Sorry for another post on this, but Mike's is too good to pass up ...
In addition to Mike's wisdom, I would suggest that the archive or library stubbornly insistant on
doing analog-to-digital transfers in-house without proper expertise, budget and equipment is
destroying themselves and the value of their holdings. Given that archiving and archive maintenance
requires a certain set of skills and funding, it's unlikely that many small or medium-sized
institutions or non-profits can afford to have a dedicated analog-to-digital transfer specialist
in-house, much less the budget for proper equipment and maintenance. Objective analysis will usually
show that outsourcing this work is a much more efficient use of funding, staff and even real estate.
The key thing is to put turf and vague control issues aside and look at the overall goals and ways
to get there most efficiently with excellent results.
By the way, this applies to a certain extent with collectors. If you've spent years and dollars
aquiring a nice collection of rare recordings, you are foolish to ruin them by playing them on
inferior equipment. It's akin to being a photo collector and hanging valuable prints willy-nilly in
non-UV-protected frames. The difference is, if it's a private collection, the owner has the right to
be as foolish or not as he pleases. But when it's a publicly-funded archive or collection, owned by
the public, I would argue it's negligent to do a lousy job and putting valuable artifacts at risk.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Mike Richter" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, July 27, 2008 1:28 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Playback on contemporary machines (was Send me a kiss by wire, baby my
heart's on fire!
> Richard L. Hess wrote:
>> I think it's important that we reinforce the lesson of playing magnetic media on the best
>> available equipment. While there are times when playing a tape on the machine that recorded it
>> will provide the sound that the producer originally heard and intended, in most instances,
>> playing a magnetic recording on a high-end, late-model (but not necessarily last-model) machine
>> will provide superior results.
> Let me move a second factor from implicit in Richard's post to explicit. It is not only and
> perhaps not primarily the improvement in audio quality that contributes to "superior results". In
> my experience, competent handling of the medium provides at least an equal payoff.
> Historic media, whether tape or wire, are often damaged when recovery is initiated and are
> consistently fragile when played back. Since the objective is to capture the sound in a single
> pass, having that pass as nearly perfect as possible in the mechanical sense is essential. A
> non-professional deck may offer some advantages in audio recovery (though as Richard points out,
> that is unlikely), but it surely will not coddle the medium as a pro deck does.
> [log in to unmask]