Reel to Reel Question?


I recently bought a used Teac X-700R reel to reel deck that I just paid a lot of money to have serviced. My question concerns the operation of the two tension arms on this model. The arm on the left seems to switch on the motor which turns both capstans, while the one on the right seems to have no electrical function (does not cause the motor to turn on or off) but may aid in tensioning the tape -- although it rides higher in the slot than the left tension arm. Does this seem normal or is the right arm not working as intended?

Apart from that, the deck sounds marvelous and all other functions appear to work okay. Thanks in advance for any help.
I think you have this all figured out. Both arms appear to play a role in dynamic tape tensioning & will change position as the spools empty/fill left-to-right. One arm also controls motor shutoff when the supply reel runs out. Teac's are solidly built machines; I'll bet that unit sounds great!
I've been interested in reel to reel for sometime.When I was a young teen I went to a girls house and her father had a reel to reel playing ELP Tarkus.I still remember the great sound I heard that day.Maybe he was a 'phile but I dont remember his other gear just the reel to reel and the music.Whats a decent unit to get for as little $ as possible and where would I be able to find great condition tapes? Is there much out there in rock/pop?This is a good thread.
Hi Bob,

Thank you for your reply. I think the unit is working properly, but I just wanted to be sure since it now has a warranty.

Man, does it ever sound great! I started playing some prerecorded tapes through my Grado headphones last night and it boggled my mind how tight and deep the bass was and how natural and airy the midrange and highs sounded -- very open, dynamic, and relaxed presentation. I stayed up way too late, but it was worth it!

It's too bad that these great machines fell out of favor, because frankly, this machine beats most CD playback systems I've heard (albeit with a slight tape hiss - though it's VERY quiet with the DBX) and it also rivals expensive turntable systems for a lot less cabbage. It has a quality that's just so "right-sounding" that seems a little different from what CD and turntable-based systems provide. Too bad the public never really seems to embrace the best-sounding formats...

Anyway, I have a decent little collection of classical and popular reel to reel tapes and now I have another high-quality playback medium to savor. Cheers!
Shhhh. Decent tapes are hard enough to find!
No shhh! where are they,eBay?
I've had TEAC R2R in my system since 1968 and now have about 800 reels. Initially I'd buy an LP, record it immediately, and play the tape from then on. While it started as a defensive mechanism for parties - visitors would grab LPs and scratch the heck out of them but would never dream of threading a tape - it turned into a surprising way of listening to CDs. For a while I'd borrow CDs from the library and tape them (no flames, please). After a while when the rest of my gear improved I started noticing that some of the CDs actually sounded better coming off of the tape! While you may find a scarcity of prerecorded R2R out there (has there been *anything* released in R2R for the last 30 years?), it is still an excellent medium for dubbing.
There is no question but that R to R is a great format. However, there is one thing which you have to be careful of. That is, never fast-wind the tape through when you're finished with it. Let it run through the machine on normal play. You have to allow for a smooth, tight tape pack. Otherwise, in time the tape will become physically distorted, from the uneven tensions, and will be ruined. That is why professional tapes are always recorded "tails out" (i.e., you have to rewind it in order to play it, so that as you play it the tapeup is smooth and the tension is even).
Hey David99,

I see a lot of R2R's going for decent prices on ebay -- some are even auctioned with tape collections. Garage sales are also a source of tapes. You can probably get into it (find a decent machine plus some tapes) for under $500. I'd go with a machine that is reported in excellent working condition or one that was recently serviced since they can be expensive to tune up or overhaul. I'd also look for one with either Dolby B or DBX, because these would indicate newer low-noise models. Two-speeds (71/2 & 33/4 ips) and 7 to 10.5" reel capability was desireable for me. I like the more recent Teac decks, but there are other good companies to consider, like Tandberg, Revox, Pioneer, and maybe some models from Sony and Akai and others. Good Luck!
Reel decks never fell out of favor with many. I have over 400 pre-recorded reels going back to the mid 50's and 4 reel decks. LOL I love it when someone new catches on to this! Many used record stores may have a dusty pile of used pre-recorded reels. Yard sales too, although Ebay has taken a big bite out of many things we used to find at the yard sales it seems.
You can go really crazy and pick up great broadcast machines for decent dollars - ampex 440's - ATR100's - even the odd A80 - although they do take up more space in the old listening room and not as asthetically pleasing as a Teac 7300 let's say - in the end it always comes down to:
analog = good
digital = bad
Personally, I think that the studio console that houses my Tube Research modified 270 Scully looks very nice. However, please don't ask the wife!
Factory prerecorded R2R tapes are perhaps the most astounding sound that you will here on this earth. They are scaled down copies of first generation masters. We all should know by now, The more difficult the playback meduim,
the better the reward. I have a 41yr old recording of Belafonte at Carnegie Hall & I borrowed the audiophile pressing of the LP, & the R2R blew it away(Table VPI TNT-3
tape deck, pioneer Rt1020L) The table lists for about 10X
the amt of the reel to reel. Perhaps the secret should be now released, look to the past for the best sound.(yes I own a SACD player) I hope that this does not drive up the price or reels on Ebay. When I leave the Stereophile shows,
listening to equiptment 30 fold more expensive than mine, I do not feel bad that I will never be able to afford ANY of these fine products. I go home, put a Ampex 7&1/2 ips tape,
and I smile.