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Thread: Tascam TSR-8

  1. #1
    jjones1700's Avatar
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    Tascam TSR-8

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    There is one listed here locally for $400. Is that a good deal for a TSR-8? After talking with the guy, he is the 2nd owner and has put about 4 reels through it since he has had it. I haven't actually gone over to test it out, but from what he says it functions properly. I'm just hoping it doesn't sound too flat from the narrow format. Finding Otari or Revox in Texas is damn near a myth, so I'm thinking of the TSR-8, especially since it won't see any place except my little studio room. Just figured I would pose the question to you gents. Thanks.
    The interface said to use "Windows XP or higher"...

    ... I used tape...

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    sweetbeats's Avatar
    sweetbeats is offline Reel deep thoughts...
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    Everything I've heard about the the TSR-8 is positive. I prefer analog VU's and three heads but the TSR-8 is a slick package. I know it to be a solid performer, parts are relatively well affordable...I consider 400 to be a good price if it is healthy. I've seen less (but not much less) and much more. Look at those heads and trust your gut.

    And BTW my favorite sounding deck was a 3340S with that same narrow format.

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    The Ghost of FM's Avatar
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    That sounds reasonable so long as it's in decent working condition and the if the head still has some shape to it. Just remember, it's a 2 head deck, not a 3 so calibration will be a bit trickier but having the dbx built in is a real bonus as is the savings on the additional patch cords to hook that up!

    It's also the last of the Mohican's as far as productions machines go so you've got a chance of it not being old and worn out with dry caps and oxidized, intermittent connections all over the place as a lot of 20 year + decks are showing at this point.

    As for it being flat, it won't be. It's gonna have a nice warm bottom end bass response though it might sound a bit thin if you're used to 8 track 1" machines...are you?

    Bottom line; check it out in person, make sure everything works, do a test recording on all 8 tracks and check for consistency, level weirdness, odd mechanical noises, see how smoothly it spools a tape, signs of moisture damage from poor storage...those sorts of things.

    Good luck!

    Cheers!

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    My first new eight tracker was a TSR-8. We made quite a few albums on it. I still have them on cd and they sound fine to me. It never gave any problems but I traded it for a MSR16s after a couple of years so I really didn't have it that long. In hindsight I think the TSR8 sounded better than the MSR16. Probably because it fitted just 8 and not 16 tracks onto 1/2".

    Apparently there are a few watch outs on them now given that they're getting on a bit. I think there have been some posts on here about those and there are some people here who still own and operate them. I think you can sync two of them together as well. You could probably do a search and find those posts.

    Fine machine in my view.

    G

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    jjones1700's Avatar
    jjones1700 is offline Learning, always learning
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    Thanks guys for the input. I didn't even think about it being a 2 head machine. I guess experimenting with tape echo is out, unless I try to do it on my RT-909 or the 122b deck. I won't be using it all that much since tape is at $75+ per reel. I tried snagging a 38 a few months ago but that didn't pan out. Ghost, no I haven't used a 1" machine. My RT-909 is the fanciest machine I've ever touched. I'm still pretty green to the recording world.

    On the plus side, I do have a M-2516 which would work perfectly since it does have the 8 outs. I don't think I'll let 2 heads be a deal breaker. I'll definitely put the machine through it's paces before I fork over the green.
    The interface said to use "Windows XP or higher"...

    ... I used tape...

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    The Ghost of FM's Avatar
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    Having the 8 buss mixer is a real bonus! sounds like now all you'd need is a couple of 8 channel RCA-RCA snakes, some fresh blank tape and you'll be ready to become the next.................**insert favorite musical idol here.............**

    Cheers!

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Ghost of FM View Post
    Having the 8 buss mixer is a real bonus! sounds like now all you'd need is a couple of 8 channel RCA-RCA snakes, some fresh blank tape and you'll be ready to become the next.................**insert favorite musical idol here.............**

    Cheers!
    I don't know about the idol part. Hell, I'm still trying to learn to play the bass and guitar whenever (very rarely) time permits. I've got some friends in bands that I would like to try this out on though. I'd love to learn how to go through the whole process from recording to assembling an album. One step at a time though.

    The guy is throwing in the snake and a couple reels of tape. He asked if I could hold off for a few days while he transfers the stuff onto his computer from the reels. Now I'm itching to get this thing and try it out!
    The interface said to use "Windows XP or higher"...

    ... I used tape...

  8. #8
    witzendoz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjones1700 View Post
    On the plus side, I do have a M-2516 which would work perfectly since it does have the 8 outs. I don't think I'll let 2 heads be a deal breaker. I'll definitely put the machine through it's paces before I fork over the green.
    This is a lot like my early set up, I had a M-224 and a TSR-8 (which replaced a TEAC 3340). I upgraded the 224 with a M-2524. This was a great set up. I like jedblue replaced my TSR-8 with a MSR-16S, as I needed more tracks but needed to keep tape costs low. The MSR16S was a good machine, I still have it, but I always have a soft spot for the TSR-8.

    By the way, all of the above I bought new not long after they were released (showing my age), I now use a M-3700 with a MX2424 digital recorder or the MSR16S, sometimes both synced together.

    If the TSR8 is in good working order it will be a good buy, last generation of the Tascam 8 tracks.

    Cheers

    Alan.

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    Beck's Avatar
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    That’s a good deal for a TSR-8 in excellent working condition. Make sure the heads are good… not too worn.

    The TSR-8 is what I chose many years ago after lots of research and comparison. In fact, it beat out the Otari MX5050/8 MKII by a good margin, which was also on my short list. I was used to working in a pro environment with machines costing many times that back in the day. With that background I set out to fill a costly order with a cost effective “semi-pro” solution for my home studio.

    It’s not really narrow track, unless you consider 2” 24-track to be narrow track… some people do, I guess. Because of the way Tascam designed the heads, track width is roughly the same. Depending on the manufacturer 24-tracks have a width between 0.038 and 0.041 inch. The TSR-8 is 0.039 inch per track. That goes for the other Tascam ˝” 8-tracks as well.

    What really sets the TSR-8 apart is gentle, consistent tape handling… very low torque; on par with closed-loop systems costing tens of thousands of dollars back then. The transport is microcomputer controlled. It also has the most tightly integrated onboard dbx NR I’ve ever seen (heard). It’s really unreal how they managed to bring this thing to market at such a low price… MSRP only $3499.00 in 1990. Omitting that third head and associated circuitry probably helped quite a bit.

    The two-head design is no big deal when multitracking. For mastering with half-track I definitely want to hear what’s coming off the tape in real time, but not so much with multitracking. When you’re the engineer/producer/artist all in one you’re mostly in sync mode anyway.

    Back to track width: 24-track on 2-inch doesn’t sound, “Thinner” than 16-track on 2-inch as much as it just sounds noisier… more tape hiss. Dolby Type-A and dbx Type-I noise reduction made 2-inch 24-track more practical. Same with 8-track on half-inch. With dbx on you have 108 dB signal-to-noise ratio (better than most digital systems) and crosstalk of 82 dB… pretty awesome.

    So anyway, I knew I was buying a capable machine with the TSR-8, and experience with it over the years has not disappointed. I’m one happy TSR-8 owner.

    ~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

  10. #10
    jjones1700's Avatar
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    Wow, thanks guys. It's decided then. I'll grab it when he is finished transferring his reels. I guess the next question would be what mix down deck would compliment this? The 22-2? I've got a 122b if I want to mix down to cassette, but I'm just curious about mixing down to a reel.
    The interface said to use "Windows XP or higher"...

    ... I used tape...

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