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Portastudio Modding
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY  
Author Portastudio Modding

I bought a broke ass Tascam 414 mk2 from Craigslist for 50 bucks and repaired it. I am loving this thing, but one thing I really want to do bypass the erase head for recording multi-track loops. Has anyone done this?

I've tried tape over the erase head, covering it with paper, lifting the tape in the cassette (it doesn't lift fully. Only at an angle). The next step is installing a switch to shut the erase head off. The problem, according to tape nerds on tape forums, is that the erase head signal sends a sync signal over some channel (above human hearing), so it works in tandem with the other head I think....? I scoped it out and there is a signal there, so I'm thinking there is something to this. I've done some digging and a few forum posts on random tape forums yielded grumpy tape hobbyists asking "Why would you do this!?!?! This is madness!"

Anyway, any help is welcome.
I might be wrong but I'm pretty sure it just demagnetizes the tape.

edit add on:
"From industrial manufacturing to the workbench, demagnetizers (also called degaussers) have a variety of uses. A demagnetizer is an electric solenoid, or coil, powered by alternating current. The current produces a magnetic field. The key to the demagnetizing action is that the magnetic field strength and polarity alternates, just like the current." -

That might be the signal you're seeing.
When I was a kid I did exactly this, I just desoldered one wire from the erase head. It worked fine for me messing around, you're not expecting hi-fi anyway right? :-)

(Edit in case you are expecting hi-fi - the tape saturates pretty quickly after a few passes as I remember, I thought it made it sound great...)
I also have a broke ass portastudio 414... its not the MK II though.

Curious if you have documents or repair advice. my 4th channel doesn't record, and 2 and 3 are noisy.
I have the original Team 244 PortaStudio and I did a mod of adding switches to turn off the Dolby Noise reduction on two channels. I used to use SMPT time code written to those tracks and the noise reduction compression made it act funny. It is a good mod if you are going to sound on sound and don't want the noise reduction adding up and tracking funny. I got the schematics and it was pretty strait forward as to how to do it. I recently revived my unit (finally got some new belts) and removed the switches when I had it popped open.
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