I write this listening to my Akai M-8 valve powered reel to reel tape recorder. It’s playing a random tape that I bought on eBay for a fiver entitled ‘Genesis: And then there were three’. Luckily for me that was obviously recorded over and it actually contains Jean Michel Jarre’s Concerts in China which I’ve not listened to for well over 10 years.
Anyway the point is that I HAVE A REEL TO REEL TAPE RECORDER. I’ve wanted one since I was a kid and now I have one; the best bit being that it cost me nothing other than a drive over to Hampstead a few weeks back. I got it by placing a wanted ad on London Freecycle and I got one (unexpected) response from a couple that had recently had a kid and who now needed to free up some space. It came with the original box, instruction manual and a tape (that I ditched).
From the cover of the instruction manual the Akai M-8 has these highlights:
- Cross Field Heads
- Vertical Center Speakers
- Sound on Sound
- 4 – track — 4 – Speed
- Stereophonic sound
- Record and Reproducer
Tonight’s the first time that I’ve really done anything with it as I was waiting for some tape. I’ve given it a really good clean using cotton buds and meths; the crap that came off the transport mechanism and the heads was shocking. It still needs some work as there is a hum so I’m hoping that Cathie’s Dad who has been doing up old 50’s radios for years can give me some advice here, I’m guessing that some valves might need replacing. That said, I’m really suprised with how good the sound quality is and that’s just coming from the built in speakers. It has a 5 pin DIN socket so I’ll need to buy a DIN -> phono lead and then I can plug it though my amp and also try recording.
I think that it also needs a bit of blinging up: I might stretch to one of these metal reels one day, but they are going for silly money, so for now I’ll stay with plain plastic.