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Copying old reel to reel to PC - what amp?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I have an old reel to reel player from my grandfather (from the 50's!) and some tapes of family stuff that he wants me to copy (not entirely familiar with this, but I think it's the consumer size tape). I have an amp that went with that as well, and using the front phono output from that, I'm actually able to get sound out of this. (the rear jacks don't seem to work - perhaps the vacuum tubes popped?) However, it's not very loud - I have to turn the volume up to max (granted, I was just running cheap computer speakers on that, which of course have their own amp - but those get a lot louder than I normally want to run them when run with something like a smartphone) to hear it decently, and there's definitely a buzz that the old amplifier's putting into the signal.

Is it possible to use a modern amp (like the one built into a receiver I have lying around) to do this? (hopefully that won't create all the buzzing - which, BTW, was still there even with the record player not plugged into the amp). I'd like to run this into a computer so I can record it from there.

Thanks!
post #2 of 6
First you'll have to get more specific about the tape and player you have (width of tape, make, model of player/recorder). Phono has a special eq curve that tape doesn't use in any case. You're just dealing with basic line level for a tape output so you can use a wide variety of receivers/integrated amps/pre-amps to pull it in...even some computers might have line-level inputs. Your grandfather probably has a better idea of whats needed than you do with that "smart" phone wink.gif
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
I'll need to check, but it's a really old Sony. The only thing is that I'll probably be recording this with a laptop, and those don't have line-level inputs, just mic input. (though the stuff on the tape isn't that clear to begin with, so I doubt it makes too much difference - I'd hate to distort it further though) I don't think he's used this in years BTW, given that I had to replace the crumbling cords to even safely plug it in. (semi-safely, that is - I tripped the GFCI a few times on accident here) Speaking of which, I like how the AC cords on both of them were crumbling, but the wires inside the old amp were just fine. (even the part of the AC cord inside it was crumbling - of all things...)

I have a receiver with an amp built in that I could use for this - is it safe to connect the phono jacks from this to the input, and then connect the speaker output to a 3.5mm cable or something and record from there? (since that'd normally be WAY too loud, but the input is pretty soft here) I'm hoping the sound will be a bit clearer this way.
post #4 of 6
You need to take the line-level signal out of the tape recorder and use a ADC to convert it to digital, then use the USB output of the converter to go to your USB connection on the computer.

The correct software then becomes the issue.

If the line-level outputs of the tape recorder don't work (which is very doubtful), you might need to replace some tubes to get them going. I think you are just doing something wrong there though.
post #5 of 6
USB devices which accept line-level analog audio inputs are readily available.

As previously mentioned, please provide the Sony model number of the tape recorder so more precise help can be provided.

Another option would be to rent (or purchase) a newer reel-to-reel tape deck so you don't have to fight with all the things which probably have gone wrong over the years. Disintegrating power cords are just going to be the tip of the iceberg.
post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Selden Ball View Post

USB devices which accept line-level analog audio inputs are readily available.

As previously mentioned, please provide the Sony model number of the tape recorder so more precise help can be provided.

Another option would be to rent (or purchase) a newer reel-to-reel tape deck so you don't have to fight with all the things which probably have gone wrong over the years. Disintegrating power cords are just going to be the tip of the iceberg.

Agreed, and if the power cord is disintegrating, there's a good chance all the belts and rubber idler wheels are in similar condition. These lower cost 60&70s tape deck were mostly single motor with lots of belts and rollers to run the various transport functions. You will probably never be able to source replacement parts today.
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AVS › AVS Forum › Audio › Audio theory, Setup and Chat › Copying old reel to reel to PC - what amp?