This month HSR reviews (amongst the new products) two machines which have been available for quite some time - the Revox B77 and Tascam 244. The reason why is simple: an awful lot of people still buy or wish to buy a Portastudio for it's widely recognised as being an excellent entry vehicle into the world of multitrack.
The Revox likewise commands a great deal of respect being, in no uncertain terms, the stereo tape recorder on which to master. Go into any studio - be it a back bedroom or a full-blown 24 track, and you'll either see one or be told the studio used to be proud owners of one - such is their popularity and ability to transcend (falsely) imposed price brackets. The Revox appeals to everybody, regardless of it's cost, for it is looked upon as a 'baby' Studer (the top-quality, professional equivalent) and backed by a lifelong reputation for quality and reliability (something we can rarely test for on new machines).
However, we reckon that the trusty Revox may have some competition (as a stereo mastering machine) from the superb Sony PCM F1 digital recorder. This unit is spotlighted in our new series 'Home Recording With Digital', and proves to be the cheapest method of combatting the inevitable sound deterioration inherent in the analogue recording process.
Of course, at present the widespread use of digital machines like the Sony is prohibited by both cost and the ability to edit recordings without recourse to other recorders. That said, there is still the option of hiring an F1 unit with video recorder, on which to record a stereo master of your home recordings, because regardless of the equipment used to create the recording nobody wants the quality of that master to be degraded further by playback or copying.
Even if you disagree with the notion of 'digital' fulfilling a role in home studios, we feel sure you'll enjoy discovering what the PCM F1 can do.
It's ironic really, because the F1 seems to be treading the same path as Teac's original four track reel-to-reel machine. Both devices were originally designed for domestic markets but were quickly adopted by the recording fraternity. Remember, the Teac A3340 was marketed initially as a quadrophonic recorder in preparation for the predicted 'quad sound' boom of the early seventies — and look what happened to that!
We, here, really have to thank the bright spark who accidentally modified the Teac so that it was capable of four track recording in sync, as without him there'd probably be lots of empty spaces on newsagent's shelves where HSR usually rests (briefly) before being quickly snapped up!
Finally, an appeal... For those readers wondering if they had won the Fostex X-15 Multitracker Competition we ran in our first issue, please bear with us. We were absolutely flooded with entries; far more than we could ever have imagined or even hoped for from the first issue of a new publication. Judging is nearing completion and the eventual winners will be contacted in time to receive their prizes before Christmas... so stay tuned.
Editorial by Ian Gilby
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