The Tascam Portastudio 424 is a cassette based four track recorder and mixer. Of course this is an older piece of technology, so I will review the unit based on what it is capable of doing, and not fault it for being a product of its time. If you're looking to get into recording music, I would definitely recommend looking into a computer based system rather than this one, but if you're looking for four track tape recorder like this one, please continue reading. Let me start off by saying that this is a popular four track recorder as far as these go, and for a good reason. For a compact mixer, its got a lot of different features and options including equalization, dbx noise reduction, and some nice faders. The interface is very user friendly as everything is easily located. Even if you don't have any prior experience with recording or machines like this, I think you should be able to catch on pretty quickly. The quality of the recordings you will get as a whole will probably be nothing better than average since you are recording to a tape medium, but at the same time it has a cool quality to it that is hard to replicate without using an actual tape cassette recorder. The price of the Portastudios 424 has fallen significantly, so if you're looking to play around with a four track tape recorder that is put together well, this is a great time to buy this one. Tascam is one of the best at their game, especially with products made around this time period. These are readily available on eBay, so if you're interested in picking one up you'll be able to find one no problem. If you're going to go the four track tape route, either for your main set up or for playing around with on the side, the Tascam Portastudio 424 is the model I would definitely recommend.
I have used this Tascam cassette 4 track for over 4 years now. These machines are pretty out dated but I enjoy the simplicity of recording onto cassette tapes. You can buy cassettes at many stores making it easier than memory cards. and you are recording analog! I also use the machine to make mix tapes so I can listen to them in my car. So many different uses for such a versatile recorder.
I enjoy the mutitracking and simple equalizer controls. I have no complaints with the machine. It fits the easy 4-track recording I want. Perfect to record a simple demo for a new song or to record that real tape sound. George Harrison said 'I like a little bit of tape hiss' and don't we all.
There are micrphone XLR inputs as well as guitar cord 1/4'' cords for easy connection. Also has main stereo outs and headphone jack.The recorder only has two inputs between XLR and ¼” so only two track simultaneous recording can happen. Each input has a gain level to keep the tracks from peaking out. Each input also has 3 equalization controls, low middle and high, and left right panning controls. Recordable cassette tapes can be bought that have normally 45 minutes of recording time on them. Any cassette used can only be used one sided – remember – otherwise you will record backwards over everything you have already recorded! Recording on tape can be tricky but very rewarding.
I bought my model used for 50 US dollars at a trade show. A rare find that was between other outdated tape recorders. 50 US dollars was a very generous price because if you want to buy a new 4-track cassette recorder it would run at least 150-200 US dollars. I love this cassette recorder and wouldn't trade it for an other one.
4-track recorder audio cassette type II (CrO2) with integrated mixer 8 / 1 departure of integrated effects (return of the external effect normally provided on inputs 5-6 or 7-8)
Speed of tape: 9.5, 4.75 and 2375 cm / s, rare !!!!!!! ^__________^
Reduction system breath dbx type II Perman (that is to say indésactivable) that allows Tascam announced a S / N ratio around 95 dB ^________________^
Buttons settings by 1-4, in the order of treatment:
Setting postfader sending the signal to the output for an effects processor
Lanes 5-6 and 7-8: Volume and signal assignment
Connectors: unbalanced TS jack of all except the main audio output, if I remember correctly: cinch
This is the first I used Ministudio there are about 10 to 15 years and I learned the principle of Ministudio. Then, as soon as the Tascam 464 with a more complete connection out, I rushed over as the choice of the connections of this 424 is really limited. Then, after faithful service, the 464 was replaced soon released by the Sony MDM-X4 for its editing capabilities, but the same principle of MD-DATA (for the version of the MiniDisc to computer), then changes technological help, it was replaced with the Fostex VF-16, same principle but 16 tracks on hard disk, and this including all-digital mixing desk. But it was not very reliable: so I changed to an Akai DPS16, same principle Portastudio hard drive. And then I bought a Korg D16 Digital mulitpiste as tiny as booster and a Roland VS-1680 Used for its sound.
Tascam deserves his legend in this type of aircraft. Small, portable, robust, never broke down and very good ergonomics, the user is one with the device. Besides the 464, then I have never been able to find such a great ergonomics. The ergonomics of the system of punch in - out, notament, is incomparable. Brands concurrent best known for such devices are Fostex (who themselves instead uses the Dolby or Dolby C S instead of dbx) and Yamaha, and I can tell you, because I had the opportunity to try a Fostex and Yamaha, that even in ministudios cassette, I never found such a great ergonomics.
Instructions ultra-well done and very educational: We learn very well the principle of multi-track recording ^____________^
With technological change (ministudios digital hard disk requires), it is virtually impossible to repeat the same choice, the cassette is a ministudios manintenant Obselete principle, although Tascam still makes his direct descendant, the Tascam 424 MKIII ^___________^ But if I had to stay in the Cathegory of multitrack tape, I would resume a Tascam willingly. )))))))
Its main advantages:
Its slow speed 2375 cm / s, which doubles the recording capacity of a cassette tape that is already divided by two since the original uses only one face and not the two sides. And this is a unique feature that I have seen on this model, all brands.
His entry line dedicated to control the external master recorder: this input is not fed back into the bus master the final mix which enables real-time monitoring the quality of recording the final mix on external master recorder and it , when it is a tape recorder or cassette that has three heads (1 erase head, a recording head and a read head to read right away just behind the recorded tracks), it is actually a advantage: no need to have to connect the headphones to master the recorder, the control can just as easily be done on the 424 ^___________^ Besides the 464, I have found circuit monitoring of this type, even Akai DPS16 on my current D16 and Korg! ))) We see therefore that serious Tascam is a house that manufactures equipment worthy of the name ^________^
Its main inconveignents:
Connection a little too tight but other than that, I note no. ^____________^ Besides that the analog and the recording capacity is limited ... But hey, that's normal after all, a Ministudio on tape: comparing like with like ))