Reel To ReelVintage reel to reel players and recorders were used both to listen to music recorded on tape, which was wound on wheels, and to record these sounds as well. The tape would be wrapped around one wheel, go through a mechanical device which would either record or play what was on the tape, and the tape would end up on the other end, all wrapped up around the opposite wheel. These generally needed to be rewound, and this could be time consuming.

Shop Reel to Reel Players by Manufacturer

  • AIWA

  • Akai

  • Ampex

  • General Electric

  • Grundig

  • JVC

  • Maxell

  • Panasonic

  • Philips

  • Pioneer

  • RCA

  • Revox

  • Sansui
  • Sanyo

  • Silvertone

  • Sony

  • Teac

  • Technics

  • Yamaha
  • Many of these players and recorders were produced years ago. They were, in effect, somewhat like what we view the portable digital cameras as today. They were a means for people to record for their own enjoyment. But then, when the home studio boom occurred a few years later, these reel to reel players and recorders became primarily used by professionals, and killed off the more amateur versions from the previous years.

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    Vtg Dokorder PT 36BX Reel to Reel Tape Recorder Complete w Original Box Works
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    Some of the best, most famous brands of vintage reel to reel players were, and are still, Sony, Pioneer, Teac, and Akai. Also, you need to be careful, because not all of the tape is the same. Some used inch tape, and some used tape that was up to 2 inches wide. Most U.S. recordings were made on inch tape, so that was pretty prevalent in the United States. Professional studios have used inch tape, and even 2 inch tape for professional sound capturing through the years.

    Some of these reel to reel recordings were made via the half track method, wherein the left channel sound was stored on the left half of the tape, and the right channel was stored in the right half of the tape. This produced stereo sound that was of exceptionally high quality. There were also quarter track reel to reel recorders that recorded two channels on one side of the tape and two channels on the other. These two methods are not interchangeable, and if one is recorded one way, it cannot be played back the other way.

    Vintage reel to reel recorders and players can be a great source of entertainment. They can give you the chance to play back lots of different things that you would not ordinarily be able to if you didn’t have one. Sometimes you find an old stack of reel to reel tapes and wish you could listen to them. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see what was actually on them?


    7 Comments so far

    1. donna on June 30, 2011 6:01 pm

      i am looking for some hi end home sterio equipment from the early to mid 1970’s – reel to reel / turntables, etc.
      please contact me as soon as possible,

    2. Medical device engineering service on November 15, 2013 4:22 am

      You have made some good points there. I checked on the internet for more
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    3. cindi on December 12, 2013 3:35 pm

      i just so happen to have hi end stereo equiptment for sale.
      i have reel to reels….(tower editor, argus, tdc headliner 303revere, and silvertone)
      also have slide projectors viewlex, cannon s-400, hitache vhs player/recorder with battery, tape and comes in case.
      mellotone record player in suitcase
      silvertone record player in suitcase
      technics sl-b10 record player
      panasonic auto stop tape player
      fisher stereo cassette deck
      airline fm/am/cb
      VINTAGE RCA VICTROLA VICTOR console stereo with record player. model VLT-72-W
      serial # 91931167
      beautiful….and old

      also have vhs recorders as well as tape. and many other things.
      thank you

    4. Bill Swoape on October 7, 2014 4:15 pm

      I have a collection of records, Cd’s, Reel to
      reel tapes and cassettes. I have a Denon Amp, a Stanton Turntable, Double Cassette deck, 2
      CD players/recorders and a Teac Reel to Reel
      Player/Recorder. I’d like to buy a Connection
      box to fed in and out leads from each source so I can copy from one to the other and monitor. Thank You.

      I have a reel to reel, 2 CD recorders/players,

    5. stacey corbin on November 18, 2014 11:10 pm

      hi, i found my elderly fathers old 1962 robertson reel to reel player with original speakers, all in EXCELLENT condition. i am interested in selling them but have no idea where to look to see what these things are worth. can any one here help me or offer advice?
      thank you

    6. MJ Burton on April 26, 2015 4:41 pm

      I have some 6 inch tapes, Sarah Vaughn, etc. is there a market? i acquired them in 1957-1962.

    7. John arnett on September 4, 2015 3:58 pm

      I have 4 Otari MX-55 reel to reel recorders that I am looking to sell. They were originally donated to a theater 21 years ago and then never used. They have been sitting in a climate controlled basement ever since.
      I have been told that they all work, but I don’t even know who to talk to to have them looked at.
      I am in San Marcos California.
      Can anyone help me?

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