Sunday, March 11, 2018

THE WAY BACK MACHINE!

     Those readers who are less than 75 will probably not be familiar with the reel to reel tape recorder. I have a reel to reel tape recorder and I recently posted on it regarding trying to rerecord our wedding.

     Now for a reel to reel tape recorder you have to manually thread the tape through the tape head. You have to manually put the tape in a groove on the reel to anchor it on the reel. Everything was manual. If you didn't catch the tape at the end it spun around wildly.

     Reel to reel machines were developed in the 1930's with not great quality. Cassettes appeared in the late 50's and early 6o's. Cassettes could be prerecorded so you bought music. 

     Once I'd rescued the wedding from the tape I got thinking about my old reel to reel tape recorder. Way back there were few options for listening to music and quality wasn't that good.

     When I was single and mobile I didn't have the capability to own and transport a larger stereo so I listened to my trusty transistor radio.

     In the 50's there were some cabinet stereos available

     When I got my own place I wanted something better for listening to music. You guessed it. I got a reel to reel tape recorder. Now in those days you could only buy LPs. So I would borrow somebody's LP and record it. This was very low tech. I played the record and used a microphone to pick up the sound. The one I bought had external speakers.



    I had taped some get music: Harry Belefonte, Mr Aker Bilk, Dean Martin, The New Christie Minstrels, Louis Armstrong,

     So after the effort to get the wedding off the old tapes. I looked at the music I had. It was great stuff. I'm listening to it again.

     So how many people remember the reel to reels a way back? 

32 comments:

  1. I have seen them but I have no idea how they work...I am 8 years too young:)

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    1. They were hit and miss. some people had them for a long time so younger folks would be familiar with them.

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  2. I'm less than 75 years of age by far but I definitely remember these machines. I can't say I ever used one though. I hope you were able to get the wedding rerecorded to your satisfaction. Have a great week ahead.

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    1. I did get the wedding on digital but it wasn't pretty.

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  3. Ummm... I'm younger than 75 and we had a reel to reel tape recorder. It was a rather big unit too. Times have sure changed.

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    1. Not many people had one but they were around. They were pricey

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  4. I'm still in my 60's but I remember the reel to reel tape recorders very well! My brother had one similar to yours and I still have a smaller more portable one. I would record music and sometimes just friends. I remember transistor radios too. I thought I was so "up to date" when I got a transistor radio! Isn't it amazing how far we have advanced!

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    1. It's quite amazing how things have changed if we stop and think about it.

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  5. Well I am 46 and I remember reel to reel! I don't remember it working though, my dad's reel to reel player and tapes are still in the top part of the "my" wardrobe in the house I grew up in.

    I had Harry Belafonte on cassette, I probably still have the cassette but no player. All the music mentioned is great stuff, it was a golden age

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    1. Cassettes are gone. they used to be so popular. Yes some people kept their reel to reels forever.

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  6. Aside from the fact that it violates intellectual copyright to rerecord a recording...you're such a bad boy!

    I'm not 75, I'm 61, but I remember them!

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    1. A devious character like me knows that copyright means don't copy and sell! How's that for an excuse?

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  7. Good job on getting your wedding tape accessible again! Do you have a big anniversary coming up?

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    1. The big anniversary has gone by couple of years ago.

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  8. I remember them, but I never used one, so I cannot imagine the difficulty of getting it going. You are sure persistent! :-)

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    1. They weren't common and were pricey. the old ones were very heavy.

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  9. I've heard of them before but haven't been more familiar with the concept.

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    1. People used to sing on them for fun.

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  10. My husband had a reel-to-reel tape player, but he used to be able to record directly from a turntable to the tape, so that there wasn't any distortion. It was state of the art at the time - forty years ago!

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  11. I have a vague memory of this. Perhaps some teacher used it in a classroom when I was a kid or maybe some adult I knew had one.

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    1. Funny how you say there's a vague memory. they weren't thAT COMMON.

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  12. Well I do. My first husband and I had one. Now I'm wondering what ever happened to the old reel to reel tape recorder. My daughters have the tapes. There were tapes of my daughters when they were babies, and learning to walk.

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    1. This sounds like video. What I'm talking about was only audio. I recorded my kids on it when they were little.

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  13. I'm in my 60s and remember seeing them. I seem to remember the tape was fragile and could break while playing.

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    1. The tape did not age well and became brittle and broke.

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  14. Tom had a reel to reel. very high tech back in the 60's. Our wedding tape was one of those recordings, long gone now. But I still have vinyl LP records from back then, and they still sound great!

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  15. Harry Belafonte, Aker Bilk, Dean Martin, The New Christie Minstrels, Louis Armstrong? May we assume that you were therefore not a hippy Red? And yes I do remember reel-to-reel tape-recorders from the sixties. Somewhere in this house there's a tape with songs I wrote when I was fifteen/sixteen. I would love to resurrect them.

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  16. Still have ours, up in the attic. It probably doesn't work anymore. I used to tape on my small one off the radio..I had a small little microphone that I set right in front of the speakers. Worked just great for me. I listened to the Top 40 Casey Kasum? in the 70s every Saturday. Oh what fun. Now my granddaughter thinks our LPs in the closet are giant CDS. DUH.

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  17. Not only have I heard of them, I actually owned one!
    There was brief moment in the early 70's when you could buy albums on tape. Reel to Reel really was a pain in the rear. I know they started making some really high end models, but I never had, or heard one.

    Red, I'm so old that my first music "player" purchase was a Muntz mobile record player. It was big, and skipped a lot when driving on rough surfaces. It was attached under the dash board, beneath your glove box. That of course made it available for the passenger's knee to bump it (and also make it skip). If you left any 45's in your car, they melted into things that belonged in a Salvador Dali painting. I was so happy when 4 and 8 track tapes and players were introduced.

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  18. I had one in the 60s and then again in the 80s and I loved it. I had tons of music on lots of reels. I remember going to school one day when the Olympics were on and I was going to miss a race I wanted to see. The reel to reel came to the rescue. When I got home, I could listen to the 1500 meters race that Jim Ryun was in. It was the 68 Olympics. I wished I saved it but it got taped over I assumed. The reel to reel was a fine machine.

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  19. Hi Red, Yes, I had a reel to reel recorder back in the late 60s. It was a "Roberts" ... wonder if you remember them? It was a good machine and, yes, I remember all the manual stuff one had to do to play or record tapes. Somewhere down the road the recorder and the tapes went away. I kind of wish I still had some of them as I liked to record off the radio. Today's radio is almost all automated so it's different now.

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