where to get some reel to reel tape for the Akai 4000ds?
Old 26th March 2010
  #9
Gear Addict
 

Good luck with your new machines. I have a seperate studio with many Tascam machines, but I really like to use my 424MKIII in my living room.
VP
Old 26th March 2010
  #10
JDM
Gear Maniac
 
JDM's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by the a-b theory View Post

Thanks, man! I'll do that! I apprecaite it.

No problem! Also remember that recording at the highest speed (which is what you want to do for the highest quality) cuts the time of the tape in half. 60mins=30 mins etc...

Have fun!
Old 26th March 2010
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

I did a lot of recording on an Akai 4000DS back in the late 70's.
It has a "sound on sound" feature so you can record a track,monitor it and record another and on and on until the generations get too muddy.I still have boxes of reels from that machine filled with ancient music I haven't heard in years.
Old 26th March 2010
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keystone View Post
I did a lot of recording on an Akai 4000DS back in the late 70's.
It has a "sound on sound" feature so you can record a track,monitor it and record another and on and on until the generations get too muddy.I still have boxes of reels from that machine filled with ancient music I haven't heard in years.

Send me some! Haha. What do you think of the Akai 4000ds? I've heard it's a pretty solid machine for recording. Also, can you recommend me some good tape to buy/where for it? Thanks!
Old 27th March 2010
  #13
Gear Maniac
 

I used whatever was available locally at the time.Ampex,Scotch,Maxell,TDK,Sony,Radio Shack and on and on.7" blank reels should be all over the internet I would think.


Like this and loads of other auctions.

MAXELL ULTRA-DYNAMIC 35-90B Blank Reel to Reel Tape - eBay (item 230453359529 end time Mar-28-10 12:04:35 PDT)

You'll need a 7" take up reel though...also available all over the internet.
Old 27th March 2010
  #14
Here for the gear
 

i was using a yamaha MT8X for a while, alot like the portastudio pictured, but a much crisper more presentable (yet still affordable and convenient!) sound ive found comes from staying in the digital realm, and running individual lines out from your interface/preamp into nice high end consumer cassette decks, rolling tape while you record digitally, and then running the simultaneous output from the tape decks back into your interface as a new channel. this allows it to hit your DAW with the tape sound, without any concern over playback speed discrepancies that might come from a seperate playback-import from the tape to your DAW.

ive got a yamaha KX-W321 and a JVC TD-W254 set up in this intermediary configuration right now, i use 60min Sony EF tapes, and the sound that comes back out of the tape deck's output is definitely really fun. still has fun tape warmth but alot more crisp and presentable than what was coming out of the MT8X's 8 track divisions.

the one of the main things though, even with your reel to reel, is to learn how far the playback head is from the record head. each machine is going to have a different distance between the heads that causes you some headache when its time to start mixing the tracks that hit tape along the way with the ones that went straight through the interface to the DAW.

ive been doing the trimming/lining up by hand at this point, but there is a plugin out there that will help you take care of it once you input the proper distance for that particular track/line

i cant remember the name of the plugin though, it would be nice to have, does anyone have/use this plugin and can remind me what its called/who makes it?
Old 27th March 2010
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chiro View Post
...
i cant remember the name of the plugin though, it would be nice to have, does anyone have/use this plugin and can remind me what its called/who makes it?
Mac?

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