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Vintage Tape (Audio), Cassette, Wire and Magnetic Disc Recorders and Players Open-reel tape recorders, cassette recorders, 8-track players etc.

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Old 29th Jul 2020, 3:02 pm   #1
jammiev
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Default Player for both 3 3/4 and 7 1/2 i.p.s reels

Hi all,

I am very new to these reel players.

I wanted to know if there is a player which will play both 3 3/4 and 7 1/2 ips reels?

It's hard to find any information about this aspect?

Is there a list of players with the compatible ips speeds and sizes of reels?

Budget is 100.

Thanks
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Old 29th Jul 2020, 3:26 pm   #2
paulsherwin
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Default Re: Player for both 3 3/4 and 7 1/2 i.p.s reels

Many domestic and semipro recorders will play these speeds. The basic models mostly ran at 3.75ips, but slightly more upmarket multispeed models normally had 3 speeds - 1.875, 3.75 and 7.5ips.

A more significant issue for you is the number of tracks. Domestic recorders are normally 2 or 4 track. A 4 track recorder will play a 2 track tape (with compromises), but a 2 track recorder won't play a 4 track tape.

Domestic machines could usually handle 7" reels, but some of the smaller/cheaper machines could only cope with 5.75" or 5" reels. A 7" reel will hold 1200' of standard play tape, which will last 60 minutes at 3.75ips or 30 minutes at 7.5ips. Larger 10.5" reels could be used on many semipro and pro recorders.

Before getting into tape recorders in a big way, you should make sure you appreciate the work involved. Even the basic ones are quite complex machines, and quite apart from electronic restoration there will be mechanical problems to sort out - lubrication, belts, idler wheels, clutches, brakes etc.
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Old 29th Jul 2020, 3:31 pm   #3
Edward Huggins
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Default Re: Player for both 3 3/4 and 7 1/2 i.p.s reels

Your Post references SPEEDS and REELS. Reels have nothing to do with speed. There can be up to 4 speeds and the reels of tape can be in sizes from 3" in diameter up to 10.5".
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Old 29th Jul 2020, 9:32 pm   #4
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Default Re: Player for both 3 3/4 and 7 1/2 i.p.s reels

There is no easy way to find out which recorders will do the 2 tape speeds you are interested in, apart from checking out the specifications for the various units.

Spec details are normally listed in the Service and User Manuals for the respective recorders, many manuals can be downloaded from various websites (often FOC), sometimes also Marketing blurb. The spec details will also state the max reel size, the track arrangement and loads of other information.

There is also a wealth of information on many websites for various Makes/Models.

As Paul states they can be quite complex and troublesome, choose carefully, you could easily spend 100 on a unit that requires a lot of work to get it going properly.

David
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Old 30th Jul 2020, 11:47 am   #5
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Default Re: Player for both 3 3/4 and 7 1/2 i.p.s reels

Hi, Thank you for all the replies.

I think I have found one, it's a Grundig TK17 L.

The power cable is missing though. How complicated is it to get another one or replace it?

Thanks
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Old 30th Jul 2020, 1:23 pm   #6
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Default Re: Player for both 3 3/4 and 7 1/2 i.p.s reels

Hang on! I might be wrong, but as far as I know this is a single speed 3 3/4 ips machine. It's four TRACK, which of course is different.
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Old 30th Jul 2020, 1:30 pm   #7
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Default Re: Player for both 3 3/4 and 7 1/2 i.p.s reels

If you're new to having valve-based audio and radio sets, you may need to know that there are a couple of small cheap parts in them which are known to fail in equipment of this age, but are in places where their failure can destroy some much more expensive parts (bordering on irreplaceable). So before putting any power on it, some checks need to be done first. Most people just fit new capacitors in the critical places without even bothering to test the old ones. You're looking at under a quid's worth of components and 15 minutes work, but if you're just beginning then you need careful guidance remotely, or someone there to show you how.

And welcome to the forum!

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Old 30th Jul 2020, 1:32 pm   #8
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Default Re: Player for both 3 3/4 and 7 1/2 i.p.s reels

The title of this thread is "player" so a "4 track" machine at 3 3/4ips might be all the guy needs. Play all the reels of tape into a PC with Adobe Audition or Audacity and double the speed in software.
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Old 30th Jul 2020, 1:43 pm   #9
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Default Re: Player for both 3 3/4 and 7 1/2 i.p.s reels

Yes, that is a single-speed 3 3/4 ips machine. Four track, mono.

So it won't do 7 1/2 ips.

Are there any clues to what formats are recorded on your tapes? Or maybe to what machine they were recorded on?

You won't find one machine which can handle all of the different formats and speeds which could have been used.

David
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Old 30th Jul 2020, 1:49 pm   #10
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Default Re: Player for both 3 3/4 and 7 1/2 i.p.s reels

It would help us advise if the OP could be clearer about what his interests are and what he's hoping to do.
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Old 30th Jul 2020, 2:05 pm   #11
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Default Re: Player for both 3 3/4 and 7 1/2 i.p.s reels

I think we need to break this down!

Speeds: the most common are 1-7/8 (4.75),3-3/4 (9.5) and 7-1/2 (19) inches per second The numbers in brackets are the equivalent in cm/sec.
Tracks - commonly either two or four. Two track machines used one half of the tape, then you turned it over to get the other half. Four track doubled this by effectively quartering the tape.
Spool size. Commonly 3", 5", 5-3/4" and 7" for domestic machines - small ones will fit on a larger machine, but obviously not the other way round.

