cascade microphones

Tape Project Entry 3

Brick by Brick Studios is a room in my apartment in Bushwick, New York. The ceilings are tall, almost 13′, and the views of Brooklyn are gorgeous. I have been in this space for five years and I’ve learned how to use the different rooms to get different sounds. My roommates are always forgiving in the many noises coming from the studio, and often help create them. If you need a slide guitar or synth, Brandon is the man for the job. If that riff needs some work, or you need a shiny guitar, ask Ernest for a hand. And when all is recorded ask Gina and Garett for the final thumbs up! 


The studio centers around a Tascam 388. It is an eight track analog tape machine with a built in mixer, complete with two headphone outs. It was built in the late 80s and was one of the first project studio tape machines. Quarter inch tape is still available through ATR and cost around $35. I am monitoring on Dynaudio BM5As. Most of the microphones and preamps will either be rented or borrowed as I have yet to built my collection ;) For renting I go to Jim Flynn Rentals. They are located at 25th street and 7th Avenue. On the list will be a Millenia HV-3D. It is an eight channel preamp, giving me the ability to record to all eight tracks simultaneously if needed. While I’m there I might as well pickup a couple compressors. Not sure which yet, the LA-2As and the 3As are cheap for a day of rental, coming in at $40! Two compressors will give me a pair to track to tape with and two on mix down. For time based effects I will have the DIY spring reverb (yet to be built, don’t worry all the parts are in, Allan and I will get on it during the next weeks) and a MXR carbon copy delay. I may use the stairwell in my building, or my living room for an echo chamber, we’ll see. As far a microphones go I have your basic studio go-tos. SM57, SM7, SM81, Rode K2 and a Fathead (which was just sent to the Cascade factory in Olympia, Washington for a new ribbon, the old one was sounding sad, not a bad repair, in at $75) So it looks like i’ll be asking around for a couple mics. Wonder what I could get my hands on?

——Going on in the studio——-

It’s tape head relap time! I will be sending the Tascam 388 tape head assembly to JRF Magnetic Sciences in Greendell, NJ for reconditioning of the Record/Repro and the Erase head. I’ve yet to receive an invoice for the work but expect to pay around $250 for the relap and azimuth alignment. Removing the assembly was fairly easy. First remove three screws show above. 

After removing the five allen screws you can pull off the two cables attached from the tape heads to the machine.

And there they are! Such a small component for a big job. Off to Jerseyyyyy. They’ll come back just as new.

—–thinking about——

Today I read the complete build instructions on the 1176 Hairball Audio clone. Not too bad! I think I could muster one of these babies up in no time. Haven’t had a proper solder job in a minute but I’m sure it’s just like riding a bike. Seems like the build cost comes to about $400. Compared to a UA version it’s a steal. But what I really need right now are pres. And an interface……hmmmm……