• Where to find Reel-to-Reel Tape Recordings?

      Release Date: May 2020

       

      You will find here the exhaustive list of labels offering reel-to-reel recordings for sale, worldwide.

      This list follows the one I made in October 2018 (here), and this time I was lucky to have the support of Daniel Fiser, a hardcore audiophile like me who decided to spend some time contacting many labels and buying their tapes online.

      Before starting with the list itself, I would like to clarify 2 important points:

    • 1. What is a Master Tape

      As I saw several online articles and debates about what should be a Master Tape (for example that it has to be 100% analog, otherwise it cannot be called as such), I would like to clarify the definition beforehand:

      According to the Master Recording Wikipedia page: a master recording is the first recording of a song or other sound, from which all the later copies are made. Master recordings, (usually just called "masters") can be made on discs, tapes, and computer data storage formats.

      Therefore, the products recording labels offer for sale are reel-to-reel tape copies of the master recordings, may the latter be analog or digital. 

      For people who do not understand the point of recording digital to reel-to-reel tape, I invite them to read about the open reel tape's sonic enhancements to digital sources, like natural compression, re-amping, and stereo imaging (Link). Now let's move on to the second distinction to make.

       

    • 2. The SPARS code

      The SPARS code is a three-position alphabetic classification system developed in the early 1980s by the Society of Professional Audio Recording Services (SPARS) to denote aspects of the sound recording and reproduction process, distinguishing between the use of analog (A) and digital (D) equipment. The three letters of the code have the following meanings:

      First letter : the type of audio recorder

      Second letter : the type of audio equipment used during mixing

      Third letter : the type of mastering

      So a 100% analog process would be marked as AAA. Does AAA tapes always sound better than DAA or DDA ones? Not necessarily, but they represent the difficult "good old way" for making recordings. AAA recordings are for me the noblest ones, and should therefore be mentioned as such in this list.

    • List of Labels releasing Reel-to-Reel Tape Recordings

    • Country: Switzerland

      SPARS code : AAA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 5

    • The Analog-Boutique-Label 2-Inch Records invites outstanding musicians and fans to Straight2tape® and releases this highlights on limited, hand signed LPs and master tapes. No computer, no edits, only realtime analog live productions of todays artists (Souls Revival, Paulo Mendonça, Ellis Mano Band, John Doe Band, Marc Amacher & Band, etc.).

    • Country: Canada

      SPARS code : AAA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 10

    • Based in Montreal and created by audiophile sound engineer René Laflamme and producer André Perry. All 2xHD Tapes are from the original analog master using a Nagra-T tape recorder, modified with tube playback electronics, wired from the playback head. Available are a Bill Evans live recording at The Village Gate, the album Softly by Shirley Horn, and more modern recordings.

    • Country : China

      SPARS Code : mostly ADA and DDA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 117

    • Located in the south of China (Guangzhou) near Hong Kong and Macau, the recording label is well equipped with analog gear and has a rather vast catalog categorized as Vocal, Instrumental Music, Hi-Fi Test, and Chinese Music. In the latter category, you will find recordings from legendary voices like Teresa Teng, Tsai Chin, and more.

    • Country : Poland

      SPARS Code : AAA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 4

    • AC Records proposes a few Analog Master Tape copies. Machines used are Studer A807 mkII two track 1/4 ” for playback and Telefunken M 15A two track 1/4 ” for recording. Mostly Polish Jazz albums like Wojtek Karolak, Adam Czerwiński - In a Sentimental Mood.

    • Country : USA

      SPARS Code : AAA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 20

    • These reissue series feature a 15 ips, ¼-inch 2-track analog tape copy (IEC equalization) sourced from a copy of the original analog master tape. Transferred real-time, using an ATR-modified Ampex Tape Machine with flux magnetic heads. Jazz and Classical albums available, like Fritz Reiner / Rimsky-Korsakoff: Scheherazade, Leopold Stokowski: Rhapsodies, Ben Webster: Gentle Ben.

    • Country : Italy

      SPARS Code : AAA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 8

    • Analog Master Tapes are produced under license of Velut Luna Recording. Each Master clone is built to fit client's reproducing equipment. Most recordings are recent: Massimo Salvagnini Quartet - Mancini Dry, Four Fried Fish & Flying Horns - Love Can Change Everything, Paola Casula - Nuvole Di Carta, Fabiana Martone & Big Band Ritmo Sinfonica Orchestra - Big Band Bond.

    • Country : Italy

      SPARS Code : DAA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 22

    • Instead of producing copies from any pre-existing master, for each order Analogy Records produces an original master directly from the multi-track recording system, thus removing an additional stage. Analogy Records produces artists from different musical genres, such as jazz, pop, classical, folk, world music, contemporary music and others.

    • Country : Canada

      SPARS Code : AAA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 2

    • The famous singer has 2 recordings released on reel-to-reel tape. The first one is Anne Bisson: Blue Mind, co-sponsored by Wuti Larnroongroj, Brilliance Music & Studios and Genesis Advanced Technologies. 15-ips, 2-track, reel-to-reel tape. Originally produced and recorded by Guy St. Orge. Recorded July 21-22, 2008, Reference Studio, St-Calixte, Quebec. Remastered by Bernie Grundman.

    • Country : UK

      SPARS Code : AAA

      R2R recording in catalog : 1

    • Base2 is owned by Jacob A Purches, Producer, recording engineer, 3D designer, audiophile and music lover. Base2 Music is a young label, founded in 2017 and is not out to build a large catalogue in a short period of time, but to carefully and slowly produce recordings to the highest possible standards of the best artistes that are relevant today. Mostly organ and classical music recordings.

    • Country : Taiwan

      SPARS Code : AAA & DAA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 21

    • Since 2015, Bel Canto Musicale makes full analog live recordings called the "Sasimi" series.  They have 2 series of tape releases: BCM (recording is digital), and BSA (100% analog process). Mostly Classical music recordings here, for the best sound quality, check the Sasimi series live recording open reel tapes.

    • Country : UK

      SPARS Code : AAA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 14

    • Chasing The Dragon has become known as one of the leading audiophile record labels. Their music includes chamber orchestra, full orchestra, big band jazz and HiFi demonstration LPs, CDs  and downloads. They run 1/2 inch master tape recorded at 30 inches per second, from which they release their copy masters.

    • Country : Italy

      SPARS Code : AAA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 73

    • Bruno Bonetto, the owner of Clef and Note, is all about music quality in his philosophy.

      The label mainly offers carefully made master tape copies of old recordings. The catalog is quite extensive and covers genres like Classical music, Jazz, Folk, Pop, Rock, and Dance.

    • Country : USA

      SPARS Code : AAA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 2

    • Delmark Records is the oldest continuously operating Jazz and Blues independent record label in the United States. To make the tape realeased, the original analog master tapes were played on an optimized Otari MTR10 and copied to a newly refurbished Ampex ATR 102 using RMGI SM-900 tape stock. Subsequent copies were made on more Otari MTR10s using SM-911 tape stock.

    • Country : Italy

      SPARS Code : AAA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 67

    • “Analog pureness from the hands of his creator”. Giulio Cesare Ricci, founder and president of the Audiophile Productions/fonè, began professionally recording his albums recorded with analog systems in 1983 and continues to do so today. His analog recorders are: Nagra 4s, Studer c37, Ampex ATR 102. So far he has produced more than 600 analog recordings that have been spread around the world on Vinyl, SuperAudioCd, Cd Gold 24kt and HD files .

    • Country : USA

      SPARS Code : AAA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 12

    • Groove Note Records is an audiophile label specializing in High Quality Jazz, Blues, Vocalists and a Classical Music Trio. The albums include Jazz, Pop, Rock, Soul and Classical music recorded in an intimate setting with some of the top studio session musicians based in Los Angeles.
      Bernie Grundman will do the mastering and EQ for all Groove Note reel-to-reel titles, and only the original analog masters (1/4" or 1/2", 30ips) will be used as sources.

    • Country : USA

      SPARS Code : AAA

      R2R recording in catalog : 1

    • High Definition Tape Transfers is the brainchild of an avid 2 & 4 track open-reel collector and a serious audiophile. Collected over the years, many of his tapes contain forgotten performances of historical importance. HDTT's mission is to preserve and share these rare gems with other music lovers by painstakingly remastering them with the finest state-of-the-art equipment and best techniques available. Only one tape available to date: Howard Hanson - An American Romantic.

    • Country : Italy

      SPARS Code : AAA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 14

    • Hemiola Records produces live or studio sessions recordings using all analog processes. They also offer Prestige, Reference Studio, Gold, Live and Master Cassette collections. You can find recordings of Luciano Pavarotti there, as well as Classical and Jazz recordings. To date, they have 14 recordings available.

