The Best Reel-to-Reel and Cassette | Buyers Guide 2021

the best reel-to-reel

The Best Reel-to-Reel and Cassette

[Editor’s note: Welcome to the Part-Time Audiophile Buyers Guide for 2021! This year we decided to mix it up a little by breaking up the Buyers Guide into sections, which makes it a far more manageable read. And oh, we know what you’re thinking–the best reel-to-reel and cassette tape playback? Really? People are still listening to tape decks? Let’s clear this up: these are the best reel-to-reel and cassette tape components that we, the PTA team, have heard.]


TEAC W-1200 ($499 USD)

Fancy a return to the good ol’ days of tape dubbing? Teac still produces a world class double cassette player/recorder, complete with USB output for digital archiving, noise reduction and pitch control. It’s a looker too!

best reel-to-reel

best reel-to-reel


J-Corder (prices vary)

J-Corder is a one-stop shop for all things R2R, everything from refurbished decks to head blocks to hub adapters to reels. They offer a line of refurbished decks from Technics, Pioneer and more, or you can just bring your old deck in for a complete makeover. If you’re serious about getting into the best reel-to-reel performance, this is the place to start.

United Home Audio (from $6,500 USD)

These refurbished units become some of the best reel-to-reel tape machines available, starting at $6K and can wind up well over $20K depending upon how far you want to go, which may be quite far considering how fun this part of the hobby can get. “Winner, winner, chicken dinner” we exclaimed when we bought ours.

Ballfinger M 063 H5 (starting at $11,400 USD)

Not a pimped up classic model with legacy parts recycled, this is a true, brand new, built-from-scratch reel-to-reel player, and it is a stunner. Built in Germany—the country that invented reel-to-reel—and offered in various configurations that will most definitely cover all your needs, this is an analog lover’s dream player. Definitely the best reel-to-reel you can purchase new.

best reel-to-reel

Doshi Audio EVO Series Tape Head Preamplifier ($18,995 USD)

Nick Doshi has created an interesting product here—a preamplifier designed to handle the unique challenges of the best reel-to-reel tape machines. Useful for both audiophiles and recording engineers, the Tape Stage has a servo output stage that can be switched between Class A and Class A/B according to listener preference. Passive equalization is also included.

The Buyers Guides of 2021


Looking for even more? Check out our “Best Of” awards in our year-end roundup on The Occasional Podcast. Now streaming on iTunes and all podcast platforms. We also offer educational and informative breakdowns for digital audio, getting into reel-to-reel  and mastering in this year’s episodes.


  1. That’s great to hear brother, Anthonisz. Long live Analog. I’m right behind you at 50 y/o. You cannot forget your roots. And do not let partners keep or slow your down. They can fend for themselves, with or without you. Best.

  2. I agree as I too have hours and hours of good music on cassettes which I also play on my various cassette decks from Revox, Pioneer, Sony, Tascam, Nakamichi and so on along with my vast CD collection via my collection of various high end digital audio in addition to several Studer Reel to reel machines as another media in Analogue and than to DAT tapes plus LP’s on my high end turntables via several collection of amps, preamps such the Burmester feeding my active ATC SC-M 50 and so on.

    No wonder why my partner left me with all these affairs with audio reproduction and composing as well. I am never bored. .

    More than enough music to keep me going till I die. I.m now 79. . Will probably hand them to the AUDIO MUSEUM here in Australia when I am dead and decomposing my music in hell challenging Satan with musical overtones.

    Take care, Dog Bless and Musically Yours.

  3. Who me? I have hundreds and hundreds of cassettes that I can never part with. They’re worthless to anyone else so I’ll probably be buried with them. It’s a mix of label released tapes and CD recordings on tip-top Maxell tape using a Nakamichi deck, which I still have. It’s glorious to see TEAC with a current cassette player, something I haven’t seen written about in ages. Analog man in a digital world.

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