Questions about Tascam 44-OB 4 track reel to reel

Discussion in 'TASCAM Analog Forum' started by bobyoung53, Jun 15, 2021.

  1. bobyoung53

    bobyoung53 New Member

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    The manual fell through on ebay so I'm back looking for one. There is an original one for about 60 bucks with 30 bucks shipping from Belgium but I really don't feel like paying that much for a manual.
  2. bobyoung53

    bobyoung53 New Member

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    Oh I know it works as my brother in law did do some recording with it, the tape i have now have some old stuff from him on it, he bought it in 2018, it's been sitting for a while but not more than two years.
  3. bobyoung53

    bobyoung53 New Member

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    OK, RTZ and STC mysteries solved.
  4. BRDTS

    BRDTS New Member

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    much!
    Just now perusing this thread. Glad to see you discovered return-to-zero etc.

    Some comments/tips that may help for testing....

    Right side Output Select switches for the moment...SYNC is the ONLY one to use. Ignore input and repro for the moment. Set the switch to "sync" and leave it that way.

    Left side function select buttons....if a button is BLINKING (and of course we have the right side output select set to "sync"), this means the blinking channel is armed, ready for you to record something (once you then push rec+play)...and is currently only letting you hear what's connected....live mic....elec guitar input...whatever.

    However....you say you already recorded something onto those tracks. Great! Push the buttons so they no longer blink....now what you will hear is what you captured.

    Remember...with "sync" engaged (at all times), a left side blinking light is "I'm ready to record and you're hearing the input". Upon holding rec+play, the blinking light(s) go solid red and the track captures signal.

    Once you, disengage the blinking light, you'll hear what's on tape.

    That being said (and LEAVE the right side "sync" engaged at all times)...if you DON'T hear what you just recorded (ie..
    no blinking light now), there could be machine problems, gunk on the heads etc....which you can troubleshoot.

    As to when/why to use the right-side "input" and "repro" buttons....there are appropriate times for those (which I can give my personal insights into).....but not now when in the midst of recording a "session". Leave the button set for "sync".
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2021
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  5. bobyoung53

    bobyoung53 New Member

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    Thanks, I'll try that, I wasn't able to record anything though and I had figured out what the blinking red light meant, my discoveries were spread out over 4 posts, confusing.

    "Remember...with "sync" engaged (at all times), a left side blinking light is "I'm ready to record and you're hearing the input". Upon holding rec+play, the blinking light(s) go solid red and the track captures signal."

    OK, solid red is on and I can hear what is supposed to be recording going through the recorders preamps, the volumes work on the recorder, meters are deflecting etc but when i play it back there's nothing on the tape. I know it did work recently though as my brother in law recorded some stuff on it. It is erasing that when I try to record, just that there's nothing on the tape. No meter deflection and no sound. I must be doing something wrong and can't figure it out.
  6. BRDTS

    BRDTS New Member

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    As long as there are no blinking lights on the left (ie all leftside switches are disengaged) after you rewind and hit "play", you're playing back correctly. Your troubleshooting would be....

    With a lamp or flashlight, look at all three heads. Is there ANY trace of gunk...however tiny....on those lined head gaps? If so, clean the heads thorougly with head cleaner and cotton swab. Same for the entire path including capstan and lifters.

    Second....use a different reel of tape as a test.

    Thirdly....does the same no-signal thing happen no matter what track?
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  7. bobyoung53

    bobyoung53 New Member

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    OK, I found the problem and you guess it, gunked up heads. I'm amazed, there was nothing at all. This things sounds amazing now, thank you everyone. I've checked all four channels and they all work well.
  8. bobyoung53

    bobyoung53 New Member

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    I'll go through and clean the capstan and lifters.
  9. bobyoung53

    bobyoung53 New Member

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    OK, I'm pretty sure the problem is the tape I'm using, it's an Ampeg 456 master tape, I think it's shedding and covering the heads with gunk. It's the only one I have right now so I'll have to buy some new ones. This thing sounds great though when the heads are clean, sounds just as good as the CD's I'm recording from.
    I know there's a couple of manufacturers that make new tape, I need 10.5 inch tape, anyone here know the manufacturers names?
  10. BRDTS

    BRDTS New Member

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    You are here in the US, right? I use ATR on the rare occasion I still need new.

    Off to the side of the control room is a storage room where I keep approx 300 reels of quarter-inch, half-inch, one and two-inch tapes. Pretty much my entire recorded works going back to 1965.

    During the 60s-70s, Ampex and 3m sold/shipped master cartons of tape direct to me, so I always had a large supply for myself and resale.

    Over the years, I've transferred all of the reels to computer for safekeeping and for daw remixes etc. In fact, I've done that several times. 48khz one year. 96khz a couple of years after that. I may do 192khz someday. Haven't decided....as you can imagine, it takes months to transfer hundreds of reels in realtime.

    My point on transfers for reels that haven't been played in years/decades....I bought (several times) the Nesco Harvest Food dehydrator for baking problem reels (gunk).

    The Nesco is ideal if you want to transfer precious audio from a shedding tape. The plastic bins inside the Nesco can be cut with scissors/wire cutters to fit any width tape up to 2" reels. 10.5 reels fit perfectly. You can actually stack multiple reels but I don't....I bake one reel at a time. You have to turn the reels over a few times during a cycle so that the binding reseals evenly.

    The process on say, a one-inch and two-inch reel (after baking is finished and the reels cool overnight) allow the tape to be played successfully for the transfers. In my experience, I can get four-five plays of the entire baked reel before shedding begins again.