    • Country : USA

      SPARS Code : AAA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 48

    • International Phonograph Inc. was started in 1981 with the sole intention of recording and producing great Jazz, at the highest sound quality, while supporting deserving musicians who forward this original American Art form. They record music with the sole intent of copying the original recording to 10.5 inch analog tape reels for those interested in the highest quality reproduction possible of outstanding Jazz music. Their catalog is well furnished.

    • Country : USA

      SPARS Code : AAA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 6

    • Lyn Stanley’s line of jazz vocal reel-to-reel tapes are considered among the finest available today.  These analog original studio master tapes copies are made from 1/2 inch and 1/4 inch 30ips master, as well as new recordings created in legendary studios with top jazz musicians–mixed and mastered by multi-Grammy winning engineers.

    • Country : USA

      SPARS Code : AAA

      R2R recording in catalog : 1

    • When Todd Garfinkle made the recording of Ito Ema playing Bach's Goldberg Variations, he had two recording chains in place - one pair of handmade, titanium capsule battery powered, line-level output mics for the digital chain and a pair of Bruel and Kjær 4006 mikes for the 1/2 inch analog tape version into a Studer A820 Master Recorder 1/2-inch head assembly. The tape used was 3M 996 at 30ips.

    • Country : UK

      SPARS Code : AAA

      R2R recording in catalog : 1

    • Magnetic Fidelity is a unique 100% analog mastering and analog media production facility. The studio took over three years to build, since the finest craftsmanship and materials have been used throughout the construction. They have one master tape copy for sale to date.

    • Country : Greece

      SPARS Code : AAA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 37

    • Mr. Todor Dimitrov, head of MTLS, persuaded Kostas Metaxas to make his tapes recorded over the years available to a wider audience. That is how the MTSL catalog came to be. Currently their catalog contains 55 titles of diverse music, from Jazz to Classical and other genres, all of which were recorded onto/from 1st generation master tape with strictest quality standards. MTSL has a license to release them in limited numbers (100 per title). 

    • Country : Italy

      SPARS Code : AAA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 20

    • Marco Taio, the Artistic Director of Open Reel Records, is a musician , a sound engineer , and an audiophile. They only use SM900 tapes for their live recordings. From microphones to your recorder, everything is analog (stereo mixing in real time, mechanical editing, tapes mastering).
      Genres: Classical, Jazz, Pop/Rock.

    • Country : Sweden

      SPARS Code : AAA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 60

    • Opus 3 Records was founded in 1976. Until year 2000, they recorded everything strictly 2 channel analog and with the Blumlein recording method. They made 60 full albums (2 reels each, 15ips, CCIR) and out of those, they also offer 8 samplers on one reel – 6 with mixed music, one with only Classical and one with only Jazz music. Genres: Blues, Jazz, World Music and Classical.

    • Country : USA

      SPARS Code : DAA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 5

    • Premonition Records released Patricia Barber's audiophile classic, Café Blue, on open reel analog tape. This version was remixed by the original recording engineer, Jim Anderson, at Capitol Studios in Hollywood in 2011. The master tape copies are duplicated from Production Masters created by Doug Sax of The Mastering Lab using Premonition's 1/2" analog master of final mixes.

    • Country : Austria

      SPARS Code : AAA

      R2R recording in catalog : 1

    • Audio equipment manufacturers sometimes release LPs and Master Tapes. For example, this 7RAY feat. Triple Ace - Jazzy Zoetrope (Jazz) album. Studio and Live Recording at Studio Baumgarten & Pro-Ject Headquarters. Price: 499 EUR.

    • Country : Austria

      SPARS Code : AAA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 17

    • Since it's foundation in 2001, Quinton Records has become internationally reknowned for being an audiophile recording label. The wide musical background of producers Andreas Rathammer und Heinrich Schläfer as well as their musical engineering experience ranges from Classical to Pop Music.

    • Country : Russia

      SPARS Code : AAA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 17

    • R2R Tape Russia are a team of professionals united by one big idea: giving the opportunity for everyone to listen high quality musical material. They believe that recording on magnetic tape will never be a thing of the past, and will remain the best option for those who want unsurpassed sound quality. Previews of their tapes are accessible on their website. Genres: Classical, World Music, Jazz, Pop-Rock.

