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How to Play Reel to Reel Audio Tapes

by | Sep 1, 2016

Reel to Reel Audio

Want to Play your Old Reel to Reel Audio Tapes?

Reel to reel audio tapes are the old, ancient-looking contraptions gathering dust and taking space in your attic, garage, or basement. Chances are that smaller boxes full of magnetic analog audio recordings sit nearby. The sight of this old-school technology might seem intimidating at first glance, but learning how to play reel to reel audio tapes is a pretty simple task. All you have to do is load the reels on the spindles, sit back, and take a walk down memory lane. Read on for a step-by-step guide.

Here’s What to Do:

  1. Off you go: make sure the tape deck is turned off by turning the control knob to the off position.
  2. Supply wheel: place the audio tape on the supply wheel and load the supply wheel onto the left spindle. The tape should come off of the reel counterclockwise and the reel should snap into a locked position when pressed into the spindle.
  3. Tension wheel: the tension wheel sits below the supply wheel and resembles a pulley system in appearance. Smooth the audio tape around the tension wheel.
  4. Groovy: between the tape heads in the front of the tape deck is a small groove. Slide the tape’s edge into it.
  5. Secure the tape: gently tug the tape to ensure it is beneath the tension wheel on the right (below the right spindle).
  6. Go right: insert an empty take-up reel onto the right spindle. Be sure the take-up reel is the same size as the supply reel.
  7. The tricky part: now thread your tape between the take-up reel halves and fit the end into the reel’s center groove. Now turn the take-up reel three times in a counterclockwise motion. This helps insert a small amount of tape into the reel without it tangling. Try to maintain some tension in the tape to enhance the quality of the sound.

Call Us

Need professional guidance as you learn how to play reel to reel audio tapes? Disc Hounds is the area’s foremost expert. Call us at 610-696-8668 with any concerns about playing tapes on your machine and we’ll be happy to help.