Prior to sending us an information request, please take a look at the resource topics on this page. They include:
Thank you for your inquiry to the Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording. We hope you can find the information you're looking for on this page. Due to very limited resources, we will not be able to respond to all inquiries for research, repair, value, or other topics. Our collection primarily includes vintage audio recording devices with reel tape recorders and vintage microphones dominating the collection.
Please note: Our non-profit museum was dissolved on 12/31/17. The private vintage recording collection will continue, including maintaining the web site.
There is a seven hour video set about our collection and the history of magnetic recording available at this link. You can purchase the seven hours files via download at the same link.
Please understand that we receive a high number of requests for information. Our Museum is not staffed, so unfortunately have not been able to handle all the emails regarding the vintage collection. Research services are not available. We hope the resources we provide in this response will give you some recommendations for what you need.
As we are not staffed, it is not possible for us to make copies of items in our collection. Many documents become available on eBay and from other sources. Searching eBay for the item you want may not initially find it. However you can save that search and eBay will notify you when one becomes available.
Go to our manufacturers’ list. Check to see if we have an ad for the machine you’re looking for and click on the photo. The photo ID will most likely indicate the year the ad came out.
In our over 20 years of research, none of the tape recorder, nor microphone companies released sales totals for their units. Billboard occasionally has posted one of the company’s sales figures for a certain period, however even those were not specific to unit. Even in our personal interview with Roberts Recorders founder, Robert Metzner in Beverly Hills, he did not have sales figures on their recorders built by Akai. None of the others, including Teac and Sony, who are still active had, or would share, serial numbers nor sales records.
If you are looking for the value of a particular tape recorder (and some microphones), Reel2ReelTexas.com has established a vintage recorder and microphone quote purchase system based on data on over 20,000 sales since 1999. Please check out that link and see if what you're looking for is included. If not, unfortunately we don't have enough information to make an accurate quote. The list will be updated as time permits.
Another value resource is to check “Sold” listings for your item on eBay. You may need to save the search on eBay until the unit comes along. Looking for a similar recorder within the time period may also be a good reference.
Please note that none of the vintage items in this private collection are for sale.
Additions to the collection must be approved by the Museum prior to the donation. Due to space limitations, new donations must be unique and not already in the collection. An exception would be the acquisition of a higher quality item than ones already in the Museum. Please send us a description of the item you are interested in donating (with a photo if possible). Museum funds are not presently available to purchase items, nor to reimburse shipping expenses.
At the present time we are not looking to acquire any new items for the collection unless it meets the above criteria. EBay has the best selection and forum for purchasing and selling reel to reel tapes, tape recorders, tape recorder parts and tape recorder accessories. They now average over 10,000 items at any given time. The only way we know of to test a recorder prior to purchase is to find one in your area on eBay or Craig’s List.
Saving an eBay search and agreeing to receive emails can give you an edge when one comes up. Bidnapper also can be helpful.
MOMSR/Reel2ReelTexas.com collection: Unfortunately, none of the items in our collection are for sale, may be loaned, nor rented due to prior recovery/replacement issues. As noted in our equipment profiles, prices reflect the original purchase cost in the year it became available. When we acquire a newer item, or an item in better condition, the old one might be sold. Sales are listed at this link. Photos of items in our Museum that belong to the Museum may be for sale. Other photos are provided by the person credited with the photo and are not for sale.
Other sale sources: If you are looking to buy a reel to reel tape recorder, microphones, or vintage parts, eBay is most likely your best source as they always have a large selection. Your local Craig's List, classified ads and Goodwill provide the opportunity to check out a device before you purchase.
We also recommend contacting the forums at the following links. There are many folks willing to assist in finding resources around the world.
Most of the major US and many of the other brands of tape recorders and microphones are listed on our web site by the manufacturer’s name. We continue to add to our data base of companies, but we try to stay with ones that we believe had a broad customer base or an historically significant machine. There are literally hundreds of brand names from companies that either tried and failed to find a market for their particular product, or branded their product that was produced by other companies. There were thousands of inexpensive recording machines built in Japan, especially during the 1960’s and 1970’s. These included brands like Sears, Western Auto, Wards. the radio catalog services such as Allied and many others.The company might change up the controls and other cosmetic parts, but you would notice a common thread of the base manufacturer.
If you are attempting to identify or find out about a particular recorder, your best bet may be to either create and save a search on eBay or other buying services. Then wait to see if a similar item shows up with more information. You might also check recording forums online to see if the brand shows up.
Recording replacement heads JRF Magnetics
We’ve tracked the value of vintage devices, however not tapes themselves. If you have tapes of significant historical value, we will consider their donation to our Museum. If the recordings are commercially produced, or personally recorded content, we would not include them in our collection. The tapes would need to be professional “live” performance, or studio master recordings to be of value to our Museum. If so, please include information regarding the artist, the studio, session dates, tour dates and person producing the recording. Otherwise, we recommend that you contact Gerald Seligman, Executive Director of the National Recording Preservation Foundation, the Audio Engineering Society Historical Committee, the Rock ’n Roll Hall of Fame, or the Grammy Museum.
