New RX Reels Carbon Fibre Tape Reel.

As the revival of reel-to-reel tape continues to gather pace, so does the emergence of companies and products with the know-how to meet the exacting demands of what is possibly the ‘toughest crowd’ of audiophiles. Kevin Root’s US-based RX Reels is one such company.

In early 2021, Root went all-out to craft a premium tape reel that would withstand the usual wear and warp suffered by typical plastic or aluminium reels, particularly those serving as take-up reels given their heavy use. Determined to create a high-performance product, Root inadvertently also came up with a sustainable solution – by using upcycled aviation grade carbon fibre.
Carbon fibre comes in many grades, the highest quality being aviation grade which offers superior strength and durability. Normally, the cost of such a material would be prohibitive, but Root’s location in the USA’s Pacific Northwest gives him ready access to carbon fibre material discarded by local military and aviation manufacturing industries. “The material is new, unused and high grade, but it’s often not big enough for their purposes and gets scrapped,” explains Root. “But it’s absolutely perfect for ours, so we upcycle it to make our reels.”  
RX Reels’ carbon fibre flanges are dense and strong, yet light in weight, so these are reels designed to last a lifetime. They are scratch-resistant and will not warp or bend. What’s more, they can enhance the performance of both tape and deck, while protecting both form undue wear. Thanks to the combination of rigid flanges that won’t flex, and precision-made aluminium hubs that are perfectly balanced, the reels spin truer and avoid ‘tape scrape’, reducing motor friction and protecting precious vintage tape. 

RX Reels 7” reel key features

• 7”, 1⁄4″ tape spool for open reel tape player, designed for use as either / both take-up and supply reel.
• The 2.3 mm-thick flanges are constructed from 13 layers of high quality, aviation grade carbon fibre, with a satin finish.
• Flange cut-outs have a function-first design to ease tape threading (in contrast to most flange cut-outs that tend to narrow near the hub).
• The flange is held to a custom-made, solid aluminum hub with 6 screws: 3 screws per side for an ultra-secure fit.
• The hubs are precision-made to tolerances below one thousandths of an inch to ensure exactness and balance, which improves tape alignment and packing.
• The hub has a nano-grip surface and wide cut-outs near the hub, to improve tape threading and ensure compatibility with all known tape decks, new and vintage.
• Each reel is made in the Pacific Northwest, USA, and is individually numbered.
Pricing & availability
The RX Reels 7” carbon fibre tape reel is available now, priced at £134 or US $149 per reel (plus shipping).
10.5” reels are also available, in a choice of six finishes, priced at £215 ($239) each, or £179 ($198) for the finish-free Studio reel.