Go back 35 years and there was no home recording market. In 1969, the first 24-tracks were becoming available, but choices for musicians were few—either go the full pro route or limit home recordings to stereo reel-to-reels, either with or without a “sound-on-sound” feature for layering new elements while recording over original creations, a “no-undo” process that required persistence and luck. At the same time, 4-channel consumer reel-to-reel decks for the quad market arrived; yet, with no provision for listening to earlier tracks while adding new tracks, overdubs were impossible.
Among those companies making quad recorders was TEAC, and in 1969, Dr. Abe and a small team of techs and marketing pros founded TEAC Audio Systems Corp (TASC, which in 1971 became TASC America or TASCAM) in a small office in Marina Del Rey, Calif. After opening as a custom shop to modify TEAC 4010 quad decks into the overdub-capable Simul-Sync TCA 40 Series, TASCAM soon began making mixers and recorders for the home recording market and first exhibited its products at the 1973 AES show. Eventually, the 2340 and 3340 lines sold tens of thousands of units to a growing market of musician-recordists, almost single-handedly launching the home recording revolution.
Long before audio education became an industry unto itself, TASCAM gear provided a learn-by-doing sort of self-guided audio apprenticeship. Untold numbers of today’s top recording engineers and producers learned the basics of multitrack music production (punch-ins/outs, console routing, optimizing gain structure, etc.), honing their skills on products such as TASCAM’s Model 2, Model 5 and Model 15 mixers. And as small format 4, 8 and 16-track recorders emerged, a new industry of garage recording was born, with hundreds of today’s large studios starting out from such humble beginnings.