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Thread: Tascam 246 and 388 pricing?

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    Tascam 246 and 388 pricing?

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    Hey all... I am new here, and if someone has posted on this recently, I apologize. I've looked and done a search and don't see anything, so I'm going to go ahead and post and hope I am not in the wrong place.

    1. I used to do home recordings all the time in the 90s, and then as my band got a bit more successful, I moved on to going into studios, making albums, etc... Now, I want to record at home again, and I want to go mostly analog.

    2. I'm supposed to buy a Tascam 246 tomorrow... price is $400, and it's in pristine condition except it needs a pinch roller... just the rubber... I've found replacements for $17. Soooooo.... this SEEMS to be a good price for these machines these days. Is that true? When I look at these forums, I see a lot of older posts about pricing, but not current, so I'm not sure.

    3. Because of these forums, I am now convinced I need (want) a Tascam 388. What should I expect to pay for one of these?

    Thanks in advance.

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    I am new here as well so welcome to both of us!

    I have been seeing the 388 lately for around $1000-1500 USD. Either they are going back up in price or these prices are too high. Maybe someone can tell us whether this is an expected price or if we should try to talk the sellers down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by robalderman View Post
    Hey all... I am new here, and if someone has posted on this recently, I apologize. I've looked and done a search and don't see anything, so I'm going to go ahead and post and hope I am not in the wrong place.

    1. I used to do home recordings all the time in the 90s, and then as my band got a bit more successful, I moved on to going into studios, making albums, etc... Now, I want to record at home again, and I want to go mostly analog.

    2. I'm supposed to buy a Tascam 246 tomorrow... price is $400, and it's in pristine condition except it needs a pinch roller... just the rubber... I've found replacements for $17. Soooooo.... this SEEMS to be a good price for these machines these days. Is that true? When I look at these forums, I see a lot of older posts about pricing, but not current, so I'm not sure.

    3. Because of these forums, I am now convinced I need (want) a Tascam 388. What should I expect to pay for one of these?

    Thanks in advance.
    Hope I'm not too late here.

    Assuming that everything else really is in pristine condition, and all it needs is a pinch roller, then I would say that $400 is a fair price. It's not a great deal or anything, but I'd say it's a good fair price I suppose.

    The problem I see is that, if the pinch roller needs to be replaced, how can you get an accurate gauge on the sound quality? The looks on the outside are nice and all, but if the guts aren't up to stuff, then it's all for not.

    I only bring this up because I bought a 246 several years ago that was described the same way. Actually, it stated everything was in great shape with the exception of one scratch on the outside. When it arrived, however, it was obvious that they hadn't even tested it (even though they claimed it "worked perfectly") because the tape would do nothing when you pushed play. After opening it up, I discovered that the belts were completely deteriorated, and one of them was just loose in there and not even making contact with the pulley. (And that explained why nothing was happening when I pushed play.) After I replaced the belts, along with the idler tires and the pinch roller (which all needed replacing), it was only then did I discover that the levels were all off, and the machine needed to be calibrated. That turned into a big ordeal because there aren't that many shops around that service these things anymore. And Tascam won't really just "service" them anymore. They'll basically "refurbish" them, which is supposed to put the machine back to new specs all around. But the price they quoted me for this was like $450 plus shipping both ways. I bought the machine for $280 (that was probably 4 years ago I think?), so I wasn't going to do that.

    Anyway, I found a local shop to work on it, but it was terrible. I had to take it back three times because they wouldn't get it right.

    The story does eventually have a happy ending, as I do have a fully-working 246 now, but it certainly wasn't a turn-key venture or anything!

    Hopefully you'll have better luck!
    famous beagle

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    Quote Originally Posted by dankingjr View Post
    I am new here as well so welcome to both of us!

    I have been seeing the 388 lately for around $1000-1500 USD. Either they are going back up in price or these prices are too high. Maybe someone can tell us whether this is an expected price or if we should try to talk the sellers down.
    Unfortunately, this seems to kind of be the going rate these days. The days of snagging one of these for $300 or so have gone by the wayside (for now, at least).

