Reel-to-Reel Audio Tapes Are an Analog Library of Music and Film History

Reel-to-reel music tapes for sale are audio files that are recorded on magnetic tapes. These tapes are stored in small reels placed in flat cardboard boxes that are similar to album covers. These reel to reel tapes reached their heyday in the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, and you can find all kinds of music recorded on audio tape reels from this era at affordable prices on eBay.

Available musical genres of reel-to-reel audio tapes

Most reel-to-reel prerecorded audio tapes were produced between the 1950s and the 1980s. Many of these tapes are of movie and TV show soundtracks, but many well-known musicians are also featured, such as Herman's Hermits, Nat King Cole, The Beatles, Janis Joplin, and Bing Crosby. Many genres of music are represented, such as:

  • Classical
  • Country
  • Jazz
  • New age
  • Easy listening
  • Pop
  • R&B and soul
  • Rock
  • Folk music
  • Musicals
Artists and movies you can see on reel-to-reel music tapes tapes for sale on eBay

Reel tapes were heavily produced during the 1960s and 1970s. You can find many rock, country, and easy listening musicians, such as Bob Dylan, YES, The Beatles, Loretta Lynn, Slim Whitman, Smokey Robinson, Carly Simon, The Who, and other well-known artists. You will also find movie tracks from "The Graduate," "2001: A Space Odyssey," "Hair," "Goldfinger," and similar film soundtracks.

Do reel-to-reel audio tapes have different speeds?

Reel-to-reel tapes have varying recorded speeds. These speeds are expressed in units of inches per second or IPS. The most common speeds for commercially produced reel-to-reel are 3/4 inches per second and 7 and 1/2 inches per second. Most reel player/recorders have both speeds as playback options. See the manufacturer site for details.

How to play reel-to-reel tapes

You can play these tapes on reel tape player and recorder consoles. Many companies manufactured these types of recorders for both professional and commercial use. Some of the better-known brands of vintage reel players and recorders you will find on eBay are:

  • Studer
  • Stellavox
  • Denon
  • Akai
  • Sony
  • Pioneer
  • Ampex
  • Revox
  • Otari
Are reel-to-reel tape players still being manufactured?

Mechlabor is a company that is still producing reel tape players, and a new line of four different Ballfinger reel tape players is produced by the German company, Roland Schneider. The Ballfinger players are very top-end and cost more than other reel tape players. There are also new reel-to-reel tapes being produced that feature artists like Lady Gaga.