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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is probably the wrong forum but i wasn't sure where to post.


anyway, i have a friend who wants to get a new reel to reel to play her collection of 7" reel to reels. I know absolutely nothing about reel to reel. Can anyone point me in the right direction to help her find a player?


Thanks,

Daniel
 

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There's a wide selection on eBay. Other than the rare boutique dealer (selling refurbed gear) and pro gear sellers, reel to reel just isn't used any more. You're pretty much restricted to the used market.
 

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Thats like one of those typewriter things right? My Dad told me about those once. ;)
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Cinder
Thanks for the info, i'll give ebay a try. Any tips on decent brands or things to look for?
I have a TEAC (model 2300A ? I think) that I've always liked.


Ed
 

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A few questions... are they encoded with Dolby or are they just flat? If encoded with Dolby, you either need to pick up a reel to reel like the Revox A-77s (some of which had built in dolby decoders) or get an external Dolby B decoder (Teac AN-60). I am also assuming that they are 1/4 track tapes (4 tracks on the tape... 2 sets of stereo tracks.... play it in 1 direction and you get 2 channels, play it in the other direction and you get the other 2 channels). There are both 1/4 track and 1/2 track (only 2 channels per tape) machines out there so make sure you get the right one. Also, you will need to make sure that any machine you buy has heads in decent shape. If they aren't you will need to have them relapped.


The prices of open reel machines range anywhere from a few $ to several thousand $. A personal favorite in the realtively low cost range is a Revox A-77 in decent condition. The Teacs are also good. If you are going to be a bit more serious and want to step up a notch, look into an Otari 5050. They have heads to playback both 2 track and 4 track tapes (only record as 2 track though) as well as NAB and CCIR equalization. An Otari 5050 can be had for around $750-$1k.
 

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Despite what some of the jokers around here contend, Reel-To-Reel decks are still being made, like the Tascam BR-20. (Reasonably available in the USA for around $3K new.)

In Europe, there are still custom manufacturers of multi-track decks, they are rare, and quite expensive.
 

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"jokers"?


Has anyone on this thread said that they're not still being made? You got a purpose for self-aggrandizement? Make your contribution and move on. Personal characterization is not welcome.
 

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I still have 10 1/2" Pioneer RT1011L reel to reel, that's still running strong. And there is two just like mine up on ebay right now. With one at $40.01 with 3 days left, and one at $24.99 with 9 days left. They will play 7" reels with no problem, so you may want to consider some of the used 10 1/2" decks also.
 

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....I've been told that the oxide coatings often flake off on tapes that are more than 20 years old. Any experience on this?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Jedi
....I've been told that the oxide coatings often flake off on tapes that are more than 20 years old. Any experience on this?
Oxide coatings can flake off on tape of almost ANY age, depending on the quality of tape from the beginning. These days, it's probably best practice to get any recording off tape and onto some other media as quickly as possible. I have 20 year old tapes that appear just fine and 10 year old tapes that are toast.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Jedi
....I've been told that the oxide coatings often flake off on tapes that are more than 20 years old. Any experience on this?
As stated above, this is all relative to the tape stock that was originally used and the care that was taken to storing the tape. "Getting it off" onto another medium (implication is record it off to digital) isn't the solution either as the longevity of digital based media is questionable as well (CD-Rs aren't an archival medium... and will degrade after several years). There is of course the other argument that moving the analog media to digital will be a degradation. That being said, the shelf life of a well cared for tape is considered to be longer than just about anything else. I have 50 year old tapes that still sound fantastic.


Now as far as known problems with tape... some tape stock will develop a high degree of shedding. This is usually older acetate based tape and great care must be taken whenever handling acetate tape. Acetate tape should be wound off using only play speeds and not high speed winding. Transports that are rough on tape will surely destroy an older acetate tape.


The other major problem that has been encountered with analog tape is what is called sticky tape. This occurs when the binder in the tape absorbs a certain degree of moisture and becomes "sticky". When playing a sticky tape through a machine, it will grind the machine to a halt and cause the tape to both shed and stretch. While sticky tape cannot be permanently reversed, you can temporarily reverse the problem so that the tape can be played a few times. This is done by slow baking the tape in a convection oven at controlled temperature over several hours (don't use a normal kitchen oven for this... their temperature fluctuations are too great and can destroy the tape). The worst offender of sticky tape was Ampex 406/456 manufactured in the mid 70s to the mid 80s.


The last problem (which is fairly infrequent) is a lubrication breakdown of the tape... if your tape is covered in white powder, then you have a lubrication breakdown. Fixing this requires cleaning and relubricating the tape... a major pain in the ass and generally not worth it unless the tape is a 1 of a kind recording.
 

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When tapes get old it is anyones guess if they are still good. Like MaxPaws said, some younger tapes can be dead while older ones are still fine. I have experienced this myself with both audio and data tapes. I have had tapes less than 5 years old die off on me. I have also had tapes 15-20+ some odd years old seem just fine. But it is true that tapes don't last forever.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by DrSpike69
When tapes get old it is anyones guess if they are still good. Like MaxPaws said, some younger tapes can be dead while older ones are still fine. I have experienced this myself with both audio and data tapes. I have had tapes less than 5 years old die off on me. I have also had tapes 15-20+ some odd years old seem just fine. But it is true that tapes don't last forever.
nothing lasts forever... and the funny thing is that vinyl lasts longer than any of them (of course as long as you don't play them :) )
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by scooter_29
... and the funny thing is that vinyl lasts longer than any of them (of course as long as you don't play them :) )
That assumes using a cartrige and needle - i.e. physical contact. I've heard of 2 methods that don't touch the vinyl. One is a laser that reads the grooves while the record turns. The other is simply capturing an image of the record and then software processing the groove image.


Ed
 
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