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Old 23rd October 2018
  #23
Here for the gear
Teac M15 Mixing Console

There seems to be a lot of questions regarding the Teac M15 mixing console. I had one from 1982 till 2006 and I used it in a professional recording studio working with bands and artist. I did a lot of work making the set-up become a great recording and mixing set-up that would eventually make my studio the "Go To Studio" for mixing and mastering. I purchased the mixing board and a Teac 85-16 1" 16 track tape recorder with DBX noise reduction used. Both units were work horses, the only problems I had was the DBX card's relays on the tape machine would occasionally stick but I bought extra and all was good. The board weighs about 500 to 600 lbs but it is a modular board, which means, when you remove the meter bridge, you can actually remove each strip and be able to do maintenance cleaning and pot cleaning and lubrication (please contact an electronic tech for the difference liquid solutions to use for cleaning). The board is a solid state board, there are no tube I'm aware of in this board.

History
The Teac M15 mixing ($22K)and the Teac 85-16 (16 Track) ($20k) and Teac 80-8 (8 track) were release in 1978 and were a cheaper solution for recording than the Studer, Soundcraft, MCI and Otari tape machines and a cheaper solution for the SSL, Soundcraft, Harrison and Neve consoles of the day. The M15 and 85-16 were consider Consumer-Pro equipment because the both machines used a lot of RCA connection, no 1/4 jacks and only XLR and RCA on the input channels. Also both board and machine ran unbalanced not balanced wiring which potentially could create noise on the channels.

The Mixing Board Hierarchy
The Teac M15 Mixing Console is divided into 4 areas: Input, Buss, Monitoring and Control Room/Aux/Studio Room. You have to think in terms of a Matrix to really understand how console works. As well, each area has its share of quirkiness that is sometimes hard to understand. I am going to walk through each area of the Teac M15 and explain how everything works and the different modification I did to bring the mixing board and my studio up to professional standards. The biggest thing I did was integrate an all encompassed patch bay system which made the functionality of the board incredible and made the recording process at least 5 times better and faster. The manual is an example of a manual written by electronic engineers for electronic engineers and I found it highly technical and difficult to understand. Most of the things I learned about the M15 was by trial and error - hard lessons sometimes.

Inputs
The Teac M15 would be shipped with either 16 or 24 Input channels. Each channel would have the usual stuff, Line in - Mic in - Gain - EQ - Aux 1 & 2 Buss assign, mute, solo, pan and fader. Here the quirkiness of the input section: Line input is an RCA jack not a 1/4 Jack, microphone XLR input did not have phantom power, the insert for the channel is a little jumper wire/cable not a TRS input and mine was missing 5 of the jumper cables and the channel wouldn't work without the jumper cables also the buss has 1-2 3-4 5-6 7-8 but no master mix out.

Solutions - Input Section
Channel Inserts - each input strip has a Send - Rec which has a little jumper to keep the signal from the RCA input or the XLR mike input to continue through to the input strip. I figured out that if I got a Tascam's PB-32P and 4 Hosa Cable 3 meter length CPR-803 Snakes (RCA to 1/4) I could insert compresses and gates into every channel if I wanted to. The Tascam's PB-32P (with the white jacks out) would work as a normal unit letting the signal flow and once I tapped into the unit I can have a compressor in channel 6 out and the output of the compress back into the in of channel 6 of the patch bay and back to the board.

RCA Jacks Solution - to solve the problem of RCA instrumet jacks I bought Tascam's PB-32P patch bay strips 1/4 to 1/4 and 2 Hosa Cable 3 meter CPR-803 Snakes (RCA to 1/4) and hooked the Snake to the patch bay solved a lot of problems. For the RCA jacks I took the Tascam PB-32P and I took the unit apart and change the direction of the units so that the Red jacks are facing out which means that the unit was stand alone channels. This makes it easier to hook up keyboards and acoustic guitars because they all use standard 1/4 jacks on the patch bay strip.

Channel Direct Out (D-Out) - RCA Jacks - to solve the problem of RCA jacks I used the above (RCA Jacks Solution) Tascam's PB-32P patch bay strips 1/4 to 1/4 and 2 Hosa Cable 3 meter length CPR-803 Snakes (RCA to 1/4) and build a patch bay to solve this problems. Using the bottom row of the patch bay for the Input Jack issue, I connected the 2 Hosa Cable 3 meter length CPR-803 Snakes (RCA to 1/4) to the bottom row. More on the Channel Direct out when we get to Buss and Tracking.

XLR & Mike input- The Teac M15 does not have phantom Power for condenser microphones. The Teac M15 Power Unit had an XLR 2 pin plug but I have never ever seen a solution using that plug. I bought 2 8 channel phantom power unit and I would plug in the microphones into them so I could use condenser microphones.

No Master Mix Output - to actually get the input channel to play through speakers you have to do the following: on the input channels select buss 1 - 2 (or 3-4, or 5-6 or 7-8) for all input channels turn up the fader buss 1 - 2 next go to Monitor A 1 (Pan Left) & 2 (Pan Right) and take the toggle switch and toggle it to buss on both channels and turn up the fader. Assuming you have an amplifier on control room RCA plugs, selected Monitor A on the control room strip and you should be able to hear what your input section is playing in the speakers. One of the Boards most serious quirk.

Buss - Only 8 Busses (Line Out 1 to 8)
The Teac M15 is designed to work with a 16 track tape recorder or a 16 track ADAT machine, but to only be able to record 8 tracks at a time can be very frustrating.