So as said above, you need to have an idea what format was used on the recording.
Although there are few machines that will do everything, a multi-speed, four track machine with a facility for up to 7" spools will certainly do for most as two-track tapes will play on a four-track machine but not vice-versa.

The trouble is many machines capable of this need repair. All will need belts replacing, brakes freeing and idlers resufacing, plus older ones (mainly valved) will need electronic refurbishment. A can of worms, but understandable as these machine will be at least fifty years old. Mind you, your budget will allow for a reasonable machine that's been refurbished properly, not by an eBay dreamer.
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Last edited by Welsh Anorak; 30th Jul 2020 at 2:13 pm.
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Old 30th Jul 2020, 3:01 pm   #12
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Default Re: Player for both 3 3/4 and 7 1/2 i.p.s reels

Quote:
Originally Posted by jammiev View Post
Hi, Thank you for all the replies.

I think I have found one, it's a Grundig TK17 L.

The power cable is missing though. How complicated is it to get another one or replace it?

Thanks
Not complicated at all, however that statement " The power cable is missing" could be a cause for concern, i.e. why is the cable missing/is the unit actually operational ?

This series of Grundig TK recorders either have the mains cable hard wired/fixed or have a removable/plug in 3 pin mini Bulgin mains cable on the rear panel. The TK 17L I think normally has hard wired mains cable although if a UK manufactured unit it may have the Bulgin connector.

Some sellers will cut off the hardwired cable or not supply the removable cable so that they can say the unit is "untested".

Many online sellers will say "untested" in the selling description, in my experience this generally means that the unit is not fully operational at best and may well have several issues, sometimes easily fixable, other times not.

David

Last edited by DMcMahon; 30th Jul 2020 at 3:08 pm. Reason: Typo correction
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Old 30th Jul 2020, 3:07 pm   #13
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Default Re: Player for both 3 3/4 and 7 1/2 i.p.s reels

Quote:
Originally Posted by llama View Post
The title of this thread is "player" so a "4 track" machine at 3 3/4ips might be all the guy needs. Play all the reels of tape into a PC with Adobe Audition or Audacity and double the speed in software.
Graham
His first Post did seem to imply that he wanted a machine capable of the 2 quoted speeds, although not actually stated if he had tapes that had existing recordings at both speeds.

David
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Old 30th Jul 2020, 3:13 pm   #14
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Default Re: Player for both 3 3/4 and 7 1/2 i.p.s reels

Quote:
Originally Posted by llama View Post
Play all the reels of tape into a PC with Adobe Audition or Audacity and double the speed in software.
Graham
I have used Audacity quite a lot mainly for digitising to MP3 format and some noise editing.

Have never tried the tape speed conversion, is it easy to do, is it trial and error with various settings until it sounds like the correct speed ?

David
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Old 30th Jul 2020, 3:21 pm   #15
Welsh Anorak
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Default Re: Player for both 3 3/4 and 7 1/2 i.p.s reels

I'm of the opinion it's nice to be able to listen to the tape as it would have sounded back in the day before going to the trouble of copying and playing with it. However, this isn't always possible, especially when presented with a recording made on a 'toy' rim drive machine!
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Old 30th Jul 2020, 3:33 pm   #16
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Default Re: Player for both 3 3/4 and 7 1/2 i.p.s reels

Tape speed conversion is easy and doesn't normally need trial and error. You just double or halve the speed as appropriate. There will be some loss of quality for various reasons, but this is unlikely to be significant with domestic recordings.
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Old 30th Jul 2020, 4:36 pm   #17
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Default Re: Player for both 3 3/4 and 7 1/2 i.p.s reels

As David said [post 13] the assumption must be that the OP has tapes recorded at these speeds but doesn't know about track configurations or very much else, as he acknowledges More info about the OP's intentions is always helpful but so often has to be requested. Best to wait until we hear more in the first instance I would think. Telling ourselves what we know already can be confusing to some one new to the subject. I didn't really understand the "It's hard to find information about this aspect" especially post the advent of the Internet. I just put Tape Recorder Speeds into the search button above and a number of related threads appeared immediately!

Dave W

Last edited by dave walsh; 30th Jul 2020 at 4:42 pm.
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Old 30th Jul 2020, 6:23 pm   #18
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Default Re: Player for both 3 3/4 and 7 1/2 i.p.s reels

Quote:
Originally Posted by dave walsh View Post
As David said [post 13] the assumption must be that the OP has tapes recorded at these speeds but doesn't know about track configurations or very much else, as he acknowledges More info about the OP's intentions is always helpful but so often has to be requested. Best to wait until we hear more in the first instance I would think. Telling ourselves what we know already can be confusing to some one new to the subject. I didn't really understand the "It's hard to find information about this aspect" especially post the advent of the Internet. I just put Tape Recorder Speeds into the search button above and a number of related threads appeared immediately!

Dave W
As per the end of his first post he was hoping to find (easily) a list of recorders that did the 2 required speeds, obviously there is a vast amount of web information generally on R2Rs but far from easy to find a list that lists the various Makes/models and their tape speeds, all in one simple document.

David
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Old 30th Jul 2020, 9:18 pm   #19
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Default Re: Player for both 3 3/4 and 7 1/2 i.p.s reels

Well fair enough I suppose David. I see his problem and that he could do with a bespoke list but we don't really know much more than that so it's a bit difficult and his response seemed contradictory. Everyone is keen to help certainly but I just suggested caution. When he comes back, a list of tried and trusted models can be easily created I would think but he may need more that of course.

Cheers,

Dave W
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Old 30th Jul 2020, 9:26 pm   #20
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Default Re: Player for both 3 3/4 and 7 1/2 i.p.s reels

Yes agreed Dave,

David
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