How to Repair a Reel To Reel Tape Recorder

By Techwalla Electronics Editor

Not all things have gone out of style with the rise of the information age. There are still many that cling to the older tools of the trade. Reel to reel tape recording is just one example of this. Some bands and audio engineers still swear by this way of recording for the quality of sound it produces. But more and more, studios have increasingly adopted digital recording for it's easy use, easy maintenance and cost effectiveness. But if you still use reel to reel and you're machine is not running at peak condition, here are some ways to solve your problem.

Step 1

Identify the problem. Before you take any kind of action, you should determine where the malfunction is coming from. There are many different components in a reel to reel recorder. So pinpointing the problem will most like point you to the area you need to focus on fixing.

Step 2

Unplug the machine and take it to a place where you have plenty of room to work on it. If you have a workbench or a large table, it would be best to lay it out on that. You need plenty of room so you don't lose any parts or cause more damage. This step may involve taking the reel to reel recorder out of the studio.

Step 3

Clean the reel heads. Depending on your problem, the solution may just be simple cleaning maintenance. Using cotton swabs and a special cleaning solution you can order online, give the heads and thorough cleansing. After the solution has been given sufficient time to dry, load in some tape and run a test. This is probably one of the most common problems, so exhaust this option first before doing anything else.

Step 4

Disassemble the reel to reel player and check for any loose components. If cleaning your reel heads did not work then your problem will be internal. Delicately remove the covering plates and place them off to the side in a way that you will remember how they go back together and so that you will not loose any parts. Since the operation of reel to reel machines causes a lot of wear and tear, it's possible that a quick tightening is all you need.

Step 5

Replace the parts that are not working properly. Once you have identified the non-working part, replace it. Because reel to reel tape recorders are rarely manufactured anymore, you might have to order the part from a specialty shop.