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Vintage Electronics & Small Appliance Repair

Cornelia, GA

Vintage Electronics - Reel to Reel & Tape Deck Repair Service

Tape Systems

Along with the development of analog sound being recorded on vinyl records, another new storage technology emerged: sound recorded on magnetic tape! It came as a result of a need for a way to make a sound recording that could be edited, over-dubbed or erased & replaced. This was the next logical jump from sound on a record that could not be changed. It was the introduction of magnetic induction into the sound recording process that made this a possibility. In layman's terms, the use of electromagnets! By placing a magnetic responsive film on a piece of plastic tape, a moving magnet near it could force those magnetic molecules to arrange in very intricate patterns. These could then be 'read' by another electric magnet that would respond to the N pole to S pole attractions, and the N to N and S to S repulsion of the molecules aligned on the tape. The advantages are obvious: erasable, recordable and multi-recording (dubbing) could be easily accomplished simply by reordering the magnetic molecules on the tape! The device that would handle it was called, what else? A tape recorder!

The first tape recorders for home and office use were reel to reel devices. They had two 'heads'. One was a record head which is responsible for arraigning the magnetic molecules on the tape. And the second head is a play-back head that simply responds to the magnetic signals recorded on the tape. These tapes could be purchased pre-recorded with music such as a corresponding 33 1/3 RPM record album. Or they could be purchased blank, without anything recorded on them. The advantage of the blank tape was that there was no need to erase what was on it if you wanted to add your own recordings.

Reel to reel recorders were slowly migrated to smaller and smaller size reels as the recording and playback technology was improved. In time, this led to the development of the cassette tape. It used a cassette which was just a small housing that held the reels inside. It, like the previous reel to reel recorder, had two reels: a take up reel and a source reel that held the original tape. The advantage of the cassette tape was the extremely small size, ease of marketing, physical storage of the tapes, and the cheaper cost per tape production rate. Additionally, the ends of the tape were permanently attached to the reels so you did not need to manually 'thread' the tape through the system to use it! The drawback with both the reel to reel and the cassette tape was the need to turn the tape over as half of the recording was on the reverse side of the tape. This hindrance led to the invention of the 8-Track tape (short lived). It was a single reel tape housed in a plastic case that had a tape with not ends! You can think of it as a circle like a rubber band. It simply just kept playing in one direction until it reached the end, which was also the beginning, and the tape would play over again. In fact the tape would play indefinitely until you stopped it with a stop button on the tape deck. These tapes were nice for that reason but were short lived because they were prone to friction which, over time, would stretch the tape causing it to break or seriously distort the sound.

We love reel to reel tape decks, cassette tape recorders, and 8-track tape decks! We can keep your tape deck purring like a kitten and the reels going round and round producing that last generation of analog sound! Because it was shortly after this time that digital sound recordings came on the scene, first as CDs, then as DVDs, and lastly as MP3 type digital files. But digital is not true sound! It is just pieces of sound bites put together and played fast to trick your ears into thinking it is the entire (original) sound! True sound is analog. That is it is made up of perfect and complete sound waves. Don't settle for a cheap imitation! Let us fix that tape deck or reel to reel and enjoy the sound as it was truly produced in the studio!

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