Good entry into R2R

Good people!

I'm thinking of entering into reel-to-reel, mostly out of curiosity. My experience with the format is close to zero and last time I've heard a tape was long time ago...but a shadow of that sound did remain in me. There appear small studios offering tapes, although some of them at very high prices.

I've been thinking about a good machine to enter, something that could stay as a reference for many years.
The first and the foremost criterion is the Sound, second reliability and tape handling. Ease of use is not a real issue--it's not going to see any studio use, just a +/- occasional playback.

I think the subject has been discussed here, but IIRC it ended up in Studer A820...out of my reach now. Learning tape zoology, I'm looking for 1/4" half-track stereo. I'm in EU, so after some research I have figured out a few interesting EU machines:

*Studer A80 R or RC -- the famous studio legend, discrete electronics, have not seen any objections about the sound, but no real descriptions of it either :-)

*Telefunken M15 (not M15A) ---German broadcasting workhorse, discrete electronics (unlike M15A); the common opinion seems to be that it's built like a tank, superb engineering (some claim A80 is better in this respect, some to the opposite); as for the sound, I've found a mixed bag: from superb, way better than Studer (without mentioning in which way though) to fuzzy/grainy, digital like, overrated due to "Made in Germany", etc; the negative opinions seems to concern M15A, not really much info on M15's sound. The electronics seem to need a mod for the IEC eq. There is a company Hilpert-Audio who takes care of the decks.

*Telefunken M10A with V86/87 -- an old all-tube deck, surprisingly much more available than the legendary C37; I could not really find any info neither on the engineering nor on the sound quality; the old electronics would probably need refurb and mods to play moder EQ but all that does not seem impossible, the question is nostalgic vintage issues apart, how really good it is?

I'm sure there are people round here who have a good experience with those machines. I'd love to learn some impressions, esp. in the context of an advanced sound reproduction (my current analog system is based on EMT930, TSD15, DIY EAR834 with Tribute nano SUT's).

Many thanks!
What is your budget? That will determine if you should buy vintage pro gear as you have listed above or consumer gear. My background is in analogue recording studios and the only advice I can give you is have a good bench-tech nearby if you go with pro gear. These decks will have many hours of operation on them.
Have you looked at brands like Teac, Akai or Revox?
Lowrider, my budget is about the prices of the mentioned decks, hence the question. I'm in EU so prefer EU deck due to the parts, techs, shipping etc.
R2R is no real problem to find, even when they are in good
condition, the main problem will be getting good tapes. The best ones -
which doesn't smear the tape heads - are out of production long time
ago. I had R2R (Revox, spare from a Studio) some years ago and sold all
based on the lousy tape available today (compared to 10 years ago). I
compared a few tapes and the differences are huge indeed (the Studio
guys gave me a lot of information about tape quality, they knew them all,
I got 40 from their best but then it was done).
Older original tapes are hard to find, normally in USA only and they have
lost some high frequency information all over the years.
There are some Forums about those Recorders, generally, the more
complicated, more rare the more Hype. But in Europe, Revox is a reliable
Syntax has raised a good point regarding finding tape stock. If you ever find tapes referred to as "one pass" you should grab them. That means the studio recorded on it only once and filed it away.
But then there is the issue of the magnetic tape elements breaking down due to age and/or poor storage. Maybe find an audiophile who is selling off all his tapes that were well cared for.
Don't forget about layer to layer copying effect. My friend, who works for very large recording studio, said that they had to constantly rewind all tapes in storage to minimize this effect.
Guys, these are all of course very valid points re tape availability. What boosted my interest is that there start to appear small companies offering prerecorded tapes: the Tape Project also Twogoodears Stefano mentions some impressive looking Italian effort on his blog. I have no idea what the quality of all that is or will be (anyone with direct experience?), but let's say my childish-naive view at the moment is that at some point they will start to produce good recordings and with interesting music. Or am cheating myself :-)?

But let's say those issues sorted out, what are the impressions of those who have had some experience with the mentioned hardware? (I think I've messed the terminology up: this is NAB which seems to be an issue with Tlf, not IEC).
Since nobody has answered, I would say forget about the Telefunken since most of them for sale are from the 1960s and you need to pay for a rebuild to bring it up to spec.
In EU keep looking for a Studer or Revox, both excellent IMO.
My studio is across the hall from the Tape Project and I know the principals well. Good tapes for listening, the best ever, are available new, but they are expensive.

I had a Studer C37. It was getting too hard to find parts, and too expensive to service. Studer, and the new company servicing Studer analog recorders, no longer support the machine. Eventually, I had to sell it. The situation with the Telefunken M10 is probably similar. Studers from the '70s-'80s (A80, A820, B67, A810) are the best choice. Parts and service can still be found, and they are not rare. I would avoid Revox, and all other pro-sumer machines. They are not built to last, and have poor electronics. If you were in the US, I would add the Ampex ATR-102.