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TASCAM Portastudio 424 MKII

The TASCAM Portastudio was the world's first four-track recorder based on a standard compact audio cassette tape.

The Portastudio 144 made its debut in 1979 (priced at about $1200.00 Canadian) to be followed by the Porta One in 1984. The Portastudio was a revolutionary creative tool. For the first time it enabled musicians to record affordably several instrumental and vocal parts on different tracks of the built-in four-track recorder and later blend all the parts together, while transferring them to another standard, two-channel stereo tape deck (remix and mixdown) to form a stereo recording.

These machines were typically used by artists to record demos, although they are still often used in Lo-fi recording. The analog portastudios by TASCAM (a division of TEAC) and similar units by Fostex, Akai, Yamaha, Sansui, Marantz, and others generally recorded on high-bias cassette tapes. Most of the machines were four-track, but there were also six-track and eight-track units. Some newer digital models record to a hard disk, allowing for digital effects and up to 32 tracks of audio.

One widely used model was the TASCAM 424 (in three versions), which offered a great deal of flexibility while still remaining inexpensive to use. Prior to the advent of digital recording, the 424 was an easy and affordable way for bands to record demos or even commercial albums.

Notable usages[edit]

  • Guided By Voices recorded much of their classic-era songs on a Tascam 4-track.
  • Primus' first release Suck on This, a compilation of several live performances, was recorded entirely on a TASCAM quarter-inch eight-track Portastudio.
  • Soviet poet and musician, Viktor Tsoi, frontman of the Soviet rock band Kino, recorded demos in the late 1980s to early 1990s for their main albums on a Portastudio tape recorder. A few of those albums are Gruppa krovi (Blood Type), Zvezda po imeni Solntse (The star called Sun) and Chyorny albom (The Black Album) in couple with a drum machine.
  • Alan Wilder recorded his first solo album 1+2, under the nickname Recoil, on a four-track Portastudio.
  • Ween recorded their second album, The Pod, on a Tascam four-track.
  • Clive Gregson and Christine Collister recorded their 1987 album Home And Away on a TASCAM (referred to as 'TEAC' in the album sleeve notes) 244 Portastudio.[3]


Using Your Portable Studio by Peter McIan (1996, Amsco Publications)

See also[edit]

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