GarageBand, Portastudio, songwriter, Songwriters, songwriting, Songwriting Software, Tascam, XecretCode, Xsong

PortaStudio: Old School Songwriting


While doing some pre-emptive spring-cleaning, I stumbled across a box full of (mostly bad) songs recorded on a PortaStudio. Of course, I don’t have the unit anymore, so I did some quick research on how to get my hands on a unit today.

I was (pleasantly) surprised to learn that Tascam is still selling enough of them to keep three models in their product line. There is something truly special about the tactile experience of recording to a 4-track taping device. There’s no boot time, no file corruption, no compatibility issue and you don’t need no freakin’ manual to operate it. I almost hope someone would come out with a DAW software sporting a “PortaStudio” UI. Imagine the simplicity…

Like many songwriters, I had my first introduction to multi-tracking via a Tascam PortaStudio. I learned to make quick decisions though “ping-ponging” (breaking the 4-track limit by re-recording several tracks into another – no undo folks). I also discovered the beauty of tape saturation on the cheap. Good times.

For some reason, a tape-less digital PortaStudio is not an attractive proposition. For 550$ nowadays, I can buy a MacMini running GarageBand. If I want portability, the hand-held digital recorders do a surprisingly good job at capturing the moment.

Tape’s not dead yet.


2 thoughts on “PortaStudio: Old School Songwriting

  1. heath says:

    I still have my Tascam MiniStudio PortaTwo HS, in the original box.

    This was a great unit that started it all for me. You learn a lot when you have to “ping-pong” to gain tracks. You do have to keep the head clean on this baby.

  2. I’ve still got my original Tascam Porta1 with original mike case and traveling case.I had
    it over hauled a couple of years ago. It still works as good as the day I got it. I wrote
    hundreds of songs on that recorder and have many boxes full of casettes. Once in awhile I set it up and Oh! the memmorys flow back. Great

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