Author Topic: 4 track syncing?  (Read 295 times)


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4 track syncing?
« on: December 15, 2018, 11:48:08 PM »
Hi all, been recording on a 424 (mk 3) for around half a year now, and I love it. My issue is that I would like more tracks, and I don't really want to delve into bouncing my tracks down for loss of fidelity and also level control. I also ideally don't want to move to an 8 track if avoidable, and don't want to upgrade to reel-to-reel at this point in my financial situation (the price of tapes is just too expensive to justify splashing on with my minimum wage salary, although I'm sure you all know how that is haha)

My question is does anyone know of any good methods of syncing two separate cassette 4 tracks together to create 8 tracks across the two machines?
I've always thought of doing this but can't think a way around getting the timings right on playback besides good old trial and error, which would surely be frustrating and tedious to say the least

And before anyone mentions it, bouncing tracks to a computer from the machine is not an option to me as I don't currently own a computer and dislike daw's regardless

Cheers all,


Stefan Paul psychboy86

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Re: 4 track syncing?
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2018, 09:26:29 AM »
I think Mike or Jay touched on this in one of the videos, but I think it's basically not possible. It'd be cool if it was. Getting everything to line up would probably be an issue. One bounce isn't going to degrade the quality that much. Mike definitely has a video on bounce degradation.

You could get a second four track or even a home stereo tape deck and record to the first four tracks of your 424 then bounce those four tracks to the second tape machine or deck, then bounce that back into track 1 of the 424. If my theory is correct, this should give you one extra track.

Another option would be to submix or buss say three live inputs (guitar, vocals, drum machine) into channel 1 of the 424. You have to get pretty creative with the four track and it forces you to figure out what the levels need to be. And if it's not right, you'll have to start over, which is a pain in the butt, but also an effective way to learn quickly because there's no undo button here. I've had to start tracks over several times. The more the tape is played and rewound the more it stretches in a unique way. And when instruments get squashed together on one channel it can lower the volume. It' weird. I'm still figuring it out.

I've considered selling my 424 (which isn't working 100 percent) and getting a 488 instead. That baby is 8 tracks and they'll all get squashed onto an 1/8-inch cassette.


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Re: 4 track syncing?
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2018, 09:06:45 AM »
Yeah, this was a topic I was hoping to make a video on but we hashed it out in the live streams with the TascFam and determined that it would just not be possible. There's too many factors that would cause the machines to never quite be in sync. Maybe with a lot of time, money and experimentation but at that point, you may as well graduate to a tape machine with 8 tracks.

+1 for Stefan's idea of bouncing out to a stereo deck. You could save your mixes along the way and also bounce them back to the Tascam and add essentially an infinite amount of tracks to your setup. But yeah, you'll lose some fidelity.

Other than that, +1 for Stefan advice for submixing. Either that, or simply use 4-tracks to make each song.

The loss of fidelity isn't as bad as you think when bouncing; I used to avoid it at all costs but if you get the levels right, you can do a couple without too much of a loss of fidelity. It may be the only option other than submixing or keeping each song simple with 4 tracks.

Good luck!