Get vintage 8-track and 4-track cartridges, reel-to-reel tapes, PlayTapes, players, information, repair tutorials and more.
To play 8-track tapes, 4-track tapes, reel-to-reels, PlayTapes, or any other vintage tape format you need the proper player. Thousands of still-working vintage tape players and recorders are available for sale in the marketplace today; these include a wide range of players from several companies. Sort through the current for-sale listings and see what vintage tape player/recorder decks you can find. The vintage audio units seen for sale change daily, with new listings appearing frequently. Come back or subscribe to see the newest listings...
Finding working 4-track tape cartridge players from the late 1960s can be a challenging but fun pursuit. Mostly available for automobiles, the 4-track tape players seen for sale these days in the marketplace are often purchased quickly, so it's best to keep an eye on the listings for new additions. Some 4-track players could also play 8-track tapes; although much harder to find, they are occasionally seen for sale, so watch this page to see when new listings are added
There are many, many types of 8-track tape players (and recorders) available for sale in the marketplace today. These range from the famous Welltronic "helmet" and Panasonic "TNT" players, to home units that would be hooked up to a component stereo system as well as various players for automobiles. Whatever type of vintage tape you like to collect and/or listen to, you will need the proper player. You may need a unit that can play quadrophonic tapes, and you may also get lucky and find a hybrid 4-track and 8-track player for the home or car. Browse the current selection of vintage 8-track tape players for sale, and come back for daily additions
Vintage and newer reel-to-reel tape decks are popular with buyers and collectors of analog audio formats. Some of the more sought-after reel-to-reel units include those that can record, and those which can play quadraphonic reels. You may even be able to find a reel-to-reel deck that can also take 8-track tapes. There are many companies that made sturdy, nice-sounding reel-to-reel tape players and recorders, and many still-working examples are seen for sale at any given time in the marketplace
The vintage tape formats that certain people love to get their hands on these days include, in rough order of popularity, 8-tracks, reel-to-reel tapes, 4-tracks, and 2-track PlayTapes. Many music lovers are into multiple categories. 8-track tapes arose in the mid 1960s, beating out 4-track tapes to become the tape format of the early 1970s. (8-tracks were then in turn crushed by cassettes. Ah well.) 4-track tapes looked just like 8-tracks, but had a different pinch roller system and were around for a shorter time. The bad news is that the tapes are older and scarcer than 8-tracks, and it can be tough to track down a really comprehensive collection of an artist or type of music. The good news is that since they were only around in the late 1960s, many titles that you do find are good. The Beatles, Ray Charles, The Rolling Stones, Frank Zappa, etc etc — there is a hidden world of treasures among 4-tracks. Reel-to-reel tapes became quite popular in the 1970s, especially for audiophiles...
Just as there were quadraphonic 8-track tapes (and vinyl LPs), there were quite a few quad reel-to-reel tapes released in the early- and mid-1970s. Highly collectible and including some great titles in unique 4-channel mixes, quad reels are some of the most highly-prized vintage tapes on the marketplace. Playing a quad reel tape and hearing all four channels at once requires a special quad reel player. If you've got one or can get one, or just like collecting some of the best sound in audio history, check out the selection of quad reels currently for sale
The beloved 4-track tape cartridge was a rival to 8-track tape cartridges in the late 1960s; they are almost exactly the same size, with the same quarter-inch tape and endless loop system, but the space used for each track across the width of the tape was twice as wide. So, to play a whole album you'd play through the entire length of tape twice (each time with a left and right channel, making four tracks), whereas an 8-track would play through its tape four times. The pinch wheelThe main difference between 4-track and 8-track tape technology was that each 8-track had a pinch roller inside, which pressed the tape to the player as it passed by. In 4-tracks, there was an empty space here instead, and it was the player that provided the pinch roller. As you insert a 4-track tape in a player, a lever is pushed and the pinch roller swings into place. A few 4-track tapes were marketed as 4/8-tracks — that is, compatible with both. What that really meant was that they were 4-track tapes designed to accommodate a pinch roller adapter. Although short-lived, the 4-track era included some great music, including The Beatles, Frank Zappa, all five albums by The Seeds, and many others. 4-track cartridges are much more scarce than 8-tracks, but there are always a few for sale online. To actually play 4-track tapes, you'll need a 4-track player. Units were made for the home and car, and some units could play both 4-tracks and 8-tracks. BEWARE! Some online sellers confuse 4-track tapes with quadraphonic 8-track tapes, either of which may have a large "4" printed on the label. Look carefully when choosing
Find accessories and repair items for vintage 8-track tapes, reel-to-reel tapes, and other vintage audio tape formats here. Adapters, parts, and other stuff can be found here and the selection is updated daily. Come back often to see the newest items...
