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Thread: Cassete or Digital

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    Cassete or Digital

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    Hey guys, I am having trouble deciding whether to get a cassete or digital, 4 track recorder. Can I have your opinions?

    thanks

    ps, my budget is 200$

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    Double-posting?

    See your answer in the newbie forum...

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    Arrow Well, for obvious reasons,...

    you won't get much endorsement for digital mutitrackers in this forum, & that's by pure instinct, alone.

    However, I'd point you toward genuine Tascam Portastudio cassette-based 4- or 8-trackers, for logical reasons that go way beyond the analog-digital kneejerk reaction. I'll skip the details, and summarize by saying the digital-flash based memory recorders are too small, simple, and inadequate as compared to something as full featured as the Tascam 424mkIII, as only one example.

    News flash, but the 424mkIII is no longer available as new product in most music stores, but if you can find a brand new one at any retailer, you might want to snatch it up, as it might be the very last one.

    The Tascam 414mkII is the only remaining analog Portastudio that's readily available in stores, and it's a pretty adequate unit, that's just a slice lower-tech than the 424mkIII. The Tascam 414mkII as new retail might be your best new Tascam Portastudio purchase available these days.

    (Note: The analog/cassette Tascam Porta-02mkII and MF-P01 Portastudios are also still available as new-retail, but I am not inclined to recommend them, as they're both too light on features and capability. HINT: the Porta-02mkII and MF-P01 would be great first multitrackers for 10 year olds).

    Beyond that, you may find 424mkIII's in abundance as used product on Ebay, as well as a host of other awesome Tascam Portastudios.

    I'd mention other Tascams in reference to Ebay, that are worth investigation, which are:
    Tascam 244
    Tascam 246
    Tascam 424mkII
    Tascam 464
    Tascam 644
    Tascam 488
    Tascam 488mkII
    Tascam 688
    Tascam Porta One
    Tascam Porta Two
    Tascam Porta Two HS


    Tascam 234 Syncaset
    Tascam 238 Syncaset
    (Syncaset's are standalone rackmount multitrack cassette recorders which require an external mixer. Technically, the 234 will function adequately without a mixer, too, but is probably best utilized with a mixer.)

    I'm going to otherwise recommend you stay away from most digital porta-multi-trackers. They're all light in the mixing/dubbing department, and digital has those gawdawful menus. Also, I know miniaturized is the buzzword of the day, but when you're talking multitrack recorders, sometimes things can get too small. Not only that, but flash memory recorders of today record a pathetically low amount of minutes, before you're required to run to your puter for a dump-session, so you may continue. Onboard mixing itself is painfully inadequate on almost all the flash memory digital recorders I can think of, models too numerous to mention.

    Summary:
    =======
    a) Try to find a 424mkIII as new, retail, if you can find one, otherwise hit Ebay for this item. The 424mkIII is the most like-new Tascam Portastudio you may find on Ebay, with some units having literally only a couple hours on them. If finding like-new Portastudio is your Ebay shopping goal, the 424mkIII is it.

    b) Get the 414mkII as new, retail, if you think you can live with the scaled down feature set.

    c) Search Ebay for those other model numbers, above, and make your best deal. If I were to recommend a used Portastudio, I'd start with the 244, 246, 424mkII and/or 488mkII, and then all the others on the list, following that.

    d) Skip to the chase and buy the full featured 1/4" reel 8-track Portastudio, the Tascam 388. That gives you all of the best features in one package. The 388 is also an Ebay item. (The 388 being reel, is not mentioned above, but is a leading product in used recording gear, that's worth checking out).

    Notes:
    Don't forget to check Tascam Syncasets;
    The Porta-02mkII & MF-P01 are great if you're shopping for a 10 year old;
    All those digital flash recorders basically suck.

    good luck
    Last edited by A Reel Person; 12-18-2004 at 14:56.

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    Arrow Ps:...

    I critiqued 4- & 8- track flash memory recorders, but I'd give the same thumbs-down to 4- & 8- track HD recorders, of the type that can be found new/retail, these days. HD solves the time limits of the flash memory system, but most 4- & 8- track HD all-in-one'rs will only record 2 simple inputs to 2 tracks simultaneously/max. Most of these units I've seen have little or no input-side mixing capability, and only 2 inputs, so the newest breed of recording devices are all ka-put in my book.

    If you're inclined toward menus, pushbutton gadgetiness, and 2x2 recording matrix would not be limiting, then maybe the current digital 4- & 8- trackers are for you. Especially if you want to transfer tracks to & from your computer a lot, digital's for you.

    There's a better analog solution. No offense.

