Jeff brings up a key point here. As far as I know, Sony doesn't make U-Matic transports anymore nor
have many if any parts in inventory. I would assume the same is true for JVC. I don't know if anyone
else ever made very many U-Matic machines. Did Panasonic have rights for that format?
Jeff, that's very distressing to hear that the owners of the large collections of 1630 tapes have
not migrated them to hard drive arrays. I assume you know first-hand of the same large owner we're
both probably talking about without naming. In that case, very distressing to hear this.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jeff Willens" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2008 10:46 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] U-matic audio mastering
I had a lot of experience mastering to this format a while back. I can echo the sentiments of Tom
Fine and the others. While it could be a very robust format when it worked properly, there were SO
many variables that could go wrong, you never knew if you had a good, finished master tape until the
very end of a real-time transfer. I'm not sorry to see it die as an audio format. Cloning one 1630
tape to another using a DAE-3000 editor was akin writing your 50-page research paper on a manual
My setup was: (2) U-matic decks, a 1630 processor with all the right cards installed, the DAE-3000
editor and its 4U(!) rack space processor to go with it, a small b/w video monitor to make sure you
were actually recording something to the tape, a Sony Digital Tape Analyzer to monitor the record
machine as it ran, and counted the uncorrectable CRC errors, overs, mutes, etc. that would render
your tape useless, and a printer to print those results.
Unfortunately, the major label archives have many hundreds of thousands of one-of-a-kind digital
masters still on this format (and nowhere else) that it's going to become an archiving nightmare
very soon. Sony wants to pretty much forget it ever made the 1630, so they won't support it anymore.
Hopefully, someone can take up the cause...
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