I was cleaning out the basement and uncovered a plastic tote full of old 1/4 magnetic reel to reel tapes. I remember saving these from a dumpster 16 yrs ago when my parents were recovering from a home fire. These were my grandfathers tapes and I just could not see them get trashed. I had no idea how to play them so I did some searching on google and quickly found links to different reel to reel tape players. I did not own a reel to reel tape player so I took a quick trip to the local share shop and I bought a Akai 3000D for $5. It is huge and very heavy.
I had to oil all the spindles and cleaned the pulleys and switches. It was kind of a pain but I got it working pretty good after that. This is a pretty basic tape player and it only supports two speeds (3-3/4 and 7-1/8 ) Inch Per Second (IPS). Playing other speeds is a bit tricky but 100% possible with a computer. I downloaded the freeway software Audacity which is excellent and installed it on my computer. I connected the audio output of the tape player to the AUX input on my sound card. Playing 1-7/8 IPS tapes is possible on my tape player but I have to play them at 3-3/4 speed so they sound super fast like chipmunks. Simply record this to the computer and then use Audacity to slow down the audio to the proper speed. I think I slowed it exactly 50% to make the speed normal for 1-7/8 IPS. Save the finished file to your hard drive as a WAV or MP3 file and burn it to a CD using the default Windows 10 CD burning software. It works perfect so you should be able to play any speed tape you want without spending a bunch on money on different tape players.
I have 100’s of these reel to reel tapes full of recordings from the 1970’s.
Here are some neat recordings I was able to save from the early 1970’s. These are local radio stations around the thumb are of Michigan WGER and WGMZ.
WGER FM 102.5 1970 ads
WGER FM 102.5 1970 Jensen Farm Equipment
WGER FM 102.5 1970 News Vietnam War
WGER FM 102.5 1970 News Part 2
WGER FM 102.5 1970
WGER FM 102.5 1972 More News Vietnam War
WGMZ Flint MI 1969 Ad – Flint Journal Happy Ad, Flint institute of Arts