On transfer engineer's opinion ...
Whatever is on that reel will not be very high fidelity. You would do fine transferring at whatever
your slowest speed is and then cutting the pitch by whatever percentage you need to. Suggest highest
transfer quality since you will be reducing the sample rate and other DSP consequences, but for
almost any content recorded at that speed, it won't make an audible difference. The bigger problem
with that speed is that almost any machine that could record at it was plagued with wow and flutter
so anything except spoken word sounds pretty horrible. This is less of a problem with tapes made on
professional logging recorders, which had industrial-strength transports. The problem is worst for
old portable reel recorders sold to consumers. So, bottom line, I'd try a transfer in-house first
and see what you get. If it turns out by some miraculous circumstance that there is high fidelity
music on that reel, then perhaps an outsourced transfer would be worth the money.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "George, Stephanie" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, January 12, 2011 1:04 PM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] 15/16 Recording Speed
Hello, All -
I've run up against an interesting scenario (for us, anyway) and I'm asking for some feedback from
the collective wisdom of this group.
We've been doing a lot of our own digitization, but we've now run across a reel to reel tape that
was recorded at 15/16 speed. It doesn't appear as if any of our reel to reel recorder/players offer
that as an option, so, obviously, we'll need to send it out.
How common was this recording speed and are there any general assumptions I might be able to make
about the circumstances of the recording (i.e., Were there consumer-grade recorders available with
this speed option? Years it might have been a popular option?)
Thanks in advance --
Center for Oral and Public History
California State University, Fullerton
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