Starlite Regent 777

What can one say about their first reel-to-reel? It's like one's first car. It probably wasn't a show piece but it was yours. I feel the same about the little Starlite.

I was about 12-years old in the mid-1960s when my dad gave me this little gem. And I used the heck out of it.

I started collecting the theme songs from various TV shows using the microphone next to the TV speaker. I recorded lots of content from radio, mostly pop music from KFWB and KHJ. I may have some of these recordings still around but as of this writing they would be in a stack of tapes I haven't gone through yet.

The recorder ran on 2 C-cells and one 9V transistor battery. Since there was no capstan, the drive came from the motor spindle pressing against the take-up reel table. While this works in a fashion, the speed at which the tape is pulled past the head increases at the take up reel fills up. This makes playing tapes made on a capstan drive machine problematic. To deal with that, and the diminishing voltage delivered by the C-cells, the unit features a "Speed" knob that can vary the motor speed. Crude but workable.

Another interesting feature is the erase mechanism. When the Play/Record switch is moved to Record a switch inside changes the electronis to record and a small magnet is moved into the tape path. Again, crude but workable.

The recorder currently shows signs of wear, after all, it saw lots of use and I've moved it from place to place for over 50 years. The carrying strap is missing and the gray plastic cover is chipped. The microphone is missing its plug, probably the result of some expirement or project I did. When I opened it up to view the interior I found some loose wires so, presently, it is not operational, something that could be corrected if I can figure out which wire goes where.

Again, getting it out of storage was like seeing an old friend and it deserves to be put back in working order.

I recently found my original owner's manual which can be viewed in PDF here. (5 MB)

Click on an image to enlarge it.

Updated December 2020.