Solution for only 8 busses (Line Out 1 to 8).
I bought Tascam's PB-32P and 3 Hosa Cable 3 meter length CPR-803 Snakes (RCA to 1/4) as well as eight "Y" 1 1/4 female to split to 2 1/4 male and similar to the insert set up the Buss output for each buss goes to a Splitter and the splitter would be inserted to the top of the patch bay in the back as follows - channel 1 & 9, 2 & 10, 3 & 11, 4 & 12, 5 & 13, 6 & 14, 7 & 15, 8 & 16. the back bottom row in the back would go to the tape machine 1 to 16 (make sure that the tape or Adat machine connects match your HOSA cable connectors - CPP-803 are 1/4 to 1/4 or CPR-803 are 1/4 to RCA). So you are able to record on any buss and on any channel. But if you have more than 8 tracks here is what you do. So lets say that you have 7 tracks for drums, 1 track for bass track and 2 guitars and a vocal to record. So the drums and the bass can go thru the buss 1 to 8. To record the guitars and the vocals you can take the "Channel Direct Out" (D-Out from above) from the input of the Vocals and the Guitars channels and insert those track into the bottom row of the buss patch bay in channels 9, 10 and 11 to go to the tape machine Track 9, 10 and 11. Problem solved!

Monitoring Section
The monitoring section is Monitor A channels 1 to 8 and Monitor B which is channels 9 to 16. When recording all the channels toggle switches should be set to Tape so that you can hear what's on tape, be able to do punch in while listen to the tracks and make rough monitor mixes.

Monitoring Section Solution
I bought Tascam's PB-32P and 2 Hosa Cable 3 meter CPP-803 Snakes (1/4 to 1/4) and 2 Hosa Cable 3 meter CPR-803 Snakes (RCA to 1/4). Plug the 1 to 16 from the tape machine into the back of the top row of the patch bay. The bottom row goes to the Teac M15 tape return channel 1 to 16 (Tape A - 1 to 8 and Tape B - 9 to 16). The beautiful thing is that the patch bay can now host external tape machines or computers with analog outputs through to the Teac M15 from the bottom row of the patch bay. If someone comes with a Fostex B16 you can plug it in and mix tracks you can also track parts if you plug tape machines input to the buss output. It can open up opportunities to work with other studios.

Adding Effects Units
I purchased several external effects units which included: 1 - SPX1000, 4 - SPX900, 3 - Alesis 3630 Compresser, 3 - Alesis EQ's, 1 Rev 7
I purchased 4 Tascam's PB-32P and 7 Hosa Cable 3 meter CPP-803 Snakes (1/4 to 1/4). I turned all the patch bays and opened them up to reverse the inputs so that the Red plugs were showing in the front. The top row was labeled Input with the effect's name and the Output was in the bottom row. The 4th Patch Bay was to create the Aux 1, 2, 3 and 4 outputs to feed the effects units. You can also use the input channel direct outs as well for individual track effects in mix down mode.

Adding Effects Units and having the outputs in the Monitoring section
I bought Tascam's PB-32P and 2 Hosa Cable 3 meter CPR-803 Snakes (RCA to 1/4) and connect the RCA jacks to Mon A FLB 1 to 8 and Mon 8 FLB 1 to 8 so that I can use the Monitor section as the return for my effects - monitor 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, 15-16. I took the Tascam PB-32P and I took the unit apart and change the direction of the units so that the Red jacks are facing out which means that the unit was stand alone channels.

Mixdown Deck - 1/4 tape machine or DAT or Computer
I used the Studio Master Fader as the Master Out to my mix machine. Unfortunate you use the Studio Rotate Nob to create the fade.

Mix Downs
To take all the monitor track and move them to the input section. Take Monitor 1 and 2 and switch it to buss and pan 1 Left and 2 Right and set level to "0" db. Next monitors 3 to 16 and switch the toggle switch not to buss or tape but to the toggle switch in the middle (little square). In the input section switch the toggle switch from line, mike to the little square for every channel. By switch the input, all the tracks on your tape machine are now live in the input section. Next select buss 1 & 2 for every channel. Next turn up the fader for buss 1 & 2 to "0". You can now start mixing. Make sure that Mon 1 and Mon 2 on the Control Fader (rotate button) and the Studio (rotate button) are pressed so you can listen and record. You can also use the Monitor 3 to 16 as returns for your effects by pressing the Mon A and Mon B button on the Buss channels. Unfortunate you use the Studio Rotate Nob to create the fade. (The Teac M15B had side faders on those channels Studio & Control Room).

Conclusion
There is a lot of information in this article and I hope it help the people who presently own or want to buy Teac M15. If I am missing anything or something isn't work the way that I explained it or you have further questions please feel free to email me. My memory is good, but the last time I used that board was in 2006. The key to making the M15 work properly, for me, was the integration of a serious patch bay. You could do most of what the patch bay work from behind the board but you'd be spending a lot of time behind the board connecting and reconnecting wires. My recording sessions were usually high profile artists that demanded efficiency and the attitude that "time is money so stop wasting mine". The board is a serious console from the late 1970's early 1980's that can have a place in the digital environment Pro Tools, Cubase and Logic world and the analog feel of the Teac M15 to digital recordings could have some engineers and producers add a little warmth and depth to their final mixes. Once I got comfortable using the board I love it, it help rescue may recording from being dumped and my work as a producer, recording engineer really stood out.

The Teac M15 is a serious professional board capable of producing high quality radio ready recording that will rival any digital system. Here are the final mixes from a band I produced called Cameras In Paris. All the recordings were done on the Teac 85-16 with the Teac M15 mixing console in the early 1990's and mix to analog 1/4 tape on a Tascam 32-2 reel to reel. The 1/4 tape was then converted to DAT tape and two years ago, 2016, I digitized the DAT tape to Pro Tools and created WAV and MP3 version of each song - enjoy :

Cameras In Paris | ReverbNation

Good Luck MrGuitarPlayer