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Cassette Recorder for my modular in the studio?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Eurorack Modules  
Author Cassette Recorder for my modular in the studio?
Never had a cassette recorder, never used one before, very unfamiliar with this so if it's insanely simple please excuse me. But i'm trying to figure out how I would go about integrating a cassette recorder into my setup, basically to record audio from my modular (or other synths) into the cassette recorder and then get the taoe-ified mojo audio into my DAW. What are the steps to this, and what is a good unit that would have lots of grainy transients and vibe? preferably with 1/8th inputs i suppose.
i just got this 3 head field recorder. an-in-very-good-condition-serviced-and-working/

It has a monitor out. Audio goes in, gets recorded, gets played back through the monitor out. Works pretty well. Can also get a mono version.

+ You can also do some feedback loops/delays.
As someone who grew up with cassette as the only affordable option the of recording in the early 80's, I think I'm safe in saying that almost any machine perhaps with the exception of Nakamichis will do the 'grainy transients and vibe' thing for you. If not, then there's always the option of re recording the original back onto tape (bouncing) and seeing if that's grainy enough. If memory serves, after about three sessions of that the audio quality was pretty dire from a hi-Fi point of view, YMMV though.
Regarding getting the audio in and back out again they are line level in/out (or should be) so that isn't a hurdle. Out of synth, into cassette, out of that into DAW interface.
You might have to get hold of some adapters, phono to 3.5mm etc.
Have a look on evil bay, Craigslist etc, I doubt they'll cost you much unless of course they are becoming 'fashionable' again a la MS20 el al.
Hope that helps.
Richie Witch
I picked up a Marantz PMD 502 in perfect condition ridiculously cheap on eBay, along with a couple NOS chrome tapes. It's got RCA jacks for both inputs and outputs, but I connected those directly to my desk mixer. My Eurorack goes to the mixer, so it's easy to record to cassette that way, and then record the cassette into my DAW.

Not sure how much success you'd have going directly from Euro to unbalanced cassette inputs. Euro signals are pretty hot by comparison, so I would think you'll need something in between, but even a cheap mixer would do, or a simple module that converts Euro to line levels.
I use a Nakamichi CR5 and can recommend that. Those decks are rock-solid.

the thing with cassette recorders is that they never receive any kind of maintenance in their life, so theres a lot of junk on the market.
Its even worse with Walkmen.

Avoid no-names and Autoreverse.

And think about buying a 1/4 inch two track machine. Much more fun.
I wish I had one.

1/4" two-track with different speeds would be a lot of fun, agreed.

I have a couple of those and a Marantz PMD420, which I can recommend for the same reasons others have mentioned above. I got one cheaply and sent it here for a complete overhaul:

(Marantz was Superscope at one point:
+1 for nak decks. dragons are where its at, but as previously mentioned, they are on the hi-fi end of things.

+1000 for 1/4" tape machines. have a teac 3440 for nice recordings, and an akai gx-4000d with a modified/defeat-able erase head and bias control for use as a tape looper.

...another fun thing are endless loop cassettes. you can make your own, but its tedious.
i use these a lot to record random textures and environmental stuff to bring into the modular via ears.

...and you could also experiment recording your audio to vhs tape, which i have also done, with varying degrees of success.
yeah i've considered tape machines as well. not sure how much more inconvenient it is to buy tape rather than cassettes. can someone link me to a machine that they are confident would work for whats being described? i keep looking online but the pictures and descriptions are always so shoddy that its hard to tell. any help would be appreciated.
I bought a Tascam Portastudio 414 MkII in March for I think $300 and quite frankly I really like it. It records four tracks by using the L/R channels of both the A and B sides at the same time, and records at twice the speed for greater fidelity. Downside is you can only record 15 minutes onto a C60.

I typically record with DBX on, then play it back to my DAW with DBX off and re-applying it with u-he's Satin plugin.

There's much less hiss than I expected.

Marantz PMDs are very good, since they also have vary-speed. Very nice for experiments, I have a series on that on my channel.

I also record to a Fostex X28H 4-Track that sounds decent - Important to use Type 1 cassettes if you want a "tapey" sound, Type II can already be too hifi/ not enough upper-low grunge boost.

here is a recording on the four track:

For comparision here is one on 1/4" tape with a big Telefunken:
Type 1 cassette for more noise to signal ratio, type 2
& up for more signal strength & more durable less elastic tape. Type 1's do tend to stretch & snap easier. More important if you using a multitracker to do type 2s due to the higher speeds of the transport mechanism. When you record to tape, unlike digital, you want to hit the tape hard, into the much is a matter of taste, as what is played back will be different from what you put in.....
For simple stereo (2trk) recordings, avg quality, go to yout local goodwill store or yardsale & get anything that will record. All will have RCA jacks. If you want a cleaner sound, Id recommend strongly going with a 'pro' deck like a Tascam 112, or 302.....the 112 has 1/4" jacks, mine also has XLR's on the outs. Off the 112 people are always like "wait, thats coming off a tape??" Not a fancy deck at all, no auto reverse, but solid.....even has rack ears.
read quite a few things that say varispeed is a must on these things but honestly am not finding many with that, which 4 track recorders have varispeed control?
My 414 goes up or down 10% but I don’t know if that’s full-blown “vari-speed” or not.
Most if not all 4 track decks will have some varispeed action. My 2
Tascam 8-trk recordsrs both do, as do my 302 & 112 mk2 (2trk recorders). I wouldnt say its a 'must', but it may come in handy depending what you're trying to do. the varispeeds let you get a little more creative with pitches, timing, & probably recording quality somewhat....
Not a common feature on 2trk stereo decks, except 'pro' stuff like the Tascams
FYI Revox A-77 B-77 the standard ones are about 200-300 on german ebay what is around 200 less than half year ago.
I just picked up a Tascam 414mkii off craigslist for a great price ($100), though I still haven't had a chance to test it - need to find some type ii cassettes.

Not trying to hijack here, just encourage a little discussion specific to cassette and euro...

1. The mixer on the 414 is pretty low-grade, though it looks fun and efficient. I noticed it distorts easily with euro signals even with the gain ('trim') at '0'. I was thinking of making a couple 1/8"-1/4" voltage dividers. Is this the right track? I can solder, and I know enough about sdiy to be dangerous... 17bf705db9da18fbdab4791

2. Any good sources of new tapes? I see the link above for loops (cheers for that one) and have come across me-P3752.aspx. Any other sources?

lol why???
So, With these 2x speed multi-trackers its important that your tape has a shell that is stable, tight, doesnt wobble/jitter because its that structure holding the tape/reels in place as the transport does its thing.

Theres plenny threads on the web on the topic of best tapes
For multitracking
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