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Pioneer RT-909

Reel To Reel Tape Recorder (1979-84)

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Pioneer RT-909


The Pioneer RT-909 3-motor deck, with auto reverse / repeat playback and many more features, takes the open-reel format another important and impressive step ahead of anything available in the cassette format.

You're going to sense this the moment you see it, and hear it, in action. Features? It's another loaded deck from Pioneer. It not only accepts the conventional 7 inch reels, but also the professional size 10.5 inch diameter reels.

It gives an exceptionally wide frequency range of 20Hz to 28kHz (± 3dB) and, to match this outstanding performance, gives low wow / flutter of 0.04% or better, with both specifications measured at the 7.5 ips tape speed.

It mixes microphone inputs and line inputs, another advanced professional feature. And it allows instant comparison between the tape and the original, as well as azimuth adjustments of the heads. Add up all of this Pioneer perfection and there's no doubt that the RT-909 is made for the person who has major musical ambitions and strongly professional tastes.

And yet if you've never considered making the big move upward into open-reel, because you thought they were too complicated, you'll be happy to learn that Pioneer has equipped the RT-909 with the kind of features that only an open-reel novice could appreciate. Things like exceptional headroom (and flexibility) that means this open-reel format offers more overall performance in terms of dynamic range, distortion and noise than the best of cassette formats. And much more: convenient automatic reverse / repeat playback, tape-saving 3.75 ips speed, easy to read Fluroscan meter and 4 digit counter, timer start, LED indicators, and other features.

Are you ready for the move to open-reel perfection? Pioneer has made a beautiful deck and equipped it in such a way that it performs with the ease and perfection of a cassette deck.


Track system: auto reverse, 4-track, 2-channel, stereo system

Heads: 2 x playback, 1 x record, 1 x erase

Motor: 2 x reel, 1 x capstan

Reel size: up to 10.5 inch reel

Tape speeds: 3 34  7 12 ips

Wow and flutter: 0.04% (7 12 ips)

Frequency response: 20Hz to 30kHz (7 12 ips)

Signal to Noise Ratio: 60dB

Total harmonic distortion: 1%

Crosstalk: 50dB

Input: 50mV (line), 0.3mV (mic)

Output: 0.45V (line)

Semiconductors: 4 x FET, 43 x IC, 121 x transistors, 126 x diodes

Dimensions: 480 x 340 x 318mm

Weight: 21kg

Year: 1979


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Reviewed Jun 12th, 2018 by Tomsommers

Love the 909 Purchased mine in 1980 has been a great investment excellent format for Recording music

Reviewed Jun 03rd, 2018 by RTM

Arguably, the finest 3.75/7.5 ips 10-inch reel RTR machine out there. Bulletproof construction and Glass/Epoxy circuit boards throughout. With 21st Century tape, you'll be surprised how much headroom it has for that speed configuration. I've had mine since 1991 without a minutes trouble, except for changing the belt ONCE about five years ago. You do need to tighten up the PP-220a hubs, and there's a variety of ways to accomplish it, but other than that Pioneer remains one of the most under recognized Masters of RTR Technology in Vintage audio. If you find one in good shape, grab it and growl!

Reviewed Sep 06th, 2017 by soimmvt

I've had several R to R's and this Pioneer is my favourite! Why? First of all it has a is beautiful design. OK, I like the akai's as well (especially the 635d) I really like the shiny faceplate, blue meters and ease of use. Secondly, the built quality is astounding. It works and feels like a tank, yet elegant. Last but not least...The sound....

I bought mine with wornout pinchrollers and capstanbelt,replaced them and viola...music!

Reviewed Dec 30th, 2015 by gkpjxb

I've recently unboxed the Pioneer RT-909 that I bought new back in the 1980's. I've had this RTR stored for about 30 years. I pull the Roller's off, which look to be hardened a bit, and sent both to Terry Witt for new rubber. a The outside of current belt looks like it's turned to a black goo, I have a replacement belt coming for replacement.
As this thing has been unused for such a long time, what other issues should I be aware of that need to be addressed?

I'm sure that any lube/grease has stiffened, but I have no idea where the greased locations may be or how to remove the old and apply the new or what type of lube to use.

As I sure that there a way more knowledgable people on this forum the myself about these units, I could sure use some help.

Thank you for your consideration.

