Audio Equipment and Home Theater Audio : Tape recorders

Tape recorders

I'm conducting interviews for a book and need some advice on the best kind of tape recorder to use. I went on, and I see many models from RCA, Panasonic, and other well-known brands, but the reviews are always mixed.

Some say the volume is too low, even at the highest setting, and some say the recorders eat up the tapes or pick up the motor noise.

What machines have any of you used and what would you recommend?

Thank you for your help.

Re: Tape recorders

Wished I had caught this earlier.

Don't buy new. Look for a good used unit on Ebay or Goodwill.

Look for brands like Pioneer, Teac, Nakamichi, Akai, Marantz, Stay away from the "black face" units, and look for silver face, early 80's, late 70's.

Also keep in mind that High Bias (best recording media for cassette) tape is all but discontinued and prices are climbing for NOS.

The absolute BEST and highest quality is a reel to reel. I use a TEAC A6300, and I absolutely love it and brand new, fresh high quality tape is readily available but you have to order it. For this, I would recommend getting a TEAC A2300, it's nice, solidly built, reliable unit and the prices are reasonable.

Re: Tape recorders

For interviews, I wouldn't bother with tape. There's plenty of things that record to memory (internal or SD cards). Many MP3 players can record audio, though they tend to be bare-bones (no level monitoring, no way to label recordings, etc). But, they do record for a long time, and they're cheap, so you might want to use one as a back-up.

Panasonic has some nice-looking digital recorders for under $100. Zoom makes some that are good enough for music or video sound recording. If you get one with inputs for external microphones, you could wire your subject with a lapel or lavalier mic.

Smart phones and tablets should have an audio recording function.

Re: Tape recorders


Thing is though, while the digital is handier, the reel to reel is going to blow anything out of the water sound wise if he's looking for quality.

Re: Tape recorders

I'm guessing that when it comes to doing interviews for a book, portability and convenience are more important than audio quality. And I rather suspect that a Zoom H2 will make better quality recordings than most consumer reel to reels. Perhaps not a calibrated studio deck at 15 ips. If you don't like the digital sound, there must be an effect that will add wow and flutter and distort the peaks like saturated tape.