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Tascam Model 5 Board
Old 30th November 2007
  #1
Registered User
 
🎧 15 years
Tascam Model 5 Board

I was at a local record shop tonight when an 8 channel recording console that looked like it was from the 70s caught my eye. I'm not sure of the model, it's either a Tascam Model 5, or a Tascam Teac 80-8.

It was on sale for $200, and the dude at the store told us he would clean it for us and if we weren't 100% satisfied, we could bring it back for a full refund, so we put a deposit on it.

Now as far as layout and ins and outs go, it is an 8 channel board, with 4 busses, a master section and monitor section w/ talkback. There are 8 XLR inputs, but as far as other inputs/outputs go, it's all 1/8" connections.

We figured for the money, it couldn't hurt, and since we're trying to go for that old vintage vibe, it would be at least a cool piece to try out.

Does anybody have any information on this board, or information on how we could possibly take those 1/8" outputs and convert them to 1/4" for the sake of monitors and line in signals? This thing is older than me...

Thanks so much,

Alex
Old 30th November 2007
  #2
PDC
Registered User
 
🎧 15 years
That isn't a console to have for vintage vibe really. For $200...you should E-bay it.
Old 30th November 2007 | Show parent
  #3
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by PDC ➑️
That isn't a console to have for vintage vibe really. For $200...you should E-bay it.
Oh...how come?

Do you think we could make money off it on E-bay?

Alex
Old 30th November 2007 | Show parent
  #4
Registered User
 
🎧 15 years
I think those usually go for around $350.
Old 30th November 2007 | Show parent
  #5
Registered User
 
🎧 15 years
Yeah but how does it sound!?

Honestly I'm not very interested in making a profit on this, it's stupid cheap, $100 bucks each with my partner.

My goal for this is so have a board that sounds nice and lo-fi with some quirky sound to it. I'm not looking for high end, or usable EQ or even really good pres, but I do alot of lofi, DIY style music, so if that board can achieve that, I'll be really happy with it.

If it's a useless piece of garbage, I'll just walk it back to the store for the full refund. I'm hoping it will have some purpose, I mean even if it only does one thing well, it may be worth the $200 price tag? You could spend that on a cable...

Thanks for taking the time to read this!
Old 30th November 2007 | Show parent
  #6
Registered User
 
🎧 15 years
I'm surprised to hear that they are 1/8" inputs. The Model 5 was the precursor to the Model 35 (which I started out on) and it had XLR, 1/4" and RCA jacks - not one 1/8" to be seen anywhere.

The 5 is an ok mixer, as long as you don't fall into the trap of comparing it to real vintage high end gear. If it's in good shape (pots cleaned, connections burnished) it's can be a nice sounding mix board. Ok, so you're not gonna get a Neve, AMI, or Quad 8 flavor from it, but the channel strips are solidly built, individually framed, and have a decent xfmr mic preamp. When most people complain, it's about the EQ, which is a 2 band switch selectable range design. Heck, even that wasn't as bad as some would have you believe. At the time these were marketed, they were fairly state of the art & competitively priced for the budding home studio musician crowd. In fact, they were top of the line given the other options in that price range.

I have some very nice mixes from my Tascam Model 35 days. Tracks that still sound good run through much higher end, modern gear.

You aren't going to get squat on eBay for this gear. I'd say you are better off using it in a workhorse capacity, where some abuse is likely. It is built tough enough to handle that type of environment. Otherwise, I'd try to sell it local first, and not have to deal with shipping (it's real heavy).
Old 30th November 2007 | Show parent
  #7
Registered User
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingDaddyO ➑️
I'm surprised to hear that they are 1/8" inputs. The Model 5 was the precursor to the Model 35 (which I started out on) and it had XLR, 1/4" and RCA jacks - not one 1/8" to be seen anywhere.

The 5 is an ok mixer, as long as you don't fall into the trap of comparing it to real vintage high end gear. If it's in good shape (pots cleaned, connections burnished) it's can be a nice sounding mix board. Ok, so you're not gonna get a Neve, AMI, or Quad 8 flavor from it, but the channel strips are solidly built, individually framed, and have a decent xfmr mic preamp. When most people complain, it's about the EQ, which is a 2 band switch selectable range design. Heck, even that wasn't as bad as some would have you believe. At the time these were marketed, they were fairly state of the art & competitively priced for the budding home studio musician crowd. In fact, they were top of the line given the other options in that price range.

