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Thread: What was your reel-to-reel history?

  1. #1
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 21,887
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

    Default What was your reel-to-reel history?

    Nothing has been posted here for about a month now, so to keep this place running I thought I would ask what tape machines Members used to use before they reached the dizzying heights of Studer, Otari and Sony.

    I'll make a start, but my journey is comparatively modest.

    In 1969 I started with a Collaro tape deck for which I built a Mullard-designed Sterns valve recording/playback pre-amp (the one with a 'magic

    This was a 3 motor design and was supplied by Collaro on an OEM basis to other domestic consumer electronics manufacturers, such as Elizabethan.

    I recorded a few tapes, but didn't use it much, so gave it all away to a tape enthusiast.

    At the same time I had access to, and use of, the Akai 4000 and Tandberg 3000 machines. I thought the Tandberg to be the superior machine.

    The next machine (around 1978) was a Brenell tape deck for which I built some solid-state record and replay electronic designs that had been published in Wireless World magazine.

    Again a 3-motor deck, the Brenell was well regarded, but IMO was not much better than the Collaro. Like the Collaro this set up didn't last long.

    Move forward to 1979, I was given a Ferrograph 632 two track machine using all triode electronics.

    Built like a battleship and displaying some British design 'quirks', this machine was put to much use, recording plays, poetry and spoken word off the radio. However it hasn't been used since I moved to using cassettes ; and now the rubber idler wheels have perished. Replacements have been bought, but not fitted as I can't see how to do it, so the machine now resides in the cupboard under the stairs.

    A year later I bought a Revox G36 (736) from a colleague at work for £25.

    A superb machine, which not only could take 10.5" diameter spools, but used push buttons for function selection, as distinct to the clunky and heavy action of the Ferrograph. The frequency response was wider, though the connectors used on the Revox were very poor quality and not up to the standard of the 1/4" jacks of the Ferrograph.

    Despite the superiority of the Revox, I didn't get on with it and sold it on.

    I then was given a Uher Report 4400 portable tape machine, complete with microphones.

    Again this was not used much as I didn't really want a 4-track machine and the size of the tape spools that can be used is limited to 5". I thought I might use it to make 'field recordings', but never got around to it, so I gave the machine away.

    Finally in 2008 I achieved an aspiration of mine: a Nagra IV-S portable tape machine.

    Despite being limited to 7" diameter spools, and having a few operational quirks (deliberate, given its intended use in the field), I use this machine to replay the tapes I had made on the Ferrograph.

    Apart from a brief flirtation with acquiring a Studer C37, something I eventually resisted due to scarcity of spares and doubt that it would be used it to its full capability, that's my reel-to-reel history.

    What's yours?
    Last edited by Barry; 29-01-2020 at 21:47. Reason: Image added

  2. #2
    Join Date: Sep 2013

    Location: North Island New Zealand

    Posts: 1,497
    I'm Chris.


    A Teac A3300SX , and before that a Teac A2300SX I made some good recordings on it including from ABC FM BB King Live in Perth Western Australia, which I subsequently transferred to minidisc then hard disc recorder,
    the recording I still enjoy immensely today.

  3. #3
    Join Date: Oct 2012

    Location: The Black Country

    Posts: 5,252
    I'm Alan.


    Fascinating Barry, plus being given some machines.
    I only have a Grundig TK847, although I have got it working after being in a damp environment for a long time, it is really only an ornament.

  4. #4
    Join Date: Mar 2008

    Location: Galashiels

    Posts: 12,969
    I'm inthescottishmafia.


    No real history for me, got a Tandberg TD20A a few years ago- a complete punt from Ebay for £250 I think it was. I was expecting to have to do a complete rebuild on it, all it needed was a new belt, otherwise was in great shape so that was a real bargain.

    Next up was a Pioneer RT909 which I swapped a DAC for, a lovely looking machine but not the equal sonically of the Tandberg.
    “Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of fuel. Sentimental people call it inspiration, but what they really mean is fuel. I have always needed fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio”

    Hunter S Thompson

  5. #5
    Join Date: Nov 2008

    Location: North Down /Northern Ireland/ UK

    Posts: 19,296
    I'm Neil.


    First was a big Akai, then a Revox A77 mk2, which arrived damaged, its still sitting in a repair shop. Then a Revox B77mk2 which I picked up in person in Scotland, when there were cheap day return tickets via the ferry. Then a fully serviced Revox A77 dolby model. After that I stopped and lost interest, the reel to reel madness abated. I don't need what I have or use them, maybe time to move some on to someone local to me.
    Regards Neil

  6. #6
    Join Date: Jan 2020

    Location: South Yorkshire

    Posts: 1,270
    I'm Andre.


    I used to be a Reel to Reel nutter. Some utter junk & some great machines..

    Akai - 4000/4000DS/1800SD/GX-210D
    Sony - TC-366/TC-366-4/TC-377
    Chilton - 100S
    Tandberg - 6000X/X10D/9000X/3300X
    Revox - G36/A77/PR99
    Ferrograph - 722/724/super Seven/Logic Seven
    Teac - A3340/A3440/X3
    Tascam - 38-8/BR-20 [My old studio machines]

    Edit: Forgot the Uher 'Royal De-Luxe'' Loved that machine, the Vu's were awesome but the fascia was printed in german
    Last edited by Made in 1968; 20-01-2020 at 18:57.

