Show us your Reel to Reel

Here’s a pic of my customized Revox PR99 MKll.

It was done by Urs Steiner from Tech Trader in Switzerland. Notice the customized facia, feet and side panels.

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Sorry, I just realized you cannot see the side panels. They are gloss black with “REVOX” laser cut into them.

It must be an incredible machine.

Thank you. It is. I also have A Revox PR99 MKlll in its original form, but with brand new heads and caps. It’s relegated to my second system in the basement (250/252/SC/CDS3/XPS/Linn Isobariks.

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Wow. Very cool.

I have a few Revox decks, but nothing like the PR99s you have. They’ve featured in a few threads on here over the years. One is a very early 2 track 77A that just sounds lovely, and then a Mk.II 4 track that I bought from a diplomat who had been based in Geneva, bought the deck, but hardly used it. When I went to see it, it was like opening the box as new. It’s interesting to compare them - they look superficially almost identical, but look closer and so many things are different.

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So, is this a trick question? LOL The 2 decks in the first pic appear identical to me. The 3rd pic is obviously a different machine. I’m not really familiar with the A77 machines, so perhaps I’m missing something. anyway, they are classic looking and since they are Revox machines, I’m certain they all sound fantastic.

BTW, both of mine are 4 track versions. I use them, almost exclusively, for making mixed tapes to play as backround music while doing other things. So I was looking for maximum capacity with each tape. I’ve recorded about 250 reels to date, each 3600’. They run for almost 6 1/2 hours each at 3 3/4 ips.

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Sorry, I’m being lazy, obviously I can Google, what’s the thing about a reel to reel? I’ve never read much, if anything, about them. Any good links I can read up on them?

Bit of a steady thread this one, which is a shame as for me they have always been something to behold!

I did contemplate buying one a few years back, I recall finding a helpful article which pointed the reader towards a few hard wearing and well supported domestic Akai models. I have no idea what I would have used it for had I bought one!

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They have larger tape area and much higher tape speed than cassettes, so have much higher sound quality. Before digital audio became a thing (and maybe arguably even after), they were the by-far highest-quality recording option available for the home. And of course their quality is so high that reel-to-reel is the standard method for analog recording in the studio.

And they look cool

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It’s worth remembering that before the widespread use of digital recording, reel to reel was how just about every music performance, bar the odd direct-to-disc, was recorded.

Reel tapes were also released as a commercial pre-recorded format alongside LPs and then cassettes. Admittedly this was most prevalent in the US, where 7 inch 4 track stereo reels in either 3 3/4 ips or 7 1/2 ips were available from the late '50s through to the early '80s.

Some of these 7 inch pre-recorded reels can sound fantastic, particularly the ones done at 7 1/2 ips. Many were duped in real time and the fairly prosaic Ampex tape used has, somewhat ironically, held up far better than some of the more exotic formulations that were used in the studio.

Over the years I’ve built up a small collection of around 150 pre-recorded reels and I tend to get best results using one of a few Sony 4 track reel to reel players. My favourite is probably the TC-645 which is a sturdy and reliable little “bolide” that also sounds great. This one I found some years ago was essentially NOS, having been used to record a series of radio plays and then packed away again until I purchased it.

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Thanks @Suedkiez @Richard.Dane - I read a lot of HiFi magazines in the 80s, and realised R2R was used in the studio, just hadn’t really seen them for home use, nor come across many reviews or press about them before - there’s no What Hifi group test :smiley: …but there is a hifi news one X)

Appreciate the replies and education :slight_smile:

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We had a 4 track Philips R2R tape recorder at home in the 60’s, I occasionally used it to record the top 20 from the radio, I loved the theatre of using it and despite its modest specification, it sounded a lot better than early cassette recorders.

Despite the wide spread availability of quality R2R recorders through the 70’s and early 80’s it seems the world had moved on to the compact cassette, which for me meant that I could now listen to my duplicated record collection in my car.

In all that time I have never seen, let alone heard a pre-recorded R2R tape. I feel that I have missed out on something. Perhaps I should search eBay again for that R2R curiosity.

Techmoan on youtube has some useful and interesting stuff to say about selecting an R2R recorder.

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I started my music journey with a Fidelity Playmaster as this image. As @Roog I recorded from my radio via a microphone. R2R was bought for me in 1968
fidelity-playmaster-reel-reel-tape_360_c00bb490d194968e3103d114ae8e0899
aged about 12, it might still be in my parents loft, one day I’ll have a look.

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I can only imagine just how much enjoyment you experienced recording songs off the radio as a 12 year old. Actually, it’s not too hard to imagine since I did the same thing…on my first R2R, an Ampex. Unfortunately, it is long gone.

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Not mine (I wish it was), but this beauty is one of two Studer A800 Mk III 24-track tape recorders they use at RAK in London. It was this very machine on which we recorded the first Ese & The Vooduu People album back in August 2018.

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B77 MKII bought five years ago, fully serviced, after some good advice on the old forum. Difficult to find pre recorded tapes at 15 IPS so mainly home recording.:sunglasses:

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It doesn’t get any better than that!!!

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Nothing wrong with home recordings!

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It’s long gone, so this is a photo from the internet, but my first RtoR was a Ferrograph 632H. The H meant high speed and so you could run it at 15 ips which gave fantastic performance, just not for very long! Also on my pocket money, a ten inch tape was a lot of weeks of saving up.

image

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The vintage stuff is so cool!

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