Which Tascam Portastudio?

Which portastudio do you like best and why? Thinking of buying one for a project I’m working on. Brand new to recording on tape. Thanks in advance for input.

If I were to get one I’d get a 414. Small size with nice specs. Stereo inputs, four tracks with EQ controls per track, and a performance friendly looking pitch control knob. I was going between the 414 and some Yamaha MT variant with EQ controls and found a good condition Yamaha MT100II at a good price. Should be arriving this week.

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Hard to tell. Shall it be tape? Could it be digital?

It comes down to the workflow of your project and the setup.

How many tracks are needed? How much multi-tracking, mixing, editing, mixdown, and mastering is needed?

I use a Tascam DP32 SD, which is a digital recording, editing, mixing, and mastering portastudio. It can record 8 tracks simultaniously. It’s as easy to use as one of the old cassette recorders, but offers 32 audio channels, a set of quirky but useful FX, and basic editing, mixing, and mastering features. IMO it’s good enough to record a band and create to a decent demo.

Only thing, which I’m missing, is the lack of midi-synchronization.

Ability to record 4 tracks together is a big plus. 414 has that iirc

Some also have individual outputs.

I had a fostex for a while that had all that plus option to play/record at normal speed and could loop a section of tape for record or playback - also cool, but the simultaneous record on 4 is the main feature I miss now - I have Tascam porta 7

I have a Tascam 424 mk3.
Nice machine but collecting dust here at the moment (not really, it’s boxed).

I can’t really compare because it’s the only one I’ve had.

Owners manual can be found here:

Just was going to Reverb to lookup current sales prices for the Portastudio and this article showed up at the front page. https://reverb.com/news/the-enduring-popularity-of-4-track-cassette-recording (Reverb sponsored of course :wink: )

I recently picked up the Yamaha MT4X at a pretty decent price in near perfect condition off of Reverb. The Tascam units are really priced out comparatively to other brands. That said if it has to be Tascam the 424 or 464 would be the way to go, or if you are feeling crazy the 644 with midi, which was always the one I wanted back in the day.

Tascam are the best known and most seen on youtube influencers videos, but Yamaha, Fostex, Marantz and other brands all make decent cassette 4 tracks, often sometimes cheaper too.


I have the tascam 424 mki, I found one locally for a good deal but I’ve heard they’re quite sought after for the way their preamps distort… They sound incredible on bass.

Mines recently been seeing a lot of use from me, I love the way things sound having been processed through one and it doesn’t have to be as lofi as people make it out to be imo, it can sound pretty OK.


I’ve got the very same DP-32 SD and it has full midi sync, transport and prog change.
I use it as my master clock and transport start/stop and it works a treat.

How do you do this? My Tascam DP-32SD has no MIDI ports at all and the USB is for data exchange only according to the manual. There is not even the term MIDI in the manual :thinking:

Maybe your’s is modded?

They dropped the midi ports from the newer models.

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Bought it brand new from B&H in NYC in 2013.

There you go. …
Why the f#©k would they do that?

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Thank’s for the clarification. So I had just bad luck to come too late to the party. To drop the midi synchronization must have been the work of some guys, who seem to have had no idea, how useful midi is in many cases.

With my machine I work the old-school way using a click-track :frowning:

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I realized the change and never ended up getting one.

Ok, so I’ve been wanting a cassette Portastudio for a long time but never seemed to have any luck finding one. Especially the one I wanted (thanks a lot for putting ideas in my head Alessandro Cortini!)

This week I randomly came across a 414 mkii on the auctions that is supposedly in good working order, so I put in a bid expecting not to actually get it, and I just found out I did! :scream:

I’m both stoked and crapping myself a bit about owning something that could die on me at any time, but I figured if I won it would be fate, and I should roll with it. :sweat_smile:

So here’s my first question.

The only cassette tape I have in the house at the moment is a 90 minute type I (sitting in my guitar case from when I was in high school a million years ago!). I know that 60 minute or less Type II is the preferred tape for this machine, but I watched a YouTube video where someone said they purposefully use a 90 minute Type I to get more of a lofi vibe. Is there anything to that, or should I be seeking out Type II 60 minute tapes right away?

Here’s some pics of the inbound beauty:


I actually found these on Amazon Japan and ordered three. Type II x 60 minutes.

I’d still like to hear advice on what tapes people recommend or general advice.

I’ve used anything I can find but only Type II.

Haven’t been using mine this year, maybe twice or so. Thought about selling for a moment but I get too nostalgic about cassettes to go ahead with it for real. :smiley:

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We had a 688 in the 90’s. That thing was a total beast. Nice mixer section, easy to bounce tracks, midi sync, metal tapes, etc. Hard to find one up and running 100% these days… bonus points if you can find one with the meter bridge.

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Yeah, honestly, I grew up on cassette tapes, so the idea that I just ordered three cassette tapes on Amazon brings a huge smile to my face. Fingers crossed the machine is in good working order.

It looks great in the photos, the seller said they checked all the key functions, they have a really high rating (99% positive) with more than 1,300 auctions, and it’s Japan, so I’m hopeful.

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I mixed cassette tapes before I could ride a bicycle, those were the days my love for music and music tech started. My grandfather had everything, 3 turntables, mixing desk, 2 double cassette players and a reel to reel can’t remember the format. Also the first video cams and a cutter with integrated playback screen,… must have cost him. Also a few organs and a Yamaha and Roland synths, can only remember the brands. I really wish I was older when all that gear slowly vanished because of his hearing and sight problems,… and when I was 12, he was gone forever. Rest in Peace in Geek heaven Grandpa! :heart_decoration: