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Thread: TASCAM M-520 Help

  1. #1
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    TASCAM M-520 Help

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    Im no good at reading these damn diagrams properly, and finding it hard to navigate through the manual myself to figure out the best most appropriate way to connect the signal path with the Tascam MSR-16 (reel to reel).

    - Best pathway to monitor playback and the mix while recording?
    - How to record the sub groups?
    - RCA inputs on the back of the meter bridge?

    "Direct out" of each channel into the tape machine, then from the tape machine back into the "tape in" of each channel? Seems like the most straight forward route in order to hear whats going to and coming from the tape, but i know I may be very wrong..

    Any tip's on routing and functionality process and possibilities with a tape machine would be super helpful.


    James
    Last edited by Environments; 07-28-2017 at 03:33. Reason: was too confusing and not writin directly enough

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    I don't often get angry with noobs and I won't, (not really!) THIS time but!
    James, you are one lucky, jammy bastard. You have your hands on a rig 'we' would have swung for in 1970 and many of those (slightly unhinged IMHO) Analogue people here would be VERY pleased to take it off your hands and buckle down to learning how it all works.

    So, RTFM! A LOT! I have downloaded that mixer's manual and for sure it is complex but you will just need to take things a piece at a time and work through the system. One tip, bite the bullet and print out the manual. Trying to read from a screen as you go is a buggeration.

    Oh! And very welcome BTW!

    Dave.

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    Thanks for the welcoming Dave, It's quite miraculous how both units happened to be for sale around the same time in Australia (where I live) and I've heard that people would have traded either of their parents for the rig.

    I've a hard copy of the manual and am willing to do what it takes to be able to use the desk fluently and with ease, but I also see many people know about the combination that it seems likely that somebody could explain or atleast give some pointers on how the 20 ch console is "so" desirably compatible with a 16 track tape machine.

    Jim

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    The analog forum is where this should be, lots of folks there live for this kind of stuff.

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    Hi again Jim, good of you to take the ravings of an old valve amp jockey in such good part! Many of the newbs that come here have VERY thin skins and they ain't gonna learn NUFFIN that way!

    Mr Strryder is right, there is a section dedicated to the oxide scraper brigade and there you will find a wealth of talent and experience. I none on 16 track machines, There is a Teac A3440 here which my son loved to use but he now lives in France. I DO however know that tape recorders are a lot of work. You need to clean the tape path for EVERY recording session and today..NOW! Look into finding spares such as pinch rollers, belts and just about any spares you can. That mixer has, I think, an external power supply? Peeps are always onto forums trying to source replacements for mixers. Get looking now!

    Back to tape machine: Tape, how many reels do you have? I have no idea how long tape will be made for but again, NOW is the time to stock up I would think? There is however a slight problem. That machine will have been setup for a specific tape formulation, bias, eq, mol...I doubt you can buy that anymore and so you are into setting up for a different tape. The good news is that the new tape is very likely of higher performance than the original. Lower noise, better HF 'squash' higher mol* for a give distortion level. The bad news is you need some basic test gear to do that and MOST basic is a test tape to check replay response. Such a tape would likely need the loss of at least two limbs and possibly a kidney. There is a kludge.

    You have a computer. Audacity is a powerful audio editor that contains a very handy signal generator and that, combined with a modest Digital Multimeter** can be used to make a test tape (0f sorts) Not! I hasten to add in any way a professional tape but good enough to sit as a standard which you can use to keep the machine in specc'.

    *I am deliberately using some technical terms for you to investigate. You will be doing a lot of this.
    ** Almost all DMMs go out of calibration beyond 2kHz, many are 6dB down by just 1kHz! The output of the computer's sound card can be trusted to be 'flat' (but make sure no FX are setup such as 'Boom Bass' or a 'rock' graphic EQ) . Better to buy a S/H (well, be more 10th hand!) analogue milli voltmeter but they can be pricey...But hey! YOU chose annyloggy!

    All luck and progress to you Jim. If you can't already you need to learn to solder and shedload of other stuff as well. I SHOULD be here for another year or so!

    Dave.

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    Jim,
    I have a 520 and an Msr 16 as well. I also run two daws and interfaces (8 &16 ins and outs)
    All can be hooked up at the same time without needing a patchbay!
    Very versatile indeed.

    For tape, my routing is REALLY simple.
    M520 direct outs 1-16 to tape input.
    Msr16 outs to tape in of channels 1-16.

    I dont use busses for tape at all, and monitor through the 16 channel monitor section.

    The only time I'm using my busses for tape is for mixdown time. Then all buss switches are set for buss 7-8 running out to my mixdown deck.

    The 520 has very powerful routing features which makes it very versatile yet can be too confusing.

    Check out a thread by sweetbeats on this forum called "the m520 story"
    Very in depth and there are links to some videos that cover the routing in depth.

    Welcome and good luck to you. Your setup is a fine one and is capable of great results.
    With mine I've recorded about 50 bands and done a few bonafide released albums.

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    Welcome, James.

    Thanks for moving the thread, gecko.

    I really like the suggestion above to print out the manual. Do that and study it. Add little tabs to frequently accessed sections. It's really important to get it into your brain and the only way to do that is study the manual and walk through the instructions withbthe console in front of you and try stuff out. And we're here to help, but that help is limited...it's more effective when you are working at it from your end.

    First, a question for the OP or anybody that has an M-500 console...it's been awhile since I've had one of these...in the MONITOR SELECT switchrack (the vertical row of switches directly above the group 3 fader), can you have multiple switches latched at the same time or are they like radio buttons where you push one down, and the other one pops up?

    - Best pathway to monitor playback and the mix while recording?
    Connect the outputs of the tape machine to the 16 TAPE IN jacks. When you do that you can source those TAPE IN jacks using the AUX busses (see the PRE POST TAPE switches by the green AUX buss knobs on the channel strips? Flip one to TAPE and now that AUX buss is listening to the corresponding TAPE IN jack...now raise the corresponding AUX fader(s), and select the corresponding AUX group in the MONITOR SELECT switchrack, raise the STEREO fader and you should be able to hear that TAPE IN jack in the headphones or at the corresponding STEREO out jacks). Alternatively you can use the monitor mixer (the set of 16 level and pan knobs above the group faders)...those have source select switches BUSS | TAPE...flip one of those to TAPE and it is now listening to the corresponding TAPE IN jack...now select MON in the monitor select switchrack, raise the STEREO fader and you should be able to hear that TAPE IN jack in the headphones or at the corresponding STEREO out jacks). And of course you can access the TAPE IN jacks by selecting that source in each channel strip (notice the TAPE IN jack is one of your options for the source of 16 of the channel strips). This is what you would do at mixdown time.

    - How to record the sub groups?
    Connect the sub out jacks to the recorder inputs. There are two sets of output jacks, on for each group. Connect the first set of group out jacks 1~8 to recorder inputs 1~8, then connect the second set of group out jacks 1~8 to recorder inputs 9~16. Each group out is going to two recorder inputs. You control which of the two tracks the group gets recorded on by using the recorder's record arming switches.

    - RCA inputs on the back of the meter bridge?
    Those are for using the meters with external equipment. The meters can source either internal signals, or you can hook *anything* up to those jacks, press the EXT switch on the meter bridge and *bam* you are monitoring whatever is plugged into those jacks on the meters. It's quite clever.

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    Thanks alot Cory. Others who were kind enough to share their knowledge, thank you also this is all extremely helpful Im very grateful! I do have a copy of the manual and have been running over it answering many of my own question's however I've not received the tape machine yet. So I may have some more, woo!

    Thanks, Jim

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