Tape recorders as musical instruments

a report

Godfried-Willem Raes

post-doctoral researcher
Orpheus Institure & Logos Foundation

The analog taperecorder

A detailled description of the analog tape recorder would cover more than a single volume book. Moreover, such books are available in archives worldwide.

Historical introduction

Professional equipment

Uses in live electronic music

Common types:

Revox G36: Vacuum tube type

Revox A77: Transistorised version

Revox PR99: Latest professional model produced.

Nagra: portable equipment, top quality but rarely used in live electronics because of the limited motor force.

Otari: Large studio equipment. There are 1/4" as well as 1/2" and 1" types, 2 up to 16 tracks.


Carad: A Flemisch brand, using vaccuum tubes. The most common model was full-track mono.

Phillips: Phillips produced professional audio equipment and taperecorders for studios up to the late sixtees.

Essential features: 3 motors, 3 heads. Speed: 19cm/s, 38cm/s, 76cm/s

Trackformat: Full Track (mono), Two-track (stereo)

Quartertrack models were reserved for the amateur market and found little application in studios or live electronics.

Maintenance notes and remarks.





Credits & Acknowledgments:

Part of the research results presented here where obtained thanks to the support of the Orpheus Institute.

Thanks to the Logos Foundation, funded by the Flemish Government, where my instrument building workshop and electronic research lab are based.

Manufacturers of devices treated here:



First public appearance on internet:

Last revision: March 11, 2015




dr.Godfried-Willem Raes