Remembering Reel to Reel - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 26 Old 04-04-09, 04:02 AM Thread Starter
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Remembering Reel to Reel

How many had or still have a reel-to-reel tape deck? I had a Revox that I bought used in the early 1970s. I always wanted one of the Crown 800 series machines (wonderful sound, mechanics and beautiful tape handling) but never could afford one.

Of course, I had to have the 10 1/2" tapes on the metal reels and large hubs. Great fun to see those babies spin around on FF and REW. Of course, finding a specific song was an excercise in frustration. The tape counter would only get you within a minute or so at best.

I remember having several pre-recorded tapes. No Dolby NR back then, but at 7 1/2 ips the tape hiss wasn't so bad, at least for the times.

I sold the Revox several years later and bought a Nakamichi 582 cassette deck, which sounded every bit as good as the reel-to-reel.
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post #2 of 26 Old 04-04-09, 07:55 AM
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Re: Remembering Reel to Reel

Well, the Nak was close, but no way that it could match an open reel machine at 71/2ips unless it was worn or poorly calibrated. Never owned one, but worked on and sold many of the Crown, Revox, and Tandberg units back then, as well as tons of Naks.

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post #3 of 26 Old 04-04-09, 11:18 AM
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Re: Remembering Reel to Reel

I owned a Fostex B16 Reel to Reel 16 track recorder up until 5 years ago. Loved it! I used to do recordings with it at our church studio and the ability to play with the pitch and record on the fly to single or multiple tracks was very handy. Now I just use digital media recorders.

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post #4 of 26 Old 04-04-09, 12:26 PM
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Re: Remembering Reel to Reel

When I worked in radio we used a really nice Tascam unit, was much easier for editing commercials than regular cassette decks until we went fully computerized when better software came out. The only unit I personally own is an old Revere tube unit with a foot pedal activator that I still use for recording log tapes for amateur radio. I love the little funky round level meter that uses a plasma arc display to show the recording level.
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post #5 of 26 Old 04-04-09, 12:37 PM
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Re: Remembering Reel to Reel

I never owned one, but always wanted a Revox B 77 MK2.
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post #6 of 26 Old 04-04-09, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Remembering Reel to Reel

Mike P. wrote: View Post
Revox B 77 MK2.
Did the MK2 add Dolby? Mine was the original.

Gotta tell you about an embarassing moment. About 35 years ago, I ran the sound system for my church's choir. We used an old 2 head, manual transport Sony reel-to-reel with an music track with which the choir sang. I spliced clear leader tape between each song so that I could find the beginning of each one during rehearsals. I used the same tape for the performance.

There was a speaking part right before one song in the middle of the performance. I had cued up the tape and had it on pause. Instead of turning the lever to play, I hit FF. That got me flustered and the choir director and about 1,000 people were staring at me as I was frantically trying to get the tape back to the right position. I missed the clear leader as it flew by in REW and ended up at the beginning of the previous song. I hit PLAY and of course got another round of stares. Finally, I got it started at the right place and the performance resumed. Oh, for even a CD at that time!

I had mentioned to the choir director several times that we really needed a 3 head machine for monitoring. Well, during all this he said into his microphone "Would someone please buy us a 3 head machine!?" Not that that had anything to do with my flub...
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post #7 of 26 Old 04-04-09, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Remembering Reel to Reel

lcaillo wrote: View Post
Tandberg units
I had completely forgotten about Tandberg reel-to-reels. I had their separate preamp, amp, and tuner a long time ago. Great gear at the time.
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post #8 of 26 Old 04-07-09, 10:27 AM
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Re: Remembering Reel to Reel

Funny story, hjones!

Anyone checked eBay recently? Apparently there is still a loyal constituency using reel-to-reels. I was shocked to see the prices that that the more desirable 10” models are commanding!

Personally, I love reel to reels! If I could find the slightest use or justification, I’d still have one in my system today! I always thought they were the ultimate cool and drooled over them for many years. I finally acquired an Akai from a pawn shop near my house back in 1985 or so, a GX-625 or something like that. Only a 10-1/2” would do for me – those big reels were much cooler than the dinky 7” ones! Forget the price I paid, something between $125 and $200, I think. As far as I can tell, it wasn’t one of Akai’s better models. Not that I would have cared – as far as I was concerned, any 10-1/2” reel-to-reel was high end! It was mesmerizing watching those big wheels slowly turning!

That Akai was the pride and joy of my stereo system for many years, and I got a lot of enjoyment out of it, recording jazz music on radio shows for three hours at a time (@ 3-3/4 ips) and editing the songs I liked down to cassette. I recorded a couple of reels, one of light jazz music I used for background music at parties, and one of Christmas music for our annual family get-togethers. At the slower 3-3/4 ips speed it was the ultimate jukebox!

Eventually of course I was able to accomplish the same thing with a CD changer, and without all the time involved in recording. So the big Akai was retired to the closet. I think I flat wore the thing out – it eventually got more and more noise, and IIR a lot of flutter. I reluctantly threw it out several years ago, not having enough use for it to justify a repair bill. Seeing what these things are selling for on eBay these days, I regret that now!

Here’s a picture, along with the rest of my system at the time. It was tricky taking it (35 mm film) at just the right exposure to show the wheels turning and all the LEDs lit up on the rest of the gear!

Remembering Reel to Reel-1986-composite.jpg

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post #9 of 26 Old 04-08-09, 11:57 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Remembering Reel to Reel

That was a great looking machine, Wayne. Nothing like those big reels.

Did you try an outboard DBX unit with it? I did on my Revox for a while and I think that I experimented with recording DBX encoded LPs and then playing them back from the tape.

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post #10 of 26 Old 04-15-09, 01:05 PM
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Re: Remembering Reel to Reel

I started with a Voice of the Theater RTR back in 1964, back when I was 13. I still have tapes I recorded on it. In 1966 I upgraded to a Viking 87RMQ Super Pro, I was a deck with separate pre-amps all mounted in what looks like a suitcase. I still have it, but it needs some work, although the belt is still good!

Since the Viking had seen better days, about 8 years ago I bought a TEAC (I believe 2300) from ebay with the intent of transferring all my tapes to digital. I did some transfers but other projects kept me from completing it. The deck is packed up.

Two years ago a friend at work mentioned she had her late dad's RTR. They tried to sell it at a garage sale, but they couldn't get it to run. She said it was $50 and I could return it if I couldn't get it to go. It turned out to be a nice Akai 4 channel (remember Quad?) deck in cherry condition in the original box. I think it was user error, because I got it to fire right up. When I carried it out to the car, she said: "You're not done yet." She included a Sansui Quad receiver in its original box, two Sansui speakers and a box with 50 BASF tapes, 8 of which are sealed.

Finally, I was in a pawn shop and noticed a neglected RTR over in the corner. FF and RR worked but it wouldn't play. The owner wanted $75 but I got him down to $50 since it didn't function. It was a TEAC and looked nice, but I was unfamiliar with the unit. When I got it home I looked it up, it's a TEAC X-1000R! It took a $15 belt, a $4.00 transistor and a little de-Oxit to get running. It's cherry except for a scratch on one of the knobs. I called up TEAC and they still have them in stock! Another $6.00 and I've got a lovely deck, complete with 10.5" reels, which I've longed for forever.
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