Tascam M3700

strakk

New member
i have a chance to get a Tascam M-3700 for just under 2,000. Just wondering what thoughts are on this console.Has 32 x 8 x 2 and has 64 faders at mixdown all switches and faders are automated with VCA automation also full MIDI and locks to SMPTE for post audio. Would like to use Pro Tools Le with it if it's possible for band recording and also for live use. Just wondering if it's a good buy i haven't had much luck finding good reviews or manuals on it......Thxs.....
 

witzendoz

Senior Member
Hi,

I have owned a M3700 for many years, (I am guessing 15 years), I bought it new. I think it was the best money I ever spent, I love it, I think it is very under rated by some of the audio world and the build quality is streets ahead of some of the popular brand names.

OK that's the good stuff, now the short falls. The automation is on all switches and faders (volume), the eq is not recall. The mix is saved to a DD (720m) floppy, so you need lots of these. The channel direct outs and tape returns are -10 level unless the balanced option is fitted, (-10 has never been a problem with me), There are some earthing and noise issues (remembering that for its day it was quite), this is not a problem if you watch out for earth loops and the noise is very controllable with sensible use of the automation and by muting anything that is not in use including channels and sends with no signal connected. Sounds silly but by muting the aux return faders and effects sends reduces main out noise by 90% even when the faders and sends are fully off. I am talking about noise when there is a bigger mix i.e 24 plus channels in use not during tracking the mic pres are quite.

You will need the manual to get full use of this console, if the seller does not have one find the price of one from tascam and reduce the price to cover it. The sale must include the power supply check it has one. Does it have the full meter bridge? Most US models did not have this, the rest of the world usually got the full meter bridge.

Forget the live use, it weighs heaps and moving it around will shorten its life.

Where is it for sale? USA? Is the price US$ I have seen some cheaper on the net, however the price should also reflect its condition, i.e., $2000 for a mint condition M3700 is better then $1000 for an average one as some parts are hard to find.

Cheers

Alan.
 

strakk

New member
Tascam 3700

Hey thxs for all the info. I'm in Canada so the price is in Canadian Dollars. I know the meter bridge is included but i didn't even think about the power supply so thanks for that bit of info....As far as the floppy disk thing goes if i'm working in pro tools all my mixes would be saved there, and can i use the board as a sort of control surface. I'm just thinking i either buy this or grab a Tascam dm 4800 which is a little more money.......thxs again.....
 

dementedchord

Psychotic State alumni ch
this will not operate as a controller... given it;s age either make sure it's in perfect shape or plan on this being a project to resurrect to usable condition... do you have any repair/modding experience??? example: you will mostlikely need to replace ALL electrolytic caps in the unit... that could be around 400-500 caps in a 32x8x2 board...
 

witzendoz

Senior Member
Hi Again,

Well, actually it can operate as a controller but only as a volume / mute controller. Having said that I have not got that working myself but I do remember somebody on the Tascam forums web site had this running, you need some midi know how though.

I have been running for 15+ years and so far no cap problems. However I take your point that you do have to be prepared for repairs at some time as gear does not work forever. The M3700 comes apart easily (not like later model consoles) so repair should not be to big a problem if you are handy with a soldering iron. I should also point out that my M3700 has been very well looked after and has only been moved 3 times in the 15 years.

It kinds of depends if you want some analog in the chain, tracking through the M3700 via the channel direct outs could be good for you if thats what you want. Where by the dm 4800 could be a better interface.

Cheers Alan
 

old_audio

New member
Strakk: Did you get the Tascam M3700 ?

Strakk: apologies for the delayed reply...
I agree with witzendoz; the 3700 is one of the "sleeper" console bargains out there.
$2000 CDN seems a bit high, you may try to negotiate with the seller.
I paid $1500 USD in 1999 for mine (with full meterbridge and 3 fully wired Switchcraft TT patchbays). It was used by a music college professor to mix keyboards and lived it's life locked behind glass. So, it was in pristine condition.
Tascam had a bad rep back in the 70's, but by the time they produced the M3700 in 1992, they had advanced far past those early days.


It works flawlessly and sounds great. That speaks for itself, as I have been a studio tech for 40+ years, and have used many different recording devices, from simple tube mixers up to consoles costing hundreds of thousands $$$. ( of course, that is an opinion and would depend on many other factors) To further qualify that it sounds "great"... let me compare it to a Focusrite, for example. In my opinion a Focusrite mic pre such as an ISA428 has no "sound" of it's own. That is, it is very clean and neutral. The M-3700 is like that. Many other consoles and or mic preamps have a distinct sound. While that is desirable in some cases...that "sound" once imprinted to your recorder will always be there. Having a clean sounding console let's you be more versatile in your choices using outboard mic preamps. Once you have those sounds you want during the recording process, you have a "clean" console to mix with. Just makes better sense in the overall recording picture in my opinion.
Remember the movie "O Brother Where Art Thou" several years ago? Ralph Stanley recorded most of his albums in a studio using an M-3700.

