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Thread: Portastudio 424 with a problem

  1. #1
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    Portastudio 424 with a problem

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    Hi everyone!
    I found this forum because I am experiencing a problem with my Tascam Portastudio 424. Please forgive me any mistakes in my English, for I live in the Netherlands and English is not my native language.
    My problem is this: when recording anything on my portastudio - for instance on track 1 and2, or on track 3 and 4 - the track indicators show that all is going well. Incoming levels seem to bee okay. But if I than play what I have just recorded, one track has a much lower output level than the other. Also the track indicators show different output levels.
    The recording and playing heads are clean as can be. Changing the input tracks does not help.
    Does anyone have an idea what can be wrong? My recorder is several years old and I suspect that the recording head is broken, or is slowly getting worse. But that's only my suspicion.
    I would like to know if anyone has experienced this problem before and if so, what was done to overcome the problem, before I take my recorder to a specialist and probably have to pay a lot of money.
    Hope to hear from you and many thanks beforehand.
    Greetings from Rotterdam, Netherlands.
    Hans Faaij.

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    Hi, first off all, your English is excellent; you should be very proud.

    Secondly, I have had the exact same issue you're having on two different multi - track cassette recorders. I'll tell you exactly what I did to fix it each time.

    Open the recorder up (carefully, and unplug it first, obviously), and look for any wire connectors you can see. I'm taking about all the instances where there are several wires bundled together and attached with a plug-in connector.

    One by one (so you don't lose track of which goes where), unplug each connector, spray some contact cleaner in the plug (like Deoxit), and plug it back in several times. Do this with every connector you see.

    It's likely that one or more of them has some oxidizition built up from years of non-use.

    I like to use a little pair of needle-nose pliers when unplugging the connectors. Try to avoid tugging on the wires whenever you can. It's always best to pull by the connector.

    Good luck!

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    Cleaning and reseating the electrical contacts is always a good place to start in any troubleshooting situation. It could help a lot and may solve a lot of issues.

    I also think that most units that age would need the record/playback levels internally set to standards. Sometimes R/P levels can differ 3dB or more with normal aging. Setup would involve purchasing a cassette calibration tape for 2x speed and tweaking the internal adjustments in a sequence. Can be done DIY, but is sometimes better left to an old timer analog audio tech. It depends on how deep you want to go, and your skill level. If you don't get a proper cal tape, you may end up setting your levels to look right on the meters but are way off spec internally.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lt. Bob
    ... subtleties of sound make a difference to those who really listen.

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