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Hands on Multitracks - Fostex G24S and Tascam MSR-24S (part 5)

Where Tascam’s machine is relatively simple and straightforward, the autolocator-equipped Fostex G24S is potentially more complex - to the point where you may decide to ignore some of its features...

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Fostex G24S

Where Tascam’s machine is relatively simple and straightforward, the autolocator-equipped Fostex G24S is potentially more complex - to the point where you may decide to ignore some of its features. You have to read the manual once however just in case you get caught out. I was when I first experimented with the G16 and a pre-production copy of the manual. I couldn’t understand why the fast wind speed was extraordinarily slow, in fact I thought I had a faulty machine. A quick call to Fostex put me straight. Apparently some mischievous person who had borrowed the machine previously had accessed the second level functions and set the wind speed to its lowest value. Although I had tried everything before calling for help, I didn’t have the appropriate pages of the manual and didn’t know such a thing was possible. My slight inconvenience points out a problem with the design of many types of current equipment - if you can only find out about a feature through the manual, what happens when you don’t have the manual? Although original owners will have theirs in a safe place, I would guess that many actual users of the equipment will not have the benefit and will therefore have to guess how some of the facilities work.

Having said that the G24S isn’t as simple as the MSR-24, the fact is that comparing the basic machines without accessories, the Fostex can do more. And with the installation of a not too-expensive-circuit board, it can synchronise to timecode from a video recorder, or it can be controlled from a computer running Steinberg’s Cubase software. Let’s go through the basic operating procedure:

I’ll assume that you don’t need to be told how to operate the transport controls. But since there’s an autolocator staring right at you you won’t be able to avoid wanting to use it to best advantage. The main function of the autolocator is, of course, to memorise positions on the tape by their counter value and to be able to wind directly to them whenever necessary. There are ten memory locations; probably the easiest way to set a position is to wind the tape to the desired point, press Hold, then Sto (Store), then select the number of the memory location you wish to allocate to that position. There are two ways to locate to these stored positions. The first is to press Recall, then the number of the point you wish to locate to, then Locate. It’s a three key operation but keen users will find out from the manual how to enter ‘2nd Mode Function’ and enable Direct Locate Mode. 2nd Mode Function is where the complexities start I’m afraid.

Other standard autolocator functions include a user settable preroll, auto return and auto play between cue points. To set the auto return memory, Press RCL then AUTO RTN; press the CLR (Clear) key then the number of one point, then the minus key, then the other point. Press STO (Store). Now the Auto Return and Auto Play keys will operate between the two points you have set. It may be surprising to learn that the G24S does not have automatic punch in and out, considering the level of provision in other areas. For this you need the accessory synchroniser card.

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By David Mellor Saturday November 10, 2012
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