I just recently bought an RCA RT-21 professional tape deck online and was wondering if anyone had any information on it. I have looked all over the internet but have come up empty handed. If anyone has any information, specs, or manuals I would love to hear from you.

Floor-standing or rack mount? Which electronics did you get, the vacuum tube or the transistor? Did you get the edit block with it? I think those came in 1/4", 1/2" and 1" tape.

It is rack mount, solid state. 1/4 inch, I believe. I haven’t received it yet so I’m judging from the pictures. The auction was for the transport, and the preamp (stereo). Also I noticed that one of the tape lifters and the head cover are missing. If anyone has either of those, PM me.

When you do receive it remember “lift with your legs not with your back”.

Yes! I don’t want to injure myself the first time I pick it up.

bigdmc may be able to help … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjkagxsAwpc

http://www.bigdmc.com/ [be nice : he has guns & chainsaws]

I signed up just to respond to this question. I have it on good authority that back when they were new, NBC was owned by RCA and all stations were required to buy RCA tape recorders. However, they were so bad that the staffs found ways around the rule so they could use Ampex and other brands that worked so much better!

I am not trying to rain on your parade, but I hope you didn’t pay to much for it, and don’t expect it to perform professnionally. It looks neat, and I like the way it rocks tape with a front panel knob, but I believe there is good reason I never heard of it until a few days ago - and I have been in professional audio for over 45 yars! I don’t know in what way they are bad, but if they were good one would think they would still be around more.

If it turns out to be good for you, I’d like to know about it, because my information is secondhand and if I’m wrong I want to know.

RCA went with the idea that they could build a broadcast station with everything between the grill on the microphones and front surface of the lens to the lightning rods on the top of the Super Turnstile® antenna without going to anybody else for parts. I don’t think they made towers, but they had contracts. Not all the products were stellar performers. The sound boards were OK and a great many radio stations used them but the video switchers had problems. Ampex and RCA dueled in the Videotape® field for ages. Both worked really well. Did you know Videotape® is a registered trademark of the Ampex corporation?

I don’t remember anybody having problems with our RT-21s, but we did have Ampex machines in the Radio Division, too. Both seemed to work. Koz

When I was at ABC Radio starting in late 1969 they had Ampex 440 machines in their two line editing suites for taking in news bites, but in their production studios they had RCA RT21’s. I hated using those RCA’s after becoming so proficient on the Ampex 440’s (prior to this I had worked on Ampex 350’s.) But in time I learned you could do things with the RCA that were not possible, or difficult at best, on the Ampex. Over all I would still choose the Ampex but the RT-21 remains a part of my past. When I went to NBC Radio in 1975 they had all RT-21’s. Luckily I had plenty of experience and could handle them like the old-timers.

The head cover you mentioned is actually the MU shield and in the long run you should get one. With the MU shield off we could pull the plug off the back of the record head and then rock a tape past the erase head with the machine in “Record” (be sure to move the tape outside of the capstan!) That way you can clean up the outcue of a sound bite without getting some residual bias from the record head. You can’t do that on an Ampex 440.