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Thread: Tascam Porta02 MKII Problem

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    Tascam Porta02 MKII Problem

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    Hello! First thread here, hoping I could get some help with the Tascam Porta02 MKII.

    In 2016 I got enthused to start making my own little analog tunes, just your typical lo-fi stuff. So I bought this 4-track through an auction on eBay -- used item, perfect condition. Got myself a power adapter, a couple of blank tapes and started experimenting with it.

    Whenever I plug in my electric guitar, a steady buzz appears right off the bat. It increases as I turn up the gain on the 4-track, significantly more so as I move the LINE/MIC knob closer to the MIC position. If I keep the knob all the way to the left on the LINE position, the buzz goes away -- but if I do that, the 4-track doesn't capture any sound, which means I have to keep the knob closer to the MIC position if I want any sound captured on the tape.

    All of the above happens only when I have the pickup selector on my guitar on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd position. If I switch the pickup to the 4th or 5th position and mess around with the tone knobs, the buzz is pretty much gone; specially when the pickup is on the 5th position. If I keep my hands on the strings or the bridge, the buzz is reduced.

    Same thing happens with a mic -- if I plug it into either of the two MIC/LINE inputs, I get a deep hum that increases as I turn up the gain, or if I move the LINE/MIC knob closer to the MIC position. If I keep my hands on the mic, the hum goes a little quieter.

    Now, if I record either the guitar or the mic while the buzz or hum is present, the playback shows no buzz or hum, only almost imperceptible on the background. This is really frustrating, seeing as I can't properly focus on what I'm playing while recording with this nagging buzz.

    I'm a newbie when it comes to recording, so I only know the basics. I've read about people talking concepts such as magnetic interference, but honestly I don't really understand it all that well. Plus, I haven't been able to find another thread dealing with the same problem on this specific 4-track.

    For specs, this is the setup:

    INSTRUMENTS

    • Strat w/ 3 single coil pickups
    • Shure PG58 XLR dynamic mic



    CABLES & ADAPTERS

    • AC adapter O/P: 12V 1000mA -- I/P: 100-240V 0.5A 50/60HZ
    • European plug adapter 10A 250V (I'm not located in the US)
    • 1/4 MONO jack guitar lead cable
    • XLR mic cable
    • Female XLR to STEREO 1/4 male jack adapter (to plug the XLR mic into the 4-track)



    HEADPHONES

    • Shure SRH440 stereo headphones



    I have tried powering the 4-track on different rooms (even the bathroom) to no avail -- the buzz persists.

    How come the playback comes out nice, with no buzz or hum, but when I'm recording or simply playing the guitar or using the mic, the buzz is there?

    Is there something in the setup that shouldn't be there -- the mic, the strat, or an adapter? On one hand, the strat is a very cheap guitar I've had for years now, but I don't think that could be a factor, right? On the other hand, the mic is in mint condition, pretty much like new.

    Because of this problem, I've had the 4-track sitting in my room collecting dust, since 2016. Only yesterday I gave it a little wipe out (yes -- no rubbing alcohol or water) and tested it out with the Shure PG58 mic (I didn't have it back then), hoping there would be no buzz -- I was wrong.

    I have never opened the 4-track from the inside to clean it out, nor have I tried demagnetizing it. Could that be the cause?

    I'm located in Chile, so we use type C and L round-prong plugs and wall sockets. The standard voltage here is 220V and the frequency is 50HZ.

    Please, I'd really appreciate any sort of help. I'm only just learning how to operate this little guy here!

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    You've answered your own question. Positions 1, 3, and 5 buzz, and 2 and 4 don't. You're hearing single coil noise. Are you plugging straight into the Tascam? No preamp or efx unit? If so, that's making the problem worse, because there's a level mismatch between what the Strat puts out and what the line level input on the Tascam wants. You'll get better results if you use a preamp, or a DI between the guitar and the recorder, though positions 1, 3, and 5 are always going to make some noise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by seankerns View Post
    You've answered your own question. Positions 1, 3, and 5 buzz, and 2 and 4 don't. You're hearing single coil noise. Are you plugging straight into the Tascam? No preamp or efx unit? If so, that's making the problem worse, because there's a level mismatch between what the Strat puts out and what the line level input on the Tascam wants. You'll get better results if you use a preamp, or a DI between the guitar and the recorder, though positions 1, 3, and 5 are always going to make some noise.
    I was wondering about that too, but he said it buzzes in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd positions. I took that to mean bridge, bridge/middle, middle. But maybe you're right; maybe he's saying the buzzing is softer in the in-between positions.

    But that doesn't explain a few other things:

    1. He's not hearing the buzz on the playback --- only on the recording. That doesn't make sense. Single-coil hum would certainly be recorded on the track.
    2. He says he's having the same problem with a mic.

    This sounds like some kind of alternative noise issue to me.

    I was going to ask if you had a lamp with a dimmer plugged in somewhere, because I've had those cause noise issues before, but you said you've tried it in several different rooms and still have the issue.

    So, this one has me stumped. The fact that it's there on recording but not on playback is very odd to me indeed.
    famous beagle

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