644 weird cassette discrepancies....?

Discussion in 'TASCAM Analog Forum' started by feno13, Aug 18, 2019.

  1. feno13

    feno13 New Member

    Joined:
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    Gear:
    Tascam 644
    Hi there, first post here.

    Got myself a lovely 644 recently and been having all sorts of fun with it. One thing that is puzzling me greatly though, is that there appears to be discrepancies between different cassette tapes used. When I turned it on first to test the unit, I tried recording on all tracks 1-4 (using a BASF Record ii Chrome cassette), and it appeared that track 3 wasn't working at all. BUT, when I used a different cassette (same brand/model), all four tracks worked perfectly.

    Having tested 5 other unused cassettes (EMTEC CE ii), I found that similar anomalies occurred, where 3 of the 4 tracks would be perfect and one would be of significantly lower fidelity, noisier and lower in level than the others. The dodgy track varies from tape to tape. I really can't get my head around this, as on one of the cassettes tested all tracks work perfectly.

    Any help would be much appreciated, I absolutely love this machine!
  2. SkywaveTDR

    SkywaveTDR Active Member

    Joined:
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    From:
    Chicago area
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    Teac, Tascam, Sony
    OK, These decks were designed around Maxell and TDK type tape. While it is possible that the use of BASF or NAC tape called 771 was OK and like the XL II tape, they ran out of that a long time ago and were selling that crap 799 or master tape from Korea that is total garbage. I even had a Tascam 122 Mk III that the guy wanted and provided a BASF tape for Chrome use and it turned out to be that garbage tape again. He said it had much lower noise than the Maxell XL II.
    Well in that deck I tested the nois level and it was 1dB lower noise but also the print level is -5dB so overall it is a worse tape to use and has almost no headroom. I have been dealing with some of the BASF or Korean grade Chrome tape for a while and the best advice is to avoid it and just get NOS Maxell XL II or TDK SA or SAX.
    There are different grades of BASF tape and I fear that all the Good stuff has already been consumed. NAC was selling one of my clients Chrome tape that was Brown. I asked Don Morris if there was ever a brown Chrome tape and he said NO. That company seems to be up to no good and they do not treat customers very well either.
    You could also have a good formula tape that has a defective surface as in a crease in the tape due to skew or wear. If not then calibration would be in order to see if that is the cause. I use Maxell XL II all the time to adjust these machines and I never have a problem with it.
    Teac Japanese decks usually did not like BASF tape as it was outside their adjustment range and required modification to use it but then it make a mess for the SA and XL II tapes in the Chrome settings.
  3. feno13

    feno13 New Member

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    Gear:
    Tascam 644
    Wow, thank you very much for such a detailed and knowledgeable reply. That is very helpful indeed. From what you're saying, it sounds like choosing quality tape can be fraught with complications. I've found some NOS Maxell XL II which i've posted a link to below. Would you mind taking a look and letting me know if it's the right one to go for? There seems to be some variants of the packaging from what i've seen online (despite it all being called maxell XL II), and i just want to be sure i get the right one. Thanks very much again!

    https://www.ebay.ie/itm/10-MAXELL-X...sette-Tape-NOS-Sealed-Old-Stock-/273923686758