If you look around carefully, you can find reasonable prices on decent condition Tascam 122 decks. If you see one that's in good shape for a cheap price, I would say jump on it immediately. Follow me along here for a minute or two ... You buy a small fleet of the Tascams, maybe 4 of them. If you have a large ingestion job, surely you can justify the expense of sending them out for refurbs (they usually need the capstan-drive belt and the pinchroller replaced, especially if they are first-generation 122's). You may already have an 8-channel firewire or USB interface, if not there are now plenty of decent candidates down well south of $1K. Now here's where the fun starts -- these Tascams all are able to run at 3.75IPS, which means you can do 2x ingestion for anything non-Dolby-encoded (ie most spoken-word and field-recorded tapes). Ingest at 88.2/24-bit and then when you halve the pitch you'll still have 44.1/24-bit resolution to work with (for DSP, the 24-bits is more important than the sampling rate, particularly with frequency-challenged field and voice recordings). This is a pro-grade solution to efficiently transferring large piles of cassettes. -- Tom Fine ----- Original Message ----- From: "Richard L. Hess" <[log in to unmask]> To: <[log in to unmask]> Sent: Thursday, July 31, 2008 2:09 PM Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] The end of the cassette ? ? ? > At 10:01 AM 2008-07-31, Trey Bunn wrote: >>I've seen some USB cassette decks before, but I wondered about the >>quality of them. > > Hi, Trey, > > I'm hoping for reports. So far, the only thing I've seen that looks like a review is in > Technologies for Worship Magazine (TWFM) and it's for the UK-made high-speed USB unit. Let's start > by saying this digitizes at 22.05 ks/s so it's got half the bandwidth of a CD. As I stated in my > earlier post, it appears meant for spoken word and I wouldn't even consider it for music. > > At least in my mix of work, quality music cassettes amount to less than 1% of what I do. It's > almost all spoken word. If it is music, it's poorly recorded family music. The saddest thing is > when a composer or his child comes to you with a cassette that's the only known copy of the > parent's work and then you find out it's got distortion, etc. > > When I speak to groups of archivists, I like to play an excerpt from an organ recording I made of > Jean Langlais at the Church of the Heavenly Rest in NY City. I made it with a pair of AKG C-451 > mics on a Nakamichi 550 portable on Maxell tape. I transferred it about five years ago on a > Nakamichi Dragon. Sounds quite excellent. > > Yes, there is a different interpretation between Nakamichi and Philips as to the published > standard, see > http://richardhess.com/notes/2006/05/17/cassette-equalization-the-4-db-ambiguity-at-16-khz/ > > So, while cassettes can sound surprisingly good when you use expensive machines (my Sony TCD-5M > just got the best transfer of an endless loop cassette for a client because the Nakamichis > wouldn't play it and the cassette itself recommended that it be run flat), most of the cassettes > out there were recorded on bargain-basement recorders. > > I think we need to define what the goals of the transfer are. I suspect the Graff unit provides > good intelligibility of the spoken word which is very different than high fidelity music. > > As far as the CONSUMER USB machines, if TracerTek is selling them, they might be a small step > above what you're thinking. TracerTek tries to find good quality products for their clientele who > they think of as audiophiles (and address us thusly in their emails). > > I don't know if the USB cassette machines are any worse than any other cassette machine you can > purchase new today. You know where I've put my money and time...6.5 Dragons with one coming > someday as payment for a project I'm working on. The 0.5 is a brand-new (NOS) mechanism to replace > one that might fail in one of my machines. > > Cheers, > > Richard > > > Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask] > Aurora, Ontario, Canada (905) 713 6733 1-877-TAPE-FIX > Detailed contact information: http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm > Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.