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Thread: TASCAM open-reel tape decks - 8-tracks

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    TASCAM open-reel tape decks - 8-tracks

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    I'm not up on all the various iterations of 1/2" tape decks that TASCAM has ever put out...so maybe some of you guys can give me the scoop.

    I'm looking at possibly buying a 1/2" 8-track in the near future to supplement my 16-track (and maybe as a future replacement), and so far I'm mostly waiting for an Otari 5050 to pop up...but I know TASCAM also had a few models of 1/2" 8-track.

    What I would like to know is...which if any of the TASCAM models had direct-drive motors on their reels and capstan???
    I often see people referring to needing belts for some of the TASCAM tape decks...and I don't want anything that uses any belts to move things...just would rather avoid it since decks are getting harder to maintain as parts dwindle, and rubber belts seem to go faster then other parts...and they are not as steady as direct-drive systems.

    Thanks!

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    The 48 and 58 are direct drive, and I believe the ATR60-8 is as well, though the ATR60 isn't in as compact a package (separate meter/amp card unit). All three use the same heads but the electronics are all different.

    58 will be the hardest to come across, the ATR60-8 even though its the "youngest" of the bunch is equally rare leaving the 48. The 48 is a great machine AFAIC...very nicely engineered physical design, ceramic coated capstan shaft, the tape path is really nice to setup and its gentle and responsive in how it handles tape.

    All great machines but the 48 will be the most compact and easiest to find.

    Note that all of these use the ELCO-38 connector for sync.

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    Thanks!

    When you say they use the ELCO....what kind of sync boxes do they need to connect to, to work in sync?
    Generic or proprietary?

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    I would look at a TSR8, it was the last 1/2" 8 track made by Tascam so they are newer, they had inbuilt dbx so no extra connections needed, and they had connections for sync devices. Oh and I had one years ago and they sounded great.

    Alan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by witzendoz View Post
    I would look at a TSR8, it was the last 1/2" 8 track made by Tascam so they are newer, they had inbuilt dbx so no extra connections needed, and they had connections for sync devices. Oh and I had one years ago and they sounded great.
    They are belt-drive capstan, though.

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    Yeah, that's what I was trying to discern...which use belts and which are pure direct-drive systems.

    Besides the parts thing, with belts needing replacement...I'm also curious if belt drive systems are any less accurate for sync operations than direct-drive...?

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    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    Yeah, that's what I was trying to discern...which use belts and which are pure direct-drive systems.

    Besides the parts thing, with belts needing replacement...I'm also curious if belt drive systems are any less accurate for sync operations than direct-drive...?
    I would contend the answer is no. My BR-20T Tascam halftrack is a belt drive unit and it is VERY responsive and accurate when chasing to lock and during playback/recording...maintains constant lock with less than +/- 1 subframe error over an entire 2500' reel and the majority of the time it is locked solid, 00:00:00 error.

    I used to think belt drive was less acurate or reliable but now I see it as two viable approaches and its not that one is less acurate or reliable. DC servo motors have naturally occurring flutter components and tape paths with direct-drive DC servo capstan motors have to be designed (and often are) to counteract this phenomenon. A well-designed belt drive system with a DC servo capstan motor essentially decouples the flutter elements of the motor with the capstan itself. So in terms of performance I really see it as a six of one, a half-dozen of the other. Either system designed right will provide accurate low-flutter performance. Bottom line: I don't see a belt drive capstan as any sort of deal-breaker.

    With that in mind I think the TSR-8 is a great option. Mind the fact that it is a two-head machine.

    Another advantage to the TSR-8 is it uses the same sync protocol as your 16-track (right? You have an MSR-16?) which is an easier protocol with which to work AFAIC (considering availability of sync boxes and cable needs), and certainly would make things MUCH easier if ever you wanted to integrate the two.

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    No...I have the Fostex G16.

    I can live with a 2-head...that's what the G16 is. A bit of PITA when calibrating the Rec/Rep for 16 channels...but not a deal-breaker.

    Well...I guess my next question is...how often have any of you had to deal with belt replacement and or issues over time?
    I'm just thinking that if I go the 8-track route...I may only use it sporadically and would like to still have it fully functional several years down the road. Does TASCAM still keep parts for any of their tape deck models? I haven't called them in quite a few years...once I acquired enough spare parts for my M-3500.

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    There will be a company somewhere that would have the belts, Tascam would not have made their own they would have been bought in. I bought a belt for a turntable once and the place I went to have a 100 different sizes, just took in the old one and matched it up.

    Cheers

    alan.

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