Tascam 488 tapes, any other way I can play them back.

My first attempts at home recording were done on a Tascam 488 MKII, for which I paid a small fortune for about 20-odd years ago.  I sold it, stupidly, as I needed dosh after getting married.  I didn't get good money for it since digital recording was the new thing and cassette tape based recording was seen as a bit 'old'.

I still have all my old tapes, goodness knows if they're still playable, and they have some good ideas on.  I'd like to be able to revisit what I was writing and recording, if the tapes still work, but obviously I don't have the machine on which they were made.

Will the tapes play on anything else other than the Tascam, or do I need to find another 488 to access the recordings?

Ironically they are now sometimes fetching good money. Being mostly brassic most of the time I'd not want to spend £lots for something I probably won't ever use for anything else than listening to old recordings to glean ideas from 20 years ago, and cringing with embarrassment in the process.

TIA

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Comments

  • goldtopgoldtop Frets: 798
    Wasn't that 8 tracks on cassette tape? Quite unusual, maybe a 688 will also play them back?

    But, frankly, if they're fetching good money, that's in your favour. Just buy one, transfer the tape tracks to your DAW - http://homerecording.com/tas488tips.html - and then sell it on and get the same money back.


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  • axisusaxisus Frets: 10122
    Ahhh happy memories! I loved my Tascam 488 MKII, it felt so pro with all those knobs and stuff!

    Mine is gathering dust in the loft, unused for many a year. I've been planning on flogging it but it never reaches top priority. That's assuming that the wife hasn't thrown it out!
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  • HaychHaych Frets: 423
    goldtop said:
    Wasn't that 8 tracks on cassette tape? Quite unusual, maybe a 688 will also play them back?

    But, frankly, if they're fetching good money, that's in your favour. Just buy one, transfer the tape tracks to your DAW - http://homerecording.com/tas488tips.html - and then sell it on and get the same money back.


    Yes, eight track cassette tape.  I like your thinking but experience has told me that I rarely, if ever, make money on musical equipment, so it's a risk I don't know I want to take.

    axisus said:
    Ahhh happy memories! I loved my Tascam 488 MKII, it felt so pro with all those knobs and stuff!

    Mine is gathering dust in the loft, unused for many a year. I've been planning on flogging it but it never reaches top priority. That's assuming that the wife hasn't thrown it out!

    Yeah it was a good bit of kit, I paid about a grand for mine when it was new!  A friend's band did an album on one so it was definitely up to it.  The album was crap but that's no slur on the tech used to record it.

    If you feel inclined to sell yours drop me a PM.

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  • steamabacussteamabacus Frets: 907
    There are places that do digital archiving of old tape formats - this is just the first that came up on a web search

                                                                                                                                                   My 'Guitar diaries' on BandCamp
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 2798
    Haych said:
    Will the tapes play on anything else other than the Tascam, or do I need to find another 488 to access the recordings?
    The critical factors are;
    • Tape transport speed
    • playback head layout
    • dbx II noise reduction
    • user adjustable replay head alignment
    My initial home recording experience is similar to Haych except I had a Tascam 234 and a separate mixing console. In more recent years, when the time came to transfer multi-track recordings to a digital workstation, I had to invest in a 644. 

    One other brand that might work for the replay of cassette tapes originally recorded on a Tascam, is Yamaha. For a while, they adopted the same dbx II compansion system.


    I fear the Geeks, even when they bear GIFs.
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  • horsehorse Frets: 501
    Are you hoping to get the 8 track stems off as wavs to use in a daw / how much material are you hoping to revisit?
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  • HaychHaych Frets: 423
    edited May 22
    horse said:
    Are you hoping to get the 8 track stems off as wavs to use in a daw / how much material are you hoping to revisit?
    Unlikely, it’s 20 year old ideas and while I’m sure at the time I thought it was the best music to ever hit a tape head I’m equally sure if I listened back to it now I’d want the ground to swallow me. 

    I simply want to be to be able to reference it so I can decide if it’s worth re-recording properly. I probably have about ten 90 minute cassettes worth. 90 minutes is obviously a lot faster at 488 tape speeds, though. 

    If I could get only one song into my DAW I might be tempted as I’m quite proud of one of them. I sent it to a sound engineer friend of mine a few years ago and he liked it so much he aired it on local radio. That’s my one claim to fame lol. I should probably mention that local radio was probably an Albuquerque university station or something. 
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  • redrighthandredrighthand Frets: 640
    You could get a second hand one, transfer the tapes, then sell again on eBay, hopefully getting your money back.
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 2798
    edited May 22
    Haych said:
    90 minutes is obviously a lot faster at 488 tape speeds ...
    ... and only in one direction. Thus, a C90 = 22.5 minutes maximum.


    Haych said:
    I simply want to be to be able to reference it so I can decide if it’s worth re-recording properly. 
    If you can transcribe the music content and still have access to the same instruments, it will be possible to make new recordings of the ideas.

    If what you like about the analogue recordings is their sound, re-recording from scratch may fail to recapture this aspect. dbx II noise reduction is a compansion system. I used to greatly enjoy abusing it to extract monstrous drum sounds from the fairly run-of-the-mill MIDI instruments then at my disposal. 
    I fear the Geeks, even when they bear GIFs.
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 17426
    How magnetic are you feeling?
    I am the juice of four limes.
    Trading Feedback
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  • HaychHaych Frets: 423
    octatonic said:
    How magnetic are you feeling?
    Eh? Sorry, too early in the morning. 
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  • mattismetalmattismetal Frets: 29
    I can transfer them for you from a 688 and put the stems on usb or email you the mp3s. 
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  • thermionicthermionic Frets: 4561

    dbx II noise reduction is a compansion system. I used to greatly enjoy abusing it to extract monstrous drum sounds from the fairly run-of-the-mill MIDI instruments then at my disposal. 
    I recorded some stuff with a friend on his Yamaha 4-track which ended up being released as a 7” single on a tiny label. The “mastering” was taking it to fellow student’s flat who had a half decent hifi including an expensive cassette deck. I wasn’t there but he turned off the dbx “because it sounded better”. At the time I was horrified, but he was right!

    Somebody has put this obscure record on YouTube: 

    https://youtu.be/YrO9qRYD5c0
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  • CabicularCabicular Frets: 2161
    @Haych I have one in storage 
    i don’t know what kind of nick it is in but it was fine when I put it in
    if you spring for the courier to you and back when you are done I’d be cool to lend it to you FOC
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