Tascam 424 mkiii Portastudio - help!

Hi tape heads,

I just received this machine through an eBay purchase. Unfortunately, there appear to be a few issues with the transport controls. Was wondering if anybody here might be able to say whether these point to any specific type of problem.

Before getting onto those though, one thing strikes me as strange. When I switch the unit on, the motor starts spinning without me having used any of the transport controls. It makes quite some noise and seems weird that the machine would do this when it is idle. Is this normal?

Then, the transport control issues:

- The PLAY button only works intermittently. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it jerks forward and then stops.
- The RECORD button also only works intermittently. Some times it works and sometimes it jerks forward, then stops, then jerks forward, etc.
- The REW and F FWD buttons don’t work at all sadly, nor does the RTZ (Return To Zero) function.

Do those types of issues point to any specific type of problem?


Sounds like it got dropped a few times. That stuff is not supposed to happen normally.

Aww sh!t :frowning:

So the thing about the motor spinning from the moment you switch the machine on - that’s not supposed to happen then either? Definitely feels wrong.

Ya man it’s broken! If they said it was working, then you can return it, even if they say no returns. eBay has your back for shit like this!

I do remember the metal spindle did always spin and when you press play the pinch roller would raise up and make contact. Always struck me as odd ,but was the way it was.

Thanks guys. Luckily the guy has offered me a full refund. I’m going to do a video of the issues tonight to send to him. Such a shame, I was already uber inspired to put some tracks down and go off on some weird experiment. I think I will search out another one.

Thanks for confirming the spindle thing @Spheric_El.

I do remember the metal spindle did always spin and when you press play the pinch roller would raise up and make contact. Always struck me as odd ,but was the way it was.

the motor always runs, it’s a way to address the pitch-up from 0 upon beginning of playback if the motor starts. standard on tape decks actually.

I’ve got a couple tape machines mate. Are you into fixing stuff yourself if it’s minor problems? I’ve got a PortaStudio Mk1. It’s a heavy beast so shipping might be a little costly but I think it will be an easy fix. It is mint condition, has sexy VU Meters and can run on batteries! Pm me if ya interested :slight_smile:
The other is a Fostex X26. Not really interested in selling that one though but I could, I’ve grown great trust in the bountiful used goods stores here in Japan :slight_smile:

Thanks for the offer @HisMostDarxxxellent, but I think I’ll decline. I think the one that was sent to me is in pretty good condition bar these issues which I’m sure can be sorted out by peeking inside and tinkering. The problem is, I know I’m totally rubbish at these things, which is why I shelled out the extra on what I thought would be a plug and play job. Ah well, the seller’s been pretty good about it and I should get my refund ok. The thing does look the business though - I love the idea of the two sends and returns… I had big plans for El Cap and Big Sky to go on those! One day, I’ll get another one :slight_smile:

What! Wait! Didn’t pay much attention the messages before, sorry @yoof
No, it’s not broken. The same happens with my Fostex. I found it out after trouble shooting. Troubleshooting is fun, I always learn many things!
I turn on the machine and the motor starts. It’s noisy but after a while you just get used to it.
Nice post @eesn :slight_smile:

Yes, cheers @eesn, makes sense.

ps the motor itself probably makes very little noise, the rest you can clean and lubricate… tapeheads.net but not for the faint-hearted.