The Fostex 250 and 250AV cassette four-track machine

Fostex week continues at PS dot com. Download five pages of original FOSTEX product information on the 250 and 250AV ‘four-tracks’:

DOWNLOAD: Fostex250

I’ve never used one of these machines personally.  Anyone?

The 250AV, btw, is the same as the 250, except that it runs at 1.875ips (the same as a regular consumer tape deck); the intent was to simplify multi-track bouncing in audio-visual post-production situations.  Read the product sheet and you will see what i mean.  It also boasts a 5db lower crosstalk spec than the 250;  FOSTEX claims that this allows a pulse (sync) tone can be placed on one the tracks to drive other machines without the pulse -sound  getting into your other 3 tracks.

11 thoughts on “The Fostex 250 and 250AV cassette four-track machine”

  1. i use one of these to record. its only 4 tracks, but man does it come in handy. i like the sound of tape much more than the sound of digital.

  2. Thanks for the PDF! I bought one of these used in 1989 and used it to record all of my music demos throughout the 90s. It’s a great machine. As far as I know this was one of the first all-in-one 4-track cassette machines. The only thing I didn’t like about it was the frequency response was only 20 Hz – 18 kHz.

    I don’t use it for anything now, but I plan on digitizing all of my old 4-track recordings in the near future. It doesn’t work well anymore so I picked up two other ones on ebay, that also have issues. I’m hoping that between parts on all three I can get a single one working pretty well. I just managed to find new belts for it on ebay!

    I had a band in Seattle in the mid 90s and we recorded our first demo tape on it. We did a lot of bouncing, but ended up with a great sounding demo. The demo tape is on Spotify, if you’re interested:

    1. wow i have the same unit, i wrote a ton of songs on it. then went digital. i wanted to download all the old songs and it turns on but wont turn, maybe it is just a belt.
      1. where did you find the belt
      2. do you recomend a tech to repair this? I want to give it to my daugther who is now writing a lot of tunes.

      1. You dude, I pulled my out of storage today. Not used in 15 years. The belts were all disintegrated and the motor wouldn’t turn. I opened it up, took the belts off. I sat there in dismay. I walked away and left it on. In 15 minutes the motor decided to at least turn, no belts just the motor. It was noisy by itself. I found a bag of assorted elastics. I found two suitable elastics for belts. I had to mess around a fair bit. It wouldn’t play but it would FF and RR. After doing this a bunch of times it started to play the tapes. How cool is that. When I lay the thing flat, the elastics eventually fall off, well just the big one, not the small one. So I put it on it’s side and it works fine no problem. Heads are fine, works well much to my surprise. Now I’m dumping all tracks into Logic Pro X before tapes and machine finally bite the dust. see ya, signed one happy guy!

  3. I own the Fostex 25. It’s practically brand new. Everything works and has no scratches.
    I only used it 4 or 5 times. I misplaced the manual. Call Me at 781-407-5850
    Mr. COOPER

  4. I currently own two of these 250’s and a good number of other 4 track cassette recorders and have in the past owned, yet a great many ( over a dozen ) other Multitrack cassette recorders. And this one I have to tell you, sounds the best out of all of them! Even now, some 30+ years after it was built it sounds nearly just as punchy as my Tascam 38 1/2″ recorder. I think the obvious comparison to it would be a Tascam 244. Which I believe came out about a year or earlier to the 250. I do own two 244s as well, one for parts and one that only works on 3 tracks currently. They do sound very close, but I still give the edge to the Fostex by a few % points. I’ve owned a TON of Tascams from a 414 to a 488 all the way up to a 688. The 488 and 688 feature wise are in a class a bit higher, and even to this day sold for upwards of $300-$400 but don’t really match the sound of the 250s! Among the my current 4 track recorders I am almost on an every day basis recording with are A Tascam Porta one and Porta two. I like them for making demo’s at regular speed 1 7/8 so I can listen to my music on a Walkman. They simply just don’t sound as nice as the 250. Only about 60-70% as good to my ears! This also goes for my current 414 mk2. About 65 to maybe 75% My Yamaha Mt 100 I’d rate only about 55% – 60% even with good clead heads! Fostex X-28H 60- 65% Korg CR-4 60 -70% ( I like the fx on this one) and lastly my Fostex 260 at about 75 – 80% Really nice mixer on the 260!!! Sound wise both of my 688 ‘s only came in at about 70% but the with 8 tracks the bandwidth obviously narrows! I have never owned a Tascam 246! But hear from a lot of sources that this was the best 4 track ever made!?!? : / If it sounds like the 244, I would have to give them their due credit. Lastly my 244 comes in at about 90-95% to the 250’s 100% but with only a slightly easier layout. The Fostex 250’s are a little screwy in only headphone level design with a 12 O clock setting giving you ZERO VOLUME!

  5. I’ve owned this machine since the mid 1980’s when it first came out. Very practical and easy to use. If anyone is interested, I have the original owner’s manual. You can contact me at my listed email if you need it.

    1. Hello, Mike.
      Can you send me (or tell me the info) pages 18 and 19 from the manual?
      This pages contains one important part for me about stereo recording and it absent even at the relevant section of (in .pdf file)

  6. CAN ANYONE TELL ME COULD i GET A DECENT RESULT JUST USING a 250 FOR VOCALS I would need to download a Wave backing track on to the FOSTEK TO SING ALONG TO
    And then down load the Analogue vocal tracks onto my P C Digital recorder for a mixdown

    Am I making sense ?? Cant stand the digital sound on vocals

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