View Full Version : who still uses reel to reel?

08-01-2008, 06:41 PM
I just got a Fostex 80 8 track reel to reel. I love it. It came with a reel of 1/4" tape, but i donno where to get more. Anybody have any suggestions?

08-01-2008, 07:00 PM
The last time I looked this place had good prices, but google it, there's probably even cheaper places. I also remember doing some research on brand and don't remember what the reasons were, but I settled on on RGMI/EMTEC:


How old is your machine? Are the belts still good? Are they sticky at all? I would go ahead and replace the belts now regardless, it's the number 1 fuck-up on old reel-to-reels. And make sure your heads are clean.

08-01-2008, 07:21 PM
i changed the belts and cleaned the heads, but i got in it great shape. but which one should i get one that site?

08-01-2008, 08:36 PM
Depnds on how long of a tape you need. I looked online, it looks like your machine can take 10" reels, if so you could get 10" or 7", and as for length, I remember saying screw it and just doing the math for how long tapes will last, depending on recording speed, so if you're recording at 15 ips (inches per second), just add up how many inches of tape you have/need and divide by 15 and that's how many seconds of tape you have. It also sounds like you need 1/4 inch, be sure to notice many sizes (widths) are available, like 1/2 inch and 1 inch.

I also remember one of the main reasons I chose RGMI/EMTEC: it was previously called Quantegy, and had a good reputation, and it went out of business and was restarted as RGMI/EMTEC - so what this means to the consumer is that since it's a new company, you can be pretty sure you're not buying really old tape (you can never be too sure online), but with the benefit of having a good reputation.

08-01-2008, 08:53 PM
awesome! Thanks for the advise! I'm not really sure at all how this works. So like, whats a normal length for a tape?

08-01-2008, 09:41 PM
Snap - that first link wasn't the one. Because I remember ordering 1/4" 3600 ft. tape, the longest I think it comes in, and I didn't see that there and went through my links again. this is it:


And it wasn't Quantegy - that's the one that went out of business. It was the replacements for that, RGI/EMTEC that I got - get those here.

For size - totally depends on what you're using it for. If you're recording small parts or sessions of a larger composition, maybe a shorter tape would be better - that way you don't have to wind through a whole reel to find what you need. Otherwise, probably just get the longest they have. If you have your metal (or plastic) hubs, you can also order "pancake" reels, which is just the tape wound onto itself with no protective hubs on the outside - you just take the hubs off and store the tape by itself - also, plastic hubs will always be cheaper than metal. And when you get a new tape, wind it all the way to the front and then back again to make sure the tension/tape slack is uniform.

08-01-2008, 10:08 PM
hi guys i got all excited thinking this was a film thread, way to disappoint me

08-02-2008, 04:43 PM
I've had about a dozen r2r's over the years and I got all of my tape on Ebay. There are a few companies out there that still make 1/4" and 1/2" tape, but I always went with unused vintage tape. Used vintage tape can be fun too. I found a lot of great found sound recordings on used vintage tapes. Btw, this is my first posting in the townhall!

08-02-2008, 05:14 PM
Welcome weather!

How often have you had older tapes break on you? I always was scared of that, and read several warnings online to stay away from really old tape

08-02-2008, 06:02 PM
I've never had older tape break on me. I should also tell you that I never recorded onto used tapes older than 10 years. Tapes older than 10 years should be used with caution. They tend to get sticky and shed oxide. After your tapes begin to shed oxide you will end up with a loss of quality, screeching noises and slowing down. It is very important to keep your tape heads clean. Q-tips and isopropyl alcohol work well for this.

For maximum quality record on newer tapes that don't show signs of oxide shedding.

08-03-2008, 12:01 PM
thanks so much for this thread! i've been searching for 1/2" tape for a long time and couldn't find anything that looked good. i prefer new tape to used generally for quality. anyway, this is perfect, thanks. now i can get to work on the new album.

08-03-2008, 01:09 PM
I'm going to be starting to invest in a recording setup in a few and I've been debating an analog vs digital setup. I will have about $2k to invest, including mics and cables and everything, so its gotta be on the cheap. How much does a decent reel to reel (worthy of publishing the music) run? I personally love the sound of vinyl and would prefer to stay away from digital, but if I can get better sound quality cheaper with digital I will do that.

08-03-2008, 03:45 PM
I've owned analog and digital for a couple years now and am a digital advocate. Using tape has always stressed me out. I can only achieve the sound I'm looking for using digital. There are so many plug-ins nowadays that can give you close to the warmth of analog anyway. I currently use T-Racks among other tube-modeled compressors, that I can recommend on your budget.

I currently have a setup that is way under $2k. Mine only cost me about $500 (buying from the right sources). The link in my signiture will take you to myspace and you can hear my digital recording with a $500 setup. Just be sure to get a decent mic. I use an Oktava Mk-319 condenser, which you can grab on Ebay for under $100. This mic has been compared to mics that retail around the $1000 mark. In my opinion it has the warmth of the Akg-c414 if used properly.