How to Connect a Reel-to-Reel Tape Deck to a Mixer

Written by dino lencioni
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How to Connect a Reel-to-Reel Tape Deck to a Mixer
Reel-to-reel tape recorders are still used, and prized, for their analogue richness. (audio recorder image by Nicemonkey from Fotolia.com)

Connecting your reel-to-reel or "open" reel tape deck to a mixer or mixing bay is essential to getting the most out of your analogue reel tapes. Reel-to-reel analogue tape recorders come in many sizes accommodating small, portable-sized 3-inch tape reels, to large, professional 10-inch reels. Connecting a reel-to-reel tape deck to a mixing console in the same process whether you're using a professional deck such as a Tascam, or a vintage one such as a Wollensak. As long as there are stereo audio output jacks on your reel-to-reel deck, you will be able to connect it to a mixer.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • 2 1/4-inch patch audio cables

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Locate the audio input jacks on your mixing deck. These will be in the back of most decks. There will be one female jack for each stereo channel. One will be coloured red, or marked "L" (as in left channel). The other will be coloured white, or labelled "R" (as in right channel).

  2. 2

    Attached the male, red-coloured 1/4-inch audio patch cable to the red or "L" female jack.

  3. 3

    Attached the male, white-coloured 1/4-inch audio patch cable to the white or "R" female jack.

  4. 4

    Repeat the process for connecting the other end of the audio patch cables to your reel-to-reel tape deck. Stereo reel-to-reel tape decks will have the same-coloured red and white (or L and R marked) jacks.

  5. 5

    Attach the male, red-coloured 1/4-inch audio patch cable to the red or "L" female reel-to-reel jack.

  6. 6

    Attached the male, white-coloured 1/4-inch audio patch cable to the white or "R" female reel-to-reel jack.

  7. 7

    Your mixing board should register the reel-to-reel tape deck as you play it.

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