Hands on Multitracks - Fostex G24S and Tascam MSR-24S (part 6)
Use with timecode
This applies to the G24S, the MSR-24S and in fact all other multitracks. Record timecode without EQ at a level specified either by the manufacturer of the recorder or by the manufacturer of the synchroniser. If in doubt set it to around -5dB to -7dB on the recorders own meter. If you have sync problems, experiment with a higher or lower level. If you have Dolby C noise reduction, you can leave it switched on for the timecode track (on some machines its either all tracks on or all tracks off so you dont have the choice). If you have dbx or Dolby S then you should switch it out on the timecode track. Both machines featured here have a setting where the noise reduction can be switched out on track 24 only.
The future of multitrack?
Its interesting to speculate in which direction multitrack recording will go. One things for sure, no matter how sampled, synthesised and MIDIised we become, there will be multitrack recording of one form or another, whether to tape or some kind of disk recording system. Elsewhere in this issue you can read about the debate between analogue and digital multitrack. But whatever the merits of digital, analogue multitrack is established and it works. It wont go away quickly and I think that Fostex and Tascam will be producing excellent models in all sizes for some time to come.
The Other One
I would hazard a guess that neither the Fostex G24S nor the Tascam MSR-24S can lay claim to being the worlds most popular multitrack. I would further hazard that the title rightly belongs to the Fostex E16, the undisputed champion. You dont bump into multitrack tape recorders every day of the week, unless you work in a studio, but when you do then chances are that its going to be the Fostex E16, so it deserves some comment. The E16 was the successor to the first half inch 16-track, the B16, and the predecessor to the G16 which I would imagine hasnt achieved quite so many sales yet. The E16 is a very simple-to-use machine without any of the frills. Some would say that its what multitracks ought to be and that the more features the manufacturers add, the more they slow you down.
The E16 has basic transport controls like its larger brother but few of the autolocate facilities. Also, second level functions - the ones you forget how to use - are kept to a minimum. Faced with an E16 you need to know firstly that the tension arms are weak and easily bent. Make sure that the tape is threaded securely before you press play or wind or you may find that the tape snatches and bends something you would rather have left straight. Secondly you need to know what the second level functions are since they are not printed on the panel:
Stop. Press Stop once and the tape stops. Press it again while stopped and the reel brakes will come off, allowing you to spool the tape easily by hand, or find an edit point with the edit switch (which is just above the heads) pressed in.
Fast Forward and Rewind. If you hold either of these buttons down, the tape will spool at play speed. If you hold down either button while you press Play, the tape will spool slowly leaving a smooth tape pack for safe storage.
Record. If you press this by itself without simultaneously pressing Play then any tracks which are record enabled will switch to monitor the input signal, whether the tape is moving or stationery. This feature is used when you are rehearsing a track and setting the level before recording.