2488 neo mod: pata to sata, hgr-2488 prism


New Member
Aug 31, 2014
Youngstown, Ohio
Gear owned
2488 Neo, modified
I had written this as a response to another thread here in response to a drive-change question. After reading it over, I thought perhaps someone who could use it might miss it, so I am creating a new post from it. I'll be happy to explain or expand, as I said, if someone needs the information.

For anyone with an early-release Neo (firmware 1.00), here is what I did. I had replaced the original drive with a new Seagate pata drive a while back, but the drive was causing a vibration that would sometimes rattle a couple faders -- it was driving me nuts. I decided to modify the Neo to use SATA drives externally. For a little over 5 bucks, Amazon & other merchants carry these little PATA to SATA interfaces that are just small pc-boards with an IDE socket on one side and a SATA socket on the other; on the IDE side is a molex power connector and on the SATA side the power and data sockets are in-line so that the board itself plugs in to the business end of your SATA drive. My intention was to run a cable with the combination 7-pin and 15-pin socket through a small, grommetted hole I had put on the side of the Neo. This worked. But I didn't like the idea of using a bare drive and having to make sure the bottom side was isolated from any conductive or charged surface.

Since I was using a 2.5" SATA drive, I decided that the vibrations caused by the large PATA drive wouldn't be an issue with this little drive, a WD Scorpio Black, 350GB, 7200rpm, so I went ahead and installed it internally, so the only cable hanging out the side of the machine was my HGR-2488 Prism vga interface. This worked beautifully as far as noise & vibration were concerned, though out of the 350GB on the drive the Neo only formatted around 130 gigs, which was no big deal since the drive was just laying around collecting dust anyway.

One last thing I need to mention here. The 2.5" SATA drive worked right away with the original firmware, but then a few little glitches would occur here & there on certain operations, leading me to conclude that I needed to install the 1.10 firmware Tascam was loading onto their later machines after they changed over to SATA drives. The tech I ended up talking to at Tascam was pretty cool. I had heard other forum members (on the old pay-to-play site that went down soon after I paid my dues) mention how they'd tried, in vain, to get Tascam to send them updated firmware for their machines, so I kept my fingers crossed. But after talking for a few minutes the tech realized I knew what I was talking about and knew my way around the guts of the machine (thus would not be causing any technical-support headaches for them by burning the Neo to the ground or blowing it up or some such rot), so he agreed to email the 1.10 firmware to me right away.

Long story short, I now have a modernized Neo, with a 2.5" SATA drive, 1.10 fw and an HGR-2488 Prism vga interface. If anyone reading this has one of the pre-sata Neos and wants to modify it, I will be happy to give a more detailed step-by-step, with photos, of the changeover. That way I can show how to replace the original drive mounting platform with a 2.5" adapter and a few other things I didn't mention here. Even though the Neo is now an obsolete machine, I'm sure there are many like myself who prefer their home-studios built around one of these units. I often use a DAW along with the Neo, but the Neo is the centerpiece of my studio, from tracking to mixdown at least. I have a lot of analog outboard gear that plays well with the Neo, and I am not ready to sell that gear off and start using VST's -- too much money invested and, damn, I like the sound so much more than the sterilized tracks I seem to get out of Cubase.

I would be happy to do a sticky of the PATA to 2.5" SATA changeover along with the HGR-2488 Prism installation rolled in to one, with photos, if there is any interest in something like that at this point.
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That sounds really good, I'd be interested to see some photos of the installation. Can you detail the exact module (or Amazon part number) as it's always good to buy something already proven. Presumably you can't go back to a PATA drive now, due to the firmware upgrade?

I think you're right that many people are keen to preserve and enhance the functionality of their 2488s and the HGR display modules do exactly that . I've got an early one - now called the Classic by HGR - in my NEO and a Prism module in my MK1. I actually use the MK1 more because of the internal drum machine. The Prism is a very cool add-on.

The module I used to change over to the laptop SATA drive is the "HDE SATA to PATA/IDE Hard Drive Interface Adapter", The drive I used was 320GB, but the NEO will only use a portion of that, but that was fine. And yes, now that I've updated the firmware, I probably can't go back (haven't tried, but I assume that's the case.

Let me know if you need any other info.
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Anyone other than Rand782 had luck getting their hands on the firmware needed to support conversion from PATA to SATA drives? Have all the hardware but no luck getting TASCAM/TEAC to release its strangle-hold on the firmware. Still trying but not looking very promising at this point. With my current drive getting flakier during every use, it might be time to scrap the NEO and surrender to newer, but not necessarily better, technology :).

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