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Thread: Tascam 48 & 58 owners--balanced or un?

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    Tascam 48 & 58 owners--balanced or un?

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    This is a question for the 48 and 58 owners in the virtual house:

    Do you folks connect with the balanced or unbalanced inputs and outputs.

    I remember when I had my 48 that Tascam wired the pins of their balanced XLRs different than what is now considered standard. I assume that the 58 is the same although I can't confirm with my manual as it makes no reference to the XLRs and even the pictures don't show them.

    With the 48 I went through the trouble of having Redco assemble some snakes wired with for the Tascam. I sold those snakes (kicking myself) along with that machine.

    So now I'm wondering whether I should go through the considerable expense of ordering some more custom snakes from Redco or whether the unbalanced RCA's would be fine.

    What do you guys do?

    FYI: In my case, the cable runs would be around 10 feet or so. Also my preamps send a balanced signal and my A&H Mixwizard has TRS inputs.

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    The 48 and 58 are pin 3 hot on the XLR's. Beware that sometimes people open them up and switch them to the current AES standard of pin 2 hot. Also realize that unless you are going to be sharing your tapes with another machine of the same format that is either pin 2 hot or to behave pin two hot (a pin 3 hot machine with inverting cables), then there isn't any reason to have special cables or to open it up and reverse pins 3 and 2. I'll explain further if needed, BUT...

    Looking at the spec sheets for those two machines you will find that on paper they have a 3kHz higher HF knee point with unbalanced connections (i.e. the rated frequency range extends to 22kHz using the balanced connections, and 25kHz using the unbalanced connections). Both machines have an internal level of -10dBv, so when you are using the +4dBu connections your signal is going through the balance amp section to bump the level from its natural internal -10dBv level, and balance it. If your cable runs are less than, say, 25' there is no reason to use the balanced connections. Balanced circuits weren't created because they sound better, but to shunt RF and other environmental "noise". Try out the unbalanced path and if it is quiet (i.e. devoid of environmental hum and such) you are allowing a more direct signal path that may (or may not) have an audible edge in the HF range.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rufer View Post
    This is a question for the 48 and 58 owners in the virtual house:

    Do you folks connect with the balanced or unbalanced inputs and outputs.

    I remember when I had my 48 that Tascam wired the pins of their balanced XLRs different than what is now considered standard. I assume that the 58 is the same although I can't confirm with my manual as it makes no reference to the XLRs and even the pictures don't show them.

    With the 48 I went through the trouble of having Redco assemble some snakes wired with for the Tascam. I sold those snakes (kicking myself) along with that machine.

    So now I'm wondering whether I should go through the considerable expense of ordering some more custom snakes from Redco or whether the unbalanced RCA's would be fine.

    What do you guys do?

    FYI: In my case, the cable runs would be around 10 feet or so. Also my preamps send a balanced signal and my A&H Mixwizard has TRS inputs.
    If the A&H is or can be set up for a -10 input level, use the machine's rca outs. If it is happier with +4, use the XLR's.
    Rick Ruskin
    Lion Dog Music - Seattle WA
    http://liondogmusic.com

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    Thanks for both of your replies. Definitely helps me figure out how I will get this cabled.

    Quote Originally Posted by sweetbeats View Post
    Also realize that unless you are going to be sharing your tapes with another machine of the same format that is either pin 2 hot or to behave pin two hot (a pin 3 hot machine with inverting cables), then there isn't any reason to have special cables or to open it up and reverse pins 3 and 2. I'll explain further if needed, BUT...
    I think I understand why this is BUT...

    to completely contradict myself and show my ignorance with what is likely a stupid question:

    I don't see me sharing tapes with any machine that is wired with a Pin 2 hot tape machine. What if though I am dumping my tape tracks into my DAW and my interface has balanced in/outs that are Pin 2 hot? Will anything be affected?

    Thanks again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetbeats View Post
    The 48 and 58 are pin 3 hot on the XLR's. Beware that sometimes people open them up and switch them to the current AES standard of pin 2 hot. Also realize that unless you are going to be sharing your tapes with another machine of the same format that is either pin 2 hot or to behave pin two hot (a pin 3 hot machine with inverting cables), then there isn't any reason to have special cables or to open it up and reverse pins 3 and 2. .........................
    You are probably already aware of this but for those how aren't: Tapes made on a pin 3 hot machine will play just fine on pin 2 hot units so compatibility is a non-issue. (True, the program will be "pulling" when it was recorded "pushing" and vice versa.) It is desirable to maintain consistent polarity throughout the audio chain but to do this, every device needs to be checked. This is the main reason why I have a small o'scope running off of my monitor at all times and have a stash of inverting cables at the ready when a new piece of gear shows up with reversed polarity.
    Rick Ruskin
    Lion Dog Music - Seattle WA
    http://liondogmusic.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by RRuskin View Post
    You are probably already aware of this but for those how aren't: Tapes made on a pin 3 hot machine will play just fine on pin 2 hot units so compatibility is a non-issue. (True, the program will be "pulling" when it was recorded "pushing" and vice versa.) It is desirable to maintain consistent polarity throughout the audio chain but to do this, every device needs to be checked. This is the main reason why I have a small o'scope running off of my monitor at all times and have a stash of inverting cables at the ready when a new piece of gear shows up with reversed polarity.
    Yes, Rick...that's exactly right. That's what I was trying to say but you said it better. Its just a simple polarity thing and depending on the material and what was recorder where and on what, etc. you could run into phase issues, but if your material is recorded and reproduced and masterd blahblahblah all in your own studio on your gear it doesn't make a lick of difference.

    I don't see me sharing tapes with any machine that is wired with a Pin 2 hot tape machine. What if though I am dumping my tape tracks into my DAW and my interface has balanced in/outs that are Pin 2 hot? Will anything be affected?
    The gear may all be from a pin 3 era, but how do you know it wasn't modded to pin 2 hot? Or how do you know there aren't inverting cables in there? If you can confirm these things then, again, it won't make a lick of difference. If you track on a (for example) 1/2" 8-track machine that is spec'ed pin 3 hot and you *know* it is still pin 3 and the cables are straight, and your buddy has the same situation then, again, no difference. All is good.

    Its just a best practice thing to make certain that the polarity stays consistent.

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