I have some very nice mixes from my Tascam Model 35 days. Tracks that still sound good run through much higher end, modern gear.

You aren't going to get squat on eBay for this gear. I'd say you are better off using it in a workhorse capacity, where some abuse is likely. It is built tough enough to handle that type of environment. Otherwise, I'd try to sell it local first, and not have to deal with shipping (it's real heavy).
First, I really appreciate your help.

From what I saw on the back of the board, everything was 1/8" besides the 8 XLR ins. If there anyway to make those 1/4" so I can use my monitors, etc? Everything we track will probably be miced, so it's not super important for line in inputs, but it would be nice to use my monitors.

And you're right, I don't expect a high end console like a Neve, that's not even what I want. I just want something quirky and cool I can track to my 1/4" reel to reel and just make some cool, old-sounding, lo-fi songs/albums. Two people I'm working with (recording school has been awesome for this) are into the old style like I am, recording all live off the floor and just using talent and creativity to replace the hours of editing and countless takes, since we haven't learned that yet.

What I'm thinking is either tracking to the reel to reel and then dumping it into Pro Tools to get them onto CD or just taking our reels to get them mastered to vinyl...

In any event, if this board can do any of what I want, it will be worth the minimal investment.
Old 30th November 2007 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
FireMoon's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
I agree with those who say buy it and use it's inherent *weaknesses* as strengths. Go with it's limitations and adopt those as part of the sound and you shouldn't go far wrong. If it paints the sort of aural canvasses you are seekig, then it is the right piece of kit.

There's a lass called Sofia Deville on My Space, from Sweden, her stuff would have most people on here shuddering at the sonic qualities. Sounds just right though, in the context of what she does. And that's the key, your ears are the final decider. If it achieves the sort of noises you want to make then it's right.
Old 30th November 2007 | Show parent
  #9
Registered User
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prufrocker ➑️
First, I really appreciate your help.

From what I saw on the back of the board, everything was 1/8" besides the 8 XLR ins. If there anyway to make those 1/4" so I can use my monitors, etc? Everything we track will probably be miced, so it's not super important for line in inputs, but it would be nice to use my monitors.

And you're right, I don't expect a high end console like a Neve, that's not even what I want. I just want something quirky and cool I can track to my 1/4" reel to reel and just make some cool, old-sounding, lo-fi songs/albums. Two people I'm working with (recording school has been awesome for this) are into the old style like I am, recording all live off the floor and just using talent and creativity to replace the hours of editing and countless takes, since we haven't learned that yet.

What I'm thinking is either tracking to the reel to reel and then dumping it into Pro Tools to get them onto CD or just taking our reels to get them mastered to vinyl...

In any event, if this board can do any of what I want, it will be worth the minimal investment.
You could get a bunch of adapters to make the connections, or you could make your own cables if you're handy with a soldering iron.

As far as the sound and what you are trying to do - the board is fine and will easily handle this work. The only other problem I can see that you will have, is that the board is a line level design (-10), and your PT or A/D convertors will likely default to +4. Most good gear will allow you to select between these input levels, so that won't necessarily be a show stopper. Once you've gotten past these 2 issues, you should be ready to roll tape ... so to speak.

It can be fun & productive to work with older gear that others might not give a 2nd thought about. For the money I'd say that you may be surprised what you can do with this board.

But watch those mic pres - they don't overdrive in the 'good' sense!
Old 30th November 2007 | Show parent
  #10
Registered User
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by FireMoon ➑️
I agree with those who say buy it and use it's inherent *weaknesses* as strengths. Go with it's limitations and adopt those as part of the sound and you shouldn't go far wrong. If it paints the sort of aural canvasses you are seekig, then it is the right piece of kit.

There's a lass called Sofia Deville on My Space, from Sweden, her stuff would have most people on here shuddering at the sonic qualities. Sounds just right though, in the context of what she does. And that's the key, your ears are the final decider. If it achieves the sort of noises you want to make then it's right.
Exactly. I don't want an SSL with dedicated compression on each channel. I don't want 96 tracks of pristine Pro Tools digital-ness. I want some character...I want lo-fi, I don't want polished or pretty. If this piece of gear gives me the grit and grunge that I'm looking for, for $200 bucks, I'll be very happy.
Old 30th November 2007 | Show parent
  #11
Registered User
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingDaddyO ➑️
You could get a bunch of adapters to make the connections, or you could make your own cables if you're handy with a soldering iron.

