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Fostex X-15 vs Fostex X-26
Old 23rd October 2013
  #1
Fostex X-15 vs Fostex X-26

Hey there guys.
A teacher of mine has for sale two fostex 4-track recorders a X-15 and a X-26.

From what I understand the X-15 can be battery powered , giving it on-the-go possibilities (wich I would like) , but the x-26 is somewhat more developed , and fragile piece of equipment.

I would really like to have a tape recorder so I can use it has a crapifier for some of my lo-fi and oldschool sounding stuff, are these good go-to devices?

I'm not really worried about sound quality ( or I would be searching for something else than tape) , but if you have any experience, wich one sounds worse?

Thanks in advance for any input
Old 23rd October 2013
  #2
Lives for gear
 

I've had an X15 an X26 and an X12 all from brand new, I can tell you they're really cool little recorders but I would never think of buying one again as cheap and nice sounding as some of the digital pocket recorders are these days. The down-fall of these tape machines from yesteryear is mainly the heads wearing out, they don't last that long if you use them regularly and finding the replacement head and some one to fix is another thing. The X26 I got in the early 1990's stopped working properly in the late 1990's and I bought the X12 to dump my old tape projects to my DAW's, it don't get much use now. Batteries don't last very long in the X15 and they will set you back a good dollar to.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #3
Lives for gear
 

X-26 is better if you HAVE to have one. X-15 is pretty bad, Photo bulb releases for punch in/out, eats batteries, and sounds bad (crapified is too weak a term). And mine was a fairly new one, who knows what refurbing one would cost.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #4
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I will stand by my first post about the better new digital units and Riff has some good point's but, I can't say that this old 4-track machine is/was totally useless. Heres a clip from one of my early recordings on the X15 back in 1987. The digital conversion to DP5 likely helped the quality some what and the X12 may have a better head (IDK) but it wasn't total ****. By comparison the 2nd link is how I recently re-mixed it in my DAW, quite differently mix wise.

4-Track Playing mix orig.3 by raymondward on SoundCloud - Hear the world’s sounds
4-Track Playing mix123 by raymondward on SoundCloud - Hear the world’s sounds
Old 23rd October 2013
  #5
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Well, it did teach you to do regular maintenance--if you didn't demag and clean heads and pinch roller, you got bad tapes. I heard tapes from people who did no upkeep and used Type I tapes--hoo-boy.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #6
I see...
I could get one or the other for about 40€, 50, 55 US$?
I kind like the sound of it to be honest, mainly on the low frequencies ( i know, it makes no sense), but i'm 21 and only worked with digital audio and I kind of wanted to step into the analog side of things.
I'll really have to think about it.
Old 24th October 2013
  #7
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Thats not a lot of money to spend, finding good tape's, that maybe challenging. I only used High Bias type II tapes that where almost $5 (US) back in the 1980's. Just did a search on Amazon, the Maxell's are $50 (US) for a 5 pack, can't find the old Sony Pro 90/60's that I thought where the best sounding and performing tapes back then. You can use a Low Bias type I tape but it will have little high-end and will be dirty sounding. De-magging, I did more cleaning the head and roller then de-magging, maybe once or twice in the life-time of my machines did I de-magg. Got to clean the head most every time you use it. I had a kit that came with solvents and lube's that lasted for a long time but I also have just used a Q-tip with a bit of regular rubbing alcohol. Just don't use regular rubbing alcohol on the rubber/plastic part's, its good for the metal head but will kill anything rubber or plastic.
Old 19th January 2014
  #8
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frans's Avatar
I got a cassette I recorded 30 years ago in the basement of my parent's house with the assignment to bring it into the digital age. Apart from my obvious f_ckups like involuntary distorting the vocals on the way in I got to say it doesn't sound that bad. Bass goes down very deep, kickdrum fat and nice. Some hiss, maybe 40 dB of workable dynamic range. Not what anybody today would call hifi, but workable. If I had had okay mic preamps back then (I didn't even have a mic stand...) then I guess it would have turned out better, the internal electronics are... meeh...
With a little help by backwards convolution processing, eq, multiband-ducking and the occasional exciter it sounds presentable.
Old 12th June 2017
  #9
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by 24 I/O View Post
I will stand by my first post about the better new digital units and Riff has some good point's but, I can't say that this old 4-track machine is/was totally useless. Heres a clip from one of my early recordings on the X15 back in 1987. The digital conversion to DP5 likely helped the quality some what and the X12 may have a better head (IDK) but it wasn't total ****. By comparison the 2nd link is how I recently re-mixed it in my DAW, quite differently mix wise.

4-Track Playing mix orig.3 by raymondward on SoundCloud - Hear the world’s sounds
4-Track Playing mix123 by raymondward on SoundCloud - Hear the world’s sounds
Do you have reading comprehension issues?

If a guy walks up to your till at McDonald's and says "Hi, I want a hamburger, which should I get? A Big Mac or a 1/4 pounder?"

do you tell him:

"You should eat your shirt, science has proven the human body can sustain its self by digesting the fibers from clothing"

Then if he says: "Thanks for sharing.....I'll have a Big Mac please"

Are you then: "I stand by what I said about eating your shirt"

Nobody cares what you think of digital recorders the OP wants a HAMBURGER, the eating of which is a very different experience than one would have eating their shirt. Likewise, tape and any type of digital recording are TOTALLY DIFFERENT colors with which an artist can paint their canvas.

I hope you now understand what is being discussed.
Old 12th June 2017
  #10
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by frans View Post
I got a cassette I recorded 30 years ago in the basement of my parent's house with the assignment to bring it into the digital age. Apart from my obvious f_ckups like involuntary distorting the vocals on the way in I got to say it doesn't sound that bad. Bass goes down very deep, kickdrum fat and nice. Some hiss, maybe 40 dB of workable dynamic range. Not what anybody today would call hifi, but workable. If I had had okay mic preamps back then (I didn't even have a mic stand...) then I guess it would have turned out better, the internal electronics are... meeh...
With a little help by backwards convolution processing, eq, multiband-ducking and the occasional exciter it sounds presentable.
It's going to sound a lot better than that: If you are recording anything to cassette make sure you hit the tape as hard as you can (I mean PIN that MF'er) don't clip anything else and DON'T compress it! Let the tape handle the first stage of compression.

Do 4 tracks like that, then keeping things as uniform as possible record the same 4 track tune on your DAW, then dump the tape tracks in and compare.

Be amazed as a 30 year old cassette machine beats up your DAW and takes it's lunch money, there really is no comparison, it's the last proof you will need that digital recording sucks......period.
Old 13th June 2017
  #11
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miguel Cordeiro View Post
I see...
I could get one or the other for about 40€, 50, 55 US$?
I kind like the sound of it to be honest, mainly on the low frequencies ( i know, it makes no sense), but i'm 21 and only worked with digital audio and I kind of wanted to step into the analog side of things.
I'll really have to think about it.
It makes more sense than you know.

I won't get into the technical reasons why what you are saying is true, but rest assured they exist.

You have good ears, TRUST THEM and follow where they lead you,
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