Hi there. I am investigating reel to reel recorders to master an album I have recorded digitally, as I wish to add the warm analogue sound. I am keen to get a valve model for maximum warmth, and of course since it's for mastering, the wider the tape with the least number of tracks, the better. I have found an Akai 1710 for sale for a good price - is this suitable? I am aware it is a 4 track machine, but is it also possible to use the whole width of the tape for just 2 tracks? Otherwise, what other decent options are there?
If you are using the reel to reel as a signal processor and will then go back into the digital domain then you can use anything if you like the way it affect the sound. If you actually intend to make vinyl records from you analog tape then you will need to get something much, much, much better. If you want a tube machine look for an old Ampex. If solid state is OK then find a Revox or Studer. As soundguruman says above condition and price will be a big factor.