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Object, Instrument, Technology

Sony PCM 3324S digital 24-track tape recorder

Date of

Date of production: ca. 1992

This picture shows the multitrack reel-to-reel tape machine Sony PCM 3324S. It can store up to twenty-four channels of sound, facilitating the extensive editing and mixing that became typical of modern studio production with the advent of multitrack technology. Sound is stored in digital format, which means that exact copies of individual tracks can be produced without introducing additional background noise and distortion. By today’s standards, however, the resolution of the digitized signal (16 bit, 48 or 44.1 kHz) is considered low for studio recordings. This tape machine uses a standardized format for recording, Digital Audio Stationary Head or DASH, which was agreed upon by a group of manufacturers in order to make digital recordings interoperable across different studios. A special error-correction scheme in the device enables the physical cut-and-splice editing of tapes, a practice that came from analog technology and was an established tradition in studio work.


This photograph was taken by Nikita Braguinski at the Audio Communication Group, Technische Universität Berlin, in May 2018. The working sounds of the tape machine are demonstrated in the accompanying video.

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