Help me save a tape stuck in my Portastudio
March 6, 2007 3:16 PM   Subscribe

I have a Tascam Porta05 Ministudio that's at least 10 years old. I powered it up a few weeks ago to play some old tapes and noticed that it's frozen into the "play" position.

All the buttons are off, pushing "play" or "stop" or "pause" does nothing. It's almost as though it's stuck in "pause" because when I push "FF" or "REW" the tape is still engaged and I can hear/see the audio levels as it cues and I can hear the motor running the way it does in "pause," but the "pause" button is off.

Turning power on/off does nothing. Unscrewing the back of the machine is (I discovered) futile as you can't take the top off with a tape stuck in it. I tried (gently) inserting a screwdriver to see if prying the capstans and recording head a little would make it pop open, but no luck. A few pictures of it here.
The only other person I could find with this problem had some unhelpful answers.

I'd be sad if the machine was toast, as I have boxes of tapes of me learning how to record when I was in my teens/twenties in the late 80's/'90's that I'd love to archive. And I really want to save the tape that's in there as it's got 90 minutes of irreplacable demos from 1997-1999.
posted by chococat to Grab Bag (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Ahh, I see from the pictures that the screws are facing up. Can you unscrew the top of the tape, and take that off? From there, you can remove the actual tape, and then the back of the cassette. Which hopefully will allow you to take the top off the unit.

Worst case scenario, you could always cut/file off those tabs that keep the tape down on the top. They're nearly useless anyway.

(also, do you have access to audio software now? If you do, you should totally dump your songs out track by track if possible. It'd be fun to mix outside of the Porta environment.)
posted by god hates math at 5:02 PM on March 6, 2007

take it to somebody with stereo repair experience. I used to work with similar machines, and problems like this can usually be solved by someone with repair experience. Call a recording studio and ask if they can suggest a repair shop. Tascams are great machines... dont try surgery yourself if you can avoid doing so.
posted by zaelic at 7:44 AM on March 7, 2007

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