Here at Family Theater, we make all digital backups; I make two CD masters of the shows that I've finished as well as archiving all the .wav files to a separate160 GB hard drive which will be disconnected from the system once the project is finished.  In addition, I'm using two other separate hard drives of smaller sizes to work from and to in the digital cleanups and mastering, so I guess I have major redundancy.  In our opinion, digital does everything quite well, and we'll migrate to any better formats in the future for added redundancy and accessibility.

I should mention that I'm remastering from 16" transcription disks as well as 1/4" off the air masters, and both of those formats still stand up very well, although I find that some of the tapes exhibit minute dropouts which are heard primarily in music cues, because of the sustained quality of the waveform.  In most cases, I'm able to boost the signal level back to normal and use some filters to make it seem seamless.   Also, I see some oxide "dust" coming off on my guides and heads, but nothing major.  I figure these are all the variable artifacts of analogue tape  Of course, one must constantly clean the tape path and degauss the heads for the best reproduction.  I use the Disk Doctor's stuff for cleaning the disks, and that works well for them, but I must admit it's nice to have the finished .wav files; there's an awful lot of time and labor involved in these projects I'm sure we all agree.

Rod Stephens
Family Theater Productions

matt Sohn wrote:
----- Original Message -----
From: "John Spencer" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, May 08, 2004 2:00 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Analog Masters


  
Matt,

I know the Masterlink makes ISO 9660 discs of AIFF files (I own one as
well), but I have experienced occasional playback problems from machine to
machine (especially from older discs).  Have you had any experiences such
    
as
  
this?
    

I haven't had any problems playing back discs, but I usually extract the
files onto the computer, rather than playing back from the Masterlink. I
wonder if the problems you experience are related to the discs you are
using? I use Mitsui Gold.

  
What is your process of linking metadata with AIFF files?  Using the file
name as a link?
    

In the jobs I have had, I don't really deal with metadata. That chore has
been the responsibility of the archivist. I would think that an elegant
solution would be to extract the files to a computer and save them as BWF
files, which allow for metadata to be included in the file header.

  
I agree with your thoughts regarding analog copies in this day and age.
    
At
  
$20+ per reel, you can buy a lot of other toys...
    

Yes, the only advantage I can see to analog tape is that failure is gradual
rather than catastrophic, unlike digital. I can understand why archivists
are afraid to let go of analog preservation schemes, but it's so damn
expensive.
-Matt