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Thread: Debating on selling my Tascam 388 and I'm torn...

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by famous beagle View Post
    Yes that would surely be an upgrade for sure, but, again. You'd still need:
    1) A mixer
    2) More expensive tape

    Well...it's not like you're comparing apples to apples here....deck for deck. mixer for mixer.
    Sure you would need a mixer of similar quality/grade, and yes, it uses 1" tape for 16 tracks instead of 1/4" tape for 8...but you end up with a much more impressive, better format setup. It's not like it's only about comparing cost and everything else is equal...that's just it, a MX70 for $2.5k vs. a 388 for $2k (I've even seen them listed at $3k)...is to me a no-brainer which way I would go for the extra money.

    AFA condition and functionality...would you rather bet a similar amount of money on a 30-35 year-old consumer grade deck or something that was built for more pro/commercial use...?

    This guy is asking $2k...and he's already putting up a disclaimer that the machine may need work and is only good for parts:
    Vintage Tascam 388 Studio 8 Multi-Track Recorder | eBay

    This guy is asking $3k...and doesn't even mention the condition.
    Vintage Tascam 388 Studio 8 Reel to Reel Multitrack Recorder & Mixer | eBay

    My point being...we are talking about 30-35 year-old machinery...so really, would a very descriptive listing claiming how the machine is flawless...give you that much greater warm-n-fuzzy feeling...?
    With all these...it's a dice roll...AND, you need to be prepared for some initial maintenance. Most of these guys are clueless of the condition...they just say "works great"...it's not like you've buying something from a pro studio where there is a tech that can really give you a scoop.
    So...with that in mind, I would rather refurbish a pro deck, than some that may not even be refurbish-able...or that when it breaks down, it's pretty much as door stop.



    Anyway, I don't want to get too far away from the OP's original question. I think, as has been pointed out, you need to really get to the heart of why you're not really recording anymore.
    Well I kinda figured the OP has gotten the same comments about 10 times now...and there wasn't much more to add...he needs to dig a bit deeper and evaluate his reasons.
    So...it seemed like the thread was already moving on to side-discussions.

    When I had my Fostex G-16...I felt the same way as you...that I would never sell it as long as it was working...because it truly was a joy, considering it had pro-level synchronization options, which made it very DAW-friendly, and I was already locking it to my DAW and working with it and having fun...but...BUT...it just didn't have the large-format sound quality...and that goes pretty much for EVERY small-format deck, including the 388 or anything that is trying to cramp 8 or 16 tracks on some miniscule tape width.

    It's simple really...there just isn't enough tape/oxide per track to capture the fullest frequency response...AND...you can't really change the tone/flavor by hitting these small format decks real hard and all that. People that do that, think they are getting tape compression/saturation...but it's mostly the deck's preamp electronics that are being overdriven, and that's what you hear...and the low end...well, there is no real low end with these small format machines, or that much high-end. Plus, most of them NEED some type of NR, because the S/N is poor, and also they have no higher tape speeds to help.

    All that said...and again, I had a small format machine, and I loved that G16 quite a lot, and held on to it for 5 years after I moved to my 2"...but in the end, it just didn't stand up to the 2".
    Of course...and now we get back to the heart of the matter for the OP...it's all about your intent and your future goals...so you don't need a 2" large format deck if you don't need a 2" large format deck...but if you're going to consider where to best put your money, and there's a bigger picture you're looking at...then just go for the more robust gear, if for no other reason, but lasting fun use.

    The funny thing is...there are a couple of name musicians who have used the 388 (just like some who have used a cassette portastudio)...and people immediately assume it was all about those machines...when most of those name artists have all kinds of support gear and post-production, which is in addition to using those machines...not to mention, they're already pretty skilled at both performance and production.
    So some guy in his basement runs out and drops $3k on one of those machines...thinking he's going to achieve the same end product.
    Last edited by miroslav; 1 Week Ago at 18:49.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    The funny thing is...there are a couple of name musicians who have used the 388 (just like some who have used a cassette portastudio)...and people immediately assume it was all about those machines...when most of those name artists have all kinds of support gear and post-production, which is in addition to using those machines...not to mention, they're already pretty skilled at both performance and production.
    So some guy in his basement runs out and drops $3k on one of those machines...thinking he's going to achieve the same end product.
    Never about the machine

    Prices for 388's here in Australia have jumped a lot as well last couple of years but if you have $2k you'll be able to get a good example of one as they do come up now and then.

    If the OP is not using their 388 and it's in good nick then they should sell it, these things are sought after and will get used and looked after given the cost to buy one these days.

    I'd take an all in one 8 track reel to reel for $2k vs buying a $2.5k 2" machine the size of a washing machine and costs over $500 an hour in tape alone, not to mention the power consumption and then also having to get a large format mixer.

