RU recording LPs on Reel to Reel ?

or is this just O-U-T?

I'm appreciating analogue more than ever with my new setup and want to record some of these LPs but on to what? I'm interested to know what your thoughts are between reel to reel sound and the sound from a cdr, perhaps through a computer with a good capture card and an EQ program or whatever's best digitally.

Even if reel-to-reel comes closer to the analogue sound of an LP, is the benefit minor allowing ease-of-use to tip the scales towards digital? Right now the glamour factor is telling me to go out and get a tape deck and the fear factor is telling me to stick with what i know.

I was surprised that a search here didn't pull up some posts on this subject...which makes me think reel-reel is just out except for pro engineering.

(Really, it's just jumping up to turn over these LPs that's getting me a bit ...jumpy.)
I used to record LP's on to a REVOX machine. At the time to have continuous playback for a longer time than any LP could offer, plus I didn't buy every LP but got some from friends for recording. I don't have the Dolby version of the Revox machine hence there was an increase of hiss in every recording - even with the high speed. Today I definitely wouldn't tolerate this hiss anymore. I'd go out and buy a real good turntable/arm/cartridge ensemble - I am looking for exactly that at the moment - and keep the tape machine in the closet for some games at times...
Good luck!
DAT, pro cd recorder with 24/96 and reel to reel, in that order. I'd elect for the pro cd recorder, an Alesis specifically. Having owned a reel to reel years ago and loved it, the major drawback is finding what it is you want to listen to. Of course, in my own life I just get up and flip over the album. I've grown to love the simplicity of the routine.
Before CD's I use to tape my LP's using a 10 1/2" R to R so I could have background and casual listening music without wearing out valuable LP's. Now I have CD's for that purpose I no longer use tapes at all, and when I listen to LP's its a special sit down and pay attention session.

Thanks for the comments so far. I get the message but I can't help feeling disappointed. Those old decks look so nice.

Newbee, I agree; listening to vinyl really makes me pay attention. It only now dawns on me that this, above preferring the sound of analogue, is what's getting me so into the music once again.

TT or not, it's time to just listen.
I know of a basement closet about 3 feet deep, 4 feet wide and 7 feet tall lined wall to wall with carefully labeled and well-recorded reel-to-reel tapes. The tapes were carefully made from LPs in the 60's and early 70's.

They have all bled through and are now unlistenable.

Go with CD. Get a Meridian A to D converter and a burner with a digital input, perhaps.
Hi Dennis:

Reel to reel "can" end up being an expensive venture, but it's cool looking and sounds great if done correctly. For quality sound you need to record @ high speed, which uses up lots of tape.

Another consideration is either finding the deck in top condition, or having it properly refurbished by someone who knows what they are doing.

However, if you are only looking for occasional low speed playback/background music for the novelty of it you do not have to be as fussy.

Even though I have not owned a reel to reel for 25 years I still collect pre-recorded and blank tape in the event that I eventually pick up another one for background music.

If you know people in the recording industry, ask around as you might be able to find a nice R2R that is no longer being used.

If you want to try recording LP's to CD you are welcome to borrow our Pioneer PDR-W839. I have never tried it in A/D format (just D/D, so far), but do plan to burn most of our French popular music LP's to CD in the future (along with some Disco cassettes:-).

Another interesting storage medium is Digital Audio Tape. I believe that its use is still popular in Asia. I used DAT pro gear once in 1989 or 1990 (which sounded good), not certain about the consumer grade gear though.
pmkalby want to sell!? What do you have in that basement?

Dekay, i've been told and read that DAT becomes unstable after 5-10 years. I don't know if it's true.

I'm going to research some computer programs for this compared with some of the units above like the alesis, etc

5-10 years makes DAT comparable to CDR's (based on what I have read to date).

For archival purposes I would guess that the LP is first (by a long shot) and then is followed by quality magnetic tape (based on sane but still non commercial storage).

Don't know if they are still used, but 15 years ago there were active vintage archival film storage vats @ 7000 Romaine (Howard Hughes old accounting HQ) which were a trip.

Funny (not) that our modern data storage marvels suck regarding this aspect in that even the El Cassettes recorded and played back @ higher speeds would have been a better/user friendly medium.
The R-R tapes I made in the 60s and 70s are perfectly listenable on my current machine (Teac X1000R) but some squealed madly on an earlier deck. Much of the problem seems to lie in how well the deck is maintained. That said, I do not use mine for recording anymore, yet I do wonder just how "permanent" all those shiny CDRs will ultimately be.
I have a large collection of music and currently use a Tandberg reel to reel, Fostex Pro DAT and Fostex Pro CD Recorder for recording. It has been my experience that the best analog reproduction comes from the reel to reel. DAT and CDR are going to play back digital and though quite good doesn't have the warm analog sound to my ears. As far as tape bleeding with reel to reels, you would need to use good tape, store your tapes properly and play them or at least rewind them a couple times a year. It is getting harder to find new reel tapes and they are expensive, I buy them in lots of 10 and play about 22.00 each. I also buy recorded tapes and erase them and record over them. E-bay is a good source for these. You can purchase a good reel to reel here on Audiogon, there is currently a Tandberg for sale. There is also a number of folks who still service reel to reels. The only company that I know that has new reel to reels in production is Tascam and it retails for over 2 grand. I don't think you could go wrong with a reel , DAT or CDR. They all have their strong points and weakness. Good luck.
Kublakhan-- The tapes are not mine, but if you are interested email me and I'll give you my father's phone #- if he's given up on some magic bullet to save his tapes, he may sell them (I'm assuming you want them to erase and re-record)

Rec: The tapes used were excellent quality, but you've hit the issue right on the head-- many of them were not played for years (a decade?) and that's most likely what killed them. The tape manufacturers intimated the same thing when he resurrected the reel-to-reel, found the tapes unlistenable, and called them demanding someone's head on a pike.
I have ~750 reels dating from the late 60s to mid-90s. The original reason for recording was to preserve the LPs (particularly when having company over like a party) and they've stood the test of time fairly well. Some of the cheap tape has shed its backing leading to squeal, but for the most part they are still eminently listenable and - in some cases - sound better than the CD version.

