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Question about Maxell 109069 Audio Cassette (Type 1) (6-Pack)

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Tascam 488 mk II recording problems

Hello, I have a general question regarding the Tascam 488 Mk II. First and foremost , I wish to say this is an amazing piece of equipment and so far I am amazed with the ability to record 8 tracks onto a cassette tape. I love this machine and I am very happy with its ability to record in such high fidelity. My question is somewhat unusual, as I have never experienced anything like this before. The Tascam 488 Mk II, is intended to be used with High bias, type II(Cro2) Audio tapes. My favorite brand is Maxell. I am using high bias, XLII90 minute cassettes. Yesterday I recorded onto tracks 1 and 2. I used 2 Xlr microphones for the inputs. The meters were not too high but at normal recording levels. When I played back the tracks, they were extremely garbled sounding. I could barley hear anything at all from tracks 1 or 2. I also tried recording via the line input function, for tracks 1 and 2. Again, I had the same garbled results. When recording on tracks 3 through 8, everything was perfect. The audio quality and fidelity were excellent. This is where things get really strange. I used another tape all together different and recorded on tracks 1 and 2 once again. This time I used a normal bias audio tape (type 1). The tape was a normal bias 90 minute cassette(UR type 1). Everything was perfect, no audible dropouts or garbled sounds from tracks 1 or 2. I also used another cassette tape when testing tracks 1 and 2. This time I used a Sony 90 minute audio cassette(Type 1). The results were the same. All of the tracks worked just fine. I then took another Maxell type 2 (XLII) cassette tape and recorder on tracks 1 and 2. Again, I had the same garbled , inaudible sound for these tracks. I don?t like deviating from the correct type of tape I should be using. I have used Maxell in older versions of the portastudios, and always had excellent results. This is really unusual and I was wondering if you had any advice to correct this. I?ve already cleaned the tape heads several times. Also they have been demagnetized using a electronic demagnetizer . I would really like to know if there is a specific brand of high bias cassette tape recommended for this unit. I?ve even tried the Tdk sm series blank cassettes. These tapes are supposed to be the best for multi track portastudios. I would appreciate any advice you may have. This does not seem to be a unit malfunction, but more of a cassette malfunction. Perhaps the cassette housing may differ from brand to brand?? Everything else is in mint condition and proper working order. I would really like to avoid having this unit serviced if possible as technicians prices are quite high in my area.

Posted by rick mcmillian on

  • rick mcmillian Aug 23, 2007

    Thanks for trying to help pomonabill22.
    I've checked the tapes and had no problems at all with them.
    The studio work fine with normal bias tapes, but does not record well with high bias type 2 tapes.
    I did not see any visible signs of wear or damage to any of the tapes.
    I really cannot tell if the tape path is incorrect or not.
    As far as different bias settings, I really not certain at all.
    My 488 mk 2 does not have any type of selector
    or bias setting.
    Unless you meant the internal bias selector.
    It really does not add up at all.
    Tracks 1 and 2 will not record on cro2 tapes, under any conditions.
    However, they will record on normal type 1 tapes.
    And to top it all off, track 8 recently stopped resonding.
    I no longer see the digital read out when trying to record on this track.
    Perhaps the channel is blown.
    I really wish I could locate a manual for this recorder.
    I guess I will have to bring it to a tech for a full checkup one of these day.
    I hope it's not too expensive.

    Thanks again



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Have you taken a look at the edge of the tape? tracks 1 and 2 on a cassette are usually next to the edge and you may have a bad batch of tapes that have the edge damaged. Another possible but not a likley problem might be the tape is out of spec. for the width, and your heads MAY have a little wear from use, and are trying to act like tape guides. If the tape is slightly wider than the grove worn in the head, the tape would be lifted at the edge and not make contact to the head. It is not electronic as you have diagnosed this with other tapes. Give it a try and see!

Posted on Aug 11, 2007

  • Anonymous Aug 11, 2007

    Another thought....
    Have you tried the bad cassettes with different bias settings? This would eliminate the record bias oscillator, modulator, head, (the record path) electronics.



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