I was hoping someone would say what Shai said! Having digitized a bunch of old grooved disks for
both clients and my own enjoyment, I can say that each record needs to be carefully cleaned,
playback parameters need to be fine-tuned by ear, and if restoration software is used, it must be
used with expert ears involved so it doesn't ruin more than it fixes (hint -- there's more "room
tone" on old 78's than you might think, given their frequency-range limits). If you want a good
example, compare the latest Robert Johnson remasters to the previous million-selling remasters from
the early 90s. There's no comparison, in my opinion! In the new remasters, you can actually hear WHY
Johnson was facing the corner of the room, how he was using the room to change the sound his guitar
made into the microphone. You can also hear the distance from the mic to the room corner. The only
thing that was clearly audible in previous issues of RJ material was the notes being played and the
voice singing, almost none of what has actually happening around that was audible. The same is
definitely true of some orchestral recordings made in lively acoustic spaces.
Bottom line, if you're talking about digitizing a collection of professionally recorded,
commercially-released 78RPM records (or, for that matter, well-recorded broadcast transcriptions,
which are most certainly professional-grade audio), then you can't "mass ingest" like you can some
other audio. Each disk must be carefully cleaned, the correct playback parameters must be chosen
(stylus size and shape, EQ curve, whatever other analog signal processing is to be in the chain,
correct playback speed in accord with musical pitch, etc). And each transfer must be processed with
skill and taste. That is the only method to get great-sounding results that are worthy of an
archival effort and budget. And this is most certainly the case for commercial reissues, although
it's followed all too infrequently!
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Shai Drori" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, November 23, 2015 2:14 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Process suggestions for digitizing a very large quantity of 78s.
> Dear Joel
> Disclaimer first: I have a studio that deal with digitizing analog media to
> digital files, but this is not a plug for my services (although you are
> more than welcome to contact me off list).
> Of all the media types out there, the one that can not be masses digitized
> are the early records. The setup time for each record is different and
> takes much longer than the actual playing time. This is one station where
> there is one operator per playing device, unlike cassettes or reel to reels
> where I can have one operator controlling several playing devices. If you
> have that many records to digitize you will need a large staff and many
> stations. From my experience you do not need to wash all records. Usually,
> most records are actually quite clean and need just a good dusting.
> Gotta go but will be glad to answer follow up questions.
> On Sun, Nov 22, 2015 at 11:58 PM, Joel Bresler <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Dear friends:
>> Apologies for cross-posting...I'd be interested in hearing from list
>> who have worked on teams digitizing very large numbers of 78 rpm recordings
>> (tens of thousands) or who have read good articles and reports on teams
>> undertaking same. I am particularly keen to learn about techniques and
>> process flows that "work" for large-scale production that would be
>> impractical logistically or economically for smaller quantities.
>> I would also value opinions on whether it is important to wash all the
>> first, or a process for determining which have to be washed for best
>> Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
>> Joel Bresler
>> 250 E. Emerson Road
>> Lexington, MA 02420
>> United States
>> 1-781-862-4104 (Telephone & FAX)
>> [log in to unmask]
>> IN CASE OF VERIZON EMAIL PROBLEMS, PLEASE USE MY BACK-UP EMAIL: