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ARSCLIST  January 2004

ARSCLIST January 2004

Subject:

Re: Project Gramophone: Advice needed NOW on transfer equipment; Grey Gull?

From:

"Richard L. Hess" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 2 Jan 2004 14:19:49 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

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At 11:32 AM 1/2/2004 -0700, Jon Noring wrote:

The caveats here are that I am not a disc transfer expert, but I do tape
transfers and have some knowledge of some of the challenges in disc transfer.


>For 1), the current thinking is that we'd like to assemble the best,
>state-of-the-art transfer equipment which allows some sort of
>portability so we can visit collectors and library archives in the
>field to transfer their records.

I would suggest outfitting a van. I think there is just too much stuff
needed to do it right -- and too much risk, especially in this climate of
inspections -- to do it all in flight cases. That would mean concentrating
on North America first and then having the van shipped to Europe if that
can be arranged. This is in the vein of what Bob Fine did in the 50s or 60s
for Mercury. For more infor, contact Tom Fine, Bob's son.


>So, for 1) we have the following "sub"-issues to resolve (there are
>probably others I haven't thought of yet -- chime in if you think of
>them):
>
>a) Turntable selection (no thoughts here, anyone?),

I'm a real fan of the "pro" SP-10 SP-15 Technics turntables

>b) Cartridge and styli selection (no thoughts here, anyone?),

I'm a real fan of Stantons--especially the 681 series, but the availability
of a wide range of stylii is the main requisite, which may mean a 500 or
600 series Stanton instead.

>[Regarding a) and b), should we consider the professional-grade
>laser turntables? Or stick with the tried-and-true stylus?]

I have no hands-on experience with the laser turntable, but I have read
with interest previous discussions on this matter and I think for ,most if
not all of the discs the consensus is that the stylus will be superior.
Gilles St. Laurent of the National Library of Canada should weigh in on
this, at least.

Sorry I don't have email addresses handy, I'm at the end of a road trip and
am doing this from memory.

>c) How to handle equalization (my current thinking: do as best as can
>    be done in the analog realm during transfer -- does this make
>    sense? Or can proper equalization be done "good enough" in the
>    digital realm during restoration?)

Some purists will say that you should do it during the transfer and if
there are known settings for particular recordings, that would make the raw
transfer more valuable, but at the proposed sampling rates and depths for
this project, I don't think there is an issue.

>d) Transfer speed (I believe set the speed at 78.00 rpm, and resample
>    later during restoration to correctly tune the speed. Otherwise,
>    trying to fine pitch during raw transfer greatly slows down the
>    transfer process (plus requires a lot of musical skill in
>    perceiving the key of the performance.) We need to transfer
>    hundreds or thousands of discs in a short time during the visit to
>    the collection, and don't have the time to futz around any more
>    than we have to! Being able to properly transfer 3-4 two-sided
>    records per hour per transfer equipment module is a goal, and this
>    is pretty aggressive, in my thinking.)

Again, if there are any known standards for a particular range in a
collection, I would transfer it at that "known" speed, rather than 78.00
Also, I'm not sure, but wouldn't 78.26 be preferable to 78.00 as that
became the later standard.

>e) A-D converter (professional grade, 96k sampling, 24-bit depth for
>    the raw transfers. Any recommendations?)

Apogee products always get rave reviews. Benchmark Media is another good
supplier. I also like RME and am enjoying my "Multiface."

I would, however, suggest considering 88.2 ks/s instead of 96 to make the
transition to CD a little easier and cleaner.

>f) Digital storage (pc with terabyte of storage in 3, 300+ gig IDE
>    hard drives, maybe with redundancy by having two pcs that are
>    synchronized.)

I don't think you need two synchronized PCs, but I think having multiple
disc drives makes sense.

I don't think embedded IDE drives make sense for this project. I would
strongly suggest considering USB 2.0 or FireWire external drives and making
copies on two of these external discs.

Record to a 250G internal drive and then use Windows Explorer to copy the
folders to the two external drives. Ship the external drives in different
packages back to the "mother ship"

LaCie's Big Disc is an interesting product for this application. 0.5T
presented as a single volume.

>g) CD/DVD burner (to immediately give the raw digital transfers to the
>    collector as well as backing up right away what is on the hard
>    drives in case of hard drive failure.)

Plextor. Their Premium CD burner apparently reports some error components
through their software. This will provide some confidence. Burn both WAV
files and Red Book CDs for the clients. This can, at least, be
semi-automated with templates.

While a DVD burner is interesting to copy WAV files, CDs are more universal
and perhaps (only perhaps) more robust.

Consider Mitsui Gold CD-Rs. As to DVDs, Mitsui does make a gold DVD-R, but
DVD+Rs record faster in the latest Plextor drive.

>h) Scanner/digital camera to take high resolution images of the record
>    labels and runout area for mx numbers (no thoughts here. Anyone?)

Lighting is an issue, but I would use my Nikon D100 with a 60mm f/2.8
autofocus Micro Nikkor lens. You will want raking lighting for the mx numbers.


>i) Disc cleaning equipment and techniques (no thoughts here. Anyone?)

I would suggest something like the pro Keith Monks cleaners for the discs.

A reasonable-quality binocular microscope is a real asset--I just learned
this from Graham Newton who is one of the most experienced disc-restorers
around.

I'll let Graham talk about special techniques under the microscope


>j) Process-related:
>
>    i) Do multiple transfers with different styli radii, or simply find
>       stylus shape/radii which gives best quality transfer, and do one
>       transfer?

I think that depends. The microscope should give some idea of wear
patterns. I don't think alternate transfers should be discarded, but kept
for perhaps intercutting.

I play LPs wet, but don't know if that's needed or desirable after a Keith
Monks cleaning.

>It is to be noted that the goal is to do the best possible (within
>reason) raw digital transfers. The goal is not, at the moment, to do
>the digital restoration, which can be done at a more leisurely pace,
>and by anyone in the world with access to the raw transfers via the
>Internet.

Understood! I think all of the above pertains to raw transfers.

Cheers,

Richard
http://www.vignettesmedia.com/

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