Tascam 388 studio 8 slow to play

Tascam 388 – Maintenance?

Are any Tascam 388 owners out there? I am about to get my hands on a machine in excellent condition. The original owner treated it very well! I am new to the reel world and was wondering if anyone could recommend some routine maintenance to keep it running smoothly. I read something about cleaning and degaussing the head. When is alignment necessary? And how should it be done?  Is it still possible to buy a new one?

Hey Otis, I just got one of these from an eBay guy and after 4 days the drive motor went bad…still waiting to get one, also the tensioner assembly on the right side was incomplete so the tape took a bit of the sag a bit approx… i repaired and relubricated the tensioners and now they are as smooth as ever….these machines are pretty finicky…but the owner’s manual has all the testing and calibration procedures.

as for the tape the guy i bought it from said RMG900 on a 10.5 x 0.5 spool which is what my machine is set to…. he said the RMG 900 needs a lot of bias 6-7db @ 10Khz. It is also set to 370nWb/m +6Db. So it works properly with this tape. and that no dbx was needed, it sounded pretty good for the few hours it worked…damn…never mind 388 doh!

wannabe rocker, I think you mean the TASCAM 38: 8 ft, 1/2″ tape, 10.5″ reels, 15 ips recorder. Otis is considering buying a Tascam 388 which is a deck with integrated mixer and tape recorder, 8 feet, 1/4″ tape, 7″ reels, 7.5 ips max.

Tascam 388 studio 8 slow to play

I use Quantegy 457 tape on my 388, which is a thin 1.0 mil variant of the 456. Probably very hard to find new or NOS. The RMGI LPR-35 is supposed to be the modern equivalent, but it is expensive, as are all new tapes. Whatever you do, don’t use 1.5 mil tape like 456, 406, or any of the high performance formulations like RMGI or BASF 900, Quantegy GP9 or 499. 1.5 mil tape or modern formulations (which are stronger) eventually kill the drive motor and accelerate head wear.

Your 388 will need calibration if the recorded tracks sound or have a higher or lower volume than recorded, or if the recording and playback volume of the track is inconsistent from track to track, or the sound is inconsistent (dull). Calibrating these narrow format decks is tedious and expensive because there are only 2 heads, erase and record/playback. Once set up, set up and calibrated, the 388 gives good service. I had a local tech mine calibrate it a few years ago and it sounded much, much better after that.

It is very heavy (85-90 LBS or more) and not made to be portable.

It is very likely that your machine will be in good condition and recording/playback will be fine. Try uploading it and see what happens. Keep the heads and tape path clean (using high strength alcohol and q-tips), use warm water and/or diluted windex on the pressure roller rubber, and de-massage the heads every few hours. Search your area for a competent technician with experience working on these Tascam decks.

I used mine for 3 years with a 456 tape. I carried it in the trunk of my car and recorded for bands in their rehearsal rooms. Never any problems.

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Tascam 388 studio 8 slow to play

It’s a real kicka$$ little machine. You’ll get great recordings out of it. As the above poster said, I wouldn’t try calibrating it unless you notice some real funky noises. I have never done that. To perform any type of alignment, you must disassemble the entire machine. Just take the cassette and press record. Believe it or not, the EQs aren’t half bad for what the gear is.

Thanks for the great advice! The RMGI LPR35 sounds like a good choice. At $30 a reel, it’s not cheap, but it seems like the best way to go. I assume that if the previous owner of the 388 I’m looking at also used 1.0 mil tape, the machine won’t need alignment. Apparently he used Maxell and Scotch. I’m waiting to hear back if it was actually 1.0mil.Other than that it looks to be in perfect condition. Its import

Tascam 388 studio 8 slow to play

The Tascam Studio 8 is an integrated recorder/mixer that represents an interesting evolution of the “Portastudio” concept. A quarter-inch reel-to-reel multi-track tape machine sits alongside a comprehensive eight-channel mixing desk in a massive console, requiring only the addition of suitable monitoring to create a complete and fairly sophisticated 8-track recording system. We asked recording engineer Dave Lockwood to check it out.

Many musicians and composers appreciate the sheer convenience of cassette personal multitrack systems with their extreme ease of use and home acceptability. However, being limited to 4-track work can be frustrating, while the appeal of a cheap 8-foot component system can sometimes be tempered by the necessary extension of cabling and connections, which can seem somewhat daunting to the non-technically minded. The Studio 8’s main appeal may be its simplicity of operation and practical features, although it actually manages to achieve this without unnecessarily limiting the range and flexibility of a more experienced operator like myself.

First, let me say that the Studio 8 isn’t exactly the most portable unit; at 38kg and 33″x25″x9″ it definitely requires two strong people to lift it. It’s supposed to be installed and then run in one position, but with that in mind it seems unfortunate that all the connections they have to be done on the rear panel as wall placement is impractical – and although adding an external patchbay could solve this problem, it would seem rather to negate one of the unit’s raison d’être.



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Tascam 388 studio 8 slow to play

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