I apologize if this has been discussed before, but I was hoping some of the sound gurus here might have some perspective on what to look for when buying a R2R player. I've started to get into Reels as of late, and one of them I purchased I feel may be worth sharing here, so I'd like to invest in a decent player to at least provide samples with, if not provide a decent raw.

What kind of aspects should I look for when purchasing one? Are there specific brands which are generally better than others? Are there ones that work better for transferring than others? Is there a way to easily tell which reels might have cheap heads instead of quality ones? Really the only thing I know is that players of the era are almost always better than newer ones, so I'd assume looking for ones from the late 70's to mid 80's would be best.

Any info is greatly appreciated. Sound equipment is not my forte.