I'm interested in purchasing a cheap ($100-$200) reel-to-reel to see if it is something I'd like to further explore... however I know very little about them and about maintaining them.
I've just begun to research it, but just wanted to see if any of you had any links, information or resources that you may already know of. If so, it will definitely give me more of a head start in finding what one may be right for me to buy (or determining if I should).
I'm not sure who's making new tape machines if anyone, but there are several machines you can find used thanks to craigslist/ebay, etc. The Tascam/Teac stuff is pretty nice. I've used the Tascam 38 which is a 1/2" 8 track and is a wonderful unit. I just finished a project using the Tascam 388 which is an 1/8" 8 track with an integrated mixer... the mixer is pretty scary sounding, but I was really surprised by the results from the actual tape machine.
From what I've heard the Otari stuff is decent as well, but stay away from the fostex stuff, as it tends to be a bit more easily breakable. Also, some sort of noise reduction (preferably dolby or dbx) makes a big difference, as does the quality of tape you buy.
Its a whole different world than all this fun digital stuff, but if you have the patience and dedication, its an art in itself and will teach you to be a better engineer without relying on all that digital trickery.
You'd be hard pressed to find even a used one for less than $400.00. Unless you're talking a simple two track machine.