    90% of people are recording in their bedroom and the only other hardware in their 'studio' is a computer. This is why the 388 (and some cassette portastudios) are going for almost the same money as a 2" tape machine.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chilljam View Post

    I'd take an all in one 8 track reel to reel for $2k vs buying a $2.5k 2" machine the size of a washing machine and costs over $500 an hour in tape alone, not to mention the power consumption and then also having to get a large format mixer.

    90% of people are recording in their bedroom and the only other hardware in their 'studio' is a computer. This is why the 388 (and some cassette portastudios) are going for almost the same money as a 2" tape machine.
    Those are other considerations...but not everything with audio recording decisions comes down to just size of machines or cost of tape.
    Like I said...it starts with your intent and your big picture plans....so if you are after a certain level of involvement and audio quality, the size and cost become part of that big picture. IOW...you get what you pay for.
    You can't just reduce everything down to the simpler considerations, make all you decisions from them... and still have all available expectations.


    My underlying point was/is that if your future plans go beyond the occasional hobby fun....buy smart now, for the future as much as your budget allows.

  4. #34
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    Geez. There’s something addictive about vintage Tascam gear. To me anyway.
    Now this thread and seeing that video has got me wanting one

    Not that I’m unhappy with my 16 track, not that I need one. Just that I never had one. I’ve had most other Tascam offerings, but not one of those. Lol

    I had a buddy that played in the Lita Ford band and we’re there when she went into GC to buy one. I always drooled over one but it was out of my reach. But she just went in, wrote a check, and that was that.

    We just thought our time will come

    I was hoping that he’d get one after a while, cause Id always end up buying his ‘hand me down’ gear. But nah, he ended up getting an Akai 12 track when they came out. I never ended up with that.


    Anyway thanks for taking me down memory lane.

    Ps. I won’t be buying one.... don’t worry.
    I’m smart enough to separate reality from romantic fantasies.

    I won’t be getting a Commodore 64 with an ancient Cubase version on it either.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by RFR View Post
    Ps. I won’t be buying one.... don’t worry.
    I’m smart enough to separate reality from romantic fantasies.

    I won’t be getting a Commodore 64 with an ancient Cubase version on it either.


    Yeah...for sure.
    I have fond memories of my old 4-track, and those "fun" days of early recording...but I would never go back to that.
    Back then, I didn't know...what I didn't know.

    Now...I'm starting to forget a lot of the stuff I use to know!

  6. #36
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    Do you have a Neumann? You could probably get a decent one with what people will pay for a 388 these days.
    Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital recording is a pretty neat idea.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark7 View Post
    Do you have a Neumann? You could probably get a decent one with what people will pay for a 388 these days.
    Never jumped on the 87 craze...even have a studio buddy who is shutting down/selling off trying to get me to take his 87 for a decent price, but I'm not interested.

    Now...if you're talking about some of their classic tube mics...that's another story, but then for the price of one of them, you could buy a 2" tape deck AND a decent 24 channel console!

  8. #38
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    If you don't need the $$$, don't sell...If you need the dough, sell...

    I STILL regret selling my ENSONIQ VFX-SD...This item is NOTreplaceable. If you sell it & want to buy another one obviously used, you know zero about it's history

    Ask yourself, If I sell it what is that $$$ going towards? If you are just gonna bank it, pass. If you gotta eat & pay rent, sell it

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by lonewhitefly View Post

    1- This is probably where most of us on this forum trip up. You wanna make a record, and release it, and maybe even become a famous rock star (or at least a respected music person). Maybe you’ve tried, and you weren’t satisfied. Maybe you were satisfied, but it didn’t go anywhere. Maybe both. Maybe now you’re getting older, and still hanging on to that dream. Maybe this creates a standstill where you can go through the motions to continue to make recordings - in hope that the “someday” success or your big break might still come … but after a certain point, this becomes less and less likely. And you know this but it's tough to confront head-on and deal with.
    Ouch........Great post
    Last edited by SteveAlton; 5 Days Ago at 16:25.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WhinyLittleRunt View Post
    I just want to test the waters... if you guys who have had or currently have a Tascam 388 and you simply don't use it much (in my case it hasn't been used in at least a year, probably 2), would you be comfortable selling it to make some money or do you think you'd instantly regret it?

    I'm not necessarily in a financial bind, and definitely not in dire straits at the moment but I do have stuff I'm just not using and I feel like it's getting wasted sitting unused, and freeing up a chunk of change right now wouldn't be a bad idea the way things are going.

    The downside to it, is knowing as soon as I let it go I'm going to wish I didn't. Maybe. I let go of a Tascam 38 for almost nothing because I was just done dealing with its problems and that I do not regret. It never worked the way I wanted it to. The 388 on the other hand works great (last time I fired it up) and I paid next to nothing for it when I got it 10 years ago.

    Maybe I'm just having a mid-life crisis and shifted gears a little. I don't know. What do you guys think? I don't have to sell, so I don't have to let it go cheap , and the market value on these is stupid right now.

    Unless there's something you want to buy for your studio that you can use the money for, I'd keep it, never know when you may want to pull out some work from previous years and remix them on your DAW.

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