Reel to Reel Conversion Services
Reel to reel tape machines were well known in the 70s and into the 80s as being a high quality option for recorded audio and music. Today, digital formats provide a much better option to preserve audio recordings and improve their sound quality. Two Squares can convert your reel to reel recordings to a CD or other digital audio formats. We have a comprehensive reel to reel transfer process to help keep your important audio data safe for years to come.
Reel-to-reel Transfer Process
Reel to reel tape machines were well known in the 70s and into the 80s as being a high quality option for recorded audio and music. Most reel to reel machines would use 7 inch or 10 inch reels of 1/4″ magnetic tape and operate at speeds of 7.5 or 3.75 inches per second, but some higher end machines would also run at 15 inches per second.
Two Squares uses professional studio grade reel to reel equipment that will play back all these modes and we professionally maintain and tune our equipment to ensure the highest quality capture possible.
Sample – Digital post-processing and noise reduction
The following example is an old Beatles clip taken off of a reel-to-reel tape. It demonstrates the effects of our post-processing and digital noise reduction techniques.
Click the play button below to hear the recording before any digital post-processing
Click the play button below to hear the recording after the digital post-processing
The reduction in noise can be best heard at the very beginning before the music even starts. A set of headphones may be needed to hear the noise reduction while the music is playing.
Audio Tape Aging
Reel to reel tape, audio cassette tapes, and other forms of magnetic tape degrade over time. The tape will curl and stick onto itself as it spools off the the reels causing hiss, pops, warbles and other unwanted noises in the playback. It is best to rejuvenate the tape before digitization to maximize the sound quality.
The Two Squares magnetic tape rejuvenation process will significantly improve many older tape reels to ensure the best quality digitization possible. For a more detailed description of what is called “sticky shed syndrome” and the process Two Squares uses to eliminate the problem prior to conversion click here.
The design and manufacturing of quality reel to reel machines are a thing of the past. The best quality decks were made in the 80’s and can be hard to come by these days. If you happen to one still in storage, it would likely need some work to make it sound like new again. Magnetic heads need to be properly maintained and drive belts will stretch out on older decks which cause a variety of issues.
To the right is a snapshot of one of the Two Squares studio-grade reel-to-reel machines and capture equipment.
Using your computer’s line inputs on your sound card or motherboard sound interface for audio capture can affect quality as well. Computers have a lot of “electronic noise” from switching circuits and fans that will bleed into your capture that will cause unwanted noise and hiss. Even for a non-audiophile listener, this can be a very noticeable. The best quality comes from properly grounded, external (from the computer) studio grade digital conversion devices. Two squares uses only studio grade audio equipment from companies such as Tascam, Otari, and Harmon Kardon. Our equipment is also professionally maintained and tuned to ensure the best digitization quality possible.
The next step in producing a quality conversion/transfer of your digitized reel is in the post processing. There are many cheap software programs available that claim to improve the quality of you digital recording by removing pops and hisses. But when it comes to purchasing post processing software, you definitely get what you pay for. Cheap and free programs will remove some of the noises that you want removed, but will also remove noises, features and quality of the music that you don’t want and actually make your recording sound worse than the unprocessed recording. Two Squares has the experience and professional grade software tools to provide you with the best possible conversion.
Converting to iPod, MP3, or a hard drive / flash drive
Two Squares can convert the audio from a reel-to-reel tape to a set of MP3 files which can be copied to an iPod, hard drive, or flash drive.
Pricing for our reel-to-reel to CD conversion services:
- No setup charge
- Flat price not dependent on reel length
- Tape baking and rejuvenation included
- Premium noise reduction and level correction included
- CD track insertion included
$5 per CD (CDs hold up to 80 minutes of audio) or $4 per tape to convert to MP3 and copy to your hard drive
Please contact Two Squares for help with reel-to-reel to CD conversion.