The long-term maintenance of digital formats that I do not get a great call for has become a burden. While I would like to have all formats available for all people, I have such a backlog of analog, that I will not be accepting digital-only projects in many formats that I used to.
The formats that I am currently committed to transferring are:
—DATs with two options:
-straight transfer where we listen for glitches and look at the waveform for glitches (four Tascam DA-20 MKII)
-error-logged transfer where the machine logs all of the errors it has concealed (Sony PCM 7030)
—PCM-F1 on VHS or Betamax (multiple machines and multiple ES-601 and PCM-F1 decoders)
—Sony DASH (3202 or 3402) 2-channel reel (two each Sony PCM-3202 and PCM-3402)
—MiniDisc (normal stereo in regular and HI-MD, but not porta-studio multitrack; multiple )
(Sony MZ-RH1 Hi-MD Minidisc recorder with USB download; Sony MDS JE-530 and two other MD players)
—Digital Files on CD, DVD, hard drive, USB drives, etc.
There was an off-line discussion about VHS-Hi-Fi tracking and breakup in Hi-Fi playback and how to correct it. I brought Jim Wheeler into it, and he agreed to write this article. —Richard
I invented the automatic tracking system in 1976 but it is pricey. If you want to pay about $2,000 for a pro-VHS machine, you can get true auto-tracking. Manual tracking works for most tapes. If not, there was a problem with the recording VCR. Alcohol is not good for cleaning heads and tape guides. I always use Xylene and you can buy Xylene at hardware and paint stores. Do not use Xylene on a pinch roller! Have your window open when you use it. I sniffed Xylene for over 30 years and am still okay–okay–okay….I recommend using Xylene for cleaning all components in the tape path except the pinch roller. I recommend Isopropyl alcohol for cleaning pinch rollers. [Some of us are using Formula 409 on pinch rollers—it depends on the pinch roller and its application—Richard] (more…)
TASCAM has set up a very reasonably priced transfer service for multiple-cassette projects recorded in the DTRS format (DA88, etc.).
For more information, click here.
I cannot warrant this service, but what could be better than having it attached to the service facility. I have listed other resources on my format page.
My friend Susan Kitchens and her brother took their parents to the StoryCorps recording session in Los Angeles a few weeks ago. She blogged it here. One of the neat things is that between her article and the discussion she and I had in the comments, we have a good handle on most of the equipment that was used in the trailer. It’s a good selection in my opinion and shows how simply good-quality recording systems can be set up. Further discussions from a StoryCorps representative have shown how clever the setup is.
The International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA) has released their landmark Guidelines on the Production and Preservation of Digital Audio Objects as a free web (HTML) edition, available here.
I provided some information for the listing of tape equalizations, and I find the compiled table (here) most useful.
Thanks to Kevin Bradley and the IASA team for their work in making this available. If you want a PDF copy, join IASA and it’s available.
I received a phone call today asking if I knew where to get DCC blank tapes. The person had purchased a used DCC machine on eBay or someplace like that because he “heard that they sound good.”
Audio mythology is growing. DCC is a perceptually coded format with bit reduction. Like MP3. Like the ATRAC system used on Minidisc. Not as advanced as MP3, probably (it’s older). Not as advanced as Windows Media (it’s older). (more…)
With budget limitations, it appears that oral histories are being recorded with little thought to their long-term preservation. While this appears to have been the case in the past as well, with purchasing agents buying the cheapest white-box tape that they could find, continuing this into the digital age needs to be reconsidered.
The cost savings in using bargain-basement digital speech recorders are offset by the labour required to reformat these files upon their receipt by an archive and also the fidelity of the recording suffers, and with fidelity, intelligibility also suffers.
DSS was an industry standard agreed upon by Olympus, Grundig, and Philips in 1994. (more…)
I received a phone call today from someone who wanted my opinion on a Tascam 238 8-track cassette recorder for recording his music.
This was like the person who wanted to know about the DCC recorder for the same purpose yesterday.
People keep hearing that “analog sounds great” or that this or that format “sounds great” and they want to buy in. (more…)
You’ve been asked to digitize recordings in your collection and don’t have any idea where to start. There are several resources on this site which might be of use.
What I use is shown on my facility page. That\’s one of the main reasons it is there. If I’m using it, it’s because I like it or it solves a problem for me. If I’m not using it, either I don’t have an opinion about it, won’t spring for it, or don’t like it. (more…)
I have made a variety of static pages for my tape restoration Web site, but thought it was time to add a more user-friendly, article-based location to discuss various topics, tools, tricks, and techniques that I have come across in various ways.
What is easier to use than ready-made BLOG software, so I guess Richard is finally Blogging!
I hope you like this and find it of interest. Please let me know of any changes or topics you might like addressed.
Note: This post has been put in every top-level category because it appears that a post is needed in each top-level category if the sub-categories are to be visible.
Note 2: The Tips & Notes blog and the Formats & Resources static pages of this sub-site replace the Tips and Resources static pages on the Web site. And, there is integrated searching across both the blog articles and the static pages.