Reel to Reel is Alive & Well!


Finally after years of being seduced by the allure of reel to reel, I bought a TEAC A-3300SX deck that had been kept in grade B+ or perhaps grade A- condition for some 45 years.

One challenge though: nothing to play on it, and no blank tapes. I happened upon a copy of “Best of Cream” on 7” reel at 3-3/4 inches per second, and ordered it up. So today I received the tape in the mail and listened to it tonight to much delight. The music was alive again, rich, open and detailed. As someone else here likes to say, it seemed that tape does indeed breath, with vibrancy I’ve not heard even from vinyl.

This was so satisfying after waiting all three years. I can’t wait to receive another iconic classic “Days of Future Passed” by the Moody Blues, on its way hopefully in a day or 2 I’ll have it and report back.

So yes, reports of the death of reel to reel have been greatly exaggerated. I encourage anyone else who’s on the fence to indulge in this beautiful format.
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You made a great find.
Where did you order the tapes from and how's the noise level at 3-3/4 ?

RTR tapes turn up often on EBay. I bought a bunch! Some can be quite pricey! I have 3 decks - including an all-tube Sony.
The tapes were through fleabay. Noise wasn’t a concern, but I have to say this was only the first listen. Too bad the recordings weren’t at 7-1/2ips. 
all you need to do is watch the prices of both quarter track and half track decks over the last 3 years to see R to R is far from dead. There has been a small explosion in interest for the format and these decks. Hard to find a really clean 2 track deck for under 1500 now. 10 years ago you could pick them up for 400-500.

and look at the asking prices for X2000R, X1000R or the Akai 747.

most of the decks need to be gone through so time and or money involved to do it.


Yes, half track masters are pretty much the final frontier for dedicated audiophiles. I may even break down and buy a half track 15 IPS machine if I can’t find all of the music I want in quarter track. Disposable income is a limiting factor though :-(
I buy all my r2r tapes of eBay, stick to 7.5ips tapes nowadays.
Just do not get suckered into spending too much as you so easily can.
$100 plus is easy with some real popular titles like Led Zep or Floyd or the Beatles.

I now prefer to buy blank media and make my own 7.5ips recordings from Qobuz or my vinyl rig.

Amazing how much different it sounds from the source on r2r playback.

And what a difference when I stumped up the cash to buy a fully serviced and recapped machine!

Plenty of good blank media for sale on eBay at fair prices if you shop around!

Enjoy and welcome to the r2r world!
The tape medium, even at 3-3/4 IPS quarter track captures something I’ve not yet heard from vinyl. For instance, there’s piano on “Badge” that I heard plain as day for the first time in my 54 years. I was blown away! By the end of the week, I should be in receipt of “Days of Future Passed”,  also 3-3/4 IPS quarter track, and I am so looking forward to that!  So, I don’t think I’m going to get that same experience from recordings made off of vinyl or streaming, but I’m up for giving it a try once I have some blank tapes.