I have a handful of reel-to-reel players. As an extension of this, I also happen to have around fifty or so reels to accompany the players. For the past few years, they haven’t been doing much besides serving as over-sized paper weights. Over the past couple months though, I have been recording things on to them. Music to be specific, all sorts of music.
I’ve been recording whole albums onto the reels of quarter inch magnetic tape. At 7.5 inches per second, the quality is pretty much indistinguishable from the MP3 player I record them from. At 45 minutes per side of tape, I can put at least one album per side (in most cases).
Why do all this? I like the process. It can be a bit of relaxation to string up a tape on a machine and hit the play button, watching the reels hit tension and hearing the music wind up. Also, it’s not the easiest thing to find pre-recorded music on reels. You can most likely find some jazz or easy listening albums on tape, but rock-oriented music is hard to get and can fetch a high price if you are lucky enough to locate it. As more collectors get at the harder-to-find tapes, recording yourself is pretty much the best way to go if you want your equipment used for anything other than show.