As far as finding things on tape goes, I made a database to track everything using the tape number and the tape counter and can cut to the start of any album in a minute or so.
While we are @ it are there any brands of tape that are considered to be of higher quality?

Good sources for pre-recorded tapes (LA area) are the county library book sales. Though they have not been rotated many look to have never been checked out (played) and @ the least they have been stored in a climate controlled environment (power outages aside).

The last blank tapes I picked up were 7" reels of Memorex promo/gift packs for non-commercial use. Not certain if they are 1200' or 1800' (they run to within 1/2" of the outside of the reel and still have the sponge holders intact). If it were not for the Inter'l Orange boxes I would have passed them by (mixed in with a pile of old magazines @ a local thrift).
what about cassettes
I have several Nakamichi tape decks that mke quite good tapes with that analog quality all over them

Hey Kublakhan. Great thread.While I don't have much experience in the digital format,I still record on a vacuum tubed Studer Revox G36 2 track recorder, and have for close to 30 years.It is imperative to record at 15 ips for top quality recordings and... no, I do not use any dolby on my machine.The majority of my tapes recorded from vinyl will stomp all over my digital of that same recording.Some of these tapes were recorded more than 25 years ago! Many years ago I owned a DJ company and had 7 crews out there in wedding halls and parties most every weekend. We used mostly Revox and Tanberg machines.They are precision semi-pro decks that will mirror the input signal without the digititis found in the digital formats.They can be a little frustrating to operate at first but they do not take a rocket scientist to figure out.There are many pro recording studios out there dumping some fabulous analogue recorders for next to peanuts.The Otari 550 pro deck for example. Some of their pro decks that use the 1/2 inch and 1 inch tapes are superb sounding machines and some can be run at 30 ips.Keep in mind the liabilties that go along with the territory...Quality tape reels are hard to find and getting even harder all the time.Proper maintenance is also a must. Revox still has service depots through out North America for all their tape recorders.Here is an even better deal and should cost you less than $100!!.There are thousands of Beta video recorders out there in basements collecting dust.This is the perfect format for recording any medium and the sound quality is absolutely top shelf.Trust me on this one guys,you won't believe your listening to a tape,its great for your treasured vinyl....simpy record and label the tape.Some of the early CD's[blahhh]will be "almost" listenable sitting down[you know what I mean]The better recorded CD's will knock your socks off.Great for parties and casual listening.Just make sure the deck has variable record inputs in 2 channels.I have both a VHS machine and a Sony beta machine and the beta just kills the vhs machine for audio. IT certainly is an inexpensive way to store music, the source could be vinyl,digital or a live band in a local pub. Enjoy.
thanks for the info ecclectique,
the beta idea is an interesting idea but the sex appeal isn't there for me. so now i'm thinking i might as well buy a reel to reel just for the lust-factor and have some fun. i'm looking for the recommendations you offered.

anybody else have ideas on good decks?
Hi Dennis,
As a lifelong R/R fan, you must remember that A tape deck is basically a Transport and a preamp. The better the electronics in the preamp section, the better your recordings will sound. For this reason, the fellow above loves his Revox G-36. The tubed electronics make all the difference. The battleship like Revox A-700 with 2 track heads, looks better, is built better, handles tape better, but sounds lousy in comparison. Early solid state was the reason.
The Tandbergs had the best sound,(for consumer decks) but had an almost 100% failure rate. They WILL break.
Pioneer had a series of good machines in the 74-78 era, with great construction and very decent sound.
Stay away from the Revox B-77, the best solid state Revox was the A-77Mk4.
The Pro scene was much better, but you need money and a good setup man for the infinitely superior AMPEX ATR series and 440 series.
The blank tape scene has all but disappeared. The big rocks began to fall when 3M discontinued all Analog Reel production in 95 or 96. The giant of the industry spelled it out. We are headed for a tapeless world. Only Quantegy and BASF remain.
A recording on a great Ampex or Studer machine at 30 ips, can actually sound better than your LP, that you recorded it from. A coloration maybe, but I always welcome a larger soundstage and larger images.
Dennis I dont tune in to this station much anymore, but when I saw you pop up after a few years absense, I had to post one. Good luck.........Frank
Hey Frap. Good Post and well said.The Tandberg X-10 was tough to beat sonically as far as the semi pro decks were concerned, but mine were always in for service. The Amperex 4oo series decks were always the work horse in the field and sonically consistant. I still have an Amperex 440 today, however my Studer G-36 stomps all over it and every other deck I have ever used including the professional Otari sporting a 1 inch tape drive.It is incredibly reliable and always sounds like magic!
Frank, glad you checked in to say hi!

Thanks for all the info and come back soon.

Great site:

FYI (for y'alls info) - I came across this site for vintage recording gear, especially reel to reel decks. they have pictures for others like me who don't know what we're reading when it comes to this stuff anyway.

they prety pitures.