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At the Louis Armstrong archive I made 3 copies of each tape I transferred.
The preservation master was a Masterlink CD-24  24-bit AIFF file burned to a
CDR using the Alesis Masterlink unit, one redbook CDR created on the
computer using Wavelab, and an analog safety copy on BASF/Emtech 911. We
started out making the analog copies at 15 IPS, but then ran out of tape
stock (donated by BASF/Emtech) and had to secure a grant to purchase more
tape stock. By the time the grant had come through, Emtech had gone into
bankruptcy, and were not manufacturing tape, but we were lucky enough to
find 500 reels that the Metropolitan Opera archive was looking to sell, and
purchased those. At that time we switched to recording analog copies at 7
1/2 IPS.
    I agree with Shiffy about the problems of making simultaneous analog and
digital copies. When recording at 15 IPS, the tape copy will only hold 30
minutes of material, so I had to stop the original half way through and
string up a new reel on the copy machine (most of the originals were 3 3/4
IPS mono 7 inch reels, recorded on both sides, resulting in 2 hours of
material per tape). Many of the originals also had splices which broke
during playback, requiring additional stopping and restarting of the copy
reels. Due to time and budget constraints, I did not have the luxury of
making the digital and analog copies in separate passes, and adding a
simultaneous analog copy to my workflow added a significant amount of time
to the process. The analog copies of tapes I transferred during the time we
were without tape stock will be made by playing back the 24-bit copies and
recording to analog from them, rather than the originals.
    I also agree that it is prudent to make analog copies in addition to
digital ones, but our analog copies are considered a "worst case scenario"
backup, and hopefully will never be needed.
    My personal recommendation to the archive was not to make analog
backups, primarily because of the enormous cost of the media, not to mention
the additional labor costs, but they chose to spend the extra money and
cover all possibilities.
    Some of the tapes in our archive had been transferred between 1992 and
1994 to Scotch 808 tape, and by the time I arrived, these had become
practically unplayable, as the backcoating was gumming up the machines
transport path, so I avoided using the remaining Scotch stock we still had,
and had to re-transfer the ones that had already been copied. The Emtech 911
has shown no problems so far, but I don't know if it's made anymore. As far
as I know, the only manufacturer still making analog tape stock is Quantegy.
    If money is an issue in your archive, I would put serious thought into
the issues I described above before incorporating analog copies into your
preservation strategy. At this point in time it seems more of a luxury than
a necessity. If money is not an issue, I'd love to work for you!
-Matt Sohn

----- Original Message -----
From: "Preston Everett" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, May 07, 2004 9:59 AM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Analog Masters


> Hello Everyone!
>
> I need to know how many of you, or how many institutions you know of,
> make analog masters while making digital masters? I know of one A/D
> grant project that is doing this.  They are making reel to reel masters
> from the reel to reel or cassette original as well as making a wave.  So
> my question is this a standard for digitizing audio and how many of you
> practice this.
> Best regards,
>
> Preston Everett
> Mississippi Department of Archives and History
> Image & Sound Division
> [log in to unmask]
>