Welcome to reeltoreeltech.com
Your source for everything reel-to-reel…… Service across the Pacific Northwest and sales around the world!
Reel to Reel Tech’s history….
Despite the fancy schmancy looking website, we are but one nerdy geek, providing reel to reel tape deck sales on a part time basis. How did I arrive here you might ask? Well, here’s a bit of my backstory….
My life can be summed up in one sentence – I was that introverted nerd in high school that you completely ignored until your cassette Walkman broke. I would fix it for $5.00 (which was big dollars in 1980!), and then quietly slink away, back into the shop I had cobbled together in my parent’s rec room. My parents were both accountants, and I grew up without a TV or stereo in the house until I was a teenager. To this very day, no one is still quite sure why at the tender age of 5, I would invariably sprint to the stereo section of any department store, where I would inevitably be found with eyes glazed over, completely transfixed at all of the spinning reel to reels. (Instead of the toy section like every other normal kid out there.) Yes, I was weird, but there was something about whirling 10” metal reels that was so riveting and so completely intoxicating to an impressionable young child.
By the time I graduated high school in 1981, I was repairing and selling tube color televisions for $125. I ended up peddling one a weekend from sets that I had snagged from a few local TV stores that had simply discarded their customer’s old trade-ins Not too bad for a kid at the time, when minimum wage at a restaurant was $2.50 an hour. I finally managed to purchase a spankin’ new Akai GX-630D 10” reel to reel with the money I earned selling refurbished TVs. And by the way, YES I still have it and YES it still works! I also bought reels of tape, and inherited even more from local radio stations.
Post high school and throughout college and beyond, I worked at a TV repair store from 1981 to approximately 1986, and eventually moved on to pro audio and video installations. Big JBL and EV speakers, along with Phase Linear, BGW and Ashly power amps were the name of the game back then, and is the industry that I’ve been totally immersed in ever since. (See www.soundsolutionscanada.com for more on my day job.)
Fast forward to 1991, when I purchased a company called Vancouver Audio Clinic. This was THE place to go to in Vancouver when you blew up your guitar amp, power amp, reel to reel, or your speakers. Van Audio had a large speaker repair department, and was known throughout BC for being able to source obscure cone kits for all sorts of consumer and pro speakers. Sadly, the shop shut down in 1995 when vintage audio pieces were no longer considered valuable. Prices of consumer and pro audio equipment plummeted like a stone. No one was repairing old electronics any more, and everyone was feverishly buying new surround sound receivers and higher wattage power amps. My sound installation company was still operating during the time I was at Vancouver Audio Clinic, and so I went back full time once I’d sold Vancouver Audio Clinic in 1994.
Fast forward one more time to 2014. The sound installation end of things had been relatively slow for a couple of years, but the revival of vintage audio was now in full swing. I was fortunate to make friends with the owner of www.vintageaudio.com, which is Canada’s largest vintage audio store. We made a gentleman’s agreement that he would send me all of his reel to reel business, and in return I would send him everything else. That arrangement worked out extremely well, and am proud to say that it still continues to this very day.
Then in January of 2017, I decided to start writing the reel to reel website you are on now. I launched it in March of 2017. In June of 2017, two things happened simultaneously. This reel to reel website hit google searches, and within the course of approximately 10 days, I went from one email inquiry via my local Craigslist ads to over 20 a day, and then to 30 a day! Do a Google search for ‘reel to reel tape recorders’, and this website is on page 1 of Google.
At precisely the same time, the B.C. government decided to start spending money on sound systems again (90% of the Sound Solutions business is with the BC Gov’t), and we morphed from being dead slow to full speed ahead with sound installations. That also continues to this day.
So currently, my life bounces between designing and installing large sound systems, to overhauling 40-60 year old tape decks. With the analog audio revival in full swing, the interest in reel to reel tape decks is higher than ever before. This is the case not only with consumers that have a box of old reels that they haven’t heard in decades, but also to 20 year old musicians and engineers that are discovering that ‘warm analog sound’ as opposed to the sterile clinical sound obtained by recording with a USB mic into a laptop computer.
Any invoice generated from me will display as ‘Sound Solutions (2002) Inc, as that is the company name for the sound system installation end of things. I never expected the reel to reel business to take off the way it did, but there’s no point in the extra expense of forming a separate company simply for reel to reel work. Thus the explanation for Sound Solutions invoice.
What I do (and don’t do).
Generally speaking, the best time to reach me for reel to reel inquiries is the weekend – any time between 9 AM and 6 PM Pacific Time. We also answer the phone on weekdays, but since I can be out of town in the wilds of B.C., totally immersed in a sound system installation, I may be out of cell range. I do my very best to respond to all incoming emails within 12 hours, and usually am able to do so even while out of town.
Tech support is always free. Don’t know much about a reel to reel? Never owned one? No problem! Simply peruse my website, however do feel free to call or email me should you have any questions, and I will be more than happy to assist you.
What I can’t do is offer board level troubleshooting tech support. Every deck is different. Every deck has its own set of problems, and many decks can have multiple failures due to age or lack of use. To compensate, the tech part of this website will be updated often, and I will outline common failures that occur with different brands and models of decks. Almost all service manuals can be found elsewhere online. Just search google for your make and model, and if it’s out there you will find it. Some manuals can only be found on pay sites, but many others can be downloaded for free.
Unfortunately, I also do not sell parts. The time needed to strip down a deck and list/stock parts simply requires too much time and effort, and I only buy enough parts for the decks I service. Yes, I use eBay and other websites to buy parts from, and admittedly I do keep a small supply of scrap decks here for the decks that I service. Belts and other RTR parts can be found online. In the referral section of this website, I have a list of suppliers that do carry some RTR parts as well.
Shipping. I ship out at least once a week, with the only possible exception being if I am out of town managing a sound system installation. That is the one reason I don’t have an online shop on the website. I don’t want to take your money, and then not ship for a few days. Need to order something? Just email me and I’ll get back to you even if I am out of town.
Physical location of the shop. I work from home with a fully set up shop. The website address in Surrey B.C. is my UPS store mailing address. I don’t post my home address online for obvious reasons, so please call and I am happy to provide you directions.
U.S. address. I do have a U.S. warehouse and ship-to address if U.S. clients are sending in a deck for repair, Alternatively, if you buy a deck from me, I will clear customs for you, and send from Blaine Washington 98230. This saves you a ton of money on shipping costs, and I absorb the nominal cost that I incur clearing customs.
Canadian mailing address:
Sound Solutions (2002) Inc
344-19567 Fraser Hwy
US mailing address:
Sound Solutions 2002 Inc
PMB 831-250 H St
If you are sending a deck up from the US to Blaine, I also clear customs both ways for you, and you will see the return shipment as coming from Blaine Wa., 98230.