PCM board (how to prevent replacing)


New Member
Jul 21, 2013
Gear owned
788 portastudio
Hi there! I've been (mostly) happily using my Tascam 788 Portastudio now for almost 10 years. Luckily for me, Teac is within driving distance for whenever something needs repair. Most recently I discovered that I had managed to fry my PCM board. The board needed to be replaced, and the entire process costed me 4 live gigs (I play electronic music, so bringing my portastudio along to shows is essential), and $280 in repair costs.

The reason I'm posting this is to ask you what are some precautionary measures I can make to not have this happen again in the future? I have received my unit back from repair and tried to speak with the tech that worked on it, but unfortunately, our language barriers proved too much, and I came away from the conversation with more questions than answers. I'm totally open to suggestions and comments!

Here are some details on how I use my 788:

Most recordings come directly from sequenced hardware (keyboards, groove boxes, etc) into the Aux IN left & right.
Vocals are fed through a mixer with phantom power then into the mic input of the 788.
Bass guitar (the only live instrument I use) is also fed through a mixer and then into the guitar input of the 788.

Other than that, I make "holes" in my mixes for parts I want to play live: (i.e.. vocals removed, bass removed, some keyboard parts removed, etc...).
I then take my 788 along with me to shows, and ultimately rock out! lol!

I come from a very DIY world, in the sense that, "if it works, do it!" But, again, I'm open to hearing about anything I can do to avoid wreaking more havoc on my 788, even if that be suggesting that the 788 should not be brought along to shows.

In advance, thank you so much!!

One thing about your set up - connecting the bass guitar from the mixer into the guitar input on the 788 - I don't think is a good idea because of the impedance levels. Anything from a mixer should go into one of the inputs on the back of the 788.

It does sound like you are using the 788 as your mixer before going to a PA and getting it to play your backing tracks?? I am assuming you are not recording the gigs??

Personally I would do it the other way around. Get a mixer that can accomodate the output of all your hardware and the 788. If you are using FX for the bass from the 788 then plug the bass directly into the front input (no mixer inbetween). If not plug into the mixing desk not the 788. Again, just my thoughts, I would look at another method of playing your backing tracks - CD, minidisc.....

Lastly, as your doing live shows then I would get something to ensure that vibration is not an issue for the 788.

HTH, Zeek

Thanks so much for your response! So no mixer to guitar input on the 788. Also avoid vibration to the unit during live shows. It would also behoove me to look for a different method of playing all my backing tracks live, instead of bringing the 788. I think those are all the valid points you are conveying?

There is nothing going through the 788 when we play live. The stereo outs are going directly into my mixer along with all of my other hardware, which is then being run into the house PA. I've been thinking about getting a notation stand and bungie cord to wrap the 788 to it; that way it'll be away from any possible vibration or shock during live performances (and it might look pretty cool as well, hahaha). I'm a little bit skeptical about replacing the 788 with cd for my live sets as the audio quality will not be 24bit. This wouldn't be a problem for most people, but since my show is entirely carried by the backing track, it needs the best possible sound. Another friend recommended Audicity, which I found interesting until I realized that the backing tracks would be streaming off of my Mac Powerbook which would, in essence, be cause for the same amount of caution (vibration/shock prevention) as in using the 788.

Thanks again for your response! Any more questions, comments, advice, is GREATLY appreciated!!! I'm glad that there are other people still using this awesome machine!
FYI.......I've got a brand new PCM/Motherboard with ver, 1.10 installed if you or anyone you know may need it. It will definitely keep a great digital Portastudio alive in a pinch. $25.00 plus shipping. I bought it to repair one that I thought was fried. Found out that my problem was a Rom chip that had some how unseated itself. Safety clamp was moved to the open position. . I am about to believe that rough handling by someone other than myself had to have caused that. Had something similar to that happen with a Korg Triton Le. That's a whole 'nother chapter :)

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