To use reel-to-reel audio tape, insert the first few inches of the tape into the recorder. Press play to make sure that the audio is not distorted or shaky. If it is, the tape may be twisted, in which case you press the stop button and remove both reels. Straighten the tape, feed it into the recorder again, and press play to check. When ready to record, hook up a microphone to the player, and press the record button.
When recording on reel-to-reel audio tapes, two tapes are required. One is empty, while the other is full, and the full reel should not have any visible damage. Once the tape from the full reel is inserted into the empty reel, note the few inches of white tape. This portion of the reel cannot hold recordings, so it serves as a placeholder for the beginning of the recording. During playback, some of the white tape can be left unwound to create a pause before the recording plays; if instant playback is desired, wind the tape until it reaches the black, recordable portion.
If the tape has been tested multiple times before recording and continues to play back distorted audio, it may be a faulty reel. To check, lift the tape to eye level, and hold it horizontally. Continue to unwind the tape to ensure that small twists are not present.