Shows some sign of cosmetic wear
Some scratching and staining
Includes unit and mains lead only
Yamaha's popular cassette multitracker now benefits from a selection of hardware improvements, including double speed operation, and adds an S to its name. Shirley Gray checks out MT120 version 2.
Once upon a time, budget 4‑track cassette recorders were hissy, hummy things with clumsy buttons that went clunk, sound quality that seemed something of a contradiction in terms, and drop‑ins that were so noticeable you wished you'd kept the mistake. Technology marched on, thank goodness — and now, in common with our favourite washing powder, the new, improved versions of top brand products have, when you look closely, less and less that's really new to shout about. Lucky for the consumer, as technology progresses, more advanced features end up on budget machines where previously they would only have only appeared on more expensive models.
SOS reviewed the original MT120 back in early 1992, and although it scored very high on sound quality, and had the luxury of a graphic equaliser and a remote control, there were a few omissions in other areas which seemed a little short‑sighted. But it looks as though Yamaha took our comments seriously, because their update, the MT120S, incorporates the major features missing from its predecessor.
The (self?) congratulatory blurb at the front of the manual declares that no other multitrack recorder offers the straightforward simplicity and ease of use of the MT120S, which is quite a bold statement when you consider the competition. So what dazzling improvements have Yamaha come up with in the last two years?
In appearance, this model looks almost exactly the same as the old version. It includes a basic 4‑channel mixer, each channel having mic/line input, input fader, switch to select mic/line, tape or off (useful for muting individual tracks during mixdown), aux send, pan control and output fader. There's no individual equalisation; tonal modification is only possible via a stereo 5‑band graphic which acts on the stereo bus. In practice you can EQ each individual signal as you record it (provided you don't want to record more than two tracks at once), but not as you mix down. You can, however, EQ the whole mix — the graphic bands are 100Hz, 400Hz, 1kHz, 5kHz and 10kHz. A separate monitor section with a fader for each track allows you to set up a monitor mix of the tape tracks for use when overdubbing. The single master fader controls master level to tape and also the output of the stereo buss.
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