Restoration Tips & Notes Working with audio media (mostly tape) restoration

2009-04-13

Zoom H2 line input

The Zoom H2 HandyCorder is perhaps the lowest-cost digital recorder on the market that provides reasonable and useful results. While I have a Sound Devices 722 for my more serious work, I bought the Zoom to test it out to see if it could be part of a simple tape digitization system for archives on a budget who wish to do the work themselves. It does this reasonably well.

As with much equipment–and especially with lower-cost equipment–the performance specifications and the actual operational data is not published. There are reports of the H2 clipping on the line inputs in some of the reviews and it appears that a lack of understanding how the inputs were configured exacerbated that situation.

There is nothing wrong with the line inputs on the H2. BUT there are some caveats: (more…)

2006-08-17

DSS and other compressed digital files in an oral history archive

Filed under: archival practices,computer audio,dss — Richard L. Hess @ 11:09

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…)

2006-03-15

How to archive recordings — a quick guide to resources on this site

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…)

2006-03-06

Computer audio interfacing

Filed under: computer audio — Richard L. Hess @ 23:37

It just came to my attention that computer architecture is transitioning from the PCI interface to the PCI Express interface.

This supports my contention that Firewire (IEEE 1394) and USB 2.0 are the preferred methods for connecting high-quality, high-resolution audio interfaces to computers.

While I have two RME Multifaces (the original, not the Multiface IIs shown in the link) that use dedicated PCI cards, this means that if I purchase a new computer with a PCI Express interface, I’ll have to purchase two new PCI Express interface cards for the RME Multifaces — and hope that RME makes it at the time I need it. Many users have expressed satisfaction with their Digital Audio Labs CardDeluxe.

This sounds a lot like the Zefiro Acoustics ZA-2  ISA card that is languishing in a Dell Dimension XPS PII 333 MHz machine.

My recent foray into an audio interface via IEEE 1394 was the MOTU 828 MK II. So far, I am happy and it’s finding uses in the studio as well as the remote notebook-centric applications I originally acquired it for.

I would think that a good audio interface might last longer than a good PC, so consider this approach.

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