Ballfinger is releasing new models of its reel-to-reel tape decks, which will go on sale later in May, as reported by Bloomberg. Ballfinger says its tape decks are designed for professional use and made of high-strength aluminum. All the elements for recording are on the right, playback is on the left, and drive functions are arranged in the middle. Ballfinger had previously shown one of its tape deck machines last year at an audio show.
The company will sell four different models of the tape deck (the M063H5, M063H3, M063H1, M063HX), and each will have its own unique features. The machines are pricey; they start from 9,500 euros (about $11,400) and go up to 24,000 euros ($28,500). Ballfinger’s M063H5 high-end model is equipped with an editing system, three direct drive motors, and wooden side panels that come in black, white, or walnut. Ballfinger says except for the M063H1 model, all of the machines can be completely reconfigured, meaning the machine’s parts can be easily replaced or removed.
“Digital media is great, but experiencing music is more than just listening to a sound file -- it’s sensual, it’s reels that turn and can be touched,” Roland Schneider, the machine’s designer who spent six years developing the machines, told Bloomberg. “When it comes to audio quality, nothing else in the analog world gets you closer to the experience of being right there in the recording studio than reel-to-reel tape.”
Schneider says he has received distribution requests for the tape deck machines from more than 80 companies worldwide, including the US, Dubai, and Hong Kong. The new tape decks will be on sale later in May, the company says on its website.
This isn’t the first time a music playing device of yesteryear has made a comeback. (We suggested the reel-to-reel tape decks to be the “new vinyl” back in 2015.) Vinyl has been a trend for the past few years, while cassette tape sales had their best year in 2017 since 2012, thanks to releases from Stranger Things and Guardians of the Galaxy.