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Analog Multi Track Audio Recording
Low Budget - What to get?

Question: I am looking for a 4 or 8 track tape recorder. Ideally I am looking for a machine that on the cheaper side. Any suggestions?
©2008 ultraelectronicactiv.com
Answer: I assume that you are looking for a multi track recorder - records tracks separately and independent form each other; and allows over dub and mix down of tracks . Records and plays at the same time - versus 4 or 8 track home stereo cartridge player / recorder - only can record and play stereo, or the qudraphonic decks: 4 channels at the time

I can provide both. If the answer is "Multi track": have several reel to reel based 4 track multi track recording decks.

My question to you would be: What is on the "cheaper side" - In other words: Dollar amount. The issue here is: Due to age these decks require a lot of restoration work to work properly again, which is expensive.

If looking for something in the "budget non existent" range my suggestion would be to look for a cassette based multi tracker out there on maybe craigslist directly form an end user to find one that still works. If carefully checking that each and everything works, before you buy, that would be your best chance to achieve the lowest cost goal. Check each channel of the mixer and that every track on the tape records and plays properly. These items are best tested with continuous test tones (such as a sustaining note form a synthesizer / keyboard - if no test tone CD / test tone generator is available)

One piece of advice if looking to buy a multi tracker form out there: The condition of the heads in regards to how much wear is very important for sound quality; And: 8 track cassette multi trackers: A loud and clear NO- NO. There is just not enough space for the music on that narrow and flimsy cassette tape - the slightest head wear or wear in the tape transport produces poor sound) In my opinion: This technology was pushed just too far over the edge! (4 track is okay, especially if the deck runs at double speed for better sound quality)

As multi track cassette decks are nearly as maintenance intensive as reel to reel decks, but are traded for much less, due to lower sound quality, I do not deal with multi track cassette decks any longer. If I was restore one for you that you bought somewhere else, expect necessary repair / restoration work to be in the starting $400 - $500 range for to work in studio quality. Quality work takes time. Form my experience of having performed factory warranty service for multi trackers in the 90's, I am trying to tell you the bad news up front.

Other than that: if ready for quality gear in higher budget ranges: My 4 track reel to reel decks start refurbished to reliably working condition in about the $600 range.
Tell me what you are planning to record, and in what budge range and we'll take it form there.
2008 ultraelectronicactiv.com

Vintage Multi Track Decks For Sale

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