Advice Regarding Reel-to-Reel

I went to a neighbor’s home to look at some records they were selling.  While I was there, the husband tried to interest me in buying his Teac a-6300 deck.  He said he bought it new in the 1970’s while stationed in Europe, as his music options were limited.  He doesn’t use it anymore and they are trying to reduce clutter.  He asked for $300.

I said I would get back with him.  Looking on-line, I see much higher prices for those decks.  They are described as semi-professional decks with good capabilities. I also read that such an old deck should be gone over by a qualified tech to be lubricated, have belts replaced and have the electronics checked for possible replacement.  This work could easily come to $500 or more, and that is if I can locate a person with the knowledge and equipment to do a quality job while hopefully avoiding shipping it.

I told the people I would pass on their deck, but I keep reading and thinking about it.  The price is good, but the expense and hassle of restoration, and not knowing how much I might use it (playing mostly records, CD’s and radio now), give me pause.  It does look really cool though with those 10.5 inch reels!  And if I needed to sell it on for a profit, that might not be too difficult?   And thoughts?
I would be all over it. Here's why. There is nothing like RTR. Nothing. Get one and you will not be selling, not after listening to it for a while. Especially not if you buy some of the growing list of high quality open reel master copies that are out there. Its the one thing I regret selling in my nearly 50 years in audio, my Pioneer RT 1011L. 

Attaching the link so you can see inside. These things are mechanical, but it ain't rocket science. You can find one of the top restorers and it will be worth whatever they charge. But you can also DIY just fine. Basically have a look inside, replace all the belts and bits, clean and lube, install a new pinch roller and tape heads and you'll be good to go. Probably cost you about the same as round trip shipping to the rebuilder.  

Some of it like tape head alignment might call for learning a few new skills, but nothing any normal guy can't handle.  

I would buy it now, and play it while looking around figuring out what you want to do. Once you have it you have the luxury of time and can always no matter what flip it for at least what you put into it.

They are cool, get it.... Lots of fun... I haven’t drug my newbie out of the box yet...

MX50/50 BII 2. So cool! delivery guy gave me such a look.. HEAVY....:-)

The only ones that I see that actually sold were @$350 to $400. Most are listed by dreamers. You better find some tape before you buy it. And parts. All tape machines have a colored sound. Liking it is ancillary to realism That’s why the best recordists use DSD. That and they don’t make ’em any more because they are antiques.
RTR is fun, nice to have, makes good sound, though it is the most expensive media now. First ivestigate what are the most common failures about certain model, whether spares are availiable, their cost and the cost for maintenance as a machine of this age would need some attention. Tapes are plenty so no worries there. Don’t think of it as an investment cause it is not but if in excellent condition for 300us$ is a good buy.
I had a Revox A77 R to R which I sold when CD’s first came out.  One of the stupidest things I have ever done. 
@bob540,   I used to sell the Teac A6400 reel to reel with 10 1/2 inch reels back in the 70's.  More than likely, this is the US model as opposed to the European model.  It was an excellent machine, the solenoids all worked perfectly and I can't remember ever getting any in for repair. (We were an authorized service center back then for Teac)  It is an excellent machine, I sold quite a lot of them to the local bands who were hoping tto get their big break.

I would grab it.  It is very doubtful the heads are damaged.  I would think a good repair shop could get it working like new for a few hundred.  It is mostly cleaning out old grease, replacing with new, resurface or replace pinch rollers, replace any bulbs, calibrate vu meters, clean, demag and align heads using a scope and Teac test reel.  If everything else works, you can get the best fidelity from it.  The Master tape series being sold are incredible sounding with astounding fidelity.  Food for thought.
I haven't heard it play yet. The husband offered to play it for me but I needed to get going. Maybe I will call and ask to hear it play, and if it sounds alright and the price is the same, I might buy it. Then take my time getting it serviced. No hurry.

I read an on-line forum by a guy that works on old decks. He said the auto reverse decks have more mechanical problems -- this deck has auto reverse.
It's almost always a service issue, oil to grease, grease to tar, dirt and dust mixed with all of it... clean, Clean, CLEAN. The life of a Tec, the life of a mechanic. clean Clean CLEAN, de mag, clean Clean CLEAN. Lube (never over) as the service manual says, the way it says, and with what it says. If it has a belt, CLEAN the pullies outside and clean and lube the axle assembly. 

