By "surface resonances" I meant table tops, fridge tops, floors, whatever the cheapo cassette
recorder with the built-in mic was sitting on. These resonances and combing effects plague many oral
history recordings I've worked with. The best of these kinds of recordings I've heard go back to
mics with plug-in cables, and someone knowing where to put the mic so it predominantly captures the
voice of the person being interviewed. Even better when there are two mics, one for each person, and
they are placed near each person and not handled during recording. Those kinds of high-fidelity
interviews are rare.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Lou Judson" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, January 20, 2016 5:09 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Cassttes - Re: [ARSCLIST] One more sticky-shed data point - Richardson
My projects with cassettes are mainly radio program interviews, neither high quality music nor funky
amateur recordings - just a bunch of programs where the reaal or hard drive originals were lost (don’t
ask!). So we are making them as good as possible under the circumstances.
Izotope RX is the rescue for us! Brings a cassette back up to broadcast quality (ie FM radio of the
90s) and for retail sales. It is partly archival and partly commercial. But proper azimuth goes a
long way to clear playback.
Can you tell me what you mean by “surface resonances?” I am accustomed to EQing out room resonances,
but that is an acoustic phenomenon, not a recording media issue, in my work.
On Jan 20, 2016, at 1:29 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> YES on Memorex. In my experience, those enclosures tend to warp or something else happens where
> they squeeze the tape pack too tightly. I often end up replacing them. The tape seems to hold up
> just fine over time, though. Also the funky thick paper-ish leader tape.
> YES also on azimuth. Luckily, I haven't had to deal with too many high-fidelity music recordings
> on cassettes, except those I made myself. Azimuth is usually less of an issue with lo-fi oral
> history recordings. In those cases, it's more about trying to tame the hiss down without making
> the voices inaudible. I usually end up having to do plenty of digital processing to get maximum
> audibility. Luckily, it's all there in the old Bell System research -- make sure certain
> human-voice frequencies are OK and you can hi- and lo-pass the heck out of problem tapes. In my
> experience, the client's goal with oral histories is as much audibility of the spoken words as
> possible, not necessarily fidelity to the voice itself. Of course, optimally, you want both, but
> some recordings are just awful and it's pulling the needle (the audible words) out of the haystack
> of background noise, surface resonances, and tape hiss.
> -- Tom Fine