Classic Recording Studio Equipment

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Tascam DA-78HR

Tascam DA-78HR Digital Multitrack Recorder

The TASCAM DA-78HR is the first 24-bit DTRS format 8-track Modular Multitrack Recorder, designed primarily for professional recording studios, project studios and home recording studios where 24-bit high quality digital audio recording is essential.


It is an evolution of the TASCAM DA-38 which, for the first time in recording history, offered project studios affordable access to a professional industry-standard recording format. The Tascam DA-78HR is however, considerably more than a 24-bit upgrade. A major advance is on-board digital mixing of its 8 tracks to stereo with level and pan control, routed to a dedicated SPDIF I/O. An internal electronic patchbay for both inputs and outputs and an on-tape data memory for set-up information including locate points are highlights of the many operational enhancements. The Tascam DA-78HR is backward compatible with all existing DTRS recordings to integrate seamlessly into existing installations. The DA-78HR provides the best and the certainly the most cost-effective solution for 24-bit digital audio recording. Designed to take digital multitrack recording into the next millennium, the Tascam DA-78HR is one of the finest digital multitracks ever.

The DTRS format has long been respected as the most reliable format in digital recording, and now the DTRS format is leading the way into high resolution 24 bit recording. The Tascam DA-78HR works with 16 bit DTRS machines, using the same DTRS Sync line for sample accurate lock plus the ability to read and write the older 16 bit format. However, the Tascam DA-78HR offers the ability to write 8 tracks of 24 bit audio to tape in the HR format, built in SMPTE synchronization, MIDI ports for MTC and MMC, plus a built-in 8 channel digital mixer for internal bounces or monitor mix generation.

  • Records 8 tracks of 24 Bit Audio To Hi8 Tapes
  • 24 Bit A/D and D/A Converters
  • >104dB Dynamic Range
  • 108 Minutes of Record Time on 120 Hi8 Tape
  • SMPTE Time Code Generation and Chasing
  • Generates MIDI Time Code
  • Responds to MIDI Machine Control
  • Reads and Writes 16 and 24 Bit DTRS Tapes
  • 16 Machine Sample Accurate Lock with DTRS Sync
  • Balanced DB25 & Unbalanced RCA Analog I/O
  • TDIF Digital I/O & SPDIF Digital I/O
  • Word Sync In/Out/Thru
  • Track Slip from -200 to +7200 Samples
  • Built-In 8 Channel Digital Mixer


The Tascam DA-78HR’s high audio quality, long record time, rugged reliability, built-in time code capabilities, built-in MIDI capabilities, and affordable price combine into a product that can handle numerous situations.

Personal and Project Studios
Maximum features, minimum hassle. The Tascam DA-78HR brings DTRS tape into 24 bit audio, offering the very best sound quality available today. New features like built in MIDI ports and SMPTE synchronization gives you the ability to chase other tape machines (analog or digital), and the ability to work with sequencers and digital consoles. For the ultimate cost effective flexibility without having to locate additional accessories, the Tascam DA-78HR is the best digital tape machine for the market.

Live Performance and Recording
In live performance, there is no take 2. Whether you are using the Tascam DA-78HR to play some additional backing tracks or recording the performance live, you can count on the Tascam DA-78HR to get it right the first time. With 108 minutes of record time on a single tape, you can put a whole live song set on a single tape; no need to stop everything so you can switch tapes.

Audio for Video on a Budget
For anyone trying to make music for television or film, the DTRS format is the de-facto standard format for transfers and many stages of recording. The synchronization features will allow you to chase another audio machine, or a video deck. Again, the 108 minute record time was maintained for the new 24 bit recording mode, allowing 1 hour reels to be stored on a tape, along with reference tones and the independent subcode time code track. More advanced video applications will want a Tascam DA-98HR, which adds 9 pin control, blackburst resolve, and built in bit split for higher resolution audio recording.

The 24 bit Achievement
When the 24 bit DTRS format was announced, most users were curious about how we did it. 24 bit audio requires 50% more data than the original 16 bit format, yet the DA-78HR didn’t cut back on tracks or record time. Many assumed that the 24 bit format would have been less reliable since more information is written in a smaller space. Well, actually the 24 bit format is even more reliable.

Here’s why: When digital information is written to tapes, it isn’t like writing a bunch of ones and zeros on a piece of paper. All the data passes through an encoder and decoder (codec) when going to and coming from tape. The coding process utilizes a lossless algorithm allowing a larger amount of data to be stored in the same amount of space.

The original DTRS format utilized a codec based on the 8-10 Modulation Principle used by most all DAT recorders. This format has been around for almost two decades; more efficient encoding schemes have been developed over time. High resolution DTRS machines utilizes the 1-7 RLL (Run Length Limited) codec commonly used in hard drive and DVD technologies. This format is 66% more space efficient than the codec used in the original DTRS machines. Since only 50% more data was needed to store the audio itself, the other 16% was dedicated to additional data verification beyond the original DTRS machine.

So, the 24 bit DTRS machines do not reduce the print size. The write area is actually about the same size. The 24 bit machine utilizes a better codec which offers more efficient use of the space, as well as increased reliability through more accurate data verification processes.

Backwards Compatibility
When the high resolution machines were designed, the ability to work with the original 16 bit machines like DA-38s, DA-88s, and DA-98s was a high priority.
Sync Chain High resolution DTRS machines use the same DTRS Sync line that the previous machines used. So, you can lock any combination of 16 bit machines with 24 bit machines sample accurately in 2 seconds or less.

Audio I/O
The new high resolution DTRS machines use the same DB25 plugs for balanced audio, and TDIF lines for transfers and integration into digital studios. This means if you are trading out 16 bit machines for 24 bit machines, there are no new cabling requirements.

Tape Format
The DA-78HR can read and write 16 bit format tapes, allowing HR users to seamlessly work with owners of older DTRS machines. However, 24 bit tapes created on a high resolution DTRS machine will only work on other high resolution DTRS machines.

Time Code Track
In addition to the 8 tracks of audio, DTRS machines can handle two separate time tracks in subcode of the tape. One of the tracks is the tape’s absolute time, and the other is an independent SMPTE time code track. The high resolution DTRS machines can read and write this SMPTE time code track in both 16 bit and 24 bit format, so you can continue working the same way you are used to working.



  • Frequency response 20Hz to 20kHz ±0.5dB
  • Dynamic range Better than 104dB (1kHz, input level full-scale -60dB)
  • Signal-to-noise ratio Better than 104dB
  • Total harmonic distortion Less than 0.004% (1kHz, full-scale)
  • Channel separation Better than 90dB (1kHz)
  • Weight 7.5kg
  • Dimensions (WxHxD) 482 x 132 x 350mm


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Tascam DA-78HR

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