Can we finally put Reel to Reel out of its misery? Put it to rest people.


The format is dying and too expensive to repair properly. Heads wear out so easy and many out there are all worn.
High quality technicians are either retired or long gone. Its such an inconvenient format that can be equalled by nakamichi easily in tape decks.
Retire it please put them in museums. 
vinny55
Never read a thread with two cliches in the subject line.
I feel like I discussed cassettes but not reel to reel. So I want to post that one of the main benefits of reel to reel is that it plays at higher speeds. At higher speeds it’s much harder to distort. So with a reel to reel deck you only need 20dB of dynamic range. Above -20VU cassettes fall on their face. Cassettes got away with less distortion with noise shaping technologies like Dolby and DBX, and the only reason why it required more headroom. Digital recordings of course are most easy to distort which is why you need 144dB of headroom. It’s pretty amazing what reel to reel is capable of and pretty understandable why it was the standard for so long. Cassettes can still sound incredible. It really is apples and oranges. You can't compare reel to reel to any other format. 
It would be amazing the quality of r2r tapes we could manufacture and release today if we wanted to. Listing to music without any translation to ‘other delivery medium’. Even digital sources would find more life on tape.

A good tape, beats most other available formats/mediums. For most of the music I love, it’s the medium in which those recording were made.

Yes digital in a sense can be closer the Master Tape, but you decimate time, frequency and loudness to another domain full of time and frequency characteristics and parameters that must ‘work together’. And then you have to do it all in reverse and get it right.

Vinyl you need to go through a completely different mastering process. You lose bass in stereo, and you lose bass energy the closer to the end of a record side you go. Plus there’s vinyl impurities. You have to add a special EQ and then remove it at phono preamp due to real physical limitations. You go from Master, to Lacquer, to multiple stampers. Stampers wear out. Scratches, heat, dust, static electricity are enemies of vinyl production and playback.

With reel to reel tape you go from Master Tape, to Dub Master Tapes, probably with some EQ, to Reel-to-Reel tape you play at home.

Which seems most likely to reproduce faithfully the analog event that is instruments and voices making sound?
I have to second that. I would have preferred a cassette or reel to reel comeback instead of vinyl, but we might get lucky as I heard those are making a comeback as well. Better buy them while you still can. Lol! Vinyl is one of the most difficult and expensive consumer formats to get good results out of. You can spend stupid amounts of money on cartridges, needles, arms, pres, and still get average results.

I agree that tape has a different sound than digital, but most of the difference between the two formats comes through when recording and not as much when playing back. A digital recording of a tape recording will very much sound like tape and you won’t notice the difference, but a digital recording transferred to tape will add some colorization but will still have the characteristics of a digital recording. It’s like trying to colorize a black and white photo. The "magic" of analog is the way that tape saturates and distorts in the recording studio compared with digital which can’t handle any amount distortion.
I agree that tape has a different sound than digital, but most of the difference between the two formats comes through when recording and not as much when playing back. A digital recording of a tape recording will very much sound like tape and you won’t notice the difference, but a digital recording transferred to tape will add some colorization but will still have the characteristics of a digital recording. It’s like trying to colorize a black and white photo. The "magic" of analog is the way that tape saturates and distorts in the recording studio compared with digital which can’t handle any amount distortion.
This isn't quite correct. A properly operating recorder will generate a bit of 3rd harmonic (which is innocuous to the human ear). The 3rd is often in enough amplitude that it will mask higher ordered harmonics, which to the ear will make tape sound smoother- particularly at or near saturation. This will be true regardless of the source of the recording. This 3rd harmonic makes tape good for taming the highs in digital systems, which like it or not have distortion called 'aliasing' (since the digital world does not like to admit to distortion). Aliasing is a form of distortion that is best described as a form of IMD in that the tones generated are in relation to the Nyquist frequency. Any harmonics that might exceed the Nyquist frequency are 'wrapped around' back down into the audio band and get interpreted by the ear as brightness.