by Stefan Wyeth | 4,4 / 5,0 | Approximate reading time: 2 Minutes
Why the Tascam 388 Studio 8 is the Ultimate Portastudio

Why the Tascam 388 Studio 8 is the Ultimate Portastudio  ·  Source: Rhett Shull / YouTube

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We take a look back at the Tascam 388 Studio 8 with Youtube creator Rhett Shull, to find out why it has such an iconic reputation.

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The 338 Studio 8 was introduced in 1985 as a complete recording solution for musicians. It combined an 8-channel mixer with an 8-track quarter-inch tape machine in one relatively compact unit.

Over the years, a combination of its simplicity, recording quality and overall aesthetic gave the 338 legendary status among musicians. From The Black Keys and Alex Turner of The Arctic Monkeys to Madlib and Mac DeMarco, many popular artists have produced wonderful recordings with the 338.

Tascam 388 Studio 8

The 338 is the ultimate symbol of home recording, sitting squarely between the high-end studio multitrack tape machines and the lo-fi cassette-loading 4-track machines which are still popular to this day.

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According to Rhett Shull, the preamps and 3-band EQs sound great, and there is a pleasing kind of glue effect in the way it sums the channels into stereo. It’s no wonder the 338 caught on in recording circles and still fetches a considerable price on the second-hand market.

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With the Tascam 388 Studio 8, Tascam took a bold step, they managed to create a user-friendly unit that follows the Portastudio tradition but employs more sophisticated technology. The device makes it much easier to use, especially for those with less technical knowledge, without restricting the creative possibilities for experienced users

Dave Lockwood’s 1986 review

I must say that the 338 certainly intrigues me enough to “try this at home” when it comes to tape. Besides the appeal of its sound, the mid-80s recording mixer workflow looks inspiring to say the least.

However, if you’re not quite ready to take the plunge and pick up an old reel-to-reel recorder like the 338, there are some great modern options that can recreate both the sound and the feel of using a similar recording system.

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Why the Tascam 388 Studio 8 is the Ultimate Portastudio

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5 responses to “Why the Tascam 388 Studio 8 is the Ultimate Portastudio”

    eugene says:
    0

    I understand how the IK VST might replicate the sound and the feel of the 338. But how does a digital Tascam recorder or mixer do this?

    Richard Derryberry says:
    1

    these machines are good, but hard to use for older generation with not much tech skills

      D. says:
      0

      I disagree. they are much easier to use than the new digital machines . it’s youngsters that struggle with these ,

    Nu'Ki says:
    0

    B n a ‘seasoned’ recording enthusiast, I have long used both platforms. It’s a case of whether u want ur bagel toasted or untrusted. yes, one’s preparation is quicker than the other, but. either way it comes down to ones personal preference!! millions of hits, demos, and otherwise were recorded using what is now considered to be antiquated technology! “Easy vs. Hard” is rarely the proper criteria, but “necessary vs. unnnecessary!” Personally, I still use both becuz it works for me. Soooo…every user of either platform must “dare” to follow his/her preference against any odds or applauds. However, never allow either to hinder ur creativity

    Chuck Gentry says:
    1

    I owned the 388 from 1985 to 1995, until it was crushed in my storage bin in Northridge California after an earthquake. I loved that machine more than my wife. I did demos in home that most thought I’d done in studio. I’ve had many original songs placed on various artists. and I miss it more than words can express. if you have the opportunity to find one, don’t even think about it…Get It!

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