So I got an old Tascam Portastudio mkIII cassette recorder

Any fun tricks you guys can suggest on what I can do with this thing? I got it so I can try what Alessandro Cortini describes in the Sonic State interview where he talks about using the old tape deck to play chords live. I thought that sounded so awesome I wanted to try it myself. But what else can I do? Any nifty ideas? I’d love to find some nifty cassette tricks I haven’t thought of, I haven’t messed with one of these in years. Maybe record some drum loops in to get a nifty grit? Sequenced analog synth lines from ye’ ould microbrute?

ye you can also record tracks on it :smiley:

one long loop and jam on other track, then reeeeeeeeeewiiind and repeat.

also making tape loop is pretty cool, but you will need do some maths to count right bpm at your pitch set up and use it as a looper


From what I remember the tape multi-track recorders use the whole width of the tape in one direction, rather than the 2 track / stereo on side A and 2 track / stereo on side B on commerical release cassette tape albums. This is how the auto reverse tape decks used to work because a second pair of heads would kick in when the tape ended and started to play backwards.

TL;DR: You should be able to record a couple of tracks, flip the tape over and hear it playing backwards but then overdub against the backwards playing tracks, flip the cassette again and have cool reversed audio playing alongside the rest of the tracks playing forward.

Just remember when you flip the cassette that the tracks are reversed in arrangement across the width of the tape and whatever you play on track 1 will be played back on track 6 when you flip, track 2 to track 5, track 3 to track 4, etc so be careful you don’t overdub over the wrong track accidentally as the they will move when you reverse the tape.

Maybe this is useful:

If you feel like opening up the device.

Another suggestion: Make assorted cassettes with loops that have different forms of distress.

I used to play with tape loops in the '70s and '80s (open reel, not so much cassettes) and got some nice sounds by deliberately damaging the tape surface (crumple the tape; scratch off some magnetic film, etc.).