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Home /Science / Does Reel to Reel Sound Better Than Vinyl?

Does Reel to Reel Sound Better Than Vinyl?

By Elaine Elliott

In the late 1980s, reel-to-reel lost its influence due to the bulky size and expensive price. But audiophiles and record producers kept the machinery alive because they knew magnetic tape recordings would always outdo vinyl and digital versions as far as sound quality goes.

It’s no surprise that as cassettes become more mainstream, so will reel-to-reel in the coming years.

In fact, eBay has thousands of R2R listings, which is causing a lot of people to check their attics and closets for old R2R tapes and recorders.


If you have a box of R2R tapes along with a recorder, maybe it’s time to brush the dust off these relics and compare the sound next to your modern music players. But is the sound really that much better? Is the fidelity difference significant enough to outshine vinyl?


In 2013, The Absolute Sound claimed reel-to-reel produced a better sound than even the highest quality $100,000 turntables the magazine had reviewed in the past. And there must be a reason why audiophiles kept the monstrous machines close at hand…


Why is R2R known to create better sound than vinyl?

  • R2R has a higher fidelity due to less signal processing

  • R2R has greater dynamic range for the treble and base

  • The original MT signal does not have to be compressed or changed

  • Playback does not pose any issues for R2R


Similar to the late 2000s trend of cassette tapes, reel-to-reel is seeing a resurgence from avid music fans. The demand of R2R is nowhere near as popular as vinyl and CDs, but nonetheless, artists and TV shows are starting to offer R2R versions of their media.


If you still have R2R music, now is the time to impress guests and family members with the sound quality! And remember to digitize your music tapes with KODAK Digitizing Box to ensure the copies are protected from deterioration.

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