tascam 38 with no mixer


New member
i have a tascam 38 1/2in reel to reel but no mixer. it seems hard and/or very expensive to get a mixer that is compatible. it uses rca style jacks and all mixers seem to use xlr or 1/4in. i was thinking of just using adaptors to go from the mics cable direct to the tascam "in". but i don't see any adaptors of this type so i'm thinking this might not work. what is a work-around using more modern less expensive equipment.


Active member
The Tascam works at -10dBV levels which is similar to the line levels used in hifi systems but lower than the levels used in professional studios. You will need something to amplify the mic signals up to that level and then you will need something to mix the outputs from the Tascam together. You will almost certainly have to look at the used market. There were plenty of budget mixers made that would work with the Tascam although you may need to use 1/4" to phono cables. I used to use a Studiomaster Mixdown 16:8 with a Fostex machine that had similar inputs and outputs. Soundcraft, Soundtracs and A&H all made similar mixers. More recently you could look at the Mackie 8 bus although they may still be expensive. The best choice depends on what you can find available in your area. Lots of people have suitable mixers stashed away so maybe a wanted ad might attract some attention.


Reel deep thoughts...
If you want to keep it simple you could use something like a tascam MX-80. It’s a 2U rack mount 8 channel mic pre that’s also a simple 8x2 line mixer with separate stereo line out and headphone level controls. You can plug mics into it, send the direct outputs of those 8 discrete mic channels to the 38 inputs, and then the outputs of the 38 go to the 8 line inputs and you can pan and sum those to stereo and monitor via headphones or connect the line output to an amp or self amplified monitor speakers for mixing. The mic inputs have a PAD function so you can connect line sources as well (with an adapter) to send to the recorder inputs.


Well-known member
Another cheap solution is to get a 16 channel mixer.
The first 8 channels feed the inputs of your deck and the outputs of the deck go to the mixer channels 9 thru 16.
With this set up you can always keep your recording settings, while you’re monitoring what’s on tape through the last 8 channels.
Come mixdown time you can free up the first 8 channels for virtual instruments, midi, effects returns ect.
Lots of things can be done with an inexpensive 16 channel mixer.


Well-known member
Something like the Mackie is what I had in mind. Seen them go as low as 160 bucks.
But for a couple hundred bucks you can get a nice one. Hell, that’s the price of some guitar pedals !