Did early tascam gear corrupt their hearing?
I remember the poor quality recordings from 4 tracks and eight track 1/4 inch machines and wonder if some have not been harmed by what they were brought up listeneing to. Everyone hears differently, but I swear, some like really horrid audio. Anyone care to share their take on this viewpoint?
I sincerely doubt that the use of those machines damaged anyone's hearing.
Do you have any examples?
This is silly. If you use good mics & technique, don't bounce any tracks, use NR if need be, you can make decent recordings on many narrow-track machines.
The folks who made bad recordings with gear like that were either inexperienced and would have made bad recordings regardless of the gear, or they were probably trying to do more than the gear could handle when they could not afford more capable gear (bouncing tracks, pushing levels too hot because they did not have NR, etc.).
I've got a Tascam 22 (not a narrow-track machine, but still a Tascam) sitting next to my Nagra IV-S. I use them both.
Cassette tape machines made me go digital. I have since recovered. Wish I would have started with at least 1/4".
I don't think well recorded tracks/mixes to cassette/or 1/4" tape sounds any worse than mp3s..( probably just me tho'...gooof.)
I used four tracks for a long time. First a Fostex X-26 then a Tascam 424.
I had no compressor, no effects unit or any condensor mics but the recordings I made sounded pretty good.
There was no internet back then so "gear lust" was limited to AMS, MF and Veheman's catalogs and I spent a lot more time recording then I did reading forums.
I think those machines were great to learn about how to make good recordings.
I pretty much messed up my ears in those early days.....4 tracking with my Tascam 424.
Was not the fault of the Tascam, however.cooge
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? mezed
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.
Fostex was bad too. Compared to what we have now, those misaligned machines must have allowed some to establish a threshold that has held them back. I am thankful for the technological advancements.
I had a Tascam m312b mixer. I thought it sounded pretty good. Better than leaving the tracks ITB imo, but what do I know. I upgraded to a Soundcraft recently that seems to sound a little cleaner and the EQ is better.
Degradation of your hearing is a process called ageing, it happens to everyone and is accelerated by abuse. Excessive sound pressure levels, drink, drugs and other 'lifetime occupations' all take their toll.
If your professional recording career is involved in orchestral work then you need to keep your hearing 'aligned' by frequenting real, non amplified (no electronics) performances in good auditoria otherwise all bets are off and you can listen to whatever 'noise' you wish to hear.
ALL forms of mic/amp/speaker performance are false to listening to a non electronic source, however 'good' the gear may be. This is not to say you can't enjoy 'reproduced' music.
Tascam just produced one flavour of 'wrong' and in probably a less insideous way than some of the nasty digital manipulation (MP3, DAB broadcast etc).
i'd blame NS10's before Tascam. hidz
they are both very common on message boards? bumpkin
I doubt however that these people had their ears harmed; maybe their taste warped is all. heh
While I also retain a certain nostalgia for the early exploratory phase of my career as an Audio Human, as someone who struggled every day to get higher fidelity, flatter response, less hiss, and better S/N, I was glad to be rid of those decks.
You also have to ask who was really "brought up listening" to these machines. Aside from the over-cited example of Nebraska, practically no popular commercial records were produced on the Tascams and Fostex's. These machines dominated the demo studio market of course, but only the engineer and the band's mom heard those tapes with any regularity.
But I do wonder, in this day and age of people being brought up listening to low to medium quality mp3s on their iPod, if there are going to be reprocussions down the road.
"Ewwwww.....why does the music sound like that???? Music shouldn't sound like that!!!"
"Well, that's not an 128k mp3 out of an iPod, nor youtube, nor Soundcloud. It's a high quality, lossless wav file that you are listening to, coming out of some very high end audio equipment."
there is a big difference between the masses finding mp3s to be acceptable, and them preferring mp3s.
unquestioning acceptance of a lower-quality format is only possible when the higher quality format is unavailable for immediate comparison
only professional engineers (and only some of those IMO) have the retention and sonic memory to make a comparison separated by hours or days, but given an instant A/B, not one person in a thousand would prefer a reduced rate sound.
i also hate those "pin in your ear" ns-10's
TASCAM 4 tracks on cassette gave the poor musician the ability to enjoy "hitting tape" hard without the expense of a studio or an relatively expensive reel to reel.
There was some magic made with the harmonics induced by combining two tracks and two instruments, hitting tape hard, saturated and with just a touch distorted.....as I said magic..........
People buy expensive plug ins for DAWS to try to replicate this today lol!
Don't Blame Your Mit
Springsteen recorded Nebraska on a portastudio.Don Was has recorded Bonnie Raitt to casette,Cesar Rojas ( Los Lobos) said " There's a sound you get with those little machines you can't get anywhere else".The quality of Casette recorders exceeded the quality of 95% of the Tape Machines you had at Studios in the 50's.Sam Phillips would have thought you were an Audio God had you traveled back to Sun Studio in 1954 with a Tascam 424, Vintage Idiot...Hendrix would have been Hendrix on a Teisco...
op is a troll
besides nebraska - which isn't so good because of the format it was recorded on, but because the format it was recorded on captured the feel springsteen evoked in his songwriting so perfectly - i have friends in national touring bands that recorded their debuts on tascam 4 tracks or 8 tracks. their music is out on woodsist, mexican summer, jagjaguar, captured tracks, and many other highly respected indie labels. We are talking releases on short runs of vinyl, 1K-5K records+iTunes. if you don't know these labels then good, i'd rather you use a DAW and keep the used 4 track market dirt cheap, and keep on trying to get your music on the next episode of Real Housewives.
