A few "macro" pointers from someone who has transferred a few dozen transcription disks in his time.
There are others who have done many, many more.
1. these things are fragile. Before you start, check the surface, is it intact and apparently
stable? If it looks like it's cracked or flaking, you have to be really careful, and others here
will know specifically what to do (the times I encountered this, I turned the disks over to those
more experienced than I, taking the approach of first do no harm). If the surface is OK, then clean
the disk very carefully but do get the grooves as clean as possible. Remember that some
transcriptions are on a glass base and are really breakable.
2. for playback, know what sort of groove you have. World Broadcasting was cutting hill and dale
transcriptions into the 1940's, for instance, but most are lateral grooves. There are lots of
articles about appropriate stylus sizes, I would actually consult with technical material written at
the time (1940's, 1950's) and not a bunch of unproven Internet theories. Internet articles sourced
from technical material from the time are a different matter. Also keep in mind that some
transcriptions play from the inside out. Good recordists back in the day would indicate all of this
on the labels, but labels fall off and original sleeves disintegrate.
3. my experience has been that these can be tracked lighter than 78's, I try to stick to 2 grams
unless there's serious warpage or if more weight is needed to stay in a groove at 78 RPM. Most
transcriptions I've played back were 33 1/3 RPM.
4. as for playback curves, I would say start with the AES curve and then season to taste. Especially
with spoken-word content, you can be pretty "creative" about striking the balance of natural sound
fidelity and as low noise as possible. With music, listen to the pitch of things because not all
recorders ran on speed at all times.
These are very general guidelines. More experienced people will hopefully provide more detail. Good
luck in your endeavors. I really enjoyed some of the transcriptions I transferred, I always marvel
at the skill of radio engineers back in the heyday of on-air productions.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Melissa Widzinski" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 7:02 PM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Transcription disc resources
> Hey all,
> I am eager to learn everything I can about safe playback of transcription
> discs. I have searched the net and read on "The Audio Archive" website,
> "VideoInterchange," among some others. I am wondering if anyone can
> recommend a good resource? It would be much appreciated!