You are here

old Teac 4 track reel to reel conversion help

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Moderator: Moderators

old Teac 4 track reel to reel conversion help

Postby lhnewman » Sun Apr 11, 2021 9:05 pm

I have an old, 1982, reel to reel 4 track tape go original songs.....can anyone give me direction to how I can convert to digital flashdrive or MP4 file? I cannot do it myself and live in South Florida....I probably need a studio...any help is appreciated...thanks in advance...Larry
lhnewman
New here
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Apr 11, 2021 8:59 pm

Re: old Teac 4 track reel to reel conversion help

Postby James Perrett » Sun Apr 11, 2021 10:54 pm

All the professional services that I can think of are a long way to the north of you. You really need someone who knows what they are doing to get the best out of the tape. If the tape is made by Ampex (or is a particular type of 3M tape) it will need to be baked before it is played and could be damaged if you try to play it without baking.
User avatar
James Perrett
Moderator
Posts: 10765
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2001 12:00 am
Location: The wilds of Hampshire
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration. JRP Music Facebook Page

Re: old Teac 4 track reel to reel conversion help

Postby lhnewman » Mon Apr 12, 2021 2:01 am

thanks James ....I've heard that " baked " thing...I'll look it up.....probably need professional studio and some luck
lhnewman
New here
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Apr 11, 2021 8:59 pm

Re: old Teac 4 track reel to reel conversion help

Postby lhnewman » Mon Apr 12, 2021 2:03 am

the tape was made by Realistic...if that helps
lhnewman
New here
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Apr 11, 2021 8:59 pm

Re: old Teac 4 track reel to reel conversion help

Postby Tim Gillett » Mon Apr 12, 2021 8:25 am

Some more information on the Realistic tape might help. Is it with its original tape box? A Realistic model number? What colour are the two sides of the magnetic tape? Brown and brown? Brown and black? Is it a 7" or 10.5" reel?

The key piece of gear of course is a fully working 4 track/4 channel 1/4" tape machine able to play your tape. It will be a used machine as they havent been made for many years.

Some recording studios may have suitable gear, suitably maintained, and the skills to do the job well, but many these days will not, not any more anyway. I'd suggest looking for people who specialise in this particular transfer work rather than only doing it as a side line, and who in particular can transfer the four tracks of your tape in one pass onto four separate digital files.
Tim Gillett
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2376
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:00 am
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: old Teac 4 track reel to reel conversion help

Postby lhnewman » Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:24 pm

thanks Tom....yes it is in original box, brown and brown and 10.5" reel.....I will be home today and send you more info about the tape box, specs, etc.....are 2 tracks on one side of the tape and the other 2 on the back side? Larry....thanks again
lhnewman
New here
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Apr 11, 2021 8:59 pm

Re: old Teac 4 track reel to reel conversion help

Postby jimjazzdad » Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:27 pm

lhnewman wrote:I have an old, 1982, reel to reel 4 track tape go original songs.....can anyone give me direction to how I can convert to digital flashdrive or MP4 file? I cannot do it myself and live in South Florida....I probably need a studio...any help is appreciated...thanks in advance...Larry

You can probably find someone in your area who can transfer your tape to digital (as well as 'baking' it first if it has the dreaded Sticky Shed Syndrome)...try posting this request on the reel to reel forum at Tapeheads.net.

If you can't find anyone to help, PM me (but I'm a long way north of you...)
User avatar
jimjazzdad
Regular
Posts: 120
Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2013 1:00 am
Halifax, NS, CANADA

Re: old Teac 4 track reel to reel conversion help

Postby Tim Gillett » Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:59 pm

lhnewman wrote:thanks Tom....yes it is in original box, brown and brown and 10.5" reel.....I will be home today and send you more info about the tape box, specs, etc.....are 2 tracks on one side of the tape and the other 2 on the back side? Larry....thanks again

The tape is just the carrier. 4 track tape could mean various formats. I assumed it was a 4 track/4 channel tape (multitrack) with all 4 tracks in sync, ready to be mixed later, but it could also be two stereo recordings, one on each "side" of the tape. Or it could be four mono tracks independent of each other.

Yes any notes on the tape or box might shed more light.
Tim Gillett
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2376
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:00 am
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: old Teac 4 track reel to reel conversion help

Postby James Perrett » Mon Apr 12, 2021 2:08 pm

I had assumed that, given the mention of Teac, that it would have been recorded on a 3340/3440 or similar, probably at 15ips with 4 tracks across the width of the tape all recorded in the same direction and possibly at the same time. Possibly using Dbx noise reduction.

When it comes to noise reduction I always transfer without noise reduction and then do that as a separate stage - either by going out to a hardware decoder or using a software decoder.

Some (possibly most) Realistic tape was made by Ampex so may need baking.
User avatar
James Perrett
Moderator
Posts: 10765
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2001 12:00 am
Location: The wilds of Hampshire
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration. JRP Music Facebook Page