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Thread: Tascam 22-4 vs other Tascam 4Track machines

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    Tascam 22-4 vs other Tascam 4Track machines

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    Hey guys just looking at picking up a 4 Track reel to reel. Already got a Tascam 32 and very happy with sound and build quality so looking to get another Tascam.

    Found a local music shop that sells and repairs analog tape machines as well and had a chat and the guy said that I should get a Tascam 44 as this is of much better build quality than all the other Tascam's. I already knew this but he made it sound like I should avoid the 34b all together saying that i should 'at least' get a Tascam 44... if not that then an Otari.

    Anyway, saw a Tascam 34b get sold locally for $480, which I wasn't prepared to pay for a 34b. I do need a 4 track asap and nothing has come up for the last few weeks until this Tascam 22-4.

    Is the 22-4 newer or older than the 34b? I guess the answer to this question will determine how it sounds compared to the 34.

    Is the order of 'professionalism' 22-4, 34, 44?
    (as in there is 32 (consumer) then 42 (semi-pro) then 52 is the pro deck?) ... or is the 22-4 part a totally different series of decks? (from the older 80-8 series? however it does resemble the 34 a little bit more than the 3340 series etc. look)

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    OK, here's my 2c.....

    I don't look at the year of manufacture anymore 'cause all of those machines are approaching 30 years but, you're right, some were introduced earlier and some later and have more advanced designs and better built quality.

    I also take the condition of machine above and beyond any model or make so that's first..... If we are comparing on built quality and features, from least to most is the 22-4 (early 80's), then the 34B (probably mid 80's?) and then the 44 (mid 80's).

    Buy on condition first, as all of those machines will serve you well.

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    I totally agree about condition, I don't consider buying machines that don't work. Replacement parts are a PITA to find around here so I only buy low use, working machines.

    That's part of the reason I want to know the build quality of this thing, is it worse than say a Tascam 32? still run on belts?

    Also how do the electronics and head design compare to a 34b?

    Thanks

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    The 22-4 and 34 are roughly the same age, both designed in the early 80's; 83, I believe.

    They also share the same heads and electronics so they should sound identical if both are set up with the same tape and calibration settings.

    Where they differ is that the 22-4 can only deal with 7" reels because of it's smaller chasis size which was borrowed from TEAC's 300 series consumer reel to reel decks. So it used smaller, less robust motors, lacks the digital counter and has a 6% pitch control where the 34 offers a 12% pitch.

    When you go to the 44, you get a complete servo system with a direct drive capstan which drives the tape backing side of the tape, (less wear), a transport which can be hooked up to an external synchronizer and offers a real time counter with a real RTZ feature, balanced outputs, better heads and cleaner, clearer electronics that lower the noise floor and extend the frequency response. The 44 was consider a very high end prosumer/entry level pro deck in its day and was purchased by a lot of studios and radio stations for industrial users who didn't want to spend double or triple the money on a Studer. A working 44 is pretty sweet! A working 22-4 can make a respectable recording too, just without all the frills.

    Cheers!

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Ghost of FM View Post
    The 22-4 and 34 are roughly the same age, both designed in the early 80's; 83, I believe.

    They also share the same heads and electronics so they should sound identical if both are set up with the same tape and calibration settings.

    Where they differ is that the 22-4 can only deal with 7" reels because of it's smaller chasis size which was borrowed from TEAC's 300 series consumer reel to reel decks. So it used smaller, less robust motors, lacks the digital counter and has a 6% pitch control where the 34 offers a 12% pitch.
    Thank you so much Ghost!

    Exactly what I wanted to hear, same electronics and heads as 34, just in a smaller chassis.

    I don't think I've seen a Tascam 44 for sale anywhere in Australia for the last year at least so I won't be getting that.

    I don't really have a tight budget just looking to get the best machine I can. Of course a Studer or Otari would be a little bit better but they very very rarely come up for sale around here and even more rare to see one that has been hardly used. Availability is very important to me (also makes it easier to find a parts deck if necessary).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chilljam View Post
    Thank you so much Ghost!

    Exactly what I wanted to hear, same electronics and heads as 34, just in a smaller chassis.

    I don't think I've seen a Tascam 44 for sale anywhere in Australia for the last year at least so I won't be getting that.

    I don't really have a tight budget just looking to get the best machine I can. Of course a Studer or Otari would be a little bit better but they very very rarely come up for sale around here and even more rare to see one that has been hardly used. Availability is very important to me (also makes it easier to find a parts deck if necessary).
    Cool!

    Used 44's are pretty rare in Canada too. I used to dream about owning one of those when all I had was a 3340S!

    Cheers!

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    Thanks Ghost. Just to add a little bit:

    I have a 22-4. While the 7" reels may be a limitation of sorts (shorter recording time at 15ips) it still "feels" like a pretty solid machine.

    It is only recommended to use 1 mil tape with the 22-4, although there is some difference of opinion between respected members of the group here as to how critical it is to follow that recommendation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Jinn View Post
    Thanks Ghost. Just to add a little bit:

    I have a 22-4. While the 7" reels may be a limitation of sorts (shorter recording time at 15ips) it still "feels" like a pretty solid machine.

    It is only recommended to use 1 mil tape with the 22-4, although there is some difference of opinion between respected members of the group here as to how critical it is to follow that recommendation.
    The 1 mil recommendation from TASCAM is probably designed more so for getting longer recording times out of a reel of tape more then a genuine concern over 1.5 mil being dangerous to use on it. The thicker tape might come in handy if you wanted to hit the tape a little harder, level-wise as I believe there's a 3 db headroom gain with 456 over 457.

    Cheers!

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    I wouldn't call the 22-4 and 34 electronics "identical"...I'd be comfortable calling them similar to the point of it not really mattering.

    Don't look on a belt-drive capstan as being a measure of "professionalism". Take for instance my BR-20...belt drive...professional enough deck in my book. Belt drive offers some damping features that can subdue the natural flutter inducing mechanism of a DC servo motor. Direct drive works better in terms of responsiveness when a machine is in chase-lock.

    FYI, be aware that there are two 44 models...an early version that is essentially a reskinned 40-4, and then the later more common version that is in the 42/48 family.

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    Chilljam: I'm sure you've already noted this but just in case you didn't, there's a nice 22-4 on the Australian eBay right now, with a DX-4D noise reduction unit. It's worth exploring and asking the seller for a clear, close up of the heads. If possible, try it out before taking it home so that all works. Be prepared to change the belt and possibly the pinch roller (if you can't clean it), as is usually expected. It's a simple, nice sounding and compact machine.

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