    • Country : Netherlands

      SPARS Code : AAA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 2

    • Rhapsody Analog Recordings is an audiophile record label that produces analog recordings using recording principles and techniques that produced the distinctive sound of the sensational recordings from the 1950’s and 1960’s with a modern approach. With the use of the best possible equipment and the recording studio 2 (MCO) where Miles Davis,Ella Fitzgerald etc. recorded. They sell direct copies of the Master Tape, LP’s and high-res files, mostly Jazz  and Blues.

    • Country : Russia

      SPARS Code : AAA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 9

    • Smart Audio Recording Lab records full analog sessions in their studio.  Music that they record and release on tapes is preferably Jazz or Chamber Classical Music. TO do so, they have equipped their studio with a lot of professional modern and, of course, vintage gear, that helps them with the entire recording process. Example: Studer A800 (24 channels).

    • Country : Netherlands

      SPARS Code : Probably DDA & AAA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 33

    • The STS recording studio has 2 brands: STS Digital and STS Analog: they produce digital recordings or pure analog on request. They master all their own products together with QPoint Mastering and Arjan Rietvink Online Mastering. STS takes care of the MW Coding Process (not clear if it is the Korg one) and QPoint or Arjan Rietvink are responsible for the finishing touch. Reel-to-reel releases genre is mostly Jazz. It is not clear rather all their reel-to-reel tape releases are AAA.

    • Country : USA

      SPARS Code :  AAA, one DDA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 30

    • The Tape Project was one of the early label releasing Master Tape copies, as well as modification kits for reel-to-reel tape machines.
      Their catalog includes 3 main genres: Classical, Jazz, and Roots.

    • Country : France

      SPARS Code :  AAA

      R2R recording in catalog : 1

    • Tone-Pearls Records is a non-profit atelier of music researchers and music lovers devoted to recreating the original experience of live concerts. They also offer some recordings on master tape and in digital formats at cost price. They have developed the Tone-Pearls Recording Technique based on Tone-Pearls using analogue recording with a pair of microphones. What are Tone Pearls?  Actually, they are etheric tone generators; they create an appropriate medium for musical tone. Functionally, Tone-Pearls enhance the listener's musical experience and the quality of music recordings.

    • Country : Italy

      SPARS Code :  AAA & DDA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 11

    • TRJ Records Label contemporary jazz style formed in  2007  although they have  been working in this field  since 1989 with various  experiences in the music industry . They decided to launch a studio to release the works of their artists. True-blue believers in Analog, some of their releases have been available in Original Master Stereo Tape since 2012. For them, Analog is  the  best professional audio support; it has been used for many years and has been part of the history of music. Their recordings are strictly “in session” without any digital manipulation for most of their catalog.

    • Country : USA

      SPARS Code :  AAA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 53

    • UltraAnalogue Recordings records classical chamber music in a natural acoustic environment with custom tube electronics throughout the recording and playback chains. They keep the signal path as simple and direct as possible – using only 2 microphones and removing as many contact points in the tape recorder as possible. There is no signal processing or added reverb. There is a mixture of mainstream violin, cello and piano repertoire. Special attention is given to recording some of the most compelling young classical musicians of our time.

    • Country : USA

      SPARS Code :  AAA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 23

    • Yarlung Records brings fresh musicians to the Jazz, Gospel and Classical music world using minimalist audiophile recording techniques to deliver sound as close to living performance as possible. Rather than using recording studios, engineer Bob Attiyeh produces these albums in concert halls famous for their acoustics, including Walt Disney Concert Hall and Ambassador Hall in Los Angeles. Yarlung makes individual tapes using SonoruS vacuum tube tape decks.
      Genres: Classical, Jazz, World Music.

    • Country : Russia

      SPARS Code :  AAA

      R2R recordings in catalog : 24

    • Zavalinka Records is based out of Moscow, Russia. It is run by Nikolai Kazantsev and his daughter Maria. This duo recently made a big splash at the Munich 2018 High-End Show with the debut of their first recording of works by Wieniawski and Astor Piazzolla. Currently Zavalinka Records is offering 24 titles including Rock, Classical and Jazz music. All the recordings are pure analog.

    • Besides the above list of recording labels offering official reel-to-reel tapes, there are some "pirate tapes". These tapes are mostly safety master dubs from various sources and can be found with deep research. 

      Some people even suggest there is a secret reel-to-reel audiophile club (here).

      For further information please contact us directly.

    • Final words:

      This list was compiled based on the information we could gather. If there are errors, they are not intentional and will be corrected upon request.

      Feel free to leave comments below.

      Long live analog sound!

      Gregory de Richemont

    Bitnami