    Despite my 246 tale of woe above, I guess the universe balanced itself out by bestowing on me some good fortune. While I was going through all that nonsense with the 246, an old college friend simply gave me his 388 because he was moving and hadn't used it in ten years. It ended up needing a new belt, which was a $10 fix, and the monitor mixer wasn't working. But, with the incredible help of Sweetbeats on this forum (an expert in most things Tascam), I got that fixed. He remotely troubleshot my problem and discovered that it was a bad opamp. Once I replaced that (a $5 part that I replaced myself), I was in business. I couldn't believe Cory's (Sweetbeats) generosity. He spent hours on that with me. He's truly one of the jewels of this forum.
    famous beagle

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    Quote Originally Posted by famous beagle View Post
    Despite my 246 tale of woe above, I guess the universe balanced itself out by bestowing on me some good fortune. While I was going through all that nonsense with the 246, an old college friend simply gave me his 388 because he was moving and hadn't used it in ten years. It ended up needing a new belt, which was a $10 fix, and the monitor mixer wasn't working. But, with the incredible help of Sweetbeats on this forum (an expert in most things Tascam), I got that fixed. He remotely troubleshot my problem and discovered that it was a bad opamp. Once I replaced that (a $5 part that I replaced myself), I was in business. I couldn't believe Cory's (Sweetbeats) generosity. He spent hours on that with me. He's truly one of the jewels of this forum.
    Aw shucks...

    Thanks, Beagle...I'm just glad we got it going, and remain appreciative of your gratuity. Always feels like a win when I can help somebody conquer a technical malady.

    On topic, my opinion is $400 is too much for a 246 you can't test, and that needs known work. It's like a car ad that says "excellent condition! Needs nothing except a transmission!"

    I think $400 seems to be the market rate for a fully functional 246 IMO...and I wouldn't pay that much personally...but I'm not in the market for one either.

    Prices for the 388 have gone from silly to ridiculous. I sold mine many years ago in mint condition, 100% recapped, refurbished, calibrated, tested, relapped, with remote, manual, tape and takeup reel for $900. And I was way excited. People are asking significantly more than that for garbage now, and these machines aren't getting younger, and the logic issues are becoming more common. They have gotten something of a cult following I think because of certain bands or artists that have used them and because there's nothing else quite like it...and they do have a nice sound...the head bump with the 7.5ips is in a nice spot. I still think they are awesome, unique...cool unit, but certain aspects of the design make them difficult to troubleshoot especially transport issues, and regardless we are talking about a narrow format 8-track machine with no source of replacement heads, and an 8x8 TL072 based mixer of fairly common design. And something around $1,000 seems to be the typical price point. You can find a 38 and M-308 for less and have better sound and functionality. You won't have the economy of the 1/4" tape at 7.5ips or the integrated package...I'm just barking some perspective is all.

    So there's my 2p.

    Not knocking those who have or are seeking a 388...if you have one that is working away, kudos...one-of-a-kind machine that is economical to operate and makes nice sounds...fun to use and the integrated package has nice advantages. It's a 388. But as the popularity and price point grows so does its age and some issues that are becoming somewhat more common.

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    I'm in agreement with Sweetbeats and think that $400 for a 246 that isn't already tested and sold as a working condition unit is too much. I sold one with all new rubber (belts, idler tires, pinch roller wheel) and Vu meters for $420 this past winter in order to finance an amp and thought it was a fair price.

    The 388 can still be found for $800-900 but it's rare and I see people trying to get $1800 for models with half of their meter bulbs burnt out and one track intermittently cutting in and out. That's crazy. I have a Fostex Model 80 that's been working great for the past year and a half that I scored for $350 with a matching mixer included. You might want to keep the search going and find a better deal, but I also know what it's like to have a deal set up and know that you're picking a machine up the next day so I don't blame you either way.

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    The prices for these units now, the 246 and 388, the days where you could get one for a couple of hundred dollars are gone, thanks probably to some of us yapping on about these great.. er... I mean shitty recorders for years... (are you listening Dave A Reel Person ? Yes, we blame you for our woes! ... ...alright and maybe me too a little bit.. ). I remember picking up a local mint 246 for like $150 and another via eBay for about the same... and then a local minty 388 for $400. That was about 10 years ago or thereabout.. Today the asking or more appropriately ending prices seem more in line with mint, low use units but not the "garbage" as Cory rightfully pointed out .. They have indeed become overpriced, out of reach but what can you do? Well, for one, we can shut the hell up and stop driving those prices up! ...

