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Weekend Warrior Then and Now

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Then And Now

When it comes to our little world of Instruments, Audio Gear and Technology for musicians, do you ever find yourself wondering, "How did they do it back then"? As the years have gone by, manufacturing and technology advancements have taken us to a point where high-quality equipment is now accessible to everyone. It's hard to believe that a few years ago, we all wanted that "incredible" 4-track cassette studio in our bedroom. (And remember when they went to 8 tracks?!) We're having a blast looking back at what was available at a time before there was a computer, an iPod®, DVD, LCD, cell phones, and reality TV shows everywhere you turn. We hope you have as much fun with our new Then And Now feature as we've had looking back.

In this case, we were looking through old AMS catalogs from 1993 and came across the venerable Tascam TSR-8 reel-to-reel 8-track recorder. This legendary recorder featured amenities that, for its day, were substantial. With 1/2-inch tape, gapless punch in/out, and MIDI/SMPTE sync, the TSR-8 quickly became the go-to recorder for many studios. Even today, reel-to-reel recorders hold a special place in the hearts of engineers that want that analog warmth.

Not to imply that today's computer driven recording options always produce "better" results than what was once available, but it’s interesting to compare Then And Now. For about the same price as the TSR-8 in 1993, AMS now carries the Digidesign 003 audio interface that includes Pro Tools 8 software. The 003 has 8 analog inputs just like the TSR-8, however, Pro Tools 8 allows you to record on 48 audio tracks without having to bounce tracks to accommodate your entire session. As you can see from the chart below, the 003 offers a wealth of other modern recording advancements like new digital connectivity, effects and dynamics plugins, along with non-destructive editing for much more streamlined workflow.


Tascam
TSR-8

Winter 1993 Catalog

tascam tsr 8 1993
  • $2395.00
    • $3525.52, adjusted for inflation (calc. from westegg.com)
  • Optional Remote Control
    • $159.00, sold separately
  • 8-track
  • 1/2" Tape
    • 15 IPS Tape Speed
  • Built-in serial, parallel ports
  • 3-point autolocator
  • DBX Noise Reduction
  • +/-12% pitch control
  • Automatic+Gapless Punch in/out
  • 40-20k Frequency Response
  • MIDI/SMPTE sync capability (on Track 8 only)
  • Serial port, for computer tie-in use
  • Requires a recording mixer - figure another $800.00-plus, minimum (not to mention all the effects and dynamics processors one might use.)
Digidesign 003 Factory Firewire Interface
with Pro Tools Software

AMS Website, Summer 2009

digidesign 003 factory firewire now
  • $2195.00
  • 8 Analog Inputs (4 mic/line, 4 line)
  • "High-definition audio resolution"
    • Up to 24-bit/96 kHz
  • 1 MIDI In, 2 MIDI Out
    • (16in/32out)
  • 8-Channels of ADAT Optical In/Out
  • S/PDIF Digital In/Out
  • BNC Word Clock In/Out
  • FireWire Connectivity (2)
  • Phantom Power
  • Dual Headphone Output
  • LCD Display
  • Control Surface Functionality
    • 8 Motorized Faders
    • 8 Rotary Encoders
    • Jog Wheel
    • Transport Controls
  • Pro Tools Software
    • 48 Audio Tracks
    • Over 70 virtual instruments, effects, and utility plug-ins
    • Music Score Editor
    • Complete MIDI Sequencing and Production
    • and more.
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