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Thread: Tascam 246 mixer questions

  1. #1
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    Tascam 246 mixer questions

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    Ok, I have to admit, I don't think I've ever fully understood the routing on most 4-track machines. Way back in the day when I started on a Fostex X-26, I never bothered to use the monitor section; I always just monitored my tracks off the main mix. In other words, as soon as I had recorded something on a track, I would just put that channel in the "tape" or "remix" setting and monitor that. I never used the monitor jacks on the back; I always just used the Line Out ones. This worked fine for me, the main drawback being that I had to plug into a new input every time I wanted to record a new track.

    And this has really kind of been the way I've worked ever since.

    But now I've finally got my Tascam 246 up and running and am ready to record some tunes on it. And I want to understand it fully, but I have some questions. This machine has a fairly sophisticated mixer section compared to my 4-tracks of the past. I'm hoping some of y'all can clue me in. I have the manual, have read it all, and am trying to understand it, but it's not answering all my questions.

    1. Is there a way to hear effects added to a track (tape play back) while monitoring the cue mix? In the manual when it discusses recording the first track and overdubbing the second track, it only mentions listening to the monitor submixer (the MONITOR GAIN and PAN knobs). It doesn't mention anything about effects at all. (Actually, it doesn’t even mention anything about effects in the “Remix or Mixdown” procedure either!)

    If I'm understanding the manual correctly (and if all of my experiments have been correct), I'm guessing that you're normally supposed to complete all your tracking and overdubbing with dry signals. Is this correct?

    2. Is there a way to hear, say, reverb on a vocal as you record it but not print it to tape? I can’t seem to find a way to do it.

    I think this was one of the reasons I shied away from using the monitor mix way back in the day. I couldn’t find a way to hear effects, and I wanted to hear a little verb or something!

    I’m sure I’ll have some other questions eventually, but these two are a good start.

    Thanks to anyone who can help me!
    famous beagle

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    In answer to Q2, I haven't used a 246 but on my 244 I think I remember being able to record vocals dry on Track 1 with pan set hard left but send an aux out signal to a reverb unit and fed this back into the the aux input right channel, adjusting the aux rcv gain to suit. This gives you the reverb in the right ear of the phones but I think you can make this mono by switching to aux monitor. I may be completely wrong but worth a shot! If I was using single guitar and vocal I often used to use this set up and take the luxury of recording off-tape echo from reel to reel at 7.5ips on to track 2.

    Not sure about Q1. Presumably you've al;ready tried sending aux out to a reverb unit and feeding this back to aux rcv while listening to the cue mix?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Findlay View Post
    In answer to Q2, I haven't used a 246 but on my 244 I think I remember being able to record vocals dry on Track 1 with pan set hard left but send an aux out signal to a reverb unit and fed this back into the the aux input right channel, adjusting the aux rcv gain to suit. This gives you the reverb in the right ear of the phones but I think you can make this mono by switching to aux monitor. I may be completely wrong but worth a shot! If I was using single guitar and vocal I often used to use this set up and take the luxury of recording off-tape echo from reel to reel at 7.5ips on to track 2.

    Not sure about Q1. Presumably you've al;ready tried sending aux out to a reverb unit and feeding this back to aux rcv while listening to the cue mix?
    Regarding your last question, yes I've tried that.

    Regarding the first bit, I had thought about that too (recording on track 1/ODD PGM but sending the verb back to the EVEN PGM), but as you said, the verb would be in the opposite ear. But, I hadn't thought about the MONO option. That could be a solution. I'll give it a shot, thanks!
    famous beagle

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    Just remembered how to do (1) on a 244. Mic input to track 1, aux send to reverb in, reverb out to line input of track 2. Track 2 pan set to full right. Set monitor to cue for mono mix. Adjust amount of reverb using aux pot (set to pre) and track 1 trim and slider. Set record to track 1 and you get a dry vocal on track 1. Hope this helps!
    Last edited by Findlay; 08-23-2016 at 01:46.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Findlay View Post
    Just remembered how to do (1) on a 244. Mic input to track 1, aux send to reverb in, reverb out to line input of track 2. Track 2 pan set to full right. Set monitor to cue for mono mix. Adjust amount of reverb using aux pot (set to pre) and track 1 trim and slider. Set record to track 1 and you get a dry vocal on track 1. Hope this helps!
    Ok thanks, that makes sense. You must have meant number 2 instead of 1, right?
    famous beagle

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    I just tried your suggestion, Findlay, and it worked like a charm. I was able to have a synth playing assigned to 1/R with its reverb return assigned to 2/R. By pushing the MONO button, I'm hearing both down the middle, but with only the track 1 record function engaged, I'm only recording a dry synth on track 1. That works great; thanks for the tip!

    But I still don't think it's possible to add effects to a track playing off the tape unless the channel/track is set to the RMX mode.

