February 28, 2021 3 min read

Open-Reel Decks That Are Affordable And Worth Having Still Exist  

There is no doubt that reel-to-reel machines are expensive, Ken Kessler, a writer for Hi-Fi News magazine with a self-proclaimed obsession of Reel-to-Reel tape players recently wrote an article for the publication about his research for the top pre-owned and refurbished open-reel decks that are not only worth having but also affordable for now, the prices on all decks are soaring upwards as the trend for these open-reel tape machines become more popular with audiophiles.

Looking for a great player? See Our Post On Where To Find a New (or Nearly New) Reel-to-Reel Player Today

Ken Kessler's Recommended Pre-owned And Refurbished Open-Reel Decks 

Kessler had 10 decks total he recommended including the Akai GX-4000D for a good basic deck between $150-$700 depending on condition.

He suggests the Otari MX5050 for an excellent all-in-one built to prosumer standards which brings between $700-$4000.

For the best sounding reel-to-reel player, he chose the easy-to-use, auto-reverse tape machine Pioneer RT-707 in the $800-$2100 range.

Akai GX-4000D Open Reel Tape Player

Highlight of Two Amazing Reel-to-Reel Audio Tape Deck Finds

TEAC X-Series:

If you saw the movie Pulp Fiction you would have seen the TeacX-2000R, both the X-2000 and the X-1000 prices soared after the movie came out, however, Kessler writes the X-3 and the X-7 are affordable, robust, plentiful and sound great. The 10in spool models start at about $700 and are amazing open-reel decks.

Technics RS-1500/1700:

These machines have 3-speeds: 3 3/4, 7 1/2 and 15ips with 7in/10in spool decks. The price of these NAB decks is going up due to high-end users wanting them and their popularity with refurbishing companies who are purchasing the donor machines.

Kessler says to allow at least $1700-$2100 for working machines with an added $300-$550 for the auto-reverse RS-1700. A completely rebuilt, customized deck can run you between $8000-$12,000 according to Kessler.

Kessler claims the RS-1500 “will never disappoint” if you want one machine that does it all. I personally own the RS-1506 and can vouch for how amazing my reel-to-reel deck is in sound and quality. Our beautiful carbon fiber RX Reels 10-inch reel spools are designed to complement the unique color of the Technics RS 1500 line up as well.

Technics RS 1500 Reel to Reel Player with Carbon Fiber Reels

Shopping for A Reel to Reel Tape Player 

When shopping for a reel-to-reel tape player Kessler suggests:

  • take your time
  • decide on a budget and stick to it
  • call around to and email companies who work on whichever machine you have decided is yours and find out how much it will be to service that deck.
  • Your due diligence and patience will pay off in the end.

We hope you found this post helpful for understanding more about pre-owned reel to reel players. For a guide on what goes into a reel for open reel tape decks check out our blog post here. 

RX Reels prides ourselves on manufacturing the world's best carbon fiber reels. Learn more about us and why Martin Pipe from Hi-Fi World has said "Quite frankly, it's highly unlikely you'll find a better spool for your deck."

See RX Reels Carbon Fiber 10.5" and 7" reels here.

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Kevin Root
Kevin Root

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