As far as the sound and what you are trying to do - the board is fine and will easily handle this work. The only other problem I can see that you will have, is that the board is a line level design (-10), and your PT or A/D convertors will likely default to +4. Most good gear will allow you to select between these input levels, so that won't necessarily be a show stopper. Once you've gotten past these 2 issues, you should be ready to roll tape ... so to speak.

It can be fun & productive to work with older gear that others might not give a 2nd thought about. For the money I'd say that you may be surprised what you can do with this board.

But watch those mic pres - they don't overdrive in the 'good' sense!
Very happy to solder my own wires, again this is something school will teach, and I am excited to get into that.

Is the board unbalanced? And it's not "roll to tape so to speak" we're going to be doing alot of tracking to my buddies 1/4" 4 track, using the busses.

Would the clipping sound like digital clipping or nicer? We've been clipping the inputs of my 002 for a specific sound for an artist I'm working with. It sounds like shit on it's own, but in context I love the way it sounds with the instrumentation.

Thank you so much for your help, I appreciate the time people on this board give to the new generations of engineers. It's good to know that somewhere, on the internet, people are happy to give free advice to those who aren't in the know.
Old 30th November 2007 | Show parent
  #12
Registered User
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prufrocker ➑️
Very happy to solder my own wires, again this is something school will teach, and I am excited to get into that.

Is the board unbalanced? And it's not "roll to tape so to speak" we're going to be doing alot of tracking to my buddies 1/4" 4 track, using the busses.

Would the clipping sound like digital clipping or nicer? We've been clipping the inputs of my 002 for a specific sound for an artist I'm working with. It sounds like shit on it's own, but in context I love the way it sounds with the instrumentation.

Thank you so much for your help, I appreciate the time people on this board give to the new generations of engineers. It's good to know that somewhere, on the internet, people are happy to give free advice to those who aren't in the know.
No problem, I'm glad to help.

Except for the XLRs, the inputs are unbalanced. As far as the clipping, I recall that the Model 35 mic pres could become very harsh when clipped continuously (think fuzz pedal harsh). I wouldn't call it musically sweet (like The Beatles 'Revolution') but it can handle some clipping before turning angry. The Tascam 5/30/35 series all had a fair amount of overhead, considering that they were line level boards. You'll get better recordings if you maintain good gain staging, as your signal moves through the board ... than if you try to smash it at the front end. You could add color/warmth from altering the live room sound, or by over saturating the tape on the back end. And there's always the option of running through an external mic pre if the board doesn't give you the flavor or overdrive that you're looking for.
Old 30th November 2007 | Show parent
  #13
Registered User
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingDaddyO ➑️
No problem, I'm glad to help.

Except for the XLRs, the inputs are unbalanced. As far as the clipping, I recall that the Model 35 mic pres could become very harsh when clipped continuously (think fuzz pedal harsh). I wouldn't call it musically sweet (like The Beatles 'Revolution') but it can handle some clipping before turning angry. The Tascam 5/30/35 series all had a fair amount of overhead, considering that they were line level boards. You'll get better recordings if you maintain good gain staging, as your signal moves through the board ... than if you try to smash it at the front end. You could add color/warmth from altering the live room sound, or by over saturating the tape on the back end. And there's always the option of running through an external mic pre if the board doesn't give you the flavor or overdrive that you're looking for.
If fuzz pedal harsh is what I'm looking for (in certain instances, that's exactly what I'm looking for) will this board be worth the cheap price tag?

If I want to add an external mic pre (like an API A2D which I'm a few weeks from owning) how would I do it? Would I take the S/PDIF out and somehow connect it to the 1/8" input? Somehow I think that's wrong...Would I just use a 1/4" to 1/8" connector that I would solder on my own and connect them up? Do I lose any fidelity that way?

Again, for $200 bucks if it only does one sound and does it well, it would be useful even as a sidecar for some really weird applications? If I buy a proper console when I start being more serious, could this little board have some merit?

I don't know...I'm young and I'm in the learning phase of my career and I just wanna be all analog, I want to go beyond the ease and flexibility of digital...I want to make records like my idols did, I want to use the limitations of my gear to my advantage to create something unique...

When it all boils down to it, we all just want to make music right? Don't the limitations of the board force us to use our creativity and musical skills to compensate for the lack of "ability" in our gear? I'm still young, fresh and naive...maybe I need to start paying bills with my music to start taking the whole ordeal more seriously...

I'm overthinking the whole thing, but I don't think we can underestimate anything if we want to make new sonic advancements and music that truly matters.

