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On Monday, August 18, 2008 6:38 PM, George Blood wrote:

> Namely, we're  feeding them data (output of the A to D converter) 
> and that data is being changed between the input and being 
> written out into a file.

How did you test and measure those changes?


> Interoperability is a non-trivial issue.

Interoperability is not desirable from the software vendor's 
perspective (ie. captive user), and they will invest minimally
in this.  Only when people stop purchasing software that is not
interoperable will the vendors then start to deliver what the
market demands.

The reality - unfortunately - is that the archival audio market
is barely a blip on the radar for most of these software 
vendors.  So rather than selecting software that caters to 
multi-track production of new music, it is worth giving higher
consideration to software that caters to restoration and
archival work.  As a user, your voice is more likely to be
heard.

Keep in mind that software that caters to smaller market niches
also has to cost more because the software development costs 
need to be amortized across far fewer users.

So if cost is an issue, and you choose to go with tools 
targetted at the mass market to save money, you can't honestly
expect archival grade software.


> Third, what does it tell us in the trade that, for all our 
> efforts to create higher resolution files, there's been 
> overwhelming satisfaction with the lesser results.

What are you calling "the trade"?

In the archival world, I don't see any such slipping 
towards lesser results.  Certainly not intentional 
slipping.  Maybe some archives are still coming up the
education curve, or are strapped for resources - but 
that should not be confused with "overwhelming 
satisfaction".

In the general music industry, absolutely yes - client 
discrimination is on the decline as convenience and
portability take priority over audio quality.  I'm 
wondering if it's not so much that there's been 
overwhelming satisfaction with lesser audio quality 
as there has been overwhelming satisfaction with 
convenience and portability.


> It reminds us that so many of our source materials 
> are of such low (or lower) quality that there isn't 
> more information to be captured at the higher resolutions.

Perhaps there is not more audio content to be captured
at higher resolutions, but in some cases - such as with
grooved media - the higher frequency impulse information
can be valuable for improved noise reduction later.

On the other hand, oral histories on field-recorded 
cassettes are generally just fine at 24-bit 48 kHz
sampling rates.

One can also argue that by using a single standard within
an archive like 24/96, that this will reduce the amount
of processing and migration errors and will serve the
archive better in the long-term.


> Where you have to break the files into multiple sub-file 
> (due to the 2GB file size limit of WAV), you create a 
> chance to lose one of the pieces.  Is this really better  
> preservation than having one file (even 44/16) of the 
> whole thing?

I think the 2 GB limit is a temporary situation.  Unlimited
file lengths are well defined already for the ubiquitous
WAVE (and archival BWF) formats, and well supported by 
some software packages (those focused on the archival
market).  I believe it's just a matter of