This video, via Nick Maynard of EXPLORING AUDIO, takes a look at using a Tascam Portastudio as sort of sample playback instrument.
Maynard was inspired by Sonic State’s recent interview with Alessandro Cortini, below:
Check it out and let us know what you think of the idea of playing a vintage Portastudio!
46 thoughts on “How To Use A Tascam Portastudio As An Instrument”
so awesome! need to get my hands on an old portastudio now… would be a great way to help transition between tracks in my set.
This is kind of like what 10cc did on their recording of “I’m Not In Love.” But the speeding and slowing of the playback to change the pitch is pretty badass.
Why why why whyyyy did I sell my Fostex XR7? I feel like such a mug!
If you want to do it without a computer, you can also use your portastudio as a live looper…though you need to cut and splice your cassette to turn it into a loop-tape. Once you do that, you can have a good old time mangling audio.
Now Tascam 4-tracks will suddenly shoot up in price because nobody can think for themselves anymore.
Nonsense. Just because someone shared a creative idea doesn’t mean that everyone would be using the idea/technique the same way.
sorta like eurorack
what? thats the last 3 words of my ~10 line post 🙁
damn trackpad…. wheres my mouse
I’ve been doing this for years as part of my live set up but with actual tape loops in the 4 track.
I managed to get hold of some 1min looped cassettes a while back , for use as a 4 tracked taped looper , I think this would be a better use. Brilliant idea
Don’t loop tapes have a little crossover point that cuts the audio out for a second because it isn’t magnetised? If not then that is great news as my diy endless loop tapes never work that well!!
Maybe I should have kept my 688.
This is very inspiring!
here it is being done in the 70’s and with 16 tracks. http://youtu.be/Qq7oGenbp2I
Digging out the Fostex ASAP!
Heading to Craigslist…..
That was much more interesting than I imagined it would be. Besides all the tweaking options, this technique gives the sounds a very organic feel. Inspiration can come in any form, and you really don’t even need a four-track to do this technique. Very cool.
this actually reminds me this song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LH0HfAQ4OkU
I don’t want to be a hater, but really? I don’t see any gain in this… it sure is fun, but I don’t see a reason for them to go up in price. Mainly because I don’t see a reason of how this would improve sound, or performance. I personally would like to do it, and if I had one laying around, maybe I would, but I really think it’s kinda stupid, and while I thought it was cool, I didn’t feel an urge of buying one… I’m sure you can do good sounding things with this, but I really have a hard time on seeing this as a serendipity moment, or anything other than interesting.
Uh, isn’t “interesting” enough?
You don’t HAVE TO use a Tascam four-track. You could set this up in a DAW with a controller, if you wanted to. Open your mind, and your ass will follow!
I have the same 4-Track as the video. And just as I was contemplating selling it… Never mind!!!!
Ahh… Digital kids taking the time to learn analogue tricks! Dub producers and electronic artists have been performing like this for decades.
Way cool. Rather than search out my old Tascam, I’m going to try rigging something like this up AudioMulch and an Akai LPD8.
not a very new thing… alot of musicians has been doing this… i think i’ve always done this since late 1980’s .. either with portastudio, reel to reel, cd, laptop, cassettes… it’s very common
So what? If you were weened on DAWs and digital gear, and have never been exposed to those old techniques, then seeing this demo will spark your imagination in a new (maybe old to you) way.
Get of your high-horse.
There seems to be a yearning for ANYTHING other than digital , I guess. When you have pristine AD/DA converters etc… this is dirty and definitely warm.
If you kids think crossfading 4 (!) mono looping tracks of low-fi prerecorded audio is where it’s at, let me blow your mind: Boss SP-505.
Isn’t this just making a source tape? It’s been done by home recordists for 70+ years. I would think this would only be news to people who started recording after the late 90’s when tape finally started to die off. If this is interesting to you, check out Vivenza, who do does similar things with tape loops and field recordings – http://youtu.be/_jH69B1J9Z0
Brings back memories! I used to record everything on a 424. I would ‘stripe’ one track of the tape with a SMPTE box that would sync it to midi from Opcode Vision on my Powermac to control my 12 bit Akai sampler. Good times.
For the non-4 track owners — do the same thing in Ableton or whatever. The point is just to have continuous control of a few channels, fade them up and down, with your fingertips.
It’s about interface, control and fun. Some might like the tape aspect, but unless you have a good reason (pure physical robustness, like Cortini), don’t get obsessed about this particular implementation (fostex model xyz, 2 or 4 or 8 track, whatever) of the general technique ( multiple simultaneous loops, each playing a signal that sounds good in concert or in sequence with the others )
get an SY22 instead. it is the basics of vector synthesis
I have one, very cool and under rated synth.
Good luck finding tapes!
Cassettes are not scarce. You can still buy blank tapes in stores.
Ever been to a thrift store? Fucking tapes all over the place. Shit, I can get you a copy of ‘Purple Rain’ for $1.
purple rain,,,,, purple raiinnnnn
radioshack, but they are $9 for 3 blanks
I pick them up from car boot sales all the time, then put them in a box and forget about them…
Although not as fluid as using faders, I create chords on my MPC500’s pads. With 4 layers per pad, I load up a single sustaining sound on all layers and pitch each until I’ve got the chord. Then move onto the next pad. With a slow attack and long decay (release), it works really nicely. Then for pitch adjustment, the q-link slider can be used, normally set to 2 semitones like a pitchbend.
*pulls the old Yamaha MT-120 out of the closet* Going to make a Drum Machine version of this great idea!
Do we have to use analog tape recorders? Can we also use multi-track digital recorders like Boss BR-800 to achieve the same result?
Glad this idea is being picked up and retro gear still has a place in modern music. been using my Tascam 244 like this in the studio for years as an added instrument and music note book, very hands on and intuitive you will be surprised at what you can create when you don’t let the computer control your input, trail and error has always been a creative tool.
ehx 2880 works for these things..and it´s smaller 😉
can i do something like this with tascam porta 02??’