Is There Any Reason To Buy A Reel-To-Reel Machine Nowadays??

I bought my first reel-to-reel machine in 1977 as a convenience in order to record and play back multiple albums in high fidelity.without having to fool around with my manual turntable.  I was surprised to find out that I preferred the sound of the reel to the turntable.  Along came cd and I could play both sides of an album with the fuss of having to flip it over every 15 minutes.  Now with high a high quality DAC and a computer, you can have uninterrupted high fidelity music for days on end.

No one is making new recordings on reel-to-reel.  The cost of blank tape is exorbitant.  The cost of a good open-reel deck is stratospheric.  So pretty much you're left with recording an LP or a cd to your reel for playback.....what's that??

Please chime in for reasons to buy an open-reel deck today.
Technicians with knowledge about these things are getting more rare these days, unless someone gets really involved and devotes a good time on them. Generally spares can be found relatively easy depending on deck and blank tapes are not so expensive. But still it is the most expensive format to keep. Surely an eye catcher with great sonics. Currently own a Revox B77MKII 4 track, two speed 3 1/4 & 7 1/2, a box full of spares and a good number of tapes, mostly RMG SM911, SM468 and Maxell XLI. 
Home made tapes are darn good, but not as astounding as pre-recorded tapes made from 1" 30 ips masters.

We need to be realistic about the difference between pre-recorded from masters and home recorded (which has validity, but not the same SQ).

On 1/4" tape? Record What? Copy an already compromised version, i.e. LP, CD? What speed: 30 ips;15 ips; 7-1/2 ips; 3-/4 ips?

We used to record live radio broadcasts, otherwise unavailable; live musician friends; borrowed LP’s. Many people made long playing compilations on 10-1/2" reels, even using the slower 3-3/4 ips speed for a huge amount of music on 1 tape. Fun, party: press play, walk away.

I bought a collection of 17 tapes pre-recorded by a dude named ’Stoneman’. He hand painted the box edges with pastel paints, a great collection of 60’s rock. They are a treat, sound good, he knew what he was doing, but not the same SQ as studio produced.

Today, everything is accessible, and a 1/4" copy will not sound superior like a pre-recorded one will.


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I see audiophiles spending crazy money on equipment upgrades when the fact is the difference will not be as great as hearing a superior-sounding format in your system. Going from a 10K amp to a 20K amp will not make as big of an SQ improvement as hearing a different format altogether. Nothing sounds like TAPE! Put 2-3K on a reel to reel deck and spend the rest on tapes. I’ve posted on this topic last year.
Reel to reel is not meant to replace your existing formats, there’s not enough music available and most of us here already have a turntable we’re happy with. But reel to reel gives us an opportunity to start listening to master tape quality for 2-3K, a price some of us pay for a cable or a tweak.
Also, it’s good to have friends that are into tapes. Making copies of master tapes for one another really helps with the cost and a good way to build a collection. I’m all in for making new friends...even if you’re just starting out.


I heard a great R2R setup at the hifi store in Gig Harbor WA (cool place, cook dudes ... beer on tap!). Sounded wonderful. I've looked at the prices of tapes though, and they're steep. If I had more money, maybe. I'd rather have an R2R than a turntable, arguably.
@scar972 I was realizing the importance of FORMAT last night. I got a mini library digital of music from someone I am helping. For the most part I had many of the tunes on the library from CD and SACD. However, the digital copies on this mini library was extraordinary. Way better than my FLAC copies using dbPoweramp.

It turned out the mini library was created from pristine vinyl involving a cleaning process, specific turntables, A2D convertors, and software that the FBI uses. Now that is an audiophile level of crazy,  but the sound is fabulous.

I managed to TAG each of the 200GB of music with a specific TAG so I can find just those on ROON from my own music. A little bummed out about my own collection now. I re-subscribed to Qobuz to see if any of the Hi-Res there match what I heard on the library. Not yet.

The improvement between this format and my other stuff is way more than any component that I replaced.