The dangerous world of Reel-to-Reel Tape

It feels like I re-entered the world of tape knowing full well of all the downsides, yet I  did it anyway.  I spent much of my youth glued to my dad's decks, making recordings.  As cassette and digital came of age, I always appreciated the sound of tape. 

Whether this adventure is worth it is a subjective exercise.  For folks who plop down $500-$1k on cables or those who swap gear often, tape is really not that expensive, relatively speaking.  Titles are limited though. 

The sound quality and experience is quite something.  Before jumping back into R2R, I had 4 versions of Muddy Waters' Folksinger.  Hearing Chad Kasem's firm's work on it in 15ips it's just something else.  Body, size, and presence are just different than very good vinyl and digital.  And this is with the stock reproduce board from a Revox PR99 MKIII. I can only imagine what's going to happen when I rebuild that card, put in a modern one, or run directly from the head out to a preamp. 

Maybe I'll see some of you in R2R Rehab, where I'll try to get sober from tape. 


Here is an interesting post on Audigon discussing the superiority of 15ips 2T tape SQ versus vinyl or digital:

All I can say is; IMHO 15ips 2T tape can have the best SQ of any medium, albeit at a stupid price. For example, Lyn Stanley London With A Twist, or Norah Jones Come Away With Me, both these recording, and others, make people think they are listening to live music in my home, that good! Why do you think a lot of high end equipment manufacturers are using R2R tape to demonstrate their products at audio shows?

Yep….it’s a simultaneous two way slope….. I sold the backup Revox and the primary now lives in a recording studio. You should explore the outboard pre aggressively…. amazingly + change. Have fun, enjoy the journey.

I have wanted a RtR since I was a kid,doing same as you with my grandfathers system..Now at 63 y/o & a back that’s pretty much a meat grinder I’m thankful for 1 box streaming solutions & world class mini monitors hahahaha..

If I ever get into R2R, I would invest in a very high quality R2R deck, otherwise it’s pointless. And this is what I would buy + all 30 odd titles from Analog Productions 😊

I purchased my Teac X-10R R2R in 1981 while stationed in Germany.  During the 80’s and early 90’s I recorded 30 reels of my favorite vinyl albums.  I encoded all of my reels using a dbx 244 Type II noise reduction unit.  The 224 not only removed all tape hiss, it also expanded the dynamic range.  I loved the sound of my recordings.

About the mid 90’s, I got into streaming music via Logitech Squeezebox Duets and rarely used the R2R, and it has sat unused for about the last 10 years.  A few weeks ago, I had it serviced and have been listening to those old tapes.  They still sound great. Just this week I did some A/B testing of Qobuz versus my R2R.  My R2R sounded better to me.  

If you look at my profile, you’ll see my R2R sitting in a Teac reel rack, beneath the rack is the Teac maintenance kit I purchased with the deck; it still has head and pinch roller cleaning fluid 🤗.  In my profile, it’s only audio art.  After getting it serviced, I placed it beside my turntable on my Butcher Block gear rack.  The only problem is I can’t record because my BHK pre amp doesn’t have Record Out.  So, I’ve decided to buy an integrated amp with recording capabilities and sell my PS Audio pre amp and power amp.  An Accuphase E280 or E-380 is on my short list.