It is not too big physically, so it fits very well into a small room. I use mine to control my audio software thru MIDI.
While that use is limited, I prefer using the faders on the M3700 to mix instead of using a mouse.
The -10 levels are not an issue at all. I interface mine with a 3M 24 track analog machine and an Alesis HD24 HDR. I rebuilt mine in 2003 ( just because I wanted to ) by replacing all the caps in every channel and upgrading the chips to Burr-Brown FET chips ( I don't know if those are still available) The original chips were pretty cheap, and while they are OK during normal use, if overloaded they can sound pretty bad. The FET chips tend to overload in a more "pleasant" manner. Sort of like the comparison to tubes over solid state equipment. (It's that even and odd harmonic thing...)
I think the original price with full meterbridge was $20,000 USD:D
 
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fafel

New member
Hi Again,

"Well, actually it can operate as a controller but only as a volume / mute controller. Having said that I have not got that working myself but I do remember somebody on the Tascam forums web site had this running, you need some midi know how though."

Hello, I know this is an old thread..but I've had this board for the last 5 years, and by the way, I think is a great board!! Now on the bench, I think the Caps died on me or something. In 5 yrs I've resoldered Pwr Supply, blew a fuse, but that was more of an accident.. and now it has been out of the studio for about a year and half. To me looks/sounds like power related. I was mixing one day (was mixing in DAW had a stereo out to board) and the sound stopped, the meters were still showing signal coming in, switch to my EXT stereo In and there was sound but distorted. So I turned it off, brought the power supply to where i work for them to check and since is a favor...it's been on a shelf for a year now...Any ideas of what could've happened?
And also, how do you control de DAW through the midi??
 

fafel

New member
Strakk: apologies for the delayed reply...
I agree with witzendoz; the 3700 is one of the "sleeper" console bargains out there.
$2000 CDN seems a bit high, you may try to negotiate with the seller.
I paid $1500 USD in 1999 for mine (with full meterbridge and 3 fully wired Switchcraft TT patchbays). It was used by a music college professor to mix keyboards and lived it's life locked behind glass. So, it was in pristine condition.
Tascam had a bad rep back in the 70's, but by the time they produced the M3700 in 1992, they had advanced far past those early days.


It works flawlessly and sounds great. That speaks for itself, as I have been a studio tech for 40+ years, and have used many different recording devices, from simple tube mixers up to consoles costing hundreds of thousands $$$. ( of course, that is an opinion and would depend on many other factors) To further qualify that it sounds "great"... let me compare it to a Focusrite, for example. In my opinion a Focusrite mic pre such as an ISA428 has no "sound" of it's own. That is, it is very clean and neutral. The M-3700 is like that. Many other consoles and or mic preamps have a distinct sound. While that is desirable in some cases...that "sound" once imprinted to your recorder will always be there. Having a clean sounding console let's you be more versatile in your choices using outboard mic preamps. Once you have those sounds you want during the recording process, you have a "clean" console to mix with. Just makes better sense in the overall recording picture in my opinion.
Remember the movie "O Brother Where Art Thou" several years ago? Ralph Stanley recorded most of his albums in a studio using an M-3700.

It is not too big physically, so it fits very well into a small room. I use mine to control my audio software thru MIDI.
While that use is limited, I prefer using the faders on the M3700 to mix instead of using a mouse.
The -10 levels are not an issue at all. I interface mine with a 3M 24 track analog machine and an Alesis HD24 HDR. I rebuilt mine in 2003 ( just because I wanted to ) by replacing all the caps in every channel and upgrading the chips to Burr-Brown FET chips ( I don't know if those are still available) The original chips were pretty cheap, and while they are OK during normal use, if overloaded they can sound pretty bad. The FET chips tend to overload in a more "pleasant" manner. Sort of like the comparison to tubes over solid state equipment. (It's that even and odd harmonic thing...)
I think the original price with full meterbridge was $20,000 USD:D

Hi Old Audio,

I just posted something here about my M3700 board, perhaps you have some insight as well.
And how do you control your audio software with the board through midi, if you don't mind me asking.

Thanks in Advance,

Fafel
 
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zogzog

New member
M3700 Midi

how do you control your audio software with the board through midi, if you don't mind me asking

Hi, Have you got the manual? you can buy from tascam i believe

If you just want no-frills midi with any midi daw...

connect m3700 midi out to your midi in (to enable the M3700 to sen midi to the DAW - like recording a live mix - so no analog audio is used - just used to control tracks in the DAW)
connect m3700 midi in to your midi out (if you want your daw to control the faders for analog audio mix)

set the dip switch under the front cover to midi sync (page 33)
set the write mode to switches and faders (page 34)
set the midi channel (page 51)

open your daw
enable midi in / out or both for your midi interface (i actually bought m-audio midi-sport dedicated just for the m3700)

this will provide midi control for the channel faders, channel mutes, monitor mutes, aux mutes and eq on/off

enjoy

http://soundcloud.com/hsd
 

altavek

New member
Talkback to Auxes 5 & 6

Does anyone know of a mod that would enable talkback to 5&6 via the 1-4 talkback button (or any tb button)? Thanks!
 

witzendoz

Senior Member
Thinking about it, you could route the out from aux 1 or 2 to a spare channel line in and them send the talk back via that channel to aux 5&6.

Alan.
 

pjroadrunner

New member
Hello Alan, i dont know if you can help me but i have been trying to get hold of a high resolution shematic of the M3700 power supply, i am based in Ecuador and i have been finding it impossible to find a spare power supply. I have looked on the internet with no luck but it is possible i can have one built here but i desperately need the schematics.

Regards
Paul
 

witzendoz

Senior Member
I need an email address from you as I can give you a link to dropbox. Send me your email via a personal message or a direct email.

Cheers
 
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