Short of going to a professional appraisal service, the best source we’ve used is the “Sold” records on eBay. Please note: no manufacturer provides the original serial number information for reel tape recorders.
The Broadcast Store is a good resource to sell professional recorders.
Information about other vintage equipment may be sources at the following links.
Here’s resource links that have information, manuals and documents, some free and some for sale.
Manuals 1 - A. G. Tannenbaum Manuals http://www.agtannenbaum.com/
Manuals 2 - Mauritron Manuals & Guides http://www.mauritron.com/
Manuals 3 - Pro Audio Europe - Manuals http://www.proaudioeurope.com/london/lists/Manuals.htm
Manuals 4 - Service Manuals http://www.servicemanuals.net/
Manuals 6 - hifiEngine http://www.hifiengine.com/
Manuals 7 - HiFi Manuals http://www.hifi-manuals.com/
Manuals 9 - Recording Preservation http://lcweb2.loc.gov/master/mbrs/recording_preservation/manuals/
Also, check our links under "M" as we will update the manual resources on that page.
Unfortunately we are not collecting phonograph records nor record players, amplifiers, tuners, nor radios. We recommend you contact Jim Cartwright Immortal Performances who is a phonograph and record collector in Austin. Another resource would be the National Recording Preservation Foundation whose Executive Director is Gerald Seligman.
In regards phone calls, as we are a production studio and our work is on the clock, so unfortunately we have not been able to provide phone consultation regarding the Museum, tape recorder repairs and other related information. We apologize for this and hope that in the future, if we can raise the necessary funds, we will have a facility, become staffed, and be more responsive. We do work to respond to email requests for information as time permits.
As noted on our web pages, the collection photos are the property of the Theophilus family, Reel2ReelTexas.com and the Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording. We will sell copies of those images and if requested, for a fee, provide enhanced copies of those images. Processing time is charged if applicable, in addition to the photo charges. Please contact us with the specific photo description, the web page on which it occurs and the image requirements you want. The service is invoiced through PayPal with a $25 minimum. Also note that we do not provide, nor sell copies of third party images that are on our site, or in our Museum.
Our Museum accepts and appreciates photo submittals from third parties. The photos, if approved, will be credited on the web site as donated by the donor. Posting of the photos takes some time as we are not staffed and have about 1,000 photos pending publication. Photos may be emailed to this MOMSR email address.
Your best source may be eBay if there is one for sale, or even buying a similar recorder that is not working and has a cord. Also, there may be a resource at this link, One other source would be a local radio repair shop that would fabricate a cord to your specifications.
Please note that none of the vintage items in this private collection are for sale.
Here’s some additional links:
Unfortunately the Museum does not provide operation consultation, manuals, parts, sales recommendations, nor repair services. Nor have we tracked service facilities.
We’ve often found parts on eBay and sometimes bought a used machine to repair, or obtain a part. Search for the part you need. If it doesn’t show up immediately save the search and eBay will send you an email when it’s available.
We highly recommend Audio Electronics, 10870 Plano Rd. Suite C, Dallas, TX 76238, 800-466-2372 or 214-349-5000. They have provided excellent service on vintage equipment. They’ve repaired several of our Teac units.
It is often helpful to search “vintage audio repair services” in your area. If they don’t repair vintage recorders, they may know someone who does. Many recording studios are still using analog recorders. They will usually share information on who services their machines.
Studio Electronics in CA service some of Austin’s pro machines.
Also, these links.
ATR Services, Inc. - Ampex service
Lamps (bulbs) for vintage gear DGWOJO.com
Polydrive - Precision urethane rollers
Dedicated to the Repair & Restoration of Vintage Audio Reel to Reel Tape Decks - Billings article
Save On Sound - Houston
Teac/Tascam offers assistance through this link.
Our Museum is not staffed and we are unable to respond to specific requests for assistance with the operation of vintage equipment. If you're looking for information about solving a particular problem with a tape recorder, we highly recommend you post your question to one of the following forums. There is a great group of active participants willing to assist if they can.
Unfortunately we do not have the capacity to digitize discs, wire, cassette or reel to reel tapes. Hopefully when/if we can establish a permanent facility, that would be a service we can offer. Here are several audio transfer sources we've found on the web. We've not used any of these, so can only provide the links.
Also here are some links to online sources providing information about transferring vintage audio to digital on your Mac or PC.
Here is a link to a company that provides 16” transcription disc transfers. Precision Audio Restoration
Here’s a directory where you may find other providers.
If our information was helpful, please consider supporting our efforts to preserve recording history.
MOMSR Executive Director