BLOG (March 2006 - March 2009)


April 10, 2006

DIY Tape Return: 1st Attempt FAILED

It started off with great promise and a rush of blood to the head, but unfortunatly my first attempt at constructing a tape return has failed miserably.

The idea started with a sketch in my notebook (see below), and I was immediatly convinced that it was possible to create a tape return using my Tascam 424 Portastudio and an old Panasonic tape deck/amplifier.

As you can see by this crude representation, it should have worked, but then I realised that a inherent function of the Panasonic tape deck (or all tape decks for that matter) was getting in the way: that is, the erase head - it had be dealt with:

As soon as the erase head had been violently removed from the deck, I realised that I could have prevented it from functioning by placing some black tape over the head. Now I have a tape deck without an erase head - which is unique in a way.

The connections were then made:

TASCAM 424 output (via tape sends 1&2) > PANASONIC Aux input.
PANASONIC output (via stereo phones jack) > TASCAM 424 Mic/Line inputs.

The tape that I loaded into the PANASONIC (w/o erase head) had a series of short piano motifs recorded to it before hand. The tape in the TASCAM 424 was blank.


I had hoped that when I hit record/play on the PANASONIC, the signal from the piano tape would be recorded by the blank tape in the TASCAM 424, this would allow me to affect the signal return to the PANASONIC by using the TASCAM's 4-band EQ, tape speed and pitch control. Unfortunatly, the design of the record/playback mechanism in the PANASONIC deck prevented the piano tape to be heard simultaneously whilst the Aux signal (from the TASCAM) was being recorded to the same tape. That's a pretty complicated explanation, but to keep it short - it didn't work. Back to the black book - maybe there's something on the net.

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