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Tascam 144 Portastudio
Old 11th February 2009
  #1
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
Tascam 144 Portastudio

Any one use one? In good condition, worth dropping 50 bucks on? I'd like a tape four track just to have one for FX and demos...i think forcing myself to commit to things on tape will make me a more judicious songwriter.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #2
Lives for gear
 
retractablezing's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
3rd best portastudio ever built, second in my opinion since i don't consider the 246 to be a true portastudio (too much features, sort of like a miniature 388). the 144 is second only to the 244, which is indeed the best portastudio ever built.

for 50 bucks, if in good condition, it's being given away. note that it doesn't have inserts though. in direct comparison with the 244, i'd say it lacks inserts, but the eq sounds better.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
worst case you could always just use the mic pre for something.
i'm rediscovering some of the mic pre's in old cassette deks n useing them to trak into a daw.
got a nice crooning vocal tother day with a 57.
if it works good..jeesh for 50 buks no brainer.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #4
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TurboJets's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
It's worth $50 just for the "sound" of the built-in auto limiter IMHO. I keep my portastudio around just for lining a signal through when I want that auto limiter sound which is very smooth to my ears. "small" sound, but very useful.
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
Awesome. I'm thinking about outfitting my entire studio with old tascam home recording stuff. It's super cheap now, and will only go up in value if taken care of, much like all the Altec crap from the 60's.

hehe or not.
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #6
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DCtoDaylight's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldTimey ➡️
Awesome. I'm thinking about outfitting my entire studio with old tascam home recording stuff. It's super cheap now, and will only go up in value if taken care of, much like all the Altec crap from the 60's.

hehe or not.
Ha! I'm stockpiling ADATs, MIDIverbs and RA power amps so that when the "Alesis Sound" becomes the hot thing in 2017, I can be the new king of vintage!

And, oh, on the Portastudio, I'd say grab it for $50. I always liked the Yamaha ones better, but the Tascam ones were very solid.
Old 13th February 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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doncaparker's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I keep one around because they are handy for anything dealing with cassettes.
Old 8th April 2009 | Show parent
  #8
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PhatStax Drums's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I have a friend with some historically significant archived (more-or-less) tapes made on a 144. What is the best way to get the four individual tracks straight off those tapes? Not sure if Dolby B was used on the tapes, but let's assume it was.

Would a late-model Portastudio with individual track outs, play back the 144 tapes? I've heard that the track format is different but I'm not positive on that yet.

In what way, physically, or is it just a phase issue (I've read that some Portas used reverse-phase on every other track to get better crosstalk, which seems at first blush at least, like a neat idea, not sure of all the implications) that could easily be fixed in software?

And, about the Dolby B, is there a way to recreate it in Cubase and/or a VST plug-in, or Wavelab, or would one be better off just dealing with the raw, punchier track without what Dolby B did to things? (That's easy to just listen to, but curious if there's a SW emulation of Dolby B, there must be,right?)



Are some studios equipped to deal with this issue already? (If anyone would happen to know offhand)

We're in the DC/Baltimore area.


Thanks for anyone who sees this
Old 8th April 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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Mark Kaufman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
$50 is a good price for what is essentially an ever-ready notebook for recording ideas and tracks...as well as a serviceable, nicely-colored preamped signal between your mic and your digital interface. As far as recording in earnest, you probably won't be able to avoid avoid tape hiss. If you can manage separate track outs, then you might be able to get an okay result mixing old stuff in digital...but don't bother to align 4 tracks that were played consecutively...the tape will always be a tad different each play, and they never sync up properly from start to finish on a DAW.
Old 26th July 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
tascam portastudio 144 vs. 244; can 144 recorded tapes be used on a 244 ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhatStax Drums ➡️
I have a friend with some historically significant archived (more-or-less) tapes made on a 144. What is the best way to get the four individual tracks straight off those tapes? Not sure if Dolby B was used on the tapes, but let's assume it was.

Would a late-model Portastudio with individual track outs, play back the 144 tapes? I've heard that the track format is different but I'm not positive on that yet.

In what way, physically, or is it just a phase issue (I've read that some Portas used reverse-phase on every other track to get better crosstalk, which seems at first blush at least, like a neat idea, not sure of all the implications) that could easily be fixed in software?

And, about the Dolby B, is there a way to recreate it in Cubase and/or a VST plug-in, or Wavelab, or would one be better off just dealing with the raw, punchier track without what Dolby B did to things? (That's easy to just listen to, but curious if there's a SW emulation of Dolby B, there must be,right?)



Are some studios equipped to deal with this issue already? (If anyone would happen to know offhand)

We're in the DC/Baltimore area.


Thanks for anyone who sees this


hi Phatstax

My first post ever on a forum so I hope I've posted it in the right place..