I enjoy the convenience of mp3 as much as the next person but John's right, there's so much information missing when listening to mp3's on an iPod or whatever. Right there is one of the reason's people feel the need to crank the volume up so much. But hey, don't forget also that cranking the volume is kinda what modern rock/pop/soul, etc., has always been associated with anyway. I can't remember how many times I thought my father was going to kill me when he came home to me cranking the crap out of the home stereo system playing Rumors on the TEAC reel to reel. People love to hear rock loud.
Also, Tascam employed so much of TEAC technology and parts it wasn't even funny, but that was to their benefit because TEAC was so far ahead in quality when it came to consumer audio products. TEAC had experience and had the means to manufacture.
John's also spot on with regard to all the early consumer models for home recording; what would we have done without it all?
One good thing about modern consumer level recording gear though is (in a lot of cases), the end of mushy lows.
I didn't mean actually harmed the ear physically, I meant that the audio gave a poor example of what analog recording actually was. Those cheap fours had issues and I would NEVER ever use them to record a piece of art. Maybe some were better and I just borrowed the worst examples.......
did someone say TASCAM!!??
Crappy sound? low budjet? well IMHO you get a bunch of normal rock n rollers in a studio with the latest and the greatest of everything... 2 dozen u87's and all the 2'' 24 track stuff and the guitars are not quite in tune....all the tube amps have mismatched tubes and leakage on all the electrolitics....the drums have loose metal jangling when drumming...everyone is laughing and farting with tape rolling.... and guess what? ya get a rock and roll recording.... although id like the exotic gear...im sitting here with my 80-8....40-4...35-2....and Cubase....and it sure beats the hell out of my sisters playschool mono cassette recorder...im thinking that these hand me downs are far more sophisticated than anything the Beatles, Stones, Yardbirds ever could dream of...what makes great music? the engineer and all the gear....or the musicians?...>rhetorical....how would Loui Loui sound if it was recorded in the best studio in the world?
for me - the answer is a resounding no. I made some of the worst sounding recordings possible with my 4 track. I was acutely aware of it then, and I cringe now.
High SPL and age is what ruins hearing but....... did that tape distortion make people accoustomed to hearing things a certain way? Yes of course. Why do you think we like tube electronics so much? It's called the retro sound. FWIW very high quality analog still has a few advantages over digital (although in the last few years digital has made great improvments (24/96 and above sounds pretty close to analog to me). To get that retro sound though you've gotta add some of that noise and distortion back in.
The entire debate (IN MY OPINION) is just the result of either conscious or unconscious fear.
The fear however is needless.
I'm sure we can all agree that the single most important aspect of any audio engineering endeavour is knowledge and experience.
The acknowledgement of that fact should in and of itself be the defeating point of the fear I'm about to elaborate on, but for some reason it isn't.
The problem with "admitting", which should be more aptly described as "acknowledging" the fact that software -can- (not to be confused with "will") achieve every bit as good of a result as hardware is this; should that idea be admitted or acknowledged, then the following bit must be as well..
"Any random Joe off the street can hop online, download a few thousand dollars worth of pirated software, and produce a product of the same level of quality that I can despite my half a million dollars worth of hard earned hardware tools."
If you admit the first, than on a very basic hypothetical level you must admit the above nonsense fake-quote as well.
Thus the fear of admitting the first bit.
However, anyone who has spent even the smallest amounts of time engaging in the various forms of this craft should fully understand that is simply not true.
But its lack of truth is not based around the tools, but the individual. While that random Joe fan acquire such a set of tools with little more than an expenditure of time, they can not pirate experience. They can not pirate knowledge.
All of the things that make up the essence of the best this world has to offer are not objects and possessions, and they subsequently can't be bought or stolen.
I truly think there is truly a (probably predominantly subconscious) fear in the admittance of the fact that the tools which one has worked so hard and spent so much for are essentially available without sacrafice to any who would have enough lack of concern for his fellow man to steal them.
Hardware can be stolen to, and has, so why would this fear only make itself so present upon the prevelance of software? Because the concept of theft to the individual involved is much different in this day and age between something "tangible" and something viewed as a collection of data.
We all know there is no difference, theft is theft, but still even while knowing that we must acknowledge one is far easier to pull off without repercussions.
And thus the advent of the fear that I have described above and the continually growing lines of division within the community of those who must deal with any and all phases of the experience.
Just remember, just because they can hold your tools, they can not hold YOU.
We make the machines, they do not make us.
Don't be so cruel or disparate in your dealings with your fellow men and women simply because of a fear you may not even realize is presiding within you!
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hey OP I get what you're trying to say, and I agree. Back in the day I owned a Tascam 3340 (4 trk) a 40-4 and an 80-8. They never sounded that great and it was with great pride that I found a way to buy an Ampex MM1200 16 track. Ran a boutique studio for the better part of 10 years but ultimately got sqeezed out by the advent of the growth of more Tascam narrow format tape machines and even worse the POS Fostex 1/2 inch 16 track! It is absolutely true that the Narrow track format dumbed down the sonic expectations of many prospective clients. The dbx noise reduction that you simply had to use was a major factor in the crappy sound of that generation. I don't care what evidence there us that some known material was recorded on that old crap, if you ever used one of those things you absolutely know the great audio limitations and compromises involved. Please don't try to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear folks.
Now far be it from me to specifically dis Tascam...truth be told I use a DM4800 and 3200 console and it is everything those tape machines were not, so I obviously don't hold a grudge...that was a very different era and one that faded away into audio history, though I imagine someone somewhere is still rolling tape on one of those dogs...the pour sucker!