  7. #7
    Join Date: Feb 2013

    Location: W Lothian

    Posts: 64,283
    I'm Grant.


    Still got one of the Akai 4000 models.. it works but could do with some tlc.... Just gathers dust now alas...
    Grant .... ؠ

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: democracy simply-doesn't-work
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    **Men are not punished for their sins, but by them**Don't be such a big girl's blouse!**
    ***SMILE, BE HAPPY***

    RIP Terry... "We use only the finest baby frogs, dew picked and flown from Iraq, cleansed in finest quality spring water, lightly killed, and then sealed in a succulent Swiss quintuple smooth treble cream milk chocolate envelope and lovingly frosted with glucose."

  8. #8
    Join Date: Jan 2020

    Location: South Yorkshire

    Posts: 1,270
    I'm Andre.


    Grant the Akai 4000's were popular in the 70's with Cine fans adding sound tack.. The Sony 'TC-366' Machines were what i bought to replace them but did not sound any better till i got the 'TC-377'. The Ferrographs were an utter nightmare & an expensive one.. I think the best machines i had were a toss between the 'PR-99' & The Tascam 'BR-20'. If i had a choice again between those two it would be the Tascam.. However R+R are something i would never ever entertain again.. That 'G36' I managed to fully rebuild at great expence but no better than the 'A77' i cant remember who i bought it off on AOS, could have been Darren..

    I bought the Teac 'A3440' 4 track machine cos Depeche Mode used one on stage in the early days for their Drum tracks Believe it or not i sold that cos one of the VU bulbs blew & you had to literally dismantle the machine to replace it which i had no intentions in doing so, so i flogged it complete with the matching Multichannel DBX 'RX-9' unit for £100 Before that i had the 'A3340' That i bought cos the early Human league used one
    Last edited by Made in 1968; 20-01-2020 at 18:58.

  9. #9
    Join Date: Jul 2010

    Location: Cheltenham

    Posts: 908
    I'm Charlie.


    My Grandad's old mono Grundig R2R, which he used in the early 70s - probably a TK8. I remember him using this, and me setting up the reels for him.

    Move onto the 00s
    Revox G36 standard speed, then I get hold of a
    Revox G36 High Speed and a
    Revox A77 mk IV

    Studer A 807/II from Blackadder
    Sony APR 5002 - refurbished by Lodgesound (Stewart Emmings)
    Sony APR 5003 - from a recording studio in Andover

    2017 after Stewart Emmings untimely passing at 49, I was bequeathed his
    Otari MTR12 (ex Church Studios)
    Studer A820 1/2 inch 2 tr (ex Simon Heywood)

    I have all the Studers, the Otari and the Sonys, along with all the extras, which Stewart encouraged me to get - AMUT-2MA PPM meters with mono/sum function, 2 Dolby 363 NR units with Dolby SR and A, Alice Matchpak to let me match and balance up the inputs/outputs from single ended to XLRm plus a whole load of MRL test tapes. I bought a Ferrograph RTS2/ATU later. Last year, I also bought a fabulous Sound Technologies ST1510A analyser from Fred Thal in the USA.
    R2R: Studer A820 1/2 inch 2 track; Otari MTR-12 1/4 inch 2 track; Sony APR 5003; Sony APR 5002; Studer A807/II. Vinyl: Platine Verdier Allaerts MC1B/Schroeder Reference & Model 2 Decca C4E/Hadcock 228 TRON Seven Reference phono. Keith Monks MkII RCM Other analogue source: Nakamichi Dragon with ANT4066 mods. Amplification: TRON Meteor preamp TRON Voyager 20B SET power. Speakers: Avantgarde Duo. Digital: does not compute

  10. #10
    Join Date: Aug 2012

    Location: Hartlepool UK

    Posts: 1,512
    I'm Alan.


    I love tape decks and the sound of tape so definitely a Tapehead

    Sharp something or other in the 70s?
    Teac 3440
    Akai GX 225
    Revox A77, B77mk1 2T HS, B77 mk2,4T LS
    Revox PR99 Mk1, PR99 mk2
    Otari MX55N x 2
    Teac X1000
    Tascam BR20 X 8
    Technics RS1500
    Studer A810
    I still have 19, I sold the Akai and the Sharp

    Last edited by 337alant; 22-01-2020 at 14:04.
    Turntable - Garrard 401/Jelco 750L/Ortofon Kontrapunkt B, Pioneer PLC 590, SME 3009/2 , Denon DL103R - DIY Paradise Phono stage - Reel 2 Reel Studer A810, Otari MX55,Tascam BR20, Revox A77, B77, PR99, TEAC X1000 & 3440, Technics RS1500 - Digital HTPC / Young Dac - Preamp - DIY B4, 821, Power Amp's DIY Voyager Mono Block, Speakers Tannoy precision 6.4 / Wilmslow Kit Volt BM220.8 / Scanspeak D2905/9500

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