    There are a couple digital's that I'll recommend, mostly because they're analog/digital hybrids. The analog section of the hybrid design of these units solves some of the gripes I have about strictly digital units. They are as follows:
    Tascam 564 MD Portastudio
    Yamaha MD8
    Fostex FD-4
    Fostex FD-8

    ... that's a pretty short list, but if you "went digital" on any of those units, you'd have my blessing.

    That's just MO, and YMMV.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DigitalSmigital
    Double-posting?

    See your answer in the newbie forum...
    Well, they locked the one in the newbie forum, where Phyl suggested a digital solution and an analog one.

    I don't know of a digital four tracker under $200.

    What do you say, Reel? Are any of the hybrids going for under two bills on eBay?
    Quote Originally Posted by drstawl View Post
    I'll show you some ice that's thinner than your intellect.

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    Arrow Yeah, well, I saw that $200 budget detail last.

    For $200, you're best value is in the Ebay market. You could easily afford some of the best model numbers for that much, depending on the day. I see bids go high and low, every day, but you're easily within reach of a used:
    424mkIII
    424mkII
    414mkII
    244
    246
    464
    644
    Porta One
    Porta Two(& HS)

    The 424mkII, 464, Porta One and 244 often bid in the $100 range. The 414mkII, Porta Two & 246 often bids in the $150 range. The 424mkIII often bids in the $200 range.

    You don't have much buying power for $200 in brand new recording gear. That gets you a Porta 02mkII and a mic at Guitar Center. The right Ebay gear buy could be a huge gain in value over brand new equipment.

    Honestly, analog's gone to a mostly used market, because remaining stocks of new analog multitrackers are so limited, they're almost gone completely.

    For under $200, IMO your best value is the Tascam 246, given that you can find a pampered low use unit. For less than $200, depending on the day, with a VG-condition 246 you'd be really stylin'.

    The 244 and 424mkII are also a great value in their price range.

    The 464 is a topline model that's apparently a bit less popular, and therefore it may often be had at a steal of a bargain price. A 464 bidding in the $125 range would be a tremendous value.

    I tend to recommend the 464 and 644 a bit less, because they're increasingly more gadgety than most of the other Tascam Portastudios. The 464 I could handle, but it has a menu driven assign function and LCD meter. The 644 is very gadgety indeed, with built in midi synchronizer, and tons of buttons, that's also equipped with a digital LCD assign matrix and VU level meter bars.

    Anyway, all those models are out there. Shop Ebay/Tascam for a while, and make up your own mind. All the models I've mentioned are worthy multitrackers, in their own right.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by A Reel Person; 12-19-2004 at 02:31.

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    Arrow Sorry, I didn't catch the followup question.

    The Fostex FD-4 regularly bids in the $150 range, but the FD-4 is most often an external SCSI drive recorder, with very few of them having the onboard HD. If you can find an FD-4 with internal HD, you could expect it to be about $200, and that would be a good value. If you can tolerate the external HD setup, the FD-4 can be purchased for about $150, that often includes a Syquest drive, or similar external drive. Hey, I have an FD-4 with an external drive, and it's not shabby, but a built in drive is always better.

    You may also find a Fostex FD-8 bidding in the $200 range, occasionally, but it's usually the external drive model in this price range. An FD-8 with internal HD would be more like $300.

    ************************************
    [IMO] The BEST VALUE HYBRID for <$200 would be the Tascam 564 MD Portastudio, and I guess that's the bottom line. They bid more or less than $200, depending on the day.
    ************************************

    For my best value in cassettes, see my previous post.
    Last edited by A Reel Person; 12-19-2004 at 02:40.

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    Arrow Flash: Find the brand new 424mkIII stocked at Zzounds dot com! (12/19/04).

    http://www.zzounds.com/a--2676837/item--TAS424MKIII

    $299 including free shipping, which is a deal that can't be beaten! This may be the only retailer in town who has these new machines, so if you were on the fence about buying a new 424mkIII, you might want to do it now!

    There's no assurance that there will be any more new stock of the 424mkIII anywhere else, at any future time, and we have no sign or assuranced that Tascam will unveil any brand new cassette 4-track Portastudios, to succeed the 424mkIII.

    I'm considering popping for a new 424mkIII, for $299 at Zzounds, now! You should consider it, too.

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    Wow! I forgot to check this thread. Thank you so much reel person. Yeah I'm probably going to get the 424MkIII. Now my friend has the 414MkII, and that machine records at 3-3/4 tape speed, which is way fast if I'm correct. Does the 424 record that fast? If it does, is there a way to get the machine alone, without other equipment, to record at normal tape speed? Thanks so much

    -Slash89

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    The 424 and 414 both record at the same speed, but I think only the 424 has regular (slow) speed too. (I don't have a 414, so I'm not sure about that)

    Get a new 424 mkIII, you won't regret it.
    Quote Originally Posted by drstawl View Post
    I'll show you some ice that's thinner than your intellect.

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