Talk:Reel-to-reel audio tape recording

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Q. What are "NAB adaptors"? Bastie 11:02, 7 October 2005 (UTC)

See also related discussion at Talk:Compact audio cassette. Bastie 14:12, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

I think: adapters for mounting 10-1/2 inch reels of tape which IIRC always had the large "NARTB" or "NAB" hubs on machines that had dual-purpose spindles, capable of accepting both the 10-1/2 reels and the smaller reels which always had, I dunno, maybe 5/16" holes and were identical in dimensions to 8 mm movie reels (as I can testify from experiment). Dpbsmith (talk) 20:35, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

Once a common household object?[edit]

The caption for the nice picture of a Sony TC-630 tape recorder says it was "once a common household object."

I don't think so. Tape recorders never came anywhere near to being as common as photographs were before or cassette recorders were afterward.

They were not particularly rare. To be sure, my dad had a Wollensak reel-to-reel tape recorder--but I don't think he was typical as we also, at various times, owned a wire recorder, a Recordio disk recorder, and a huge vacuum-tube tape recorder with a "magic eye" level indicator that was so old that it said "Brush Development Corporation" on it.

But they were sort of a specialty item. The cheaper ones (like the Wollensak) were common enough in schools. Serious audiophiles had them, of course. In fact the TC-630 seems to me to be getting up to what would now be called the "prosumer" level.

In my entire life (so far), I have only met one single person who had a reel-to-reel tape recorder in his house for the purpose of playing prerecorded tapes. He had a collection of several hundred of them; that is, the tape recorder served the same purpose as a good phonograph did in many other houses. Dpbsmith (talk) 20:32, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

I would agree that the TC-630 is a little more upscale than most people would have. But lower-end open reel decks (e.g. the TC-250 or 155) were quite common consumer items in the late '50s through early '70s. Otherwise all of those factory recordings of pop albums would not have existed, for lack of market. —überRegenbogen 06:30, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

In the 60s, TC630 was widely used in household, school, hospital, etc, as an audio center with inputs for tuner, turntable, microphone, etc.For the bigger 10" reel capability, I used the Revox A77 with plug-in integrated amplifier.

Takima 00:29, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

I want one audio magnetic tape ; help;;;;;[edit]


i have an AIWA Recorder ; i want a SPOOL-TAPE TYPE=5"

also would like to know something about GRAMAPHONES i know stylus is not available in MANGALORE but available in BANGALORE

if anyone in bangalore pl ; contact 0824-2457404


I'm needing information on how a Reel-to-reel audio tape recording system actually works and are they still made?

Few more questions to be asked but would appreciate anyone to get in touch on the email address below to help


Frequency response[edit]

It would be nice if this article had a section on the frequency response for reel-to-reel tape. Of course, it would depend on speed. As recordings to magnetic tape capture analogue signals (like vinyl recordings), they don't suffer from the sampling and quantisation errors inherent in CD recordings. At 30 inches per second, it's no wonder that this was the top professional recording medium for so long.--ML5 15:17, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

But it does suffer from tape hiss... don't ignore tape hiss... I don't know about 30 ips but for some years I spent a fair amount of time at a campus radio station equipped with some Ampex 351's at 15 ips and hiss was clearly audible in the "silent" parts of any recording. You could tell at the start of any recording: the transition from unrecorded tape to "silent" recorded tape was obvious even to a casual listener.
When Dolby noise reduction was first introduced, the difference between LPs that had been mastered on Dolby-NR analog systems and those on non-Dolby systems was astonishing and dramatic. Dpbsmith (talk) 11:17, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

New image(s)[edit]

Ampex recorder internals.jpg

I thought these might be useful for the article, but it's getting a little image crowded. (One image now, but I'll upload a few more soon). --Gmaxwell 04:07, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Page title[edit]

Should this page be renamed Reel-to-reel tape recording because there are other applications than audio?--Tugjob 18:54, 8 July 2007 (UTC)


What about theses Swiss marvels of A77 and then B77?

