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Thread: Tascam 38+ m208 vs 388

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    Tascam 38+ m208 vs 388

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    this comes from a previous thread https://homerecording.com/bbs/showthread.php?t=267353

    I thought it would be nice to open a new thread just to compare this two 8 tracks recorders from Tascam.

    Sorry to be a pain, but in my endless quest for my first 8 track deck I've been offered a 388 (just when I've decided to buy the 38!)

    I've got a M-208 (thanks to your help now I know how it can be used to record 8 tracks at once). So my two options are : m208+38 or a 388.

    they are going to cost me about the same money (50 euros more the 388).
    The 388 mixer looks very similar to theM-208...

    This 38 apparently is in vg condition while the 388 has two 3 VU Bulbs not working the Capstan Belt needs to be replaced in a near future...

    I'm interested in specs, difference in terms of sounds, etc but even more in your experience working them (I know some of you have an 388 and a 38).

    Thanks

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    Arrow I'd judge...

    I'd judge the 388's mixer section to be superior to the M-208.

    1/4" tape on 7" reels is way more affordable than 1/2" reel tape.

    You get more raw fidelity on the 1/2" 15 ips format, but not necessarily dollar-for-dollar better when comparing to 1/4"~7.5 ips.

    The 388's one piece design is a big plus in terms of convenience. It enhances and speeds up the production process in certain cases, based on the mixer section being pretty primo as-is, and it's self-contained design.

    1/2" fidelity is great, but 1/2" tape cost seems prohibitively high. However, it's always been costly and is a worthy format. Even in the early 80s when I started it seemed costly at $40/reel, (now $80/reel). Per minute production cost is higher with 1/2", but doubling the real estate on 1/2" at 15 ips makes a noticeable difference in the overall sound, as opposed to the 1/4" @ 7.5.

    It's a tough judgment call to make in a snap decision for one format or the other. Since day one I'd been happy about going 1/2", but bemoaned tape cost. Often times I wondered if I should have gone 1/4" right off. I felt the pinch, and 1/4~7 is so much more economical. With that being said, going 1/2" was never the wrong decision for me with history as hindsight, but it took decades for me to catch 1/4" 8 track on the 388, on the turnaround.

    It's a tough call to make. That's why I have both.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lt. Bob
    ... subtleties of sound make a difference to those who really listen.

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    Arrow 38 vs 388

    I'd frame it as cost vs. convenience, and in the delta is the relative sound quality. It seems like kind of a sliding scale, that you have to find the balance of all three elements that works best for you. I've gotten excellent results on both formats, FWIW.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lt. Bob
    ... subtleties of sound make a difference to those who really listen.

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    It boils down to condition for me... if the 38 is in very good condition and the 388 needs work, I'd go with the 38. Even if the 38 needs parts etc later I suspect you will have more luck keeping it running than the 388. having said that I have ALWAYS wanted the 388.... just to have it all in a neat package is so cool! But since you already have the 208, go with the 38 is my call.


    AK
    Last edited by analogkid; 08-11-2008 at 10:54. Reason: the not teh!

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    If I already had the mixer I would probably just buy the 38.

    Especially if:

    1- the 388 sounds like it may need some work, and if
    2- the 38 is in better shape.

    yeah, tape is more expensive, but you can re-use tape too.

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    The 388 mixer section is more similar to the M-308, but I agree with the above...the 38 will provide significantly better fidelity potential, and if the 388 needs new heads, you will have a hard time finding them. Heads and other parts for the 38 are likely to be more widely available for further into the future. A lot more 38's were made.

    You have the mixer already. I'd get the 38. Its a good deck.

    I also agree with AK...I think the 388 is just about one of the coolest analog recorders ever made. Syncable too, but if you can't get both, if it were me, I'd be leaning hard toward the 38.

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    I have a similar question

    I have both the 388 and 38 and I use the 388 as a mixer for the 38. I also have a M312B that needs some work and is not usable now. If the 308 is similar to the 388, wouldn't the 312 be as well? I want to use the 312B with the 38, but don't have the cash right now. If they are similar, I'd rather just use the 388 as a mixer for the 38.
    I too, like Dave, find the cost of 1/2 tape high. I find that I get excellent results with the 388 with dbx on and it has features that make it much easier to use when engineering and recording by yourself (zero return, load feature, and repeat play to name just a few). But the 38 does seem to sound better, but not much to my old ears. I actually have 2 388's and am considering selling my 2 38s and 312B. However the is no real need to except for space and the xtra cash would go to different studio stuff.
    Still being new to this level of analog (I used a 488 and 424 before) I'm not quite sure which format to focus most on. What do you guys think? Thanks!

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    I have had both and will take a 38 over a 388 anyday.
    You can upgrade a 38 with dbx or a better mic pre or mixer but you really cant do that with a 388. Parts are easier to find for a 38 or even a donor machine is easy and cheap to find. Heads can be relaped or replaced with new.
    If I had to go across town and record something or move my stuff I would also vote for the 38. Its alot easier to move a 38 and a mixer. If you want to take a 388 somewhere by yourself you better have the balls to pick it up and set it down cause I dont care how big and strong you are its a pain to move. 90 lbs isnt alot to move but when its in the shape of a 388 it isnt easy.
    Half inch 8 tracks sound better no matter what. If you want to hit the tape hard with out the dbx on you can. You cant hit 1/4 inch tape hard when your talking 8 tracks and if you do you have to turn dbx off. Then there is the bleed of the 1/4 inch format.

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    Smile

    Hello to everybody.

    The seller of the 388 was honest enough to tell me it was going to need some work. He though it was a belt but I think he wasn't 100% sure.

    The 388 was 150 euros more just when I was going to get it (), so I discarded it.
    I found the setup of the picture: a Tsr-8 with remote controller + a Soundcraft FX8+manual and leads and this is the one that I finally purchased.
    As I'm planning to record live and to edit/mix at home, the deck+small mixer setup is going to be more convenient than the big but mighty cool 388 (next time).

    Now I got two mixers a M-208 and this one. I suppose I should try them and keep the one with better pres, etc.

    Thanks again for helping me.
    Attached Images Attached Images tsr8-jpg 
    Last edited by MAXRB; 08-23-2008 at 05:44.

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