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TASCAM PORTA 2 TAPES

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TASCAM PORTA 2 TAPES

Postby d-funkt » Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:48 pm

My problem is, I have cassettes recorded on a Tascam Porta 2 (not 02) which no longer works.

These all used DBX noise reduction. Is there any machine I could buy to play/remix these and digitise them ?

I've looked on ebay and most 2's for sale are parts only or about 360 dollars for a 'working' one.

Could I use a lesser Tascam or is there anything else out there that'd do the job ?

Any advice gratefully received and apologies if it's been covered before.

Thanks from d-funkt.
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Re: TASCAM PORTA 2 TAPES

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Jan 06, 2019 2:17 pm

Welcome to the forum.

The Porta 2 recorded at 1 ⅞ i.p.s (standard cassette speed) so it would be possible to transfer the recordings to a computer DAW using a standard stereo cassette player in two passes, (ok, two of the tracks wold be backwards but reversing them and syncing it all back up would be fairly easy). Obviously using a four tracker would be better. WRT the DBX I'd imagine adequate results could be achieved decoding the NR using something like a multiband compression plug in. This article may be helpful http://www.bobweitz.com/dbx_webpage/dbx.html
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Re: TASCAM PORTA 2 TAPES

Postby James Perrett » Sun Jan 06, 2019 3:31 pm

Sam's solution sounds like the cheapest workable way to do this. I've also seen that Bob Weitz page and used it as the basis of my own software Dbx decoding solution but I found that the values given on that page only apply to the software that he's using. I created a Reaper plug-in chain to do this and ended up tweaking things by ear using a tape where I had a reference mix to match.

Nowadays there is also the U-he Satin VST plug-in which includes Dbx encoding/decoding. I've used it for Dolby decoding and had a quick play with the Dbx but haven't used the Dbx for anything serious yet.
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Re: TASCAM PORTA 2 TAPES

Postby d-funkt » Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:37 pm

Thanks for your advice gentlemen, I really appreciate it.
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Re: TASCAM PORTA 2 TAPES

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Jan 08, 2019 6:44 pm

You are welcome. Come back and let us know how you got on. :thumbup:
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Re: TASCAM PORTA 2 TAPES

Postby Tim Gillett » Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:48 pm

Apart from dbx II decoding
issues , manually syncing the tracks together can be a right fiddle. Also from memory, tracks 2 and 3 do not quite line up with standard stereo cassette tracks. This may also lead to problems. Have you considered having your Two repaired? After transferring the tapes you could sell it as a working unit for maybe more than you paid to repair it.
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Re: TASCAM PORTA 2 TAPES

Postby John Reid » Wed Jan 09, 2019 1:53 am

In the past I've transcribed this cassette 4-track format by playing the full tape from a regular stereo deck, flipping the cassette over to play the other two tracks, then reversing one pair and aligning both pairs using the start of the tape hiss hiss after the leader tape as the cue point.
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Re: TASCAM PORTA 2 TAPES

Postby Tim Gillett » Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:53 am

That's basically what Sam described in the first reply. I've never needed to attempt this because I always have fully working 4 track cassette decks on hand.

Problems can arise if the short and long term replay speeds between the two sides arent exactly the same, leading to a timing drift, especially the longer the programme is. This can be improved by stretching or shrinking one stereo track until the start and finish points are the same but... there may still be a drift in and out of sync within the programme. The longer the programme the more potential for drift though. It should be easier if the tapes have short separate tracks. Syncing each short song on its own should be easier than the full 45 minutes of a C90 cassette.


With splitting and then recombining the 4 Portastudio tracks the standards of sync may need to be very high. There may be "phase"/ cancellation issues due to similar content on adjacent tracks. It just depends on the standard of synchronisation the material demands.

For an interesting example of this sort of thing listen to the reissue of the Beach Boys Pet Sounds album and the attempts by engineer Mark Linnet to sync up various mixed and multitracked tapes of the same song in order to present stereo versions of songs originally released in mono.
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