After that if it has a preamp section, service it.. Valves, clean and check the pins. Look over the caps (visual), and boards growing green stuff. Again clean, Clean, CLEAN. Check for cold joint. Touch up as needed, back together, test, and cover when done.. Dust is not your friend...

Get that puppy...


Not to discourage you but keep in mind the cost of R2R tapes are in the range of $300 and not to mention limited titles availability. I thought of getting an R2R so many times but as it stands, it is probably the most expensive playback audio equipment to own when you factor in scarce repair facilities and tapes cost.
lalitk2,241 posts12-06-2020 7:59ambob,

Not to discourage you but keep in mind the cost of R2R tapes are in the range of $300.


You ever try to record your own? It's actually pretty fun, some of these rigs can do a good job.  They have their own sound. I like messing around so the cost is pretty low for me..

I have 20 to 30 titles, OLD
Some still sound good. The recorded stuff I do is close in quality..

Certainly good enough for me..PLUS I like it... :-) YUP...

R2R is the best source I have, when I play the same content, CD, then LP, people pick the LP. Next R2R. EVERYBODY ALWAYS picks R2R over LP. Forget specs, they sound amazing.

I advise going directly to a more advanced model rather than starting with this one.

I progressed from basic like the a-6300 thru several models until I finally decided to get the last prosumer deck they ever made: X-2000r.

auto reverse, makes playing/listening much easier/enjoyable. (needs 6 heads).
closed loop design: two capstans totally isolate the tape from the two reels as the tape crosses the heads.
3-3/4 and 7-1/2 ips speeds (not ones with 15 ips (they omit the 3-3/4 ips speed).

Once you hear it, you will want content.

What content? Pre-recorded tapes are available on eBay, I bought over 500 of them, then sold 150 of them. No returns from me or to me. 40-55 years old, amazingly still sound terrific. But, the content stopped in the 80's. If young, none of the music you grew up with is on tape. If into classic rock, from 60's on, it's there to buy and enjoy. If Jazz, it's there to enjoy. Great singers, male and female, great bands, there to enjoy. Stereo tapes started in 1956 (2 years before LP's).

that price is low. if you change your mind, you could sell it on eBay, however, packing/shipping properly is important if you do that. local pickup is a small group of potential buyers, and that model is not one people are scrambling to get.

All the ones I have had are built like tanks, and only needed mechanical work, never needed any electrical work.

IF you are handy, you can more than likely get it going yourself IF IT NEEDS cleaning and/or a new belt, the old lubricant turns to glue, the belts rot and turn to glue. new belts readily available. pressure wheels: can harden, or, if left against the capstan shaft can have dents, also readily available. manuals available, speed and tension adjustments, again, if handy not hard. 

look at the heads, see if they are worn (look at images of heads on the net, you will see the difference. replacing heads is not inexpensive. seller says little use, see for yourself.

10-1/2" reels look cool as you say, but if you are playing pre-recorded music, they are 7" diameter. and the weight of the tape on larger reels makes motor condition, brakes, adjustments more important.  Make your own recordings on small or large reels, no one I know does that anymore, thus larger reels not important. blank tape is lousy, or expensive. only late models have dbx or dolby NR, for home made, pre-recorded are rarely dbx or dolby.

Teacs come in 3 varieties.

Classic like the a-6300, stainless steel face, real wood sides, non-reverse, not closed loop.

Intermediate: Beige Plastic Face, plastic body, non-reverse or reverse, closed loop

last design, thick metal face plate, plastic body like x-10's, optional wood-look (paper veneer) case. reverse, closed loop. black or silver face.  x-1000r or x-2000r.

try this at sellers, learn with it, get into it, or not?


