As usual, one man's opinion here ...
This is a case where an interim step might be a good thing -- a user copy CD, which is also copied
for a shelf copy and then ripped to a computer using the no-cost Exact Audio Copy so as to make
copies later on if the user copy gets damaged or lost.
The simplest way to accomplish this is gather up less than $1000 and buy a CD recorder and then do
real-time dubs, hopefully from a good cassette deck. Then store the cassettes in a proper
environment (ie not in the musty basement of the county courthouse or in the leaky cupola of the
town hall) until funding can be found to do an archival transfer.
A Tascam CD recorder costs about $600 street price. A better-grade HHB costs closer to $1000. They
are as simple to use as a cassette deck. Good quality Toyo-Yuden CD media can be found for as little
as 25 cents a pop.
As you go thru the cassettes, you will likely find a few problem tapes. THose should be first
priority for a professional transfer.
Small institutions may be surprised to find that there is some decent grant money out there, and
close communication with the local politicians can often shake loose pork-barrell money too.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Craig Breaden" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, August 15, 2008 4:31 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] The Hope of Audacity Was--Re: [ARSCLIST] Seeking recommendations for oral
history digitization equipment (fwd)
>I think it's important to understand that many small institutions --
> such as county historical societies in my neck of the woods -- have
> oral history holdings on tape, significant to the locale. Archivists
> at these institutions are routinely told their AV resources are at
> risk and must be digitally transferred at the first opportunity. What
> does this opportunity look like for a budget-strapped institution, and
> what is the risk of waiting versus using a capable, if rudimentary,
> software? Better to let a patron hear a tape, or better to go ahead
> and backup digitally and render a user copy, even given the
> constraints? That's a real question for many folks. If they can get
> together a volunteer (many of these archivists are virtually
> volunteers themselves), a working playback deck, a PC, and a decent
> audio interface, Audacity is their friend when they want to save a
> tape and have to count, literally, every penny. I've recommended it
> before, and would again, as a reasonable option for generating a WAV
> where budgets are tight or nonexistent.
> Craig Breaden
> Head, Media and Oral History
> Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
> Main Library
> University of Georgia
> Athens, GA 30602-1641
> (p) 706-542-5782
> (f) 706-542-4144
> On Fri, Aug 15, 2008 at 12:22 PM, Mike Hirst
> <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> My tool of choice has to be Adobe Audition. I've been using it since Cool
>> Edit 96 and I am totally happy with the functionality, the interface and
>> reliability,. However, Samplitude looks pretty cool, so on Richard's
>> recommendation I have downloaded a demo to have a bit play with. I'll let
>> you know what I think.
>> Richard L. Hess wrote:
>>> Hi, Sam, and Tom, and the original poster,
>>> I will admit to being a happy Magix/Samplitude user for ten years now. I
>>> think there are several packages in this line that offer substantial value.
>>> (1) Magix Audio Cleaning Lab - definitely an amateur product, but it has
>>> some cut-down versions of the high-end stuff and is available for download
>>> for $35 and a free trial is available. May be limited to CD-rate only.
>>> (2) For INGEST only (won't burn CDs, but will make WAV files, very limited
>>> processing compared to (1) and (3) but is a peek into the beginning of the
>>> "real deal" Samplitude -- version 9 SE
>>> http://www.samplitude.com/eng/sam/se.html $50 Euros for download
>>> (3) A very competent mastering (stereo) solution with the restoration
>>> tools built in. Samplitude V10 Master,
>>> http://www.samplitude.com/eng/sam/master.html for 249 Euros, but may still
>>> be available for $299 US (see OrangeHill link, below).
>>> There is a generic version (w/o restoration tools) for 30-day free trial
>>> available here:
>>> The Samplitude US pricing is available here from OrangeHill Audio:
>>> I am currently using Samplitude version 10.1 PRO and the restoration suite
>>> which is included in MASTER but an option in PRO plus the Algorithmix Noise
>>> Free Pro plug-in. At MAP on the OrangeHill site, that's $2599 worth of
>>> software if you bought it today.
