There is a little Sony tape recorder - TC 800B which has 4 speeds 7.5, 3.75, 7/8 and 15/16.
The machine will only take a 5-inch reel and it's half-track mono.
It has pitch control, but I don't know what percentage it varies.
It has an earplug jack so you can connect it to an amp or a computer sound card with the correct cable and a bit of output volume adjustment.
Overall it's a good, solid workhorse. You can probably get one on Ebay.
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
Sent: Friday, April 13, 2012 3:31 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Slow Reel-to-reels
I had a small pile of slow-speed reels a while back. Same thing as you, amateur-made oral history material. I decided, rather than find some lousy old slow-speed machine to play them, I'd transfer them at 3.75IPS on my Technics 1520 machine (perfect to handle the tiny reels without over-tensioning and stretching the tape). I transferred them a 96/24, and then lowered the pitch accordingly. It worked just fine, even the stuff recorded at 15/16IPS (which was fascinating, it was the person's full-blood Navajo grandmother talking about the early 1900's and growing up on an Indian Reservation). The key thing was that both the client and I realized these were not high-fidelity items, so losing some digital resolution to get to the proper speed (pitch) was OK, in fact there were no digital artifacts. We were both somewhat surprised how well the audio turned out, you could clearly hear crickets and birds behind people's voices, old 1960's cars starting up and going by, propeller and older jet airplanes passing overhead, etc. It was a true time capsule.
In fact, the worst reel in the bunch was a 3.75IPS that had been recorded on a Uher with failing batteries. It ended up easiest to ramp up the speed adjust knob on the Technics, using me ears to keep voice pitches in a reasonable range. It was tricky but it worked on the third try. I also transferred at exactly 3.75IPS and tried to get better results with DSP pitch. It was time-consuming and the "steps" were more audible. Once again, ears trump gadgets.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Stephen Bolech" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, April 13, 2012 2:57 PM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Slow Reel-to-reels
Hi everyone, I'm hoping some of you could give me recommendations for good options to play back 1
7/8 ips and even the occasional 15/16 tapes. We have a large oral history collection, and though
the majority are at 3.75 ips, there are some at these slower speeds. What are you guys using for
these speeds, and what do you recommend?