- Alex
Old 1st December 2007 | Show parent
  #14
Registered User
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prufrocker ➑️
If fuzz pedal harsh is what I'm looking for (in certain instances, that's exactly what I'm looking for) will this board be worth the cheap price tag?

If I want to add an external mic pre (like an API A2D which I'm a few weeks from owning) how would I do it? Would I take the S/PDIF out and somehow connect it to the 1/8" input? Somehow I think that's wrong...Would I just use a 1/4" to 1/8" connector that I would solder on my own and connect them up? Do I lose any fidelity that way?

Again, for $200 bucks if it only does one sound and does it well, it would be useful even as a sidecar for some really weird applications? If I buy a proper console when I start being more serious, could this little board have some merit?

I don't know...I'm young and I'm in the learning phase of my career and I just wanna be all analog, I want to go beyond the ease and flexibility of digital...I want to make records like my idols did, I want to use the limitations of my gear to my advantage to create something unique...

When it all boils down to it, we all just want to make music right? Don't the limitations of the board force us to use our creativity and musical skills to compensate for the lack of "ability" in our gear? I'm still young, fresh and naive...maybe I need to start paying bills with my music to start taking the whole ordeal more seriously...

I'm overthinking the whole thing, but I don't think we can underestimate anything if we want to make new sonic advancements and music that truly matters.

- Alex
Alex, You've already got the board right? Then you should just dive in and see what you come up with. Clip the inputs, see if they gunk things up the way you like. In a few weeks you'll have a new (much nicer, more expensive) toy to play with. Use this interim period to wring out the board and learn it's capabilities ... so that you are ready for another piece of gear to wrestle with. It's good to move in progressive steps, instead of trying to juggle several technical issues at one time.

As far as the S/PDIF goes, that won't work with this board. You can only connect digital to digital.

For the purest signal chain, you would typically connect the external mic pre XLR output, directly to the tape input (you'll need an adapter unless you have XLR inputs on the deck). Then you color things the way you like during the tape playback through the mixer. Alternatively you could run the API's XLR out, to the Model 5 XLR input, and use the channel 'Trim' to set a working level. Aim for the highest clean level below clipping, then adjust mix level as necessary with the channel fader. You really won't know what's what until you experiment and see if you like the results. Keep in mind, you'll have greater headroom to work with as your mix progresses (all those the other channels add up to reduce your total available headroom) if you can use get the sounds you want at a lower mix level. The key is to monitor at a practical level - but keep your mix level well below max.

But no matter what happens, it sounds like the seller gave you a reasonable period of time to return the board for a full refund, so you can experiment without fear, right? And that's part of what makes all of this fun.

So get busy Start recording !!
Old 5th August 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Registered User
 
🎧 15 years
I am going to jump on here an ask a few questions (I actually used the search function!!)

But I saw one for $85 at a local pawn shop that is in good condition and I was thinking I could use it to expand my old Digi001 interface.

Good idea? bad idea?
Old 5th August 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
just found this pict…



ah… memories…
Old 6th August 2009 | Show parent
  #17
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Gulliver's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I have this exact mixer and have used it for drum inputs on occasion. I think the comment about just having one thing and doing it well is about right. It does have "a sound", and one that would work well with a reel-to-reel. That's exacly what they were designed to be used with.

That being said, the character is somewhat "lo-fi", but was pretty good for prosumer stuff in the day.

The inputs aren't happy overdriven with hot signals, nothing nice happens there.

I bought mine in pristine condition from a woman in Nashville. In an Anvil case, it was $50..
Old 31st May 2010 | Show parent
  #18
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
i was given an 8 channel teac 5 board for free from my church along with a 12 channel expansion mixer. i was thinking about selling them and buying a more advanced board with more capabilities and better qualities. any idea what the main and expansion boards would go for? ive seen the main teac 5 for over 800$ on ebay.
Old 1st June 2010 | Show parent
  #19
Registered User
 
Etnier's Avatar
 
🎧 20 years
My first studio, 1978, Model 5 with expander... and a Marshall Time Modulator.

