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ARSCLIST  April 2015

ARSCLIST April 2015

Subject:

Re: Digitizing Reel to Reel tapes

From:

"Richard L. Hess" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 21 Apr 2015 12:34:16 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (97 lines)

Ahhh, Amy,

The Otari DAS, as I recall, was an all-in-one solution which included a 
slightly-modified version of the excellent MTR-15 reel-to-reel tape 
player, if I recall correctly.

May I suggest the first step is to really look into the repair of the 
Otari you already have?

I have just sold my last three Studer A810s (all of which were 
excellent, low-mileage machines) to two University archives in the US. 
If you can find good examples of these, many archives like them. Good 
examples are becoming more difficult to find.

The big problem is that, to the best of my knowledge, some version of 
the Otari MX5050 is still available for sale as a new machine (whether 
it is recently manufactured or the result of a large production run 
years ago remains a question).

Maintenance is difficult. I am blessed with having Roger Ginsley as a 
friend here in Toronto and he is one of the best Studer technicians in 
the world. There are also some other Studer technicians of the same 
class in California. Charlie Belois comes to mind.

One thought that comes to mind is purchasing a remanufactured Studer 
machine from ATAEStuder in Grass Valley California. These are completely 
stripped down master recorders (A80 or A820) and then rebuilt from the 
ground up with new components replacing any that are likely to age. I 
know Fred Thal through email and telephone conversations and he is 
obsessive about quality in the work he does.

I am using Studer A80 machines now, rebuilt by Roger and me--not to the 
extent of the Fred Thal rebuilds, but still they function wonderfully. 
The A80 is perhaps the most maintainable deck from a long-term 
perspective. I also love and use Sony APR-5000s but they are more 
difficult to maintain than the Studer A80s going forward. I have solved 
that by collecting a large number of them.

I still think getting a good tape machine technician to look at your 
Otari machine would be best.

As to the remainder of the DAS system, forget about it. The analog to 
digital converters are an old design. Get a good, high-powered PC. The 
$1500-$2000 Dell Special Edition "XPS" machines seem to be a good 
choice. I bought one last year on special that had a 3 TB Hard Drive 
(Big) and a 256 GB Solid State Drive (Not small and FAST) that even 
chugs through video editing. It has more than twice the processor speed 
of my top machine. You'll want at least 12 or 16 GB of memory and a 
high-end i7 processor.

As to converters, there are many to choose from. I am particularly fond 
of RME products and have a Fireface UFX as my main, high-quality 
converter. The UCX has slightly broader high-frequency response which is 
only of use if you are ingesting at higher-than-real-time speeds (which 
the DAS could do).

With the Fireface UFX there are 8 analog line inputs and that means that 
one can feed at least two tape machines into it and process two tapes at 
once rather than doing one tape at a time at higher speed and have the 
same throughput and redundancy of tape machine hardware.

Please call me if you have more questions.

Cheers,

Richard



On 2015-04-21 10:49 AM, Mondt, Amy K wrote:
> Good morning everyone,
>
> Here at the Vietnam Archive, we have used an Otari DAS to digitize reel to reel tapes in our collection for many years.  Sadly, the Otari is no longer operational, so we are looking for a replacement system.  Are there new digitizers out there?  Where are the best places to purchase new systems?  What is the best, low maintenance system?  What are you guys using and why do you like it?  I am not an AV person, I don't even know how to run a reel to reel player, but I will be making the purchasing decision, so any advice you guys can offer will be greatly appreciated!
>
> Amy
>
> Amy K. Mondt, CA
> Associate Director
>
> The Vietnam Archive
> Special Collections Library, Room 108
> Box 41041
> Lubbock, TX 79409
>
> FedEx address
> 2805 15th Street
> Lubbock, TX 79409
>
> 806-742-9010 (phone)
> 806-742-0496 (fax)
>
-- 
Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
Aurora, Ontario, Canada                             647 479 2800
http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.

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