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starting with analog...need reel to reel opinions

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by themosscollector, May 23, 2008.

  1. ive been recording into the computer for a while now. i would like to get a reel to reel deck to do some experimenting with but i am totally new to the medium. ive been searching ebay and there are quite a few options. i know it is a crap shoot when dealing with ebay but what are your opinions on the different cheeper ($100-$300) vintage decks out there?
  2. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    A couple words -

    1 - are you capable of providing maintenance on the deck?
    2 - If the answer to "1" is "No," do you know someone who is?

    No reel-to-reel on ebay in the $100-$300 range is going to do anything positive for you. It will break, eat tapes, and at BEST, sound warbly and out of kilter.

    IMHO, it takes a SERIOUS tape deck (a la Studer 2" or Ampex...) to surpass even a modest/cheap computer with decent plug-ins.

    And then there's the maintenance.

    Sorry - probably not the answer you were looking for, but hey...

  3. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    You'll want to be more specific.

    How many tracks? What size reels and tape width? Any particular brands and models that you already have in mind?

    It could be expensive. Research what you are thinking about, and price that size of tape. Tape is already expensive. There are fewer manufacturers and a diminishing market to keep manufacturing.

    Also, a lot of maintenance to keep it working properly. And, you never know exactly what condition things are in, especially the heads, unless you have a trusted source. Research the price and availability of new heads, the cost to fix the ones on it ("relapping"), and the labor costs to do either...for the model you are considering.

    Just some things to consider.

  4. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    100-300 Bucks -
    That's 2 track 1/4" at best.
  5. mabey warbly and off kilter is what im going for. j/k . im not necessarily looking for a serious professional unit. i would like something that i can get to know, learn maintenance, burn reels, ect. so lets talk 2 track 1/4 " decks then.....which are better then others....what to avoid. you have to start somewhere right....?
  6. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Well...if it's for play and learn time...I guess that's fine...

    Check out Ampex 2 tracks, Otari and (maybe....)Tascam.
  7. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member


    Here's a good one for cheap and fun's sake
  8. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Here's the tech manual:
  9. what would be a fair price for that unit?
  10. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    The heads look okay...
    I'd personally be comfortable up to maybe $200-$250 on it...
  11. i appreciate your responses. now for the schooling... any books you reccomend starting with, or sites on the web that deal with all the fun and hassel in learning about these things?
  12. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Sorry...no info there. :-(
  13. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Here's a place that may generate some ideas:


  14. did a little serching around and i found an akai gx 4000-d for sale locally....$100. any thoughts on this deck? says it is in good working order but i'll have to find out some more info.
  15. BrianaW

    BrianaW Active Member

    I'm using a Fostex E-2 for mixdown when I do analog recordings. I really like it, it sounds great, it's rock solid, has beautiful meters, and has a bias setting switch specifically for Ampex/Quantegy 456, dump editing, digital counter, zero stop, memory stop (2 locate points), pitch control, 2 speeds, and it's easy to maintain. You can release the bias switch for a standard user defined bias too. These decks have sync tracks and can be used with midi interfaces and remotes (which I have and has worked flawlessly). I've owned several different 1/4" tape machines for mixdown over the years including nice Akai's, Pioneer's, and Teac/Tascam's, but I really like this one best. I've pushed this thing to the limit with GP9 and it still doesn't break up. You can get it to break up, but there's a fantastic amount of headroom on this deck with the right tape. Otherwise, I'd agree with the people here... Tascam or Otari.

    Whatever you get, make it something decent so that even if you decide you do not want to go analog, you still have a nice 2 track deck in case you get clients that want that saturated sound during mixdown.

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