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Thread: Need some help setting up a 4 Track Reel to Reel to a Tascam Mixer

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    Need some help setting up a 4 Track Reel to Reel to a Tascam Mixer

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    Hello, I have an old Fostex A4 reel to reel and a bunch of pre recorded tapes and a few take up reels from the original owner and a Tascam M-208 8 channel mixer that was designed for Tascam reel to reels in the late 70s. I'm having great difficulty setting up a basic 4 channel multi track setup where i can record and overdub while monitoring previously recorded tracks. I have been using 4 track cassette units for years and was put off by this setup just due to the confusion. From reading lots online and the manuals for both the mixer and reel to reel i concluded the basic setup was 4 Rca cables going from the Fostex outputs to the tape in jacks on the first 4 channels of the mixer, and 4 Rca cables from the PGM OUT jacks on the mixer into the 4 inputs on the recorder. My problem is monitoring and clear audio. I followed these steps and with a pre recorded tape tested a microphone through channel one. I was able to hear what i was saying very clear and with the Fostex set to record could also see the recorders meters responding. The real problem is playback. Im convinced this is me not understanding something about the mixer. I get super faint muffled playback with the mixer channel set to tape and the reel to reel set to tape as well. Occasionally i will hear old demos fairly loud on the tape from the previous owner but nothing of that level of my own. What am i doing wrong? Im monitoring with active fostex studio monitors out of the main outs on the back of the mixer with no issue as advised from others i've seen using similar monitors with reel to reels. Am i not using the right switches or is something not panned correctly? Forgive my ignorance as this mixer has quite a few unusual features for me as i have experience only with more modern stereo mixers. I'm pretty sure the reel to reel heads are fine due to the louder playback on parts of pre recorded material. But i for the life of me cannot figure this out. My playback is all messed up and i can't understand this mixer. Ive included pictures of what i'm working with. Please help a guy out!
    Last edited by Jzoha18; 09-08-2017 at 19:14. Reason: forgot photos

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    Photo's

    Forgot the Photos of what i got, Here they are
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails ft-pm0-4d-w-jpg   fostex-a4-jpg   m-208-jpg   m-208-2-jpg  

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    Hi there and welcome!

    So...first of all, I'm not very familiar with the A2/A4/A8 machines...are they two head or three head machines? If they are three head, don't assume if it is playing back okay it should record okay.

    Let's make sure you're connections are proper, then we can try to rule out any operational issues to the end of determining if there is something wrong with the equipment.

    Your connections should be like this:

    M-208 PGM OUT 1-4 --> A4 INPUT 1-4
    A4 OUPUT 1-4 --> M-208 TAPE IN 1-4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jzoha18 View Post
    Forgot the Photos of what i got, Here they are
    Welcome! Make sure that you inspect the tape head as well as the tapes for any dust build up. Depending on how they were both stored, you may need to clean both. Canned air, cue tips and a very soft cloth will do the trick if needed. If you have ever listened to an old stereo and heard the speakers crackling as you adjusted the volume, this is mostly due to dust build up. PS. GREAT LOOKING GEAR!!

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    Setup specific's

    Quote Originally Posted by sweetbeats View Post
    Hi there and welcome!

    So...first of all, I'm not very familiar with the A2/A4/A8 machines...are they two head or three head machines? If they are three head, don't assume if it is playing back okay it should record okay.

    Let's make sure you're connections are proper, then we can try to rule out any operational issues to the end of determining if there is something wrong with the equipment.

    Your connections should be like this:

    M-208 PGM OUT 1-4 --> A4 INPUT 1-4
    A4 OUPUT 1-4 --> M-208 TAPE IN 1-4
    I did not notice it when i first went to clean the heads but it is a 3 head deck. I noticed this morning the erase head looks grimey so i will clean them and post pictures tonight. I also found out something else. I was hearing a sqeaking on playback and the reels would get jammed up a few times. I have ruled out that as sticky shed reels from the old owner and will need to get new 1/4" tape for the machine.
    My connection's follow exactly what you listed. Would i be able to post a video link on here of it hooked up and running and the problems im having? Im determined to get this right! Thank you for the response.

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    Will do a more in depth cleaning tonight and post a picture and possibly a link to a vid of it not functioning hooked up if the forum permits it!

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    If you were running sticky tape then that is your first suspect. Even the smallest particle can diminish or even eliminate the ability for signal to make it to tape. Use cotton makeup remover pads and 91% isopropyl alcohol to THOROUGHLY clean all three heads. Then try recording again with fresh tape. You may not need to post a video.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetbeats View Post
    If you were running sticky tape then that is your first suspect. Even the smallest particle can diminish or even eliminate the ability for signal to make it to tape. Use cotton makeup remover pads and 91% isopropyl alcohol to THOROUGHLY clean all three heads. Then try recording again with fresh tape. You may not need to post a video.
    Yea from reading up on it it appears the most common tape suffering from sticky shed happens to be the ampex 456/457 tape this machine was designed for and that the owner supplied.
    Any rec's on new 1/4" tape?

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    Well, they can make the equiv without the shed. Last I saw was something like $12.00 a reel.
    Audio Tape

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    Look for LPR35 tape, AFAIK that's the modern equivalent to 457.

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