By Lori Spencer

Old reel-to-reel tape recorders require special care and maintenance. Here’s how to troubleshoot some common problems with reel-to-reel decks.

Reel-to-reel tape recorders debuted in the 1940s and remained the standard for both home and professional studio recording for more than three decades. Although they have since been replaced with digital recording machines and are no longer manufactured, many vintage machines are still in use today.

If you own an old reel-to-reel tape deck, it will serve you well for many years to come if you keep it in good maintenance. These machines can be temperamental, however, and require some troubleshooting from time to time. Unlike digital recorders, analog decks have no “reboot” button; they take tools and effort to fix.


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