Takima 00:32, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

Article needed[edit]

Article on Wollensack needed. (Is that the right spelling?) Badagnani (talk) 21:56, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

As a musical instrument[edit]

Two famous applications of reel-2-reel as an musical instrument can't be missing here:

1. In a wider meaning of the word instrument, the "Frippertronics" of Robert Fripp. He was using 2 (A77) R2R machines to create long tape loops and stack sounds. Pretty similar to modern digital looper pedals.

2. The "Projectron" of Alan Parson. It was basicaly a standard 24-track tape recorder combined with a keyboard to unmute and mute its output tracks, resembling a sophisticated version of a mellotron/novatron. Sounds like choirs could be "sampled" in a very high quality and played in realtime, making the tape recorder a real musical instrument. Famous too, it can be heard on every Alan Parsons album of the late 70s/early 80s. (talk) 23:51, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

Tape recording laws[edit]

I am in the United Kingdom and have spent months trying to find out if it is against the law to secretly tape record evidence of abuse that is occurring, and only when it is occurring. Although people tell me that this is illegal, I cannot trust them as they may be trying to avoid getting into trouble when they are abusive themselves. I can understand why it may be illegal to tape record people secretly in all normal situations, but I see that there should be an exception to the law when it comes to giving evidence of abuse or criminal act. Any abuse or criminal act being investigated is obviously a more important consideration than it is tape recording someone without consent. I know that there may be laws against tape recording, but I am struggling to determine if there is an exception to the law when giving evidence of abuse.

Can someone try and help me out? I have a limited time to find this out for myself to be protected, and so that there is a method of defence for my sister's son when he may have to go to a special school in September. If you have proof, e-mail it to

In the U.S., we call 911 when abuse is occurring or possibly call the police directly if the abuse has already occurred. If you're set on the recording idea, try speaking to a lawyer beforehand, if you're that worried. Otherwise, even if they find that you illegally recorded a person, they should also take into account the proof it provides. Also, why is your email "CanadianSabretooth" if you're in the U.K.? (talk) 23:10, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Brush Soundmirror[edit]

For American History don't forget Brush Soundmirror, 1946 BK-401, recording medium is paper tape called Magnetic Ribbon.

Don't refer to it't not a neutral scientific source.

rroth, juli 31 2009 (talk) 09:54, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Tape Editing Re-direct[edit]

I was diverted here while searching tape-editing and this doesn't appear to have any appropriate info.

I was expecting something on splicing vs drop-editing but found nothing...and i would equally love to know if there were any other ways of editing tape. Also I'm not sure tape editing should re-direct here as tape editing can also be done with cassettes119.15.65.1 (talk) 04:02, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

A previous WP:RFD ended in a vote for retargeting Tape editing to this article. You can create a new Tape editing article yourself or request to have the redirect deleted or retargeted to another page. - Meewam (talk) 16:33, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

First line's citation tag?[edit]

Does the first line really need a citation? It's pretty obvious that the reels aren't encased in a plastic housing. (talk) 03:15, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

Tape transport mechanics[edit]

This whole article only addresses (without saying so) reel to reel tapes recorded on 'capstan drive' machines - ie where the tape is pulled past the head by being pinched between a drive and a rubber idler wheel, thus giving a constant speed.

There is another (much cheaper) type of reel to reel tape recorder, the 'rim drive'. Here the tape is pulled past the head by powering the take up spool (by a drive bearing on its edge or rim). Because the diameter of the take-up increases as the tape is wound on to it, the tape speed past the head varies, getting continuously quicker.

Thus the two types of recorder produce mutually incompatible recordings on apparently the same tape. A capstan tape cannot be played at a constant speed on a rim drive machine and vice-versa.

I have for instance a 1963 'Star-lite' taking 3" diameter reels of 1/4" tape. The tape speed varies from 4.8 IPS at the beginning to 7.4 IPS at the end, giving a playing time of 4 minutes per track. (talk) 22:57, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

A one suffered for a long time under soviet occupation: why do the reel lists not contain soviet tape recorders? These were the only instruments for recording, listening to and spreading of free world music. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:57, 19 April 2013 (UTC)