Absolute Sounds Embraces The Reel-To-Reel Tape Revival

The UK’s foremost high-end audio distributor adds Metaxas & Sins’ TR-X Tourbillon and Papillon reel-to-reel tape machines to its carefully curated Ten collection of singular sonic artistry. Absolute Sounds welcomes Metaxas & Sins’ brilliant reel-to-reel analogue tape machines to its peerless portfolio of exceptional audio equipment from around the globe. 

These wonderfully tactile mechanical devices have been selected by Ricardo Franassovici, Absolute Sounds’ founder and MD, to join Ten – a carefully curated collection of extraordinary sonic creations from independent makers, which sits alongside the main Absolute Sounds portfolio.

Founded by Kostas Metaxas and based in the Netherlands, Metaxas & Sins is renowned for the quality and originality of its design approach, creating “high-end audio sculptures” and “kinetic art objects” that are as striking to the eye as they are to the ear. Kostas is a renowned artist and product designer whose collaborations with revered luxury brands stretches well beyond audio equipment – pens, clocks and much more besides. He’s also a prolific recording engineer who’s made hundreds of live concert recordings using magnetic open-reel tape. These passions meld together in breathtaking form in each unique Metaxas & Sins creation, handmade by Kostas and his sons to create sonic art that deserves to be treasured – “art colliding with audio technology”, in the company’s words.

Welcome to the reel world

Although Metaxas & Sins makes a variety of audio equipment including amplifiers and speakers, its reel- to-reel tape machines have attracted particular attention. For decades, right through to the 1990s, magnetic tape wound across a pair of open reels was the established medium for master recordings in the music world. Although digital recording and storage now prevails, analogue recording on magnetic tape is still preferred by some artists and its use continues to this day. In terms of consumer use, reel-to- reel tape was never a widely adopted format in the manner of vinyl or compact cassette in the pre- digital age and, while some enthusiasts did use the format at home, its use in domestic settings all but died out decades ago. Until recently...

While not to the scale of the vinyl revival, there has been a rekindling of interest in reel-to-reel tape among a passionate group of enthusiasts in the audiophile community. This has been fuelled by increased availability of classic albums on open-reel tape, accompanied by the attraction of hearing the album on the format on which it was made. In sonic terms, reel-to-reel has the potential to deliver the warmth of analogue sound with less processing, greater dynamic range, and better clarity and extension at the frequency extremes than vinyl records. Much depends on how the copy is made – a first- generation copy dubbed in real time directly from the original master tape can get you closer to the entirety of sound captured during the recording sessions for a classic album than any other format... but only if you have a reel-to-reel machine cable of doing it justice. 

UK retail prices
•  TR-X Tourbillon 10.5-inch open-reel tape player: £46,998
•  TR-X Tourbillon 10.5-inch open-reel tape player/recorder: £59,998
•  TR-X Tourbillon stand: £9,398
•  Lion battery box for TR-X Tourbillon: £3,200
•  Pappillon Studio 15-inch open-reel tape player: £72,998
•  Pappillon Studio 15-inch open-reel tape player/recorder: £89,998
•  Pappillon Studio stand: £19,998
UK contact for consumers
Absolute Sounds – sole UK distributor of Metaxas & Sins reel-to-reel tape machines
W: absolutesounds.com T: 020 8971 3909