I don’t quite get the ‘desire’ to record music that’s already available on another format. First, you need a pristine source and just because it will sound ‘different’ on R2R doesn’t quite justify the long term investment for me. I’m sure it’s lot of fun because of the tactile experience it provides :-)

To me, R2R machines are nothing more than an eye candy unless one can afford to buy R2R tapes, like the one below.
no need to scare anyone.

that esoteric muddy waters is nowhere normal, and not needed to get into R2R, it’s more for collectors with deep pockets,

hop about ebay, find something 7-1/2" per sec ’returns allowed’, you will be amazed

I sort: us only, buy it now, newly listed, returns accepted

here’s a bargain, EXCEPT, pay attention to the speed, you want 7-1/2 IPS, these are 3-3/4 IPS. good for content hard to find, but faster speed is what beats LP’s

show tunes, this one 7-1/2 ips, make sure it is ’original cast’ like this

box beat to crap, 7-1/2 ips, takes returns, likely will sound great, good one to try something for a bargain

I forgot to mention classical

I only view ’buy it now’ and often write with offers that are accepted, even if the listing does not mention offers.
^^^sure...there is always an opportunity to pick through litter and bargain bins :-)

Between our posts, OP now knows his choices.
Sounds like a good deal

I would advise getting ahold of Skywave deck repair.  Worth the wait as Sam Palmero (sp?) was the lead tech for Teac and can make it sing like new.

I would NOT send it to Teac for repair and would use Skywave exclusively unless you have a tech you trust implicitly.

New 10.5 reels are produced in the US and I buy blank 10.5 pancakes as I have plenty of metal reels and they are very cost effective.  You can buy brand new unused blank tape with a 10.5 metal reel for 50-70 dollars from ATR.

Fun to play with and I still enjoy taping and playing around with it.  A definite blast from the past.

lalitk2,243 posts

Like I said I have 20 - 30 that are pretty good. I didn't just start, it was maybe 35 years ago.  I changed to new formats, cassette, and the early CD. I sold a lot of the tapes I had, BUT kept the vinyl.

20 years ago I stored everything. KIDS, were getting into Dads, stereo..
(early teens). My RtR, tapes and vinyl ALL went into storage.. All the Mac gear, my TT, RtR, phono pres, Tube crossovers, EVERYTHING....

I set the kids up with Adcoms,  Sony ES SACD,  Server,  Mac C22
and a pair of VMPS Tower II SEs. BOOM BOOM in the room room..

Kids left I retired, I go to look for my stuff, it been nicked, oh yes. ALL my Mac gear. TT, (my friggin' fairchild 750), RtRs, and a footlocker FULL of vintage valves, just packed. The hand made tube XO, My C20s a pair of seq SN MC240, la te da....  I'm floored. I call the insurance man, guess what I have replacement insurance, no idea what it was. I just wanted my gear back.. They paid me 56K for the gear. I came out ok...BUT I had to replace it or loose up to 90% of the value.

You got it, I made them and (I helped), find every piece I wanted, and even did some bidding for me...

I'm just now at a point, two more pieces of Equipment, a special phonostage/tape preamp and a SUT (not the biggest fan).

Clear a room and the transition begins, just took 37 years. All set up though, for good RtR and TT use and PARTY a bit...without foul....

Built in bass traps, a few things 2 ft x 3ft x 16 foot foundation for EQ foundation.. It don't move at ALL... Traps can vary easy, slide the traps open or closed...

All that to say, it was all part of the plan, 37 years ago when I built the room, RtR, TT, and anything else I like.. or dislike for that matter..

Retirement is FUN, don't let anyone say otherwise....

Fun Fun  Fun Fun, better than eatin' bugs... Yup...


If your looking for service / restoration I'd be glad to help! I've been servicing these since 1980. We're located in Brooklyn NY USA.


Hi Andrew, thanks for your offer.  I didn’t buy the rig, as I was more concerned about the cost of getting decent tapes now than about finding someone to service the deck.  I likely wouldn’t invest in R2R unless that format were to have a resurgence like LP’s did, or if I suddenly came into so much money I don’t know what to do with it. I doubt that is going to happen.  I do have fond memories of my old Sony deck from the 70’s, but those days are long gone. 
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IIRC tape has foibles like print through and the need for carefully aligned heads. We used to make reference speech intelligibility tapes using 1/2" tape at 15 IPS with Ampex 350s. Getting a clean recording took a lot of care. You never fast forwarded or rewound anything, because it could compact the tape. As a post-doc I got reamed by a tech for casually releasing the cover on heads that had he had previously been carefully aligned. But that was in the 1960s.