I had a fantastic time with a Sony Stereo 350 Model Reel to Reel Player that had two speeds and an additional SOS button - Japanese favourite Karaoke modification - Sound on Source input whilst you recorded. You could sing onto the Right Channel whilst the left one played the original track. I had BASF and Maxwell 7 inch reels including smaller and bigger versions and a proper Sony hand held demagnetiser as well as spare heads and pitch roller heads and a white cleaning tape.
I did sell this on Ebay 5 years ago which now I deeply regret.
This was given to me by my Grandad that included a Leak Stereo 30 Amp and Leak Troughline FM Tuner, Dual 4 speed Turntable in solid wood and floor standing home made Wharfedale Speakers with cloth coverings.
Recording Wham "Make it Big" from both Turntable and eventual Radio source in the 80s sounded larger than life. There was hiss but not on the magnitude as my Akai HX3 Cassette deck and Queen Radio Gaga was a joy to behold but again the warmer sound of Valve technology via the Leek suited the Sony in this setup. I could run the needles deep into the red whilst recording without distortion unlike the Akai. Demagnetising the heads was a real battle ensuring I did not touch the heads and you could feel the magnetising resonance.
I am sure this player would have withstanded a nuclear holocaust and it was fun to thread the reel properly and turn it over once side A was completed. This was a decade where Records and Cassettes were the norm but I did enjoy the quirkiness and superior sound against Cassette the Reel to Reel had to offer. I even purchased a TDK repair kit to splice the reel if it ever tore!
Watching the Reel to Reel at work reminded me of Joe 90 and UFO episodes, oops S>H>A>D>O where did that come from?!!