For 'consumer' reel tapes (those from, say, the 50's - 70's) we have three decks. An Akai X-150D tape deck handles up to 7 inch reels, plays back at 1.875, 3.75 and 7.5 ips for tapes recorded in 4 track mono (1-4, 3-2) or 4 track 2 channel stereo (quarter track stereo). The Teac X-1000 provides 10.5 inch reel capacity for 1/4 inch 4 track stereo (2 channel) tapes recorded at 3.75 ips or 7.5 ips. It features dBx type 1 noise reduction for tapes encoded with that system. The Otari MX-5050BII also caters for up to 10.5 inch reels, and will playback 4 track 2 channel stereo tapes, as well as 2 track NAB standard tapes. It is a 4 head unit with the 2 different track formats being read by two different playback heads. Speeds on this deck are 3.75, 7.5, and 15 ips (inches per second).
Akai X-150D (C 1969) Teac X-1000 Otari MX5050-BII-2
Professional 2 and 4 track tapes are played on 1 of 2 decks available. One Otari MTR-10-2 is configured for 2-track NAB format tapes at speeds of 7.5, 15, and 30 ips. This unit is timecode-track equipped. The second machine is an Otari MTR10-4, also with speeds of 7.5, 15 and 30 ips but handles half-inch tape recorded in 4-track format. Both machines handle up to 10.5 inch reels, and are selectable between NAB and IEC eq. (AES in the case of 30 ips). Dolby SR and A type noise reduction is available on both machines.
Heads of MTR-10-2. TC head shown between rec. and play heads.
Timecode striped tapes can be copied to DVCPro25, Betacam SP, Umatic (SP) or Hi-Fi S-VHS video for re-integration in a Post environment.
A 1 inch, 24 track Fostex G24S is also available. Normally running at 15 ips, it is RS-422 controllable to run anywhere between 1.35 ips and 45 ips. This machine is equipped with a built-in timecode generator / reader and translates code for the aforementioned RS-422 interface as well as Midi. It's equipped with Dolby type S noise reduction, a scaled down version of the famous SR type.
Fostex G24S G24S head block
New media is still available and is in hot demand. Analogue reel tape is still a favoured recording medium the world over and artists and record companies enjoy the warmth, clarity and definition a properly maintained tape deck gives out.
The Ampex brand was sold to Quantegy in the mid nineties.