TASCAM 122 MKIII - on Bias / Level issues (Type I tapes)

Discussion in 'TASCAM Analog Forum' started by rainermb, Apr 6, 2021.

  1. rainermb

    rainermb New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2021
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    Gear:
    TASCAM 122 MKIII
    Hi people! I own a very clean and very good shape TASCAM 122 MKIII tape deck, has been working fine in general. There is no physical nor any "systemic" damage so far. I own it since 2019 already in good shape.

    I got it because I had a plan to switch to cassettes for home recording purposes (no, I am not trying to mimic reel-to-reel or anything like that). So I have a "flat" recording system integrated to tape deck (a analog mixer, some cable managment, aux sends, etc) and everything works great so far. I have done many recordings to it ("mastering" mixes and so on).
    But I got used to something that, right now, I think that may be an issue: the low level recording metters for 10khz. I live in Brasil and the only affordable tapes you can find are Ferric type I (its ok, I like them) so these are my tapes, I have plenty of them (Samsung SQC 60, in my case).

    The point is: I can calibrate the deck with the built-in OSC (400hz) and 10khz keys - and also I can input a generated tone and it works ok too. But I never get, no matter what, an aproximaton between 400hz and 10khz recording levels.
    Maximum VU levels I get for 400hz is around -3db and for 10khz I get around -10db. I know it doesn't need to be at 0db, and also I am using only just good (not excelente) Type I tapes.

    If anyone have any tips I would appreciate. :)

    Thanks!
  2. Laszlo

    Laszlo New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2019
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    From:
    Near Budapest, Hungary
    Gear:
    Tascam Revox Mechlabor
    Hello,
    there can be several reasons for that. You need to go through the usual calibration steps if you have not done it yourself and remember that it was oonce calibrated. It is either play EQ or Rec EQ out of calibration, if otherwise the heads are clean, properly aligned and not worn overly..
  3. SkywaveTDR

    SkywaveTDR Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2014
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    From:
    Chicago area
    Gear:
    Teac, Tascam, Sony
    Well first I see many of these decks that are messed up and the owners don't even know who or how it was done- the head screws once turned need a M300A gauge to set them back correct. It is not an easy task and I do it with the door off and bright light and magnification. The tilt adjustment is the hard one to do.
    The other thing is relative record sensitivity. I use TDK D type as a standard- the real ones not those that are labeled TDK but com from China are 1dB low already. There are tapes like the BASF Chrome tapes that are -5dB record sensitivity and the deck can not use those- it is garbage tape that has now surfaces mostly from korea. These were from NAC called 799 master tape.

    If the deck has not been set up by proper method then it will not work right. The internal oscillator is also something that needs to be adjusted. IF the 400Hz and 10KHz can not be made to match then I would say the heads are worn out. Some people think wires have to spring out the heads for them to be worn out- NO it only takes surface degradation as a pitting or irregular surface to cause high frequencies to fall back. I would have to see the heads but if there is a deep wear mark in the center piece between record and play head then magnified inspection is required.
    If you get a used machine with tons of hours on it then it will need to go to a Technician who knows what they are doing and there are not that many anymore. The grease and Gear C need service anyway at this point- it is just a matter of time before the motor goes full tilt due to those SMD caps. It all needs to be serviced.
  4. SkywaveTDR

    SkywaveTDR Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2014
    Messages:
    817
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    From:
    Chicago area
    Gear:
    Teac, Tascam, Sony
    I have not come across any Normal tape that is garbage. The Maxell UR was for many years considered that but now days you can not be that picky. TDK D the old type is the best to try and get. The best tape we ever tested at Teac using an Audio Precision tester was Maxell XLIS. In some respects it even beat metal tape not in frequency range though. I have gotten in decks that say they do not record and I ask what tape is the guy using? maybe he is using a tape that has been flipped over. Even cassette tape has a front and back to it. There has been new tape made that was said to be the greatest Normal tape but as it was tested it did not even equal Maxell UR so I don't know who their chemists are but they sure don't know what they are doing. I say any tape that is a lower print than TDK D then needs to go to the garbage. Just because you can stick a cartridge into you deck does not mean it will perform well- it might be some of that Korean junk they are selling. People will do anything to get your money so do not trust the most of them. A lot of greatest tape claims are equal to Akai lifetime heads- all lies.