The Reel-to-Reel Deal. Why analog-obsessed audiophiles are returning to reel-to-reel

Audiophiles are notorious for embracing dated technologies, but their latest move might leave some wondering if they’ve lost their marbles. Incredibly, the audio world is seeing the resurgence of a product that declined decades ago and practically disappeared from the market around the early 2000s: the reel-to-reel tape deck.

Forty years ago, a reel-to-reel deck was the mark of a true audiophile. But the simplicity of cassette and, eventually, the quality and user-friendliness of digital recording killed off R2R. Or so most audio enthusiasts thought.

Still, a few analog-loving audiophiles knew that reel-to-reel had inherent advantages over the once-again-hot vinyl record. “A reel-to-reel tape is a direct copy of the original recording,” explained Chris Mara, whose business, Mara Machines, specializes in restoring professional decks manufactured by the brand MCI. “A record must be .....

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