The TASCAM 424 MkII lists for $599 and street price is now $459 or less. The TASCAM 424 MkII has a 3-band EQ section with sweepable midrange, dedicated monitor outputs, a way-cool rehearsal/cue setup, and even a special tape cleaning mode!
New! Check out our review of the new TASCAM 424 Mk3!
Some guy (not me) went to the trouble of scanning in the entire manual and converting it to PDF format (caution: 1+ MB download).
How to Use the "Secret" Extra Effects Send on the Original 424 (previously published on the Mixmasters mailing list)
See page 6 of the manual for an illustration on how to connect a typical effects box; i.e. the input to the FX is the effect send jack, and the output from the FX goes to the right stereo input jack (Line 7-8) with a TRS insert-type cable, an illustration of which can be seen on the right side of page 39. It's just a 3-conductor "stereo headphone plug" which connects to two separate 1/4" plugs (Hosa makes half-decent ones). By the way, TRS stands for "tip/ring/sleeve" which is jargon for the appropriate parts of the 3-conductor plug, starting at the pointy end and working back.
Now, see the paragraph "CUE OUT feature" on the right side of the Portastudio Brief Guide (a foldout that's attached to manual page 13). It describes the "hidden" extra FX send controllable through the Cue Out controls. To hook this up, put the TRS plug into the Effects Send jack. Now one of the 1/4" plugs -- the one connected to the tip of the TRS plug -- will go to your first FX unit as before. The other 1/4" plug will connect to the input of your second FX unit, and the stereo output of that 2nd FX unit would go to the left stereo input jack (marked Line 5-6) via yet another TRS cable. Now your Tape Cue pots control the level of the "FX send" to the 2nd FX unit, and the Line 5-6 pot controls the return level.
Note carefully the paragraph in bold at the left bottom of manual page 30, as the left and right stereo inputs reverse the polarity of their tip/ring connections. Listen carefully to whatever you hook up to these inputs, and remember they're not quite interchangeable!
I do all this using my Quadraverb 2 with a single return cable going to Line 5-6, which leaves me Line 7-8 for my MIDI sound input. The Q2 processes both FX sends separately and mixes them at its output; I use one side (generally the original Effects Send) for reverb and the other (the Cue Out) for "special" effects such as flanging or delay added at mixdown time. This also preserves the stereo imaging of both effects.
Q: Why does the cue mix sound decidedly worse in your 'phones than the main bus? Will this poorer quality show through when you feed it thru to your effects device using the method described above?
A: A very good question, which I am looking at the flow diagram on page 41 (inside back cover) to answer. It looks as though the effects send for each track goes back through the EQ and input fader, then the effects send fader, then through the Effect Master fader (and 2 amp stages here, one on each side of the fader). The Tape Cue signals each go through their own fader and then through a single amplification stage.
So if one assumes that all amps are equal in quality, the Tape Cue send
should actually be better. It may be that TASCAM used lower-quality components
in the Tape Cue amp stage, figuring it's mostly intended for listening.
You could try recording the same signal with the same effects box, plugged
in both ways, 2 tracks each, and switch between them to see if you notice
(The Original Press Release)
MONTEBELLO, CA (January 18, 1996)...TASCAM, known the world over as the foremost manufacturer of recording products, proudly introduces its new 424MKII Portastudio. This new integrated cassette multitrack recorder/mixer builds upon the success of the original by adding significant new upgrades that make the recorder more capable and intuitive to operate. With balanced XLR mic inputs, 3-band EQ with mid sweep, an upgraded AUX system and automated Punch In/Out, the 424MKII packs a lot of punch into the entry-level cassette multitrack format.
With the addition of four balanced XLR mic inputs, recording enthusiasts can now use high quality, professional, low impedance microphones to better capture their performances. After the performance is captured, the 424MKII's new 3-band EQ with sweepable midrange will enable you to contour the sound with far greater flexibility than was previously available.
The auxiliary effects system of the new 424MKII Portastudio is a significant enhancement to that of its predecessor. There are now two AUX sends, one of which doubles as the Tape Cue during the tracking process. When you're ready for mixdown, the second AUX send will come in handy when you wish to add that additional effects processor.
For the artist/engineer working alone, the 424MKII will be that much easier to operate with the inclusion of automated Punch In/Out capability. The system provides easy capturing of the punch in and out points, incorporates a rehearsal feature, and makes the entire recording process hands-free. It's easy to use and enables you to focus on the musical task -- not on the mechanics of operation.
The new TASCAM 424MKII Portastudio also provides a dedicated Monitor Out that enables you to patch directly to a monitor amp or powered speakers without having to repatch connections to the mixdown recorder. This makes the entire mixdown process easier and more streamlined. The unit's Submix In connectors make working with an external mixer a breeze, and provide a convenient means of expansion for the musician running virtual MIDI tracks.
The 424MKII also sports a brand new, visually striking fluorescent display that keeps you informed of all aspects of the unit's operational status. Transport functions, track status, tape position and bus levels can all be checked in an instant. Combined with a 60mm long-throw fader on the main bus and a re-engineered sync loop for timecode, TASCAM's new 424MKII has what it takes to provide you with quality recordings while retaining an easy-to-operate personality. Carrying a suggested retail price of only $599.00, the new TASCAM 424MKII is easy to operate and easy to own. For further information, contact TASCAM at:
7733 Telegraph Road, Montebello, CA 90640