    It seems that, if the track is not set to RMX but the signal is coming off the tape, then it simply goes straight to the MONITOR submix and then on to the MONITOR OUT jacks and METER/PHONES SELECT switches and to the PHONES.

    This seems to be confirmed by the Pictogram at the end of the 246 manual.

    I know the 244 is slightly different, but I imagine this is probably the case for it as well.
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    famous beagle

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    Glad you got it to work FB! I will check out adding effects on my 244 over the next few days. May be off line for a while but will get back.

    Have just tried again to work out how to solve (1) and can't seem to do it! Meanwhile, my oldest and best 244 has just lost all sound output - I've posted a thread for help!
    Last edited by Findlay; 08-24-2016 at 12:29.

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    Don't really know much about the 246 mixer section, but just took a peek at the block diagram in the manual.

    For printing dry but monitoring wet, it would depend on whether or not you were recording to all 4 tracks at once. If you had a free PGM BUSS and weren't using mixer channel 5 or mixer channel 6 then I'd bring my reverb back into the A or B input on channel 5 or 6. You can then assign that to an unused PGM BUSS and then access your reverb return via the monitor mixer...set level and pan to taste with the cue mix of your material going to tape on the other PGM BUSSes; by not recording that BUSS you can monitor with your dry signal, but not print the effected signal to tape.

    For printing wet it's the same setup, but rather assign the reverb return you have connected to A or B on channel 5 or 6 to whatever PGM BUSS has the source that's feeding the reverb you want printed wet (like if you have vocal on channel 1 input and you are assigning that to PGM 1 and therefore tracking to track 1, just assign your reverb return to PGM 1 also...it'll print to tape with the vocal assigned to PGM 1 on channel 1, and you can set the mix of wet and dry signals while monitoring via the monitor mixer).

    Stereo reverb? Return it on both inputs A and B on channels 5 and 6. In this case you'll be using 2 PGM BUSSes to monitor if you are wanting to print dry but hear the effect during tracking. If you are printing wet then you can monitor and mix the wet and dry signal and track to 2 PGM BUSSes and still have the other two BUSSes available for tracking.

    So that's the limitation with my approach above; it uses up PGM BUSS real estate to do it if you just want to monitor the effect but print dry.

    It appears to me that is part of the intention of having a 5th and 6th channel, and those extra line inputs...you have two mono returns or one stereo return.

    If you don't want to sacrifice channels 5 and 6 then, if you have some control of the output level from your reverb effect unit, you can just connect the output(s) of the reverb to the PGM BUSS in jack(s) of your choice...those are upstream of the monitor mixer and PGM faders...you just lose the trim and level control and eq functions on channels 5 and 6 if you use the BUSS IN jacks for returns, but this is another way to do it, and it leaves channels 5 and 6 open for other purposes...it's a more clean way to return your effect.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the explanation Cory, but I'm still not 100% clear on this.

    My issue isn't necessarily hearing reverb while recording (whether printing or not) ... it's hearing tape tracks through the monitor buss along with FX returns or sub-ins --- all out of the MON jacks or phones.

    For example, I'm wanting to start recording a song with a FSK stripe on track 4, using EZdrummer on my computer. I've got the syncing working great, and the computer is chasing the code perfectly. So now to route that signal to the 246.

    I can have the outputs of my computer (EZdrummer) plugged into either channels 5 & 6 (normal or Line B) or the PGM BUSS ins of the 246. If they're going to CH 5 and 6, I can just, as you said, route them to BUSS 3/4, for example, leaving 1 and 2 open for recording.

    If I press the PGM/CUE button (see picture), I'm monitoring the PGM material out of the MON jacks, and so I can hear the EZdrummer part perfectly. But I can't hear the tracks off the tape like this, because I'm not monitoring the CUE mix.

    If I'm listening through the 246's MON jacks and press play on the 246, for example, and have the EZ drummer playing along (sent to CH 5 and 6 and assigned to BUSS 3/4, for instance), I can hear the tape tracks when the PGM/CUE switch is up (not lit, CUE). I can hear the EZ drummer part when the switch is down (lit, PGM), but I can't hear both at the same time.

    Is there a way to do this?

    And this kind of circles back to my original question. I want to be able to hear a signal (whatever: FX return, EZDrummer part from the CPU, etc.) that's routed to CH 5/6 or one of the PGM BUSS ins along with tracks on the tape while listening through the MON jacks or the phones.

    If there's a way to do this, I haven't found it yet. The only way I've been able to hear both sources (the tape and the aux signals) simultaneously is by putting the tape tracks in RMX and then monitoring off the PGM buss.

    Man .... I guess I used to think portastudios were easier to use than they really are (for me). Because now that I'm actually trying to fully understand them and how they're "supposed" to be used, I feel like a total idiot!
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    famous beagle

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    i dont know if I fully understand it, but you should be able to hear the channels with input selected as rmx plus the other two aux channels... or not? just tying to help....

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