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Thread: Question about an A-8 tape machine

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    Hi folks, I'm new to this forum (I was refered here by a helpful soul at the TDPRI Telecaster forum), but I'll probably be spending a lot of time here if I buy this gear--this seems like a good place!
    I met a guy who's selling an old Fostex A-8 1/4" 8-track tape machine and a Tascam M-308B mixing console (both are analogue), $300 for both. They look old but appear to be in working condition. I really don't know much about these, but the price seems like it it might be a good deal and a cheap way to get into home recording. Has anyone used either of these, are they any good, does the price seem fair? Any feed back is greatly appreciated.
    Thanks a lot, folks!
    Cheers--
    Cliff

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    It depends how you look at it. For one it will be kinda esy to learn on and not worry about some effects of digital like clipping when the signal is too hot. But then since i know this is quite an old machine it probably has a lesser frequency range then a newer analog machine, and definitely the digital machines with 20Hz-20,000Khz. What are you recording? drums, a telecaster, a bass and vocals? that would probably soud just fine for $300. but if you are planning on doing samples as stuff, you might want to look at a different format. it would be cool though. probably better then the 4track casette i started with. Just one thing, see if you can playback or record anyhting before you buy it. and if you want to run atest. take a cd you know well record it with the right channel going onto track 1 and the left channel going onto trck 8. Then play them back and listen to each and if they rise in volume and fall in volume, then the heads might be pretty worn. also, you can visibly look at heads and see wear.

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    Hi Cliff,

    Several years ago, I bought an A-8. It was made in 1984.
    Here are the Drawbacks as far as i am concerned.
    The Main Drawback, is that it only records 4 tracks at a time (1-4 or 5-8); there is a switch you push to select which group you record.
    I still use my A-8 every once in a while. It's not a bad machine-you just have to realize what it's limits are-and work within them. Hell, My brother recorded several singles on it and they were released as Indie Singles! So, what the heck.
    If you're doing Rock music it is just fine-and it's a good platform to learn on.

    I can't really tell ya much about the board that your looking at, But for $300 bucks-if everything works, and it's somewhat quiet, it's not bad.

    I was using an old 12x4 NEI from the early 80's with my A-8, and it was fine.

    Of course, Now I've finally made the Jump to digital (16 tracks with a pair of D-38's, and a mackie 1604VlzPro), and It's nice not to have that tape hiss to deal with anymore! hahaha

    Tim

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    I've used an A-8 for quite a few years with very satisfactory results. However, as suggested do test it out before you spend your money. Run some tape through it and record a test signal on tracks 1-4. Repeat it for tracks 5-8, then play them back and make sure each is recording and playing back properly. If not, there could be all kinds of problems and they're hard to get parts for. If possible try to get the remote (wired) unit that goes with it, esp. if you record by yourself. If you record properly--strong signal, quiet room, the hiss is very low and you can get a very nice recording. If you do notice hiss will probably be coming from the board--those older Tascams are noisy.

    Good luck!

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    I also meant to mention, if they're both in good working condition, $300 would be a pretty good deal for a good basic setup such as this.

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    Thanks, Folks, for your answers--I did run some signal through it: I recorded the same song from a CD on all tracks, and it all seems to be okay. So now I've got to get this stuff together at my place: I need an mic, amp, speakers, FX, etc. I'm on a budget, but I dig the "low fi" stuff, and I get a kick out of being as resourceful as I can, so this should be a fun way to learn (see my post on the Newbie list for more).
    Thanks again!
    Cliff

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