I worked with a few 1630 audio masters back in the day and I am glad
to say I don't have to deal with them much anymore. Like all contact
media, it was never a very reliable format physically, but it was
once popular with many mastering engineers who preferred the hit or
miss error correction (if it was 'on' it was on) as well as the
required 1x glass mastering.
It's a finicky format & there are tracking issues that are often
resolved by the player /tape pairing. You'll often get better
performance when using a player & processor that were purchased
together rather than mixing and matching machines. A particular tape
might playback perfectly in the machine it was recorded in but
horribly in another. Because of the weight & bulkiness of the units,
the search for the best player is similar but more frustrating than
finding the right DAT machine. The best playback will often occur by
inserting the tape, pushing PLAY, quickly adjusting the tracking in
pre-roll and letting it play through from there. Cueing, rewinding,
stopping and restarting can cause a playback error nightmare. So
having a number of players & processors on hand would be ideal for
any archival undertaking.
And if a U-Matic tape ever gets eaten by a machine it's more likely
caused by a problematic tape, and the only way to get it out is to
turn off the player, remove the cover and cut it loose! Fun!
Jeff Carroll, Mastering Engineer
Bluefield Mastering Inc. - Raleigh, NC USA
On Jan 30, 2008, at 12:04 PM, Jeffrey Martin wrote:
For a curriculum module for NYU's Moving Image Archiving and
Preservation program, I'm researching the use of and preservation
issues related to 3/4" U-Matic videotape. As part of the research,
I'm also looking into U-matic's use as an audio mastering format.
If there's anyone on the list who's had experience with the format--
either during its days as a master format, or remastering material
today from U-matic sources, I'd appreciate it if you contacted me off-
list for a few questions.
Thanks in advance,