Reel-to-reel audio tape recording is the form of magnetic tape audio recording in which the medium is held on a reel that is not permanently mounted in an enclosed cassette. In use, the feed reel containing the tape is placed on a spindle or hub, and the end of the tape is manually pulled out of the reel, threaded through mechanical guides and a tape head assembly to the hub of the second, initially empty takeup reel.vintage reel to reel recorder

The reel-to-reel format was used in the earliest tape recorders, including the pioneering German-British Blattnerphone (1928) machines of the late 1920s which used steel tape,[3] and the German Magnetophon machines of the 1930s. Originally, this format had no name, since all forms of magnetic tape recorders used it.

Reel-to-reel systems use tape that is 1⁄4, 1⁄2, 1, or 2 inches (6.35, 12.70, 25.40, or 50.80 mm) wide, which normally moves at 3+3⁄4, 7+1⁄2, 15 or 30 inches per second (9.5, 19.1, 38.1 or 76.2 cm/s). All standard tape speeds are derived as a binary submultiple of 30 inches per second.

Read more about the history of reel-to-reel audio at Wikipedia.

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