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Tascam M-208 & 216 – Adding Direct Outputs

In this article we will explain how we add a direct output modification to the vintage Tascam M-208 and M-216 mixers. Adding a direct out socket to every channel allows the wonderful character of the to be accessed more easily, and connected individually to your DAW.

See Tascam M-series mixers for sale. If you don’t see the model you need get in touch – we often have more stock waiting for assessment/service.

NOTE: This is a draft version of the final article. Needs more work to transform it from tech notes into the finished article, but people have been asking for help so we are putting what we have here. If you have suggestions for improvements please let us know!

 

A SUMMARY OF THE MODIFICATION

To achieve this modification the 8x Tape In RCA sockets will be replaced with 1/4″ jack sockets for the outputs. They’re post-fader (so post Pre/EQ), effectively parallel to the pan pot and effect bus control. This means you get the benefit of the level off the post fader op-amp – less likely to affect the overall bus output, and a more user friendly level out of the direct outs. Plus, you get the bonus of being able to drive both the Pre op-amp, and the Bus op-amp  to get a harder driven signal if that’s what you’re into… (It’s also where the M-30 and Model 3’s direct out comes from, so will react similarly).

THE INEVITABLE DISCLAIMER

Before we dive in, please note the following:

  • We accept no liability for any loss or damage resulting from attempting this modification. There is an assumption of a good level of knowledge of electronics. If you are in any doubt then we suggest you get help from a qualified expert.
  • That qualified expert is not us! Unfortunately we can’t answer any emails with questions about these notes. If you have a suggestion for an edit or improvement feel free to send it our way though.
  • We also assume that you have serviced your mixer, that it is working well and electrically safe before starting this work. If not then the modification may not behave as intended.

BEFORE AND AFTER

Rear view before modification:

Tascam M-208 Mixer: rear view before modification

Rear view after modification:

Tascam M-208 Mixer: rear view after modification

To begin the work, ideally after you’ve serviced your mixer and while you’ve got the channels out of the unit, prep each board by:

  1. Removing the metal clips for the Jack plate.
  2. Unsolder the Jack plate and remove it.
  3. If there is an RCA connector for tape (all 8 channels on a 208, but only the first 8 on a 216) remove that.

You can then put the Jack plate back on, pop the clips back on, and then attach the Mod Jack to the plate and fasten it on with the plastic nut.

  • Next solder the positive and negative leads of the Mod tail to either side of R139 on the solder side of the PCB (it’s pretty clear which is ground from the solder mask luckily!). This is usually pretty simple, just add a little solder to each pad first; let the cable come off the jack, make a gentle curve round the back of the board then it should line up nicely (basically aiming for the cable to lay against the board so it doesn’t interfere when refitting).
TASCAM-M-208-MOD-only-lift-one-side-of-R139
TASCAM-M-208-MOD-foil-side-of-R139
  • To make the mod tails, we use a little yellow Nichicon 33nf 50v and a 10kOhm 1/4w metal film resistor between the ground and tip legs on a Neutrik NMJ2HF-S Jack (these have been a little difficult to get, but if you’re using something else, check it’ll fit in the plate) and then we use some shielded single core wire (RS 207-5311) and various heat shrinks.
  • Add a 100ohm 1/4w metal film resistor inline with the positive line (image below). We also add a little bit of thin red wire to one leg of the resistor and then attach the other leg to the core of the shielded, then heat shrink that over – not essential, but we do this to reduce the strain on the resistor as we had one break).
TASCAM-M-208-MOD-resistor-inline-with-cable-rotated
  • Tidy up with a bit of extra heat-shrink over the exposed shields, tin the ends, and some heat-shrink over the transition from cable to separates.
  • Solder the wire end to the top of the jack and the shield to the ground and the other end to the board. As described above.

Note: if you’re modding a 216 and you want all 16 channels modded, you need to remove the back panel (just unscrew all the bits and it’ll come away) and mark and drill new holes for channels 9-16. We just use some masking tape on both sides, then use a ruler to mark the top and bottom of the tape holes on 1-8 and draw that across, then use a little ruler/credit card to draw lines down from either side of the input/insert and then make an X in the box. Use a punch to mark the centre and then drill with a 12mm or 13mm bit – the image below shows a plate marked up ready for punching and drilling.

TASCAM-M-208-MOD-backside-of-the-rear-panel-marked-up-for-drilling

disclaimer etc

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Written by Ryan Hingley from Soundgas using original notes on a version of the mod designed by Nick Allott.

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