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Thread: Tascam 246 "Portastudio"

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    idiedforlove is offline Newbie
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    Question Tascam 246 "Portastudio"

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    Hello Everyone,

    A generous friend gave me a Tascam 246 "Portastudio" yesterday. So far I haven't been able to record anything except my electric guitar (when I plugged it in directly). I have a microphone and can hear myself playing in the headphones but upon playbacks, nothing has seemed to record. Any ideas what the problem may be?

    Unfortunately, it did not come with a manual, so I've been working by trail and error. If anyone has the time, I'd be very gracious for a few tips or basics regarding how to use this beautiful machine from the past. Thank you.


    ps - Do I necessarily need a type II tape?

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    travelin travis is offline Been Here, Posted That
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    does that thing have mic pre's built in? if not, you'll need a mic preamp for each mic to be used.

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    Beck's Avatar
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    Congrats on the great find. The 246 is my personal favorite 4-track portastudio of all time.

    Yes, you should use Type II high bias tape for best results. TDK SA or Maxell XL-II in 60-minute length is recommended, but 90 minute is ok. Inside the cassette lid is a high/low switch that switches between normal cassette speed (1-7/8 ips) and high speed (3-3/4 ips). Switch it to high for best results.

    There are two switches on the back labeled dbx. Make sure they are both in the up position.

    Before you use the machine clean the tape heads with rubbing alcohol and a Q-tip. In the future buy 90% or stronger alcohol at a pharmacy for regular maintenance.

    TO RECORD:

    -Plug a mic into a channel (CH 1) and set the switch on that channel to “Mic/Line”
    -Turn the trim control fully counter-clockwise (lowest setting)
    -Bring the channel fader (slide control at bottom) up to the shaded area between 7 and 8
    -Press down the assign switch labeled L/1 and turn the pan control all the way counterclockwise to the odd position.
    -Bring the master fader labeled L/ODD up to the shaded area between 7 and 8.
    -Press down the button labeled #1 in the record function section. The LED will blink.
    -The above steps set everything up to record on track #1.

    -Since the signal will only be traveling through the left buss you will want to engage the MONO button in the MONITOR section, or use the pan control on channel #1 in that section to hear the signal in both sides of your headphones. Still in the MONITOR section, set the track #1 level and the master level to 12 o’clock.

    -Engage the Program (PGM) button in the METER section
    -Engage the MONITOR button in the PHONES section and set the phones level to about 3 o’clock to start (so you wont break your eardrums just in case).

    -Now sing into the mic and bring the TRIM control up on CH 1 until the signal is between –10 and 0 on the VU meter. Now bring up the phones to a comfortable level and hit RECORD and PLAY simultaneously.

    After recording a few seconds rewind and set the switch on channel 1 to REMIX. When you press play you should hear your recording. You can also listen by engaging the PGM button in the MONITOR section, and then turn the PAN control on channel #1 to 12 o’clock. Use the slider control on that channel to adjust volume.

    Recording guitar plugged directly will sound bad because of impedance mismatch. You will want to use a direct box or mic a guitar amp. The preamps on the 246 have plenty of gain for a mic.

    ~Tim
    "If you can’t make a hit record with a Tascam or a Fostex,
    then you’re not going to able to do it with a Studer or Otari!"
    -David Mellor

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    idiedforlove is offline Newbie
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    Thanks Beck. Sorry I've been away.

    I still can't get it to work. I followed your steps and it either did not record at all, or the playback was super-duperly fast.

    This is probably an asinine question but do I have to mix my recording before it sounds natural?

    Also, I cleaned it with q-tips and rubbing alcohol.

    I really appreciate any suggestions and/or ideas.

    And Beck, thank you immensely for your generous response.

    -tim

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    earthwoodsolar is offline Registered User
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    Smile re. Tascam 246 manual

    Tim, had to register to do this. Was trying to sell my 246 online, when I came across this. If you still need the manual I can scan and e-mail pages you need.
    Also if anyone wants a well cared for 246, bought new in the late 80s and recently serviced, with manual!, let me know. (I just transferred all my old tapes to hard drive)
    win

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    tempusfugit's Avatar
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    246

    I owned a 246 and have a lot of cassettes needing transfer.
    I would be interested in purchasing your unit.
    It would give me a chance to salvage all that music and
    put it on digital media.
    Thanks in advance,
    Bill

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    n8genius@yahoo. is offline Registered User
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    must be the time of giving away Tascam 246's...mine isnt working however

    can some one help me with diagnosis of this isssue...whirring sound...no play or fast forward...sounds like a belt perhaps....maybe the motor..its getting louder....

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    SPOD is offline Newbie
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    I'm after a manual for this, does anyone have a pdf or some such?

    would be much appreciated!

    THANX!

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    SPOD is offline Newbie
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    buuuuuuuuump!

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    zenbubblegum is offline Newbie
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    [Bumping an old thread in hope of salvation!]

    Hi everyone,

    I recently picked up a Tascam 246. It was incredibly dusty and unloved, but I've cleaned it up and now it looks almost like new (apart from the fag burn by the DBX light, ha ha).

    I also got inside it and cleaned out two decades' worth of dust, plus I replaced both belts and the pinch roller.

    However, having put it all back together, the transport is still _incredibly_ noisy. Like, couldn't possibly record in the same room kind of noisy. It sounds like plastic parts rattling like crazy against each other, like the clockwork motor in a cheap Chinese toy.

    Tapes play fine, by the way, and it records on all channels perfectly. Fast wind works well in both directions. The tape counter is a little wayward, but I can live with that.

    What could the rattling be? And can I fix it? Is it going to be a cheap DIY job or an expensive service repair?

    If anyone can give me some advice and guidance, that would be greatly appreciated.

    Like, what might need lubrication, what products should I use to lubricate it and exactly where is the lubrication to be applied?

    Please note: I'm based in the UK, so references to US products go over my head. What I currently have is sewing machine oil (very fine grade) and Caig Faderlube, which is what I used to get rid of the age-old crackle in the pans, pots and faders.

    I love this 246 already - I'll love it even more if I can get the drive running more smoothly so I can actually use it for recording. I've been using a 144 for a while (that's pretty noisy, too, as it happens), but the 246 is a welcome step up in terms of features. Now that it _looks_ like new, I'm hoping to get it _running_ like new.

    By the way, I also have a near-perfect scan of the original owner's manual, which I'm happy to share with anyone. PM me.

    Many thanks,
    Jonathan

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