Thumbs up or Down??
Good question, I have a TSR 8 and for me.....
Thumbs up.It doesn't sound like a STUDER...of course not. But it sure Sounds better than a cassette 4 track. For me in my little space its perfect, and for the music I do it sounds better than any ADAT. Warmer, etc. I have done side by side tests with ADATs and the difference was so obvious the ADAT sat there for monthes until I sold it.(blackface btw).
It also sounds better than my 20 bit Layla soundcard. If I have a project that starts out on acoustic guitar, I always start it out on the TSR8 first. Then when I use up all of the tracks I dump all 8 to the computer. I have also been very happy with recording vocals to the TSR8. What I do is record a guide track to the TSR8 and then record several tracks of vocals, up to 7, then dump
to the puter and comp the vocals in there with Wavelab, then paste them into the track.
Vocals Definately sounds better on analog than recording directly to the computer. I hit the levels really very hard on it most of the time, any where from +1 to +5.
I don't use it for everything and as a matter of fact it justs sits there most of the time as I work on the computer.
As for as how much to pay?? Of course pay as little as you can. I got mine 4 or 5 years ago for 500$. Which I thought was a really good deal. I don't think I would pay more than 1000$ for a TSR8, and then it would have to be perfect. If one of these was beat to hell don't even bother as it would cost you more to fix it than it was worth. Don't quote me but I checked prices on record and playback heads a few years ago and it was crazy...like 3 or 4 hundred dollars.
Make sure you test the motors out good. As I understand it these can be problematic and expensive to replace. Put a tape on and FF
and rewind a few times. Then let it play all of the way through. Take it to a good service person right away and have them set it up. I use Quantegy 456 but may switch to GP9.
I'm sure some people would not recommend this deck and compared to higher end machines this is considered a toy...but hey it works for me.