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...
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
If you are a collector of PlayTapes, you'll likely want a PlayTape tape player at some point. The PlayTape format existed for a very short time in the late 1960s, and was like a small version of a 4-track or 8-track cartridge. It certainly required a dedicated player. PlayTape players came in a standard variety, which is the kind usually seen for sale in the marketplace today, and also a "Hipster" version. The only portable formatPlayTape players and their associated tapes were a big hit, because at the time they were the only portable tape cartridge format in existence. Over 3,000 artists had PlayTapes available, and the players of course were ubiquitous. Fortunately, many have survived in working (or not) order and can be found for a reasonable price online, or if you're really lucky, in a flea market or thrift store. PlayTapes players for the carThere were a small number of PlayTape players manufactured for use in cars; in fact, they were optional additions on Volkswagens. There were two varieties, the Sapphire I (with a radio) and the Sapphire II (without). Finding either machine can require patience, but having one installed in your car can do wonders for your social life: anyone who scoffs at you or just doesn't understand isn't your real friend, and you can safely excise them from your life. See how easy vintage tapes can make your life! Getting a player plus some tapesOne good thing about buying PlayTape players is that they often come with a selection of tapes that the original owner had, giving you an instant collection. Artists of no less stature than the Beatles had PlayTapes available, and collecting the titles can be a very rewarding pursuit in and of itself
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
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...
Current quadrophonic (4-channel) 8-track tapes for sale. Browse the listings and find some great quad tapes to add to your collection. Whereas stereo media has left and right channels, quad media had four — two lefts and two rights (front and rear). Quad 8-track tapes used all eight tracks, like stereo tapes, but you only have to play through the tape twice to hear the whole album. Listening to quad 8-tracks requires a quad 8-track tape player. Quad tapes look identical to regular stereo 8-tracks but can be identified by an inch-long vertical groove in the top left of the front of the cart. Several popular albums in the first half of the 1970s were specially mixed for quad, and there were also quite a few automobile demo tapes for cars that had quad players in them
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