Preserving reel to reel tapes

My father has a set of reel to reel tapes originally recorded on a domestic Grundig in the mid to late 1960s. Remarkably we still have both and the tapes work but there comes a point when we need to copy the recordings to the digital domain and distribute them around the family before it’s too late. They contain the voice of his mother who passed in 1968; myself as very small child; my cousin; my late uncles nd more.

The Grundig has no line out to take to a digital recorder. Suggestions please.

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Do you know the model of the Reel to reel? It may have an earphone output that will enable you to connect it to a digital recorder.

Otherwise there are services out there who will transcribe the tapes to digital for you for a fee.

If the unit has any type of analog out, you can buy software that will run on Apple or PC that will convert the analog output to digital. I did this a few years ago with camcorder tapes.

Thanks folks. My recall is that this was a very cheap domestic Grundig and only had a microphone in. I have asked my father to go check it out and will report back in due course.

Google local film conversion services. They will probably also do audio tape.

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It’s a Grundig TK 120 and it’s obviously been in the attic a long time. Online searches suggest there was a Deluxe version but clearly this is not that. Have found a German version of the manual online. Searches suggest that there was an RCA out but it’s not clear where unless the microphone socket on the top left doubled as an output on some way.

The top symbol definatley looks like a microphone. The bottom symbol could represent a speaker, so you could be in luck.

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There are a lot of versions of this machine and some definitely used the mic socket as an output during playback. Try playing a tape and connecting pin 3 to an external amplifier with pin 2 being gnd. If it’s going into a Naim amp then a straight din to din cable should work.

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Can you not just play the tapes on a different machine?
As my mate that fixes reel to reel’s and cassette decks has transferred quite a rew old tapes over to digital

I listened to a fascinating radio documentry broadcast on Radio 4 Oct 13 22. wittly called ‘Raiders of the Archive’ .

The program reported on a small group of enthusiasts who search for domestic recordings of old radio programs and recover them from the often delicate tapes… am sure there would be a wealth of expertise to connect with via that group if not already heard about or found a local specialist to do the work.

Even if not the docu. was a fun listen! Hope the above is useful & not too off topic. Goodluck.

Thanks for the responses folks. Apologies for a delayed response. Another insane week. Taking each in turn.

The Grundig is at my parents. It’s likely over 50 years old and has been living in an attic. It feels re reckless to play any tape of a similar age on it until it’s been brought fully back to where it ought to be. As it’s not with me there is not a Naim, or indeed an audio cable, in sight.

Yes possibly but we don’t actually know anyone with a reel to reel.

I will go find this. It sounds interesting regardless of any practical outcomes.

As of tonight my father has stripped it down; is giving it a good clean and has discovered the drive belt has perished. The next step will be to source a replacement. That’s before we examine the heads…

I think/hope he’s concluding there are two separate tasks here. Restore the Grundig to working order is one. The digital archiving is the other.

Well my mate can sort it for you i am sure if you get stuck

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