I have a Pioneer RT-707 Reel-2-Reel deck that needs to be refurbished. Or, depending on the cost/availability of this service, I'm not opposed to finding a new or like-new deck (cheaper, even). I have boxes of old tapes I'd like to go through, and I'm mainly interested in transferring the keepers to digital. Any advice?
Depending upon what needs to be done rapair might be difficult. Parts are probably not available anymore. Finding a good used machine might be an option as checking here in the AV marketplace, Audiogon, and even EBay. Another suggestion is see if you have an audio society in your vacinity, join, and see if any members have a good condition R2R to help you transfer your tapes ot digital. You might also check your local radio stations and see if they might still have and old R2R laying around that they used to use. Most current stations are playing back music from hard drives these days and not even bothering with CDs unless for a specific show or event. Most DJs these days do not even touch a disc and their program is mapped out by computer with little to do but talk between music tracks when given the time to do so. My son-in-law is of the new vintage of "radio personality" with much of the fun being taken out of the radio business of chosing your own selections. Good luck. If you choose the repair route you might see if you actually have an older TV repair man in your area with some history with analogue decks. If he is near 60 years of age you just might be in luck. If you have a old McIntosh dealer in your are he might also be a source for help. I doubt the new vintage of home theater dealers could help much here.
If you made the tapes on that deck, I'd say it would be best to get a good repair guy to tune up your deck.
The head/tape/angle azimuth can actually vary from machine to machine (by small, but sometimes significant amounts) and you may have the best shot at getting back everything off your tapes by using the same machine that made the recordings.
I'll look and see if I can find any dealers. What part of the country are you in? Personal drop off and pick up would be safest.