Finally calibrated my Tascam 34B

Teac A-3440

The ‘older’ Teac A-3440

 

This past week I finally got round to working with my recently bought Tascam 34B. Ever since I got it a few months ago, I haven’t been satisfied with the sound at all. And surely not for this kind of machine. The tape transports are ok, very good exactly. The overall look and feel is excellent, working with it is an absolute joy.

But the sound was not ok. The sound was a little bit muffled, and some highs were absent. My older Teac A-3440 sounds a lot better. But of course, that deck I have already tackled. Using some other decks I finetuned my skills over the last few months, and now I felt the time was right to take on the big mighty TASCAM 34B.

Fortunately I had the service manual (recently purchased on the internet for a few euros, it was not freely available) so I used that as a guide. Other tools I used were my trusty calibration tape, a blank tape of LPR35, my old Philips scope (which will be replaced by a better scope, more on that later), my Philips analogue voltmeter PM2505, and software called Visual Analyser (for spectrum).

On the workbench, my 34B looked like this:

P1020388

TASCAM 34B with face plate removed

P1020395

TASCAM 34B bottom view. Notice the adjustment ‘knobs’

So, after a lot of fiddling with the potentiometers, measuring levels, changing tapes, etc. etc. I was done. So I eagerly recorded my first music onto it, played it back and …………..

Wow!

The sound was really, really great! I used CD recordings of Dire Straits, Donald Fagen, and 4-track surround (quad) music of Pink Floyd, The Doors, Doobie Brothers and Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody to test, and I could hardly, if at all, distinguish between de CD and the tape.

This is truly amazing. I did not know a tape recorder could reproduce sound this good. As you can notice, I’m happy with the modifications I have done.
I don’t think this baby will go anywhere anytime soon, it will stay with me.
tascam 34b small

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13 thoughts on “Finally calibrated my Tascam 34B

  1. Norbert Balicki

    Nice to see the fab pictures ! I have a 34B too. My problem: Everything is working fine – except the
    head phone. It starts with a very quiet loudness – sometimes (after 1 hour or so) it´s working okay.
    My Problem: is it the HEAD PHONE AMP CARD PCB-105 I have to look for ?
    I only found saying: “the Tascam 34B has a”a 4×1 mono headphone amp onboard”.
    Maybe You could give me a tip.
    Thanks and Keep the tape rolling,

    Norbert

    Reply
      1. BBell

        Can you send me a copy of the service manual you have posted for the Tascam 34B? I would greatly appreciate it! I need to find out why the meters won’t work in playback after I record tracks.

        Thanks!

        Reply
      2. Alan Evans

        Hello Philip,

        I’m thinking about buying a very nice Tascam 34B. I have found a user manual online but I can’t find a service manual so I can setup it up properly. Would you have one you could share? Any response would be greatly appreciated!!

        Hope all is well,

        Al

        Reply
      3. Norbert Balicki

        Hi Philip,
        a few days ago I bought another 34 B -very well packed….!
        It arrived with a broken back – this destroyed the main board
        and some other things.
        I wrote in 2013 – now I think I´m in need of the service manual.
        Can You help ?
        Best, Norbert

        Reply
  2. Fernando

    Hi! Nice job on the deck! I just got one in almost mint condition but the pinch roller and belt were disintegrated literally (some kind of steaky black tar goo). I got a couple of online service manuals but the defintion is really low. By any chance, are there on yours any directions to lube and adjust the capstan? Thanks in advance. Keep up the good work!

    Best regards,

    Fernando.

    Reply
  3. Roberto

    Hello 34B is a really nice deck..
    I have one, that i bought from a friend of mine some years ago..but i did not really use it in the past!
    Now..it’s time to take it apart for some reason.. i had to change the belt, and also one of the plate of the reels was a little bent. I made a new alluminium plate with my lathe,and now it is ok! 😉
    Now i have to calibrate the tape, but i cannot find the service manual
    can you help me?
    Many thanks
    Roberto

    Reply
  4. Roberto

    Hi, compliments! Very nice machine! I have one, revised in this days…but I’ve a doubt: near the tension arm, left and the right one, there is a damper with a string linked on a spring ma the other end in my unit is not linked to nothing! Can you tell me with a picture, where this end must be connected? The RTR semms to work fine, but…
    Thanks in advance, greets from Italy!
    Roberto.

    Reply
  5. Alejandro López Santos

    Hello: I have a 34B that does not erase the recording. I can not find the service manual. You can tell me where you got it?
    Thank you very much

    Reply
  6. Peter H. Dassen

    Hi, I have a Tascam 34b. It worked well, now it is dead. Suddenly no sound at all, complete silence on all 4 channels. I cannot find the reason. Any suggestions what can be the cause of this?
    Regards,
    Peter

    Reply
    1. Philip van der Matten Post author

      Hello Peter,

      I could not tell you. I have no clue.
      This is like saying: ‘my car does not work, what can it be?’

      Maybe if you give more information. What have you tried already, what have you concluded so far, what options have you tried etc etc ……

      Reply
  7. Andrew

    Wow, love your page. I am trying to work on my 34b at the moment, and I can’t find the service manual with schematics anywhere — would you be willing to share it?
    Thanks!
    Andrew

    Reply

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