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Reel to Reel? Unsure whether I need one...

Discussion in 'Tape' started by Hoxtongue, Jul 13, 2018.

  1. Hoxtongue

    Hoxtongue Member

    Messages:
    69
    50 years old and I must say we couldn't afford a reel to reel or had any friends growing up had them. But I I'm intrigued by them and been sniffing around them on local buy/sell groups. I have a number of tape decks and go to them every now and them. Wondering what kind of sound quality would I get from one?

    Also I see tape reels are very expensive and appear to be hard to find. Should I just keep "investing" in receivers & speakers or start actively looking? Most in my area in half descent shape are approx $650 and up.

    Thanks!
     

     

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  2. MRL_Audio

    MRL_Audio AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,833
    Location:
    St. Chuck, MO
    Where is my area?
     
  3. Hoxtongue

    Hoxtongue Member

    Messages:
    69
    Toronto, Canada.
     
  4. mythrenegade

    mythrenegade New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Before you spend any money, watch this:

     
  5. BOUXY

    BOUXY Super Member

    Messages:
    4,672
    Location:
    WPG,MB CANADA
    I 've dabbled in R2R's for nigh on 60 yrs but in your case having never had one I would say don't!Although they are great fun they are also very troublesome at times and at your station in life,I'd stay away but hey that's just me and what do I know:)
     
    Hoxtongue likes this.
  6. sixthday

    sixthday Super Member

    Messages:
    1,285
    Then the answer is easy. You dont !
     

     

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  7. maxhifi

    maxhifi AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,072
    Location:
    Edmonton Alberta Canada
    There's pros and cons.

    Pro:

    1. Very tactile and fun to use,
    2. Recording quality is amazing, way better than the best cassette
    3. The machines look fantastic
    4. Conversation piece, guests will notice it a mile away.

    Cons:

    1. Pre-recorded tapes are very hard to find, and expensive.
    2. Blank tapes cost a lot of money too, and can't sound better than the source material. For example, if you're taping records, why not just listen to records?
    3. Machines are all 40+ years old, and require service and adjustment to sound their best. This can be expensive if you aren't a do it yourself type guy.

    You need to decide what suits you. If you get into this in any meaningful way, it will probably be at least $1000 before you have a nice machine which works properly, and some good reels to play on it.
     
  8. MaxxVolume

    MaxxVolume Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,060
    All the above statements are true, but there IS something very soothing about watching those big reels go `round while making music....
     
    wlhd1610 and souljay3 like this.
  9. Hoxtongue

    Hoxtongue Member

    Messages:
    69
    Great video, had no idea there were so many variations.
     
  10. Hoxtongue

    Hoxtongue Member

    Messages:
    69
    Thanks for everyones input. Right, looks like a it may be worth steering away, however they are pretty cool looking....
     
  11. JWinTN

    JWinTN AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    474
    Location:
    NE TN
    I don't have a lot of experience with R2R, but it doesn't necessarily have to cost a fortune to get into it. I just kinda kept my eyes open as I looked for other stuff and eventually found a functioning TEAC X-20R on LetGo for $150. I had also picked up various prerecorded reels at different thrifts—nothing great, mostly classical, but, still, it's something to play with. If you are inclined to visit thrifts and garage sales as so many of us are, you may eventually run across something that will work for you. There are still deals on prerecorded reels if you're not looking for the most collectable ones. I've also found blank tapes and reels and such at garage sales and thrifts. It took a while, mostly because I wanted a 10.5"-inch machine, but if you're patient and keep your eyes open, you might get lucky and find one that fits your budget, especially if you're looking for a 7" machine.

    I am still a novice, but I plan on using the R2R to record some mixes and to copy some of my more valuable albums so that I'm not playing them over and over.

    I even have a Revox B-77 that I bought off Craigslist for $125. So, the deals are out there.
     

     

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  12. Skylab

    Skylab Altimeter reading zero Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,435
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    Reel to reel is the most fun I have had with hi-fi, EVER. So there are at least a few crazies like me who it really appeals to for many reasons. But it does require some patience and willingness/ability to spend some bucks.
     
  13. damacman

    damacman Blown and Injected Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,772
    Location:
    Gilbert, AZ
    Still the best sounding source in my rig ...

    Of course you don't need one, but it sounds like you sure want one.
     
  14. Hoxtongue

    Hoxtongue Member

    Messages:
    69
    I think you may have nailed it..now just to find one that wont break the bank and is in good condition....
     
  15. Poinzy

    Poinzy Super Member

    Messages:
    2,004
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    I don't know why you'd want a R2R deck, unless you had some pre-recorded tapes you wanted to play. High-end R2R decks sound great, but are a pain to use compared to cassette decks (though I'm not recommending one of those, either).
     
  16. BOUXY

    BOUXY Super Member

    Messages:
    4,672
    Location:
    WPG,MB CANADA
    Why are they a pain to use?For you maybe but not for any of us who use and love them:)
     
    Skylab and phantomrebel like this.

     

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  17. damacman

    damacman Blown and Injected Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,772
    Location:
    Gilbert, AZ
    Plenty of deals out there. I bought my 909 for $100 and then spent $75 to have a friend ship it to me and $250 to get it up to snuff.
     
    Hoxtongue likes this.
  18. mythrenegade

    mythrenegade New Member

    Messages:
    27
    I honestly hope I never come across a great deal on a reel to reel because it’s a lock I’ll buy it. And then get sucked into the rabbit hole. And I have no space for one. And I don’t need it. And I want it terribly.
     
    musichal and Skylab like this.
  19. twiiii

    twiiii Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,333
    Location:
    west Texas
    Only tape machines operating at 15 ips and 2 trk can capture what is necessary for faithful reproduction of an LP using low noise high output tape. . In some cases LPs by Sheffield and Telarc can't be totally captured even then. Now I will agree the the Revox and a few others have the frequency response at 7and 1/2 ips but they can't handle the necessary dynamic range, unless you have one with Dolby B. I prefer DBX professional noise reduction my self. But the issue with DBX is frequency response must be accurate and only 15 ips meets the requirement. If you have a 2 db error with DBX after processing the error is now 4 db. The advantage is your -7 db can be your new O level reducing over all distortion from the 1% level to below 0.2%. Also Dbx is a full spectrum noise reduction system where Dolby is basically a 700 HZ and up frequency device. Also 15 ips machines have lower W&F. But they can't match todays better turntables. Now I admit the original mastering tape decks had higher W&F in the 50's and 60's than consumer machines and semi pro machines of the 70's ad 80's. But thats not the point. The point is a master tape with W&F compromised by an older turntable dubbed on a tape machine with W&F can result in a presentation that does not have a firm foundation and stability. Especially when producing percussion instruments from bells to piano and everything in between.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2018

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