Whether you are an avid collector or just getting into reel to reel, it can be challenging to figure out where to buy quality pre-recorded music on reel to reel tape. After all, what's the benefit of having a high end reel to reel player and the world's best carbon fiber reels if you don't have any music to play?
Looking for a great player? See Our Ultimate Guide to Reel to Reel Players
Most pre-recorded reel-to-reel tapes were produced between the 1950s and the 1980s. You can still find these original vintage tapes for sale online by collectors.
If new music is more your jam, it's out there too. Given the resurgence in popularity of reel to reel players over the past decade, many music production studios started producing new music on r2r tapes.
We've reviewed the best places online to buy new and used reel-to-reel music tapes so that you can begin to grow your collection. If you know of any other great places to buy pre-recorded r2r tapes, shoot us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can add it to our list.
Whether you are looking for just a single artist or an audiophile analog collection, 2XHD Fusion are ready for you. Based in Canada, 2xHD has developed “a remastering system that combines the best of vintage analog quality with state-of-the-art technology” thanks to their producer/studio owner and audiophile sound engineer. At 2XHD Fusion you'll find limited edition reels including:
This online retailer of reel-to-reel tapes is based in the United States and offers everything from SACD to Vinyl. Acoustic Sounds was founded by Chad Kassem in 1986 and has grown to offer one of the largest selection of highest-quality music in a variety of formats including tapes and even some MARA's. They also have a healthy selection of music accessories and merchandise. Some of their most popular reels for sale include:
This Italian company is owned and run by musician/producer/sound engineer Roberto Vigo. Analogy Records produces contemporary artists in its onsite recording studio and distributes original master tapes rather than copies. With this site, your master tape will be made to order. Due to this, a range of tape formats, speeds, and EQ options are available. Some of their hits include:
This UK-based audiophile analogue recordings store caters to those with a finer ear. Chasing The Dragon has Master Tapes, LP’s, CDs and even binaries. Their tapes are always recorded from the original copy master to give you the closest approach to the original recording. Their LPs include:
This small Italian company dedicates its collection to music on master tape. Hemiolia Records' goal is to create products of excellence and they are dedicated to improving their production processes in every phase -- much like RX Reels! Hemiolia Records offers live concert and recorded reels including:
The Master Tape Sound Lab has an impressive collection of Master Tapes. The owner of the company is an analogue recording engineer, so he only lets the best come through. Their catalogue includes over 55 titles of diverse music, from jazz to classic and other genres, all of which were recorded onto/from 1st generation master tape with strictest quality standards. A few of their classics include:
Open Reel Records has a larger collection. The company is based in Italy and owned by a musician and sound engineer. They have both vintage options and original contemporaries, as well as the ever-loved live classical performances. For their masters, Open Reel Records only uses SM900 tapes from Recording the Master. A few of their pre-recorded tape reels include:
This Australian company founded in 2001 has a large collection of world music, tango, jazz of all types, spoken word, orchestra, opera, big band and classical. Quinton Records also has vinyl available in addition to their selection of reel tapes.
The Tape Project is a company based out of the United States. The titles they offer are limited editions. You need to be quick with this site as inventory is constantly changing and sells out quick. They offer titles in the categories of classical, jazz, roots and the newly offered digital direct. Reels from their catalogue at the time of publishing this post include:
This Canadian company is a great way to collect the classics. Although, if Bach and Wagner are not your thing, Ultra Analogue Recordings has more modern options available too. The company tries to reproduce the sound of chamber music by using valve/tube electronics. A few of their recent tapes include:
This is a Grammy Awarded record site and is based out of the United States. Yarlung Records brings fresh musicians to the classical music world using minimalist audiophile recording techniques to deliver sound as close to living performance as possible. Their site offers a wide selection of CDs, Vinyl, Tape, DSD, and HD options at more than fair pricing. All their tapes are made to order, so leave a few weeks for delivery. A few of tapes from their selection include:
Of course, there are other ways to buy pre-recorded tape. You can always check Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or even eBay. Listings are everywhere but be very careful as many are noncommercial recordings and quality can vary greatly. Used commercial tape recordings, especially older vintage recordings can also have issues especially sticky-shed syndrome or SSS.
Sticky-shed syndrome is created when the magnetic tape binders start breaking down and causing sluggish tape behavior that cause huge issues with decks. We generally avoid buying used tape.
Rather than risk your freshly refurbished deck to SSS risk, buy some high quality new tape and record your own favorite music. These are the leading sources for new tape.
ATR Tape has a lot of options for both tape and reel to reel tape supplies. This is our go-to source. You can get Master Tape format or longer play MDS-36 format, even cassette tape is available. They have reasonable prices and the occasional sale.
Like ATR, this site sells a lot of different types of cassettes and reel to reel audio tapes in master and long play format. Recording The Masters audio tapes are made in France, based on the original AGFA and BASF specifications, which have a proven track record in performance for over 30 years in the professional audio recording industry.
We hope you found this post helpful for discovering places to buy new and used pre-recorded reel to reel tapes. As reel to reel player aficionados ourselves, we know just how much fun it is to bring home a new tape and play it for the first time in your home or commercial setup.
RX Reels prides ourselves on manufacturing the world's best carbon fiber reels. Learn more about us and why Ken Kessler of Soundstage!HIFI calls our carbon fiber reels, "among the mechanically best I've ever seen."
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Martin Pipe takes up his tape with this superbly-made reel from the USA.
Thanks to RX Reels careful balance, fast-winding is quieter than with lesser articles due to a considerable reduction in vibration - which is itself a good thing, for the life of your deck's reel motors. The lack of physical noise during playback isn't the only audible benefit - I also found that the stereo image was more solid and better defined. Quite frankly, it's highly unlikely you'll find a better spool for your deck.