Tascam MS16 1″ 16 Track

| July 22nd, 2012

Along with the Otari MX 70, this is one of our main multitrack machines. We modified the amplifier cards to allow correct biasing for high-output tape.

Our favourite feature: LED readout on the vari-speed.

EDIT: We have since replaced this console with a linked pair of Studer 169s

We use the Tascam M-520 here, and we like it quite a lot. It’s very intelligently laid-out and it has great routing options. And the build quality is superb. Our only quibbles with this desk are the design of its channel mutes (they’re prone to getting noisy) and its somewhat limited EQ (I’m cool with the fixed bandwidth, but I wish the Q was broader).

Here the brochure for this mixer and its little brother (the 12 channel M-512):

M-500 series brochure

And here’s the manual (minus the schematics):

M-520 manual

Tip: The manual has a great section on the fundamentals of sound engineering that’s really useful for any novice or intermediate analogue recordist.

And finally here’s some weird, elaborate, interactive flash model of the mixer:

Interactive M-520

We recently gave our M-520 a bit of a cleaning. So if you have this mixer, or are thinking of acquiring one, here’s what the channel strips look like when disassembled:

Tascam M-520: the knobs from a one 'bucket' of four channels

Tascam M-520: the knobs from a one ‘bucket’ of four channels

These pin-and-header connectors are a bit fragile; the pots are all bolted to the metal–which is great for durability, but a major pain-in-the-ass to disassemble for cleaning

It’s not a bad idea to label those headers

Yep, that’s a lot of annoying ITT Schadow switches to clean…

Tascam M520 channel buckets disassembled

Another view of the channel buckets disassembled.