Reel to Reel 4-tracks

Discussion in 'Tape Recorders' started by lucky, Sep 14, 2003.

  1. lucky

    lucky Guest

    Hello. I'm looking into buying a reel-to-reel 4-track recorder because I'm tired of digital recordings. Does anyone know which models sound best, and what prices are reasonable? Are there any other places to look besides ebay and Are less expensive models still comprable in sound quality? Thanks,
  2. sdevino

    sdevino Active Member

    Mar 31, 2002
    Maybe you should try to find someone who knows what they are doing with digital!! :D

    In your quest for 4 track you should make sure you go 1/2 or wider. All that great "analog" sound doesn't typically show up on prosumer decks and especially 1/16th inch wide tracks.


  3. dabmeister music

    dabmeister music Active Member

    Jan 11, 2003
    Woodbridge, Va
    Home Page:
    I second Steve on that. Some s/w packages have some sort of "Tape Saturation" or analog immulating capabilities. I graduated from a analog 8 tracker and could'nt imagine myself taking a step backwards. Now I'm not knocking analog in no way , shape or form , but with the arsenal of tools at your fingertips now-a-days , how could you not be as creative as the next guy who only has a few pieces of gear but knows how to use it. Choosing and using the right equipment makes a big difference.
  4. lucky

    lucky Guest

    Thanks for the quick replies. In my opinion, digital only sounds as good or better than analog when you spend a couple thousand per track. I think inferior digital is a lot worse than decent analog, which can be noisy and grainy, but still less fake and thin. I've had a complete G4/Logic 6/MOTU studio which I found harsh sounding, even with vintage warming plugins and all that stuff. I don't want to fork out money on Apogee converters, only to have to convert back and forth for outboard signal processing. I also find that an infinite number of tools and options limits me, and my songwriting has never been better than when I had a cassette four-track. What would you recommend for under a thousand? Can I get a decent sounding 1/2" for that price, or will I end up having to spend a few thousand for decent analog? Thanks for the help. I started recording well into the digital age, so I never learned this stuff. Thanks again,
  5. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    wow a couple of thousand per track? thats one pricey digital machine.... Unless your talking about 3348's and D827's from the early/mid 90's :) and the scary thing is that the 3348's are selling for under $8k now days....I just saw a pair with less than 1500 hours on ea sell for $9200

    you may be surprised at how good even a MX2424 can sound as long as you are working with a decent front end. Dont get me very much pro analog, as a matter of fact I typicaly use both depending on needs and requirements.

    you can even get prism converters at less than $1k/channel :)

    oh and if you DO want an analog machine....I have seen decent sony/mci 8 track one inch machines sell for under $1k. Hell I bought one a few years ago for $600....

    understand that unless you are a tinkerer and understand some basics on the maintenance of these machines I wouldnt completely recommend one considering some of the other options out there. If you dont mind dealing with electronic and mechanical cal or atleast not intimmidated at the thought then its not as bad. MRL's even today can be a bit costly, toss in a tentelomter and a few other basic tools and you would be ok.

    Oh and dont underestimate things lke space requirements, moving them around? power consumption, head life, meter bulbs always burn out. etc.....even the JH110 8 track weighed about 250 pounds.
  6. lucky

    lucky Guest

    Thanks a lot, Scenaria. That really answered my questions. Do you think the MX2424 has pro quality converters? Even with something like that, when you take into account a mixer, preamps, converters, clock and processing, it can be several thousand a channel. I'm only recording stereo guitar, vocals and one or two other occasional tracks. Do you have a good suggestion for this? I was thinking about getting a cheap digital box like a tascam 788 or maybe a mackie SDR 24track, then spend the money on 8 channels of high quality A/D/A. There doesn't really seem to be a product class for eight high quality tracks if you don't want to pay for things you won't be using. Thanks,
  7. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    oops I thought when you said serveral thousand per channel I thought you were talking for just the mtr. ofcourse if you include the processing/console etc....well it can be over a million.

    In regards to the MX2424 I think in its targeted price range its an excellent box, I have never had a chance to use the mackie version soo others may have some opinions on that one or I guess alesis makes one too?

    I honsetly think money better spent on nice DI's, mic's and preamps can provide you with alot more bang for the dollar than spending that cash on an appogee or prism. Then again thats just my opinion...

    If all you want is 8 tracks then a M20 adat or DA88 can be had real cheap....slap on some nice converters and your done. however I think after you buy the converters and machine you will be tipping into the price range of an MX2424 which would provide you with a higher track count for future use.

    It sounds as if this is for a personal studio? if so I wouldnt worry too much about a better clock. Again the amount of money you would spend on the clock would be less noticeable than spending that cash on pre's, eq's di's monitors etc....just focus on whats going to give you the most for your dollar in terms of sound.... if you want plug-in's, extensive editing etc....then a workstation may be a better option. If you have or want an actual desk then the MX2424 or the like may be a better option.
  8. lucky

    lucky Guest

    Hey, thanks for the replies. I'm looking into all this stuff, and considering my best options. Talk to you later,
  9. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2003
    Kansas City, KS
    Home Page:
    If you must, a Tascam 3440 was good for what it was.

    If you are going to do that, go for a 1" 8-track from Studer. I know where one is. Actually, I have three.

    Really though, until you have spent the bucks on a great digital system, and you have mastered it, don't throw in the towel just yet. And remember that crap analog will sound no better than crap digital.

    There are many top 100 albums made with black-face Adats. So it ain't always the gear.
  10. Consul

    Consul Guest

    I looked into going all-analog for my own home studio, and have had to decide against it. Make sure you take a good look at how much the tapes themselves cost.

    And the way I see it, Alan Parsons has recorded some awesome stuff on digital, so I know it can be done. Of course, Alan Parsons is a demigod when it comes to audio engineering, but...

    Now one thing I am considering doing is buying a good 1/2" two-track for mixdowns to take to the mastering house. Anyone have any opinions on this? The idea is that I would do all my tracking at 24/96 and mix down to the two-track analog deck.

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