>>> Version differences are here:
>>> However, I think that a reasonable suite could be made from:
>>> Samplitude 9 SE for ingest (four stereo programs at a time)
>>> Samplitude 10 master for cleanup (one at a time)
>>> The ideal arrangement, as I see it, would be an ingest PC running SE and
>>> four playback decks, recording to its hard drive. An auto-run ViceVersa Pro
>>> instance pushing those ingests to a server system (or at least a pair of NAS
>>> boxes) and then the cleanup workstation(s) work directly off the server/NAS
>>> over Gigabit Ethernet. I'm doing something somewhat similar in my workflow
>>> and it works. That's less than $400 worth of software and it's very
>>> competent. With competent used Dell Optiplexes available in this neck of the
>>> woods for ~$500 tricked out as you'd need for audio (3 GHz processor, 1 GB
>>> of RAM, 250 GB D: drive for data) you can set up a useable "factory" for
>>> $1400 plus your monitor speakers (another $1400 or so - Mackie HR824s are a
>>> good choice and if you can get the original version used, that would be
>>> great) and then a good audio interface (I like the RME Multiface II a lot -
>>> it has switchable gain so it can work with IHF levels directly). That's
>>> another $1000 or so. This means a very competent setup for multi-ingest and
>>> single-processing (in parallel) could be set up for approximately $4000
>>> which, while not peanuts, is far less than the cost of another person and
>>> would allow substantial throughput -- perhaps as much as four people doing
>>> single-element transfers.
>>> The multiple ingest model only works if you scan all of the files for
>>> defects during a post session. This model permits that, but you can do that
>>> quickly and then render the MP3 access file and move on.
>>> I use an earlier version of Samplitude SE to do 8-channel ingest in
>>> parallel with the 16-channel ingest I can do with my setup under Samplitude
>>> PRO. These run on two workstations as I have an 8-channel interface on my
>>> aux workstation and a 16-channel interface on my main one...but I don't have
>>> any 24-track playback capabilities (i.e. from one tape).
>>> I will be the first to admit that the learning curve of Samplitude is
>>> steep, but no steeper than Audacity--at least for me. There are videos on
>>> their website that might help. However, if you could get an hour on the
>>> phone with someone after you've run through the tutorials it would help.
>>> So, here's the software I'm currently using on a regular day in/day out
>>> Samplitude 10.1 Pro
>>> Samplitude Restoration Plug-ins (most notably the de-clicker/de-crackler
>>> and not just on grooved-media-derived files (which I don't officially
>>> Algorithmix Noise-Free Pro
>>> RME Total Mix
>>> RME DigiCheck analyzer and stereo scope display
>>> FastSum MD5 generator
>>> Here's the software I use perhaps once every month or two:
>>> Here's the software loaded on my machine that I don't think I've used for
>>> six months or more:
>>> Diamond Cut (DC6--I didn't bother to upgrade to 7)
>>> Sorry this got long, but I wanted to provide specific models.
>>> Please don't cheap out, even on oral histories -- if your oral histories
>>> are anything like the ones I'm doing, they need all the help they can get.
>>> At 09:32 AM 2008-08-15, Sam Brylawski wrote:
>>>> Sorry for the mistyping on Soundforge, Tom . I didn't mean to imply
>>>> that I thought that Audacity was in a league with Soundforge and any
>>>> other professional applications.
>>> Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask]
>>> Aurora, Ontario, Canada (905) 713 6733 1-877-TAPE-FIX
>>> Detailed contact information: http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm
>>> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.
>> Mike Hirst
>> Managing Director
>> 16 Ocean View
>> Whitley Bay
>> Tyne & Wear
>> NE26 1AL
>> tel: 0191 289 3186
>> email: [log in to unmask]
>> web: http://www.das360.net