RogCAD World

Restoring reel-to-reel tape decks

February 12, 2024
Roger Luebeck

A few days ago I picked up four not-working reel-to-reel tape decks for mere pennies, and have already got three restored to excellent working order. One needed capacitors and restoration of cams. Another needed cleaning of audio-pots, heads and speaker-switch. A third one needed mechanical repairs along with cleaning of pots and head. Haven't tore into the fourth one yet.

Reel-to-reel tape decks are something I drooled over as a young guy and never thought I could actually afford. The key is to find cheap ones that are in need of repair and do one's own work on them.

There are only a half-dozen small outfits on the entire planet that are manufacturing new reel-to-reels these days. The prices range from 14,000 to 40,000 dollars.

I invested 605 dollars for four of them (50, 50, 125, 280), and have already turned three of them into excellent machines with beautiful sound quality. One more to go.

Make your day by playing the two-minute video below with audio activated. Red Roses for a Blue Lady.

Three photographs are below the video box.

Picture one -- Akai on table with dancers on wall:

Picture two -- Akai disassembled for capacitors and cams:

Picture three -- close-up of bad cams. Disintegrated cams is the number one reason people abandon their Akai reel-to-reels. My solution was to brush thin epoxy glue into the cam cracks. They will last forever:

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