I think the OP may be confusing RCA jacks for 1/8"
Attached Thumbnails
Tascam Model 5 Board-spinning-reels.jpg  
Old 1st June 2010 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
sameal's Avatar
that board looks cool!

the 1/8th inputs can easily be converted over to 1/4th, but you have to be confident in your soldering skills.

there is no difference in unbalanced 1/4th and 1/8th. you should be able to pop it open, drill the holes a bit and swap the connectors inside.

if there board mount run wire leads and twist.

or make up a bunch of cables. either way you get the job done.
Old 17th July 2010 | Show parent
  #21
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c2...S/IMG_3342.jpg

I just picked this up from a guy on craigslist for $200. For the same purpose you guys have mentioned, kind of a workhorse location mixer for specific things. I was mostly interested in it because of all the parts that came with it, as a handful of the channel strips don't function properly in one way or another.

My first question is... since the construction is fairly modular can't I just pick and choose the strips I want and move them around to make two good mixers? I see the blank panels, those can be removed to place channels trips in right?

Also, what are some component upgrades I can do on these? like IC upgrades and such. I'm handy with my soldering iron and have a great electronics superstore nearby, I want to upgrade at least one mixer to be as hi-fi as I can get.

Thanks so much you guys!
Old 17th July 2010 | Show parent
  #22
Registered User
 
🎧 15 years
$200 would be the most you should EVER pay for something like that.
Many pawn shops probably wouldn't even take it.

Those are pretty noisy.
The EQ is crappy.

Those TASCAMs were just slightly above being toys.
I have used them way, way back and I actually owned a Model 10B once.
I was in the game when they were introduced, but I was using either my all tube UA 16x3 or the Sphere.
The TASCAMs were pretty far down the ladder of respectability from my perspective, but like I said... there were times that I used those consoles.


And yes... the jacks are all RCAs except for the mic inputs.

Still, if you are just starting out, want to play with an analog console and have limited funds I guess that it would be OK.

Too bad you were not in Dallas about a month ago because there was an estate sale that had many similar and newer TASCAM consoles that could have been bought for next to nothing.
I am certain that some where dumpstered.
Old 17th July 2010 | Show parent
  #23
Deleted 0825e84
Guest
A few points on the Model 5:
1. It has RCA inputs and outputs, not 1/8"
2. I think it has a lower operating level than -10
3. They were made in the 70's
4. There is no vibe or magic attached to these boards. They were fine at the time to work with the Tascam recorders available at that time.

There are simply much better used mixers available now, including other Tascam models.

Mike McRoberts
Old 17th July 2010 | Show parent
  #24
Deleted 0825e84
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Etnier ➑️
My first studio, 1978, Model 5 with expander... and a Marshall Time Modulator.

I think the OP may be confusing RCA jacks for 1/8"
That was a great setup back then, John. Do you still have an Akai DD1000?

Mike McRoberts
Old 16th August 2010 | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
 
jordanvoth's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I have a model 5 in my garage. Its old and was given to me. I have a mackie onyx 800r and an octopre running lightpipe into cubase. I'm not sure if it is even worth the time to go fetch it from the garage. It probably needs a lot of repair. It probably would look really cool in my setup but I don't think I'd have much use for it sonically.
Old 16th August 2010 | Show parent
  #26
Registered User
 
camus's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Just a note, the desk will probably be running at -10dBV, so don't get alarmed if a line level send at +4dBU starts fuzzing it out. You'll need to play with the gain structure of your system a little, or get one of those line level shifters if you really have to...
Old 16th August 2010 | Show parent
  #27
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
Mod. 5 is absolutly HORID...Good for mothing....no vibe...really of no use. A Mackie VLZ will sound great in comparison.
Old 16th August 2010 | Show parent
  #28
Kush Audio
 
u b k's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Ignore the naysayers. Those old Tascams definitely have a vibe, they're a lot of fun to work on.

If you like lean and clean, plugins, and all things modern and crisp, you may not love it. If you like a little dirt in your salad, and aren't afraid of a noise floor that requires good gainstaging practice to get around, you'll dig it.

Try running line level signals into the preamps, they breakup real nicelike. They're 10x more fun if you're running to a dirty little tape deck... overload is your friend.


Gregory Scott - ubk
Old 16th August 2010 | Show parent
  #29
Registered User
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewOrleansSteve ➑️
Mod. 5 is absolutly HORID...Good for mothing....no vibe...really of no use. A Mackie VLZ will sound great in comparison.
let's not go that far, Older Tascam boards are not bad
Old 16th August 2010 | Show parent
  #30
Registered User
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by robertshaw ➑️
let's not go that far, Older Tascam boards are not bad
Right, and consider WHEN they were built..NO Mackie's...
I had a couple years ago, and IF you replace the chips they can be kinda cool..
The input trans are not too bad..Not great but..
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