At 09:09 PM 2008-07-30, Tom Fine wrote:

>Boy do I not miss cassettes for music content, but I think we'll end 
>up missing them for spoken-word content. There is little attention 
>paid to quality with cheapo digi-recorders of spoken content and the 
>digital artifacts of low-grade lossy formats are far more annoying, 
>at least to my ears, than a little bit of hiss and/or wow from a cassette.

Being stuck in cassette purgatory (I had a city archive throw 100 
oral history cassettes my way a few weeks ago, and I'm doing final 
cleanup on them), I must say that I sort-of agree with you.

But ANYONE considering doing oral history with digi boxes needs to 
look at these two sites:

In my experience, every time you improve the quality of an oral 
history recording, it adds something.

I have used over the years several rigs that I liked (and you can mix 
and match).
    2 AKG C451 mics with a ReVox A77 tape recorder
    2 Sennheiser MKH-416T mics with a portable DAT recorder
    Audio Technica AT822 with a portable MD recorder
    2 DPA 4006-TL with Sound Devices 722 recorder

Of these, the AT822 and MD is the worst combination, but it is so 
much better than anything I hear coming in on cassette to transfer, 
that I heartily recommend it. It is also the smallest and least 
intimidating. The mic goes on a flat surface and there's a tiny wire 
plugged into the MD about 0.5 m away.

Andy Kolovos's page has some thoughts on some of the compact-flash 
recorders and though I don't think Andy likes the Zoom, I think Susan 
Kitchens (no relation to the Kitchen Sisters on NPR) in the second 
link above likes it.

Story Corps is using a Neumann KMS-105 and now that I own one, I can 
see why. Great mic.

I really, really like the Sennheiser short shotguns. The best oral 
history recording I got with my Dad was when we spent a whole 
afternoon and I had one on him and one on me. Even though the DPAs I 
used a few weeks ago sound a bit better and more natural for a room 
full of people, sadly Dad isn't as alert as he was when I did the 
previous rig. So, even more important, go out and do it. (I brought 
the SD recorder and the DPAs as I had been telling Dad about it and 
he was full of "you don't say" comments so I thought we'd have fun 
playing with toys. He's 92.5 years old now. So, just go and do it 
before it's too late.



Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
Aurora, Ontario, Canada       (905) 713 6733     1-877-TAPE-FIX
Detailed contact information:
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.