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Convert Reel to Reel Tapes to CD and Digital

Inexpensive reel-to-reel tape recorders were widely used for voice recording in the home, for professional recording studios and to pre-record popular and classical music up until the 80s before they were surpassed by compact cassettes and emergent digital audio techniques.

If you own any reel-to-reel tapes, the likelihood is that they are very old and at risk of deteriorating. As reel-to-reel tapes use magnetic tape, they can experience 10%-20% signal loss through magnetic decay over as little as 10-25 years depending how they were manufactured. Consequently, your old tapes containing your cherished music or home recordings could be in danger of becoming damaged beyond repair.

How we convert reel to reel tape to digital

Our digitisation process:

  1. Place a Memory Box order and select an output format that suits you best. The Memory Box packages are designed to take on all your media at once, so don’t be shy, put in all your faded photos, cassettes and tapes together and we’ll return them to you on a DVD, USB memory stick or with an online link to a cloud album.
  2. We collect your filled Memory Box and track its journey safely to our office (we know your memories are worth the additional check-ins to ensure their safety while en route).
  3. As reel-to-reel film ages, it can become dry, brittle and sometimes smell slightly vinegary as a result of degradation. There is, however, still a chance of saving your audio and transferring your reel-to-reel tape to digital and CD. Before converting to digital, it is essential to deep clean reel-to-reel tape using a two pass wet/dry method – we use specialist cleaning fluid, lint free cloths and compressed air. This removes any mould, dirt and smudges, giving your tape a freshly polished appearance. At EachMoment, every single tape, cassette or photo is assessed and cleaned on a case by case basis using bespoke cleaning methods.
  4. We put the reels through our serviced, industry-grade tape machines. These provide better sound quality than a USB to tape converter as they allow for adjusting the bias – used to get the highest output, the best high frequency response and the lowest distortion.
  5. Once the tape is converted into a digital file, its quality is assessed and re-mastered if necessary. We work to reduce static noise use dynamic software to adjust volume.
  6. The newly created mp3 files are transferred to your chosen output format.
  7. We return all your cassettes to you via tracked delivery, along with your CD or USB, or we’ll email you with a link to the digital album if you chose the Cloud option.

Why should I digitise my reel-to-reel tapes?

There is no better time than now to convert reel-to-reel to digital and CD. Transferring your reel-to-reel tapes to digital and CD protects your cherished music and audio recordings that are buried in your dwindling tapes. As well as freeing up plenty of storage space, you can rely on a format that will never degrade and won’t put your cherished memories at risk. Converting reel-to-reel to digital and CD also allows you to revive your old audio by re-listening on your computer, laptop or your mobile, so you can take your memories with you wherever you go.

The best way to transfer reel-to-reel to digital

Converting reel-to-reel tapes to CD and digital individually is a long and convoluted process requiring a range of expensive equipment – and you probably have more enjoyable ways of spending your free time. Not only does EachMoment use the highest resolution conversion equipment, far surpassing the low-quality conversions you get with expensive consumer-grade equipment, we will also clean your tapes beforehand to ensure they are restored for the best digital playback – if you own the means to play your original tapes. Converting your reel-to-reel tapes to digital and CD and avoiding time taking its toll really is too easy to pass up. If you have any tapes or any old videophoto or audio formats that you’d like preserved on CD or digital which are accessible on your smartphone, TV and computer, we will collect them from your doorstep, convert them to digital and return them to you in one of our Memory Boxes, ready to be gifted or kept personally for years to come.

diagram showing lengths of audio reel and their runtime

Why wait? Convert your reel-to-reel tapes to digital now!

Once these steps are complete, your reel-to-reel tape is fully converted to digital and CD, giving your audio a new lease of life. It’s now time to relive your newly restored audio memories. Preserving your precious memories and gifting an EachMoment Memory Box to a friend or family member is an especially touching way to remind those closest to you how much you care about them. Whether it be a birthday, Valentine’s Day or Mother’s or Father’s Day, the memories enclosed in an EachMoment Memory Box always make the most thoughtful gift. 

A Brief History of Reel-to-Reel Tapes

Due to its extensive use in radio by the military during WWII, the development of the reel-to-reel recording format was intense throughout the 1940s and into the 1950s. Jack Mullin, a member of the US Army investigated German radio, shipped two Magnetophon tape recorders to the US in the 1940s and began developing the format, hoping to convince Hollywood film studios to use magnetic tapes for movie soundtracks. Mulin’s work caught the attention of singer and actor Bing Crosby, who immediately saw the potential of reel-to-reel to pre-record his radio shows and was later developed for TV. Crosby’s stardom immediately raised the profile of reel-to-reel which furthered its development. The reel-to-reel format sparked a revolution in audio and video entertainment; the use of magnetic tape in recording led to the development of compact cassettes by Phillips in 1962 and paved the way for early videotape recorders.

reel to reel tape recording and player

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