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    Exclamation Prices are too high for me.

    The market for certain vintage Tascam recorders has become artificially inflated. The selection and quality is going down. The deals I remember getting are long gone. I got some amazing deals many years ago, and only occasionally find a sleeper deal in unexpected places. I've sold some equipment for reasonable prices, and I usually go through the unit to refurbish and trim up the levels. Buyers I've passed things along to have been generally happy. I probably could have gotten more, given the heat in the market. I've held onto on unit for each thing I'm into, but I have many other units that have yet to GO!

    I am guilty of going through a severe buying impulse for several years, which is well behind me, but at the same time my musical and recording activity and output has dropped off severely. With that being said, I still have much surplus equipment, I like to jam with bands and I record only occasionally.

    Ever get into a band project and the focus goes to performing, while recording is hardly a thought? Then people do a lot of recording with their phones and video cameras. I have a pretty cool Zoom QN2 video camera with hifi audio. It's a little lacking in the video lens department, but is a pretty good unit that makes awesome recording. When I indicate to my groups or bands that we should go in and record ourselves to 1/2" 8-track, it gets a nod but no real fire there unless I push it.

    There are a lot of musicians and recordists out there who are more young, hungry and prolific than I am. I'm still hanging in there as a passing interest. Hardly ever on this board anymore. I will probably sell off more of my stuff. I think the prices for 246/388 type units are unreasonable, given the condition. Nearly all of them will need new rubber, and without fail every one of those units will need a calibration and possibly some connectors reseated or other pesky issues resolved.

    The last 244 I sold was about 9 months ago. I replaced the belts and calibrated the R/P levels. $225. The buyer was pleased. Technically, he was very pleased. This one nice person bought a 244, a 414mkII and a 424mkII all on the same day. I threw in a 5-pack of new Maxell XLII 90s for each unit, out the door. I think I gave him all 3 recorders and tape for $600. A good day!

    I give reasonably good deals, but the present analog market is beyond my means or interest. There are too many maintenance issues and downsides. After a while it's like maintaining a Model A Ford, or something. Even well kept pristine equipment will have normal deterioration with time and lack of use. They have a long shelf life, but.... :O Many of the machines I'm referring to are often older than the enthusiasts that seek them out.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lt. Bob
    ... subtleties of sound make a difference to those who really listen.

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    I hope no one gets terribly upset to bump this, but to confirm current 388 pricing...in my experience...in the past couple of years I had no trouble at all selling 2 388s locally for $1500 each, both were working with no known issues. If you're in the market for a working one, with a professional service history and relapped heads though, I would expect to pay even more.

    Its certainly possible to find them for less (I still have 2 machines right now, and I never paid more than a few hundred for each, but most had some degree of problems to justify that when I bought them) but they can have issues, which if you can't diagnose them yourself could cost as much as the machine to fix.

    Whether that's "too much" or not...there's really nothing like it. I think it sounds cool and the whole package is pretty fun, if not quite as portable as I would like.

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    Iím glad to see a thread regarding the 388ís seemingly perpetually-in-flux pricing getting resurrected; itís totally relevant. Thereís one on reverb in ďmintĒ condition for over 3k, which imo, is absolutely absurd. I paid around $500 for one that was used maybe once or twice and then put away into its ORIGINAL box until I purchased it just a couple of years ago.

    I get the appeal; itís not modular and itís *somewhat* portable. The interface is very simple and tape is cheap, but itís still a 1/4Ē 8 track running at 7.5ips... and you really NEED the noise reduction.

    Iíve since sold mine, and regretted it, but I just refuse to pay these insane asking prices. Itís really disheartening, because at these prices, it seriously lessens the likelihood (imo) that people will use it as a songwriting tool, and instead noodle on it a couple of times a year out of fear of damaging their veeeeery expensive investment. Idk, just my thoughts!

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