This short series of posts takes a personal trip down memory lane looking back at my experiences with analogue audio. You can read part one here

Reel-to-reel tape

Reel-to-reel tape recorder (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

This magnetic tape system was the predecessor of the cassette, and essentially worked by spooling tape from one seven-inch reel to another.

I can trace my love of gadgetry back to the age of four or five when my dad used to entertain me by explaining the inner workings of a reel-to-reel system, which had the beauty of being both large and open enough to satisfy my young prying eyes and hands. Many a rainy afternoon was spent with dad demonstrating how the tape was brought into contact with the playing heads, how to clean the heads and threading a fresh tape from one reel on to another so we could start playing/recording on it.

I stumbled across this poster recently and – aside from the fact that you probably have to be of a certain age to understand why cassette tapes and pencils went together – it got me thinking about the various audio storage and playback formats which I have come across in my lifetime.