I read your post and I'm having about the same questions here..
Have you come up with any answers yet ?since I saw no replies on your post..
I may want to buy a portastudio 244 since it has 4 seperate outs which I'll be neading eventually to get my old tapes that I once recorded on a porta 144 in seperate tracks on logic pro .
In answer to one of your questions.. ; My old and busted 144 never had any a dolby system.. My question therefor is : on a 244 I'm relatively sure there is a (automatic?) DBX.. CAN ONE SWITCH IT OFF ? That would be important since all my tapes are recorded Without DBX ! If I can't switch it off I'd have a problem I'd say..
2nd; IS the format any different ?
3d; the reversed phase issue.. has anyone sorted that one out yet ? Is there any difference between the 144 and the 244 ?
I have the same questions concerning the "PORTA TWO ministudio" also a possible buy with maybe those same problems..

Thanks anyone who'll take the effort to reply !! It would be of great help.. !!
Old 28th February 2013
  #11
Here for the gear
 
ByrneOut Productions's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I came across a cassette Porta 03 Ministudio in my basement a few months back, and I used it to do a direct recording of some songs my friend and I made. The recordings sat on a tape for a number of months until I bought ProTools and found a way to convert them to digital. They maintained a really vintage lo-fi sound (which is what we wanted). The fact that it was recorded to cassette made for a really cool finished product. Over the next few months I recorded some of my own acoustic stuff using the four available tracks to overdub different instruments. Overall, it's really easy to use and comprehend and gives an excellent sound quality, despite how old it is. I would definitely recommend the Porta 03 Ministudio, or anything else in the family for that matter.
Old 10th March 2019
  #12
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Poeh ➡️


hi Phatstax

My first post ever on a forum so I hope I've posted it in the right place..

I read your post and I'm having about the same questions here..
Have you come up with any answers yet ?since I saw no replies on your post..
I may want to buy a portastudio 244 since it has 4 seperate outs which I'll be neading eventually to get my old tapes that I once recorded on a porta 144 in seperate tracks on logic pro .
In answer to one of your questions.. ; My old and busted 144 never had any a dolby system.. My question therefor is : on a 244 I'm relatively sure there is a (automatic?) DBX.. CAN ONE SWITCH IT OFF ? That would be important since all my tapes are recorded Without DBX ! If I can't switch it off I'd have a problem I'd say..
2nd; IS the format any different ?
3d; the reversed phase issue.. has anyone sorted that one out yet ? Is there any difference between the 144 and the 244 ?
I have the same questions concerning the "PORTA TWO ministudio" also a possible buy with maybe those same problems..

Thanks anyone who'll take the effort to reply !! It would be of great help.. !!
There’s a weird kick I get out of responding to extremely old threads (that aren’t closed), but in a more serious sense I can answer your questions for someone else who may be googling this.

The 144 automatically utilized Dolby B NR (which back that was just referred to as “Dolby System” on the unit, since A was the only other one available and only used in pro/lab settings), just as the 244 utilized a DBX NR system, which had noticeably improved frequency response/preservation, especially in the high frequencies. Neither noise reduction system could be shut off, as they were integrated with the preamps themselves with no bypass.
The 246, on the other hand, was the predictable evolution of both of these units. Individual tape outs like the 244, but with switchable DBX as well, that could even be switched to only handle input, output or track 4 signals. Not only that, it could be set to a “normal” cassette tape speed, half of the 3,3/4 ips used for better fidelity on Portastudios of that caliber/time. This would allow you (potentially) to play back commercial cassettes or cassettes made on later models and machines that only recorded at 1,7/8 ips. The only consideration would be the tape head configuration of the machine that recorded the orignal vs the 246, but chances were good they were mostly compatible. Tascam even provided graphic tapehead specifications back then in the user manuals for that reason.

All that functionality makes the 246 is the ideal machine for archiving and digitalization of almost any four track cassette. Because of the mild nature of the Dolby B NR, it would likely be acceptable to simply shut off the DBX on the 246 and send the tracks while hearing the compression of Dolby NR on the raw tracks in your DAW, as utilizing a multiband compressor/decompressor would do the trick, or even simply messing with the highs on the eq, as Dolby B mostly compressed those frequencies.

You could potentially even archive/master old Porta02 mkiii tapes (or from machines like it) that didn’t utilize any NR and played at 1,7/8’s.

All that said, the 246, while an amazing Porta even by today’s standards, didn’t have the amazing EQ/preamp sound or vibe of the original 144 or 244, so there was a trade-off for all the functionality it offered.

As for reverse phase, I honestly don’t know the answer to that in terms of whether they used that for better crosstalk numbers, but I’d imagine that’s also fixable in any DAW.

I hope this helps someone on the hunt for some old Tascam analog vibe :-)
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