Play cassette tapes on an 8-track player with a handy adapter. There were several companies that manufactured these adapters, which ranged in quality and price and size. The better ones work fine, though, and are an excellent add-on for any 8-track tape player, especially if you have an automobile 8-track player you'd like to play a cassette on occasionally. You can even use a CD-to-cassette adapter with one of these units, and play a portable CD player or even an MP3 player through an 8-track tape deck! The selection is updated daily so come back often to see the newest 8-track cassette adapter units for sale. Some of the more popular adapters were manufactured by Kraco, Realistic, and Sparkomatic
When getting 8-tracks from their usual sources — flea markets, thrift stores, eBay, puzzled-but-obliging relatives — you'll find that many, probably most, are going to need some type of repair. This fully illustrated guide includes complete instructions on fixing 8-track cartridge maladies. Part One: Opening the CartThere is, fortunately, but a small number of 8-track cartridge designs, and no 8-track is impossible to open, though it may sometimes seem like it. Opening it up can cause a bit of cosmetic damage to the shell, but it won't affect play unless you're a real butcher. If you're a collector whose main concern is preserving the condition of the cartridge, for display purposes or resale, it would probably be best not to try to experiment with opening it. The main thing to remember when opening an 8-track is to do it right-side up. Do not open it upside down, because the tape will spill out everywhere, and you'll be spending an hour or two winding it all back and untangling it. Right-side up is when the cart is laid flat on a surface and the main label — the sticker with the album's front cover picture on it — is facing the ceiling. Carts with tabs to pry Perhaps the easiest carts to open are Columbia TC8s. There are three tabs on the front of these that can be bent back with a screwdriver; the top then lifts right off. Sometimes one (or more) of the tabs will break, even if you're careful. Don't worry; with practice this gets easier, and if the top won't stay on because of some broken tabs, you can just tape the cart together after you're done inside. A very common style of 8-track has tabs underneath the cart (usually 5). These can be very straightforward or aggravating, depending on how well the factory was cranking out these little plastic pieces that day. To pry them back, I use a small screwdriver on one of the corner tabs. When I've got that one then I do the others. Often it is just about impossible to get a tab pushed back
You can't go down to the mall or stereo shop and buy new 8-track tapes anymore. Any tapes you get these days will be used, possibly abused, or leftover stock from the halcyon days of the endless loop. With that in mind, realize that there are zillions of tapes sitting around in the dark corners of people's past lives, waiting to be liberated and given good homes. Every day lots of 8-track tapes get dumped into bins and crushed by bulldozers, but there are still a lot of good ones that you can save. This list will help you find the 8-track tapes you want, and even some you didn't know you wanted. 1. Flea marketsIf you go to any decent-sized flea market, you'll almost assuredly see some 8-track tapes here and there. People are hoarders, and there are still innumerable tapes sitting in closets and attics that continue to trickle into flea markets around the world. Most flea market vendors would rather sell all of them for a single price rather than have you buy a couple of them, and then have to worry about liquidating the rest. Try to bargain for the lot, keeping in mind a rough per-tape cost you're willing to pay. Tip: Ask vendors about 8-track tapes, even if you don't see any. Ask every vendor. A few will have access to some and can bring them to their stall next weekend. If they see you repeatedly coming back to the same flea market, they'll sometimes actually look around for 8-tracks from their friends and neighbors to bring in the hopes that you'll buy them. Tip: Avoid big supercenters that call themselves flea markets but are really just selling mostly new packaged products, aluminum siding services, and things like that. You want the dustier, sleepier, attic-junk type of place. It may be more out of the way and less populated, but the range of stuff is generally much better. 2. Yard sales and garage salesLook in the classified section of your local newspaper; odds are there is a Yard Sale section or something similar. Read the ads and see if any actually mention