Tascam 244 recent purchase/new project

flyingace

Member
As if my burgeoning interest in vintage Tascam equipment with the M-520 and 388 Studio 8 wasn’t enough, I just bought a Tascam 244 4 track cassette portastudio! I got it at an estate sale. The capstan pinch roller was GOO, transport belt and capstan belts GOO, and the idler tires GOO. I have them all on order and have opened up the back, removed the transport unit for replacement of belts. Everything else, so far, seems to work great! Some cosmetic damage on the top but not bad. I’m looking forward to getting it up and running and playing with it for fun. I may sell it or I may just keep it in the collection as it kinda looks like a mini version of my 388. I’ll post pics as soon as I get back to my storage unit Or I start working on it.
 

sweetbeats

Reel deep thoughts...
I have three of them. All non-functional. Hoping to one day make one really good unit out of the three. They are a bit dense inside, especially the rec/play and monitor boards…all the wiring, but it’s not bad. The 424 series used to be my favorite Tascam 4-track Portastudio, but then I worked on several units from that generation…424mkII, 644, 488 (mkI), 688…and the planar PCB construction on the 424mkII and 488, and the overall quality of the PCB assemblies compared to the 244 as well as incorporation of SMD components on the non-glass fiber boards was a turn-off. The 244 is a really solid build the way the boards are mounted to their own subframe chassis and then mounted to an overall steel sub chassis…no SMD components, and the signal path has some great opportunities for mods if you’re into that sort of thing…much easier to incorporate than the other models I mentioned for better sonic bandwidth, lower noise and distortion…someday I look forward to dickering with that. It’ll be easy to just start with swapping in a modified input channel strip and A/Bing the sonics as well as taking some objective measurements.

ANYway, the 244 is, AFAIC, the sweet-spot for Tascam cassette 4-track Portastudios in terms of build durability, serviceability, and sonic potential. And it still has a robust enough feature set. And nice relatively big analog VU meters too. I like that.

Good luck with yours!
 

flyingace

Member
Good to know you are also into the 244! We have good taste, huh? Ha ha 🤣 OR we’re gluttons for punishment 🤣
The belt and pinch roller kits are on the way, I hope to open it up this weekend to get it cleaned up and ready for them. Then I can fully test it. Thanks for the luck wishing, I may need it. I guess worst case scenario is I sell it for parts Or keep it and purchase others to rebuild like you.
 

sweetbeats

Reel deep thoughts...
I can’t really recall how I ended up with three. I think I got a screamin deal on two together that were somebody else’s failed attempt to make one good one out of two disasters…they gave up and wanted out. Yeah…that’s right…that’s how I got two of them. And before that I got another in a trade deal with another forum member. It was a “something is wrong but maybe not, no guarantees.” It was a fair trade…turns out two of the 4 coils are shot in the r/p head, so I think my thought was to rebuild and swap in the best transport from one of the other two machines…and then one of the meters is dead, but he included a brand new meter. So it should be too much work, but it’s just family life and day job occupy 30 hours of each 24 hour day, and I have a long list of audio projects ahead of the 244, so the three units are in a box. The cool thing is I even know where the box is. But literally I’m fortunate if I can even do something simple like rearrange some gear in a rack over the course of a week or two these days…zero discretionary time. But hopefully someday, because, like a doofus, last year I bought all the components to do my “just how good could it sound” experiment…including opamps, caps, select resistors and transistors…took the time to analyze the schematics and all the boards out of one of the parts machines and found some things to improve the filtering…blahblahblah…silly.
 

skywaveTDR

Active member
The best 4 track was the 234 but it did not come with a mixer attached. I worked on a lot of 244 back in the 80 and 90 when I worked at the Chicago Factory service in Arlington Heights. They are repairable and I know what you are talking about with the rubber on them- the Pinch rollers went soft on these and other still do not. I wonder if they came from a certain supplier. New rollers is a good idea if you can find them. I ordered some from the DIY website which Marian in Slovakia owns. Very nice guy and good for him to have these parts made. https://fixyouraudio.com
 
Top