    Meaning....bake the tape....let it cool...and then aim to transfer all 24trks of the 2" in one pass to the daw. Which of course requires your daw interface to have at least 24 physical input connections to feed from the multitrack.

    In your case...you're only dealing with 4trks. So transfers are easier.

    That being said, I just present the Nesco info in case you ever wind up with a shedding tape you want to transfer.

    Once a tape is shedding, you can say goodbye to reusing it on a regular basis. The Nesco at least offers a last-ditch chance for a transfer (sort of like putting a dying hard drive in a freezer overnight and then quickly retrieving data the next day while frozen...which works!!).

    So, yeah, check ATR direct or Vintage King etc for some new tape.
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  11. SkywaveTDR

    SkywaveTDR Well-Known Member

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    Recording problem come from dirty head usually. The record indicator have to go solid when recording and is brought on by record and play pressed at same time. No need to wait to see a recording happening as this is a three head device. Adjust levels with source or input then once recording see the recording as it is on tape from Repro. Just like using Source and Tape or Monitor on other decks. Repro means off the playback head and you can do that while recording. If no recording takes place make sure tape is the right way as in back in not to heads. Many people use Isopropyl alcohol to clean heads but have dirty heads still that is why I use denatured alcohol or sometimes Lacquer Thinner that has Acetone in it.
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  12. SkywaveTDR

    SkywaveTDR Well-Known Member

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    Being in Peru you need to find out who sells new tape down there. The 4 track deck is set up for SM911 originally but MDS36 or LPR35 should also work. Giving you American sources of tape might not help you. ATR= MDS36 1 mil tape, RTM or RMGI LPR35 is 1 mil tape. They both come in 7" or 10/5" reels or also pancakes or hubs if you have reels there.
    If you need USA links I can provide. ATR does not have any dealers in Peru from what I can see-
    https://www.atrtape.com/
    Full Compass Systems sells RTM tape-
    https://www.fullcompass.com/prod/11...4512-1-4-x-3608-10-5-plastic-reel-trident-hub
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2021
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  13. SkywaveTDR

    SkywaveTDR Well-Known Member

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    Adrian Pro Audio is a good Teac repair facility. I have talked to him a few times. Make sure there is no residue on the heads and the record head is the center one. It should look clean. After you are sure the deck can play back then you want to make sure it can erase a tape. IF it erases a tape that tells you the Bias oscillator is coming on and the erase head on the far left will need to be cleaned too. If it erases and you are using the deck correctly then there is no reason it should not record on channels 1, 3 which is the typical stereo way that 4 track tapes are made. Keep in mind in a recording the red record indicators do not blink but stay solid and require the record and play switches be pressed at same time. If the record indicator that blink- which means record ready go solid during this time then whatever signal put into the channel 1, 3 will be recorded and will be heard at that time (With a delay) off the repro head. The 44OB does not have too many item I have found to fail but I did find some shorted Marcon large Electrolytics on the 48 I was working on and they did not age well so I replaced then with 105*C type Wurth or Panasonic FC caps. I also use Nichicon caps as well in my shop. I would be looking for that kind of cap on the audio cards and I have been replacing these caps since finding shorted ones on the 48 which was made the same time as the 44OB. Tascam mute relays for XLR and RCA have been trouble in the past and mostly the coils of the relay open up which are Omron relays and pins 2 and 6 are the pins to check. These are mute relays and if they were bad you would get no sound out of the respective outputs- single pole relays for unbalanced (RCA) and Double pole relays for the XLR as two active opposite signals are going through those. The Coto relays I have used are put int sockets to help save the board from resoldering so that if the relays ever go bad again they are just unplugged and new one put in. To date I have never had a relay go bad that I have put in. I own two of these machines as well as 42, 52, ATR60-2 and many Teacs.
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  14. bobyoung53

    bobyoung53 New Member

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    OK, thanks everyone, since yesterday I've gotten a new 10.5 Ampex 456 which sounds good and doesn't seem to be shedding. The heads were very dirty when I first got it which was the problem with recording. All 4 channels work well, erase works well, it records and plays back well. Most of my problems were the learning curve and not knowing what the abbreviations meant on the controls besides the dirty heads. My brother-in-law gave me several more tapes yesterday so I'll be experimenting all day.
    But overall I've recorded a very good sounding Procol Harum live CD onto this recorder and I'm very impressed with the sound.
  15. bobyoung53

    bobyoung53 New Member

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    I used ethyl alcohol to clean the heads, I haven't seen isopropyl alcohol here and I'll be checking out those places for new tape. I have just about everything shipped out here so hopefully they'll ship tape.
  16. SkywaveTDR

    SkywaveTDR Well-Known Member

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    Like I thought. Usually on machines the head being dirty when they bring them to me is the number one problem among others that I know about in decks. Some guys that brought me Tascam 34B decks that did not record would have recorded as long as they did not use that stupid Iso alcohol I keep on steering people away from but some will never listen.
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  17. bobyoung53

    bobyoung53 New Member

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    Well being a retired RN I couldn't disagree with your post any more vehemently but hey what can I say?
  18. bobyoung53

    bobyoung53 New Member

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    I just bought three 2500' ATR pancakes of 1.5 mil tape from Vintage King, the shipping is expensive as I thought it would be, approx 84 bucks but that's what I expected, I assume this is better than the 3600' 1 mil tape? I have several empty 10.5" reels.
  19. bobyoung53

    bobyoung53 New Member

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    Does recording over an already recorded on tape seriously degrade the sound?
  20. BRDTS

    BRDTS New Member

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    Not as long as the machine's erase head is working properly. Having a bulk eraser is convenient though. More thorough etc.
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