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Best Bang for the Buck Reel to Reel

Discussion in 'Analog Audio Forum (amplifiers, cables, etc.)' started by watchnerd, Aug 9, 2017.

  1. watchnerd

    watchnerd Major Contributor Beer Hero

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    If I wanted to get into reel to reel with a decent vintage deck, but am not willing yet to commit to a full $5k-$10k J-Corder rebuild, what models should I be looking for?

    Preferably <$1500ish.
     
  2. Blumlein 88

    Blumlein 88 Major Contributor

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    Been out of the RTR world for 20 years. Revox had a good rep and those I have used were good. I do believe later upper end Sony's beat it though I don't recall a model number. I used some Tascam's in later vintage that were also very nice in sort of a semi-pro or pro-sumer version. Akai made some decks that seemed very well made and look like they should be good, but I don't think they ever had great quality heads so avoid those. And of course if you could score an Otari from somewhere those should be nice.

    I am not up on pricing though just naming some better than average affordable decks you might run across.

    Here are some for sale I found just for examples. I don't know if the pricing etc makes sense or the relative reasonableness of these when they are this old.

    https://reverb.com/item/4625735-otari-mx55-2-track-reel-to-reel-tape-machine-grey

    https://reverb.com/item/6115037-ota...tored-pro-stereo-reel-2-4-track-tape-recorder

    https://reverb.com/item/5715017-fostex-model-20-reel-to-reel-recorder-100-functional

    https://reverb.com/item/6148847-ota...deck-tape-recorder-w-dolby-hx-pro-plus-extras
     
  3. amirm

    amirm Founder/Admin CFO (Chief Fun Officer) Staff Member

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    The Technics 1500 series is the best bet.
     
  4. LarsS

    LarsS Active Member

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  5. watchnerd

    watchnerd Major Contributor Beer Hero

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    Yeah, but aren't those like $4k?

    I was hoping to start off cheaper to see if I even like playing with R2R.
     
  6. amirm

    amirm Founder/Admin CFO (Chief Fun Officer) Staff Member

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    On the rebuilt, fancy chrome versions and such. Normal ones in working condition should not be more than $1,500.

    Since you are local to us, best way to acquire one is through god of Reel to Reel, Ki Choi.





    Send me a PM and I will connect you via email with him. He got me my slightly used Otari MX-5050 which has served me quite well. I know he wants to reduce his inventory of decks.

    BTW, whatever you buy, needs to have two key features: 15 ips speed and IEC equalization. Almost all pre-recorded tapes come in this combination.
     
  7. watchnerd

    watchnerd Major Contributor Beer Hero

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  8. amirm

    amirm Founder/Admin CFO (Chief Fun Officer) Staff Member

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    From my quick look, it does not have 15 ips speed. Without it, it is not of any value with respect to playing commercial tapes.
     
  9. watchnerd

    watchnerd Major Contributor Beer Hero

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    But there were commercially released recordings on 7.5 IPS (e.g. Sinatra, Belafonte)...so not sure what you mean...
     
  10. watchnerd

    watchnerd Major Contributor Beer Hero

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    Dave Brubeck's "Take Five", from 7.5 IPS commercial release:

     
  11. Blumlein 88

    Blumlein 88 Major Contributor

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    Yes there were 7.5 ips commercial tapes, most of them I would say were 3.75 ips. I don't know if Amir is referring to modern tapes that are available. Those are usually 15 ips. I would suggest getting a 15 ips capable deck. But if you are just wishing to try out the RTR thing, that Tandberg is probably pretty good. They made a version of it that was a Tandberg 20a SE which would do 15 ips according to some. If Amir can hook you up with a guy like Ki Choi that would be good. Make sure you are getting a good deck with no operational issues.
     
  12. amirm

    amirm Founder/Admin CFO (Chief Fun Officer) Staff Member

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    Sorry I meant the modern revival of tape. All currently produced tapes are 15 ips.
     

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