Reviewed May 04th, 2014 by volkstony

i have to say i got the deal of the century. i just picked up my 909 for $15 from a thrift store!! 2 years ago i paid $20 for my 707 go figure :)

Reviewed Dec 28th, 2013 by The66News

The low end bass response of the RT909 does beat out Akai's GX747 and Teac's X2000R both by quite a margin, considering your equalizer and speaker are rated to pick up lows that low, and did NOT have any distortion either at that low a frequency, so this unit has the lowest lows of all the reel units I've had here, the highs are GOOD too. I do not know why Pioneer didn't keep going on with their reel technology and add EE and DBX to their unit but it was selling SO well they didn't bother with that and kept selling up to 1984 like the rest of them did. These are wonderful units but the only real problem to look for would be the IC's in them which can cause the Fluroscan to have missing digits and not work at all, aside of that one problem I like the sound quality of this unit and mine is a keeper!



re: RT-909 take up not functioning

Had one of these in for repair the other day. Complaint was reel motor would not run. Motor was getting warm but not spinning. Found 4.5uf @ 250vac motor cap open. New cap returned the function of the unit.


re: RT-909

pinch rollers, google Terry's Pioneer pinch rollers.....


I recently acquired a RT909 that is like new but has not been used for several years. One of the pinch rollers is very gummy, almost like it has been inked..is this normal or does it need replaced?

Gummy Pinch Rollers......

Whatever you do "DO NOT" play any tapes on the that Pioneer RT-909 reel to reel with the Pinch Rollers in that condition. That is not normal by any means.
Those Pinch Rollers definitely need to be replaced or restored.
To 'Replace', just do a Google search by typing in Pioneer RT-909 pinch roller and start hitting several sites and search. I'm sure you'll come across a couple of places that sell them.
To 'Restore', just do a Google search by typing in "Terrysrubberollers". This will lead you to his website. By sending them to him he will be able to have them restored.
Good Luck!

RT 909 SM

Would like to locate the SM for the RT 909. Need to replace the main drive belt.

psychodaddyo's picture

belt change for rt-909

I recently purchased new pinch rollers for my rt-909 and it included a free belt. Installing the belt is a very tricky with small parts.

re: belt change for rt-909

I just became aware of the "hifiengine" and hope the you are still active as I have a question.

I have a RT-909 that I bought new way back when. It probably had 10 or 12 hours on it when I boxed it up
to store it. It's been boxed until a week ago or so, close to 30 years. It still seems to be in as close to "pristine" condition as can be except that the PINCH ROLLERS are hardened a bit and I'm assuming that BELT is also. I'm hoping to replace these items before I try to spin any motors.

Who did you purchase your replacement rollers and belt from?
Do you know if they still sell these replacement parts?

Thank you

belt change rt 909 pioneer

anyone know what this involves without calling him to bother him? I am changing this belt soon....thanks!

re: belt change rt 909 pioneer

lay the player on a cushion face down so that when you remove the plate to get at the belt you don't lose the 2 tiny nylon bushes...

Pioneer RT 909 service bulletins


Does anyone here have any of the rare service bulletins for the RT 909? I have only been able to find one of them online, and that after MUCH searching.

And to bradman16, replacing the belt involves removing the top and back covers. Then you remove the four screws holding the capstan motor mounting plate in place and slowly rotate it out of the way. Now there are two nylon balls, one each on the end of the flywheels. These can fall out when removing the motor, so be very careful and prepared to catch them if needed. Put a paper towel or masking tape under the motor before removing it. Once removed, pull off the old belt, clean the flywheels and capstan pulley with isopropyl alcohol, and slip the new belt onto the flywheels. It will hang loose. Replace the nylon balls if they have fallen out and add some lithium grease to hold them in place. Then rotate the capstan motor mount back around and bring the pulley of the motor down onto of the belt. Once everything is in place, screw the motor plate back in. You should be good to go after this.

Belt Routing


any chance of a diagram of how the Belt should be routed?

Your explanation is superb but you just say ''.....slip the new belt on to the flywheels....'' Is it over one and under the other or is it literally around both? (Hard to explain.........hard to exactly understand what you mean)



Nylon Balls RT909

Always curious, What is function of nylon balls.

Planning to replace belt and pinch rollers. BTW who does a good job at re-capping the rollers?
Thank You, David

Nylon Ball Bearings on RT-909 Capstan Shafts

The purpose of the nylon balls is to limit the lateral travel of the capstan shafts in their bearing sleeve. The shafts are allowed a small amount of lateral travel but if the ball bearings are missing the shafts will move enough for the flywheels to interfere with each other. This situation seems to be worse when the capstan motor reverses. The flywheels will rub and bind with a lot of noise sometimes binding so bad the reverse play will stall.

The nylon bearings are not easy to find and metal ball bearings will suffice, but if you drop one of the metal ball bearings, you must locate it. It will always land in the worst possible place and do real damage to the electronics if not removed prior to power up. I don't have the diameter of the steel ball bearings, they are in the range of 2-3mm.


re: Nylon Ball Bearings on RT-909 Capstan Shafts

The diameter of the nylon balls are .160.


Thank You, I appreciate your time in replying. Someone suggested Terry for re-capping, is he the go to guy?
Thanks Again,

David Woodruff

This website is not affiliated with or sponsored by Pioneer. To purchase RT-909 spares or accessories, please contact the company via their website or visit an authorised retailer.