1. Regarding the availability of analogue tape, please see this url:

It seems that analogue tape will continue to be available, so the most
prudent practice, making both analogue and digital transfers, will continue
to be possible.

2. Work flow for archiving analogue to digital:

a. Procure excellent playback equipment for each analogue format. In
playback, for best quality, you may need to adjust the azimuth of the
playback head for each batch of recordings. This is the sort of thing a
competent audio engineer understands.

b. Determine which method of analogue-to-digital-conversion is appropriate
for your needs. For very best quality an external A/D converter may be
appropriate. However, a high-quality sound card such as the Lynx 2 may suit
your needs. (An added advantage: If you do the conversion with an external
A/D converter, you'll still need a sound card to squirt the audio into the
computer. So using a sound card like the Lynx combines the two processes.)
Consider which sampling rate and bit depth are appropriate for your
conversions. If you're only going to make audio CDs, you may decide that
44.1kHz/16 bits is the right choice, since this is what is used for
commercial CDs. For high-end audio conversion, typically higher sampling
rates are often employed, either 88.2kHz/176.4kHz (multiples of 44.1) or
96kHz/192kHz (multiples of 48kHz) with a bit-depth of 24 bits rather than

c. With the digitised audio in the computer, an editing programme is needed
to manipulate the audio before archiving it to CDR or whatever. I use
Samplitude Producer V8 for this purpose.

d. Typically, I make transfers at a high sampling rate, and archive these
original transfers to CDR as data files in WAV format. Then the audio is
resampled to meet the needs of audio CDs, which are then created from within
Samplitude using its ability to make Redbook CDs (which is what CD players
need). While there are no hard data on CD durability, many posters on this
list like the Mitsui Gold CDs. The Archival grade costs around $1.20 in

e. Logging the digitised audio. This needs to be thought through. It's
considered reckless behaviour to write on the part of the CD's surface that
has audio. Writing only on the innermost portion, closest to the centre
hole, with a pen approved for CD usage is considered good practice. With the
burnt CD safely lodged in a hard case, you'll need to create a liner printed
with all the important data. It's fairly easy to find a pre-formatted Word
file containing a blank liner. Then with Word and a laser printer, liners
can be created. An important aspect of logging: Maintaining a catalogue as
the work proceeds.

NB: Some batches of tape manufactured in the 1970s and 1980s had a defect
now called "sticky shed syndrome" which only surfaced later. If you're
working with reel-to-reel tapes you'll need to look for this during
playback. If tapes have this problem, it can be cured temporarily. But
that's yet another discussion.

Archiving can be time-consuming. You may wish to ascertain whether there's
funding to employ a grad student to do it.

Salutations, David Lewiston
The Lewiston Archive, Recordings and Documentation of the World's
Traditional Music

----- Original Message -----
From: "David Heetderks" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, March 09, 2005 3:14 PM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Creating Archival Copies on Analog Reel

>I am writing from Oral History American Music at Yale University.  We
> are a project that conducts and collects recorded interviews with
> American composers and musicians.  We recently received a grant to copy
> our archive onto a more stable format.
> I am relatively new to audio archiving, but after discussion with some
> recording experts at Yale, we came up with a plan to copy each
> interview onto 2 CD-Rs (one Reference Master, one user copy), and copy
> interviews on an unstable format (e.g., cassette, DAT, 1/2 track reel)
> onto analog reel.  We were advised that Quantegy 478 Low Print-through
> is ideal for archiving a recorded voice.
> With Quantegy out of business, it has become difficult to find blank
> reels.  We found one supplier in Connecticut, but it is relatively
> pricey.  I am wondering if others on this listserv uses analog reel for
> archiving, and how they are dealing with the current shortage.  Do you
> have several reels in stock, or do expect another manufacturer to buy
> manufacturing rights to audio reels in the near future?  If shortage of
> reels will be a long-term problem, would you suggest that we adjust our
> plans.
> Again, I am new to audio archiving, so please accept my apologies if
> this has been discussed before.  Thank you for any information you may
> have.
> David Heetderks
> [log in to unmask]