Tom Fine wrote:
> I think copying ANYTHING "on autopilot" is a bad idea. We're paid to be 
> the ultimate quality control regulator. The work is actually done by the 
> machines. So our only really important job is NOT to hit play and go get 
> a cup of coffee or pick up the phone. Throughout the history of recorded 
> sound, nearly or every bit of great-sounding material was done very much 
> hands-on.
> One man's opinion.
> -- Tom Fine

Not everyone on this list fits that description. More to the point, at 
times the criteria for a job may vary from those one would like to 

I have a friend with a priceless collection of recordings he made fifty 
to sixty years ago. One of his jobs was as audio director for what was 
to become NBC-TV. (Another was playing fiddle in Toscanini's band, but 
that's several other stories.) He is a perfectionist in transferring his 
tapes and will let no one else handle them, but at his age and with the 
obligations he has assumed - and those his wife has assumed for him - 
his output is a trickle. He has already lost a substantial number of 
recordings to a 'flood of the century' and is in danger of losing more.

I have tried to persuade him that a safety copy is the first 
requirement, but he is adamant. I respect his position, but I agonize 
each time I read of a storm on the East Coast. I am also fearful that he 
is relying on the accuracy of his hearing aids not only to equalize but 
also to set level and to detect flaws. The first recordings he sent me 
(the Toscanini memorial concert with its three conductors) went into 
clipping at several spots - and he was unaware of the error.

Are those tapes worthy of archival transfer? By my judgement, they are 
and at far better than 44/16. But they must be transferred while he is 
still alive since I've no confidence that his widow will rescue them if 
he predeceases her. Between ideal digitizing and getting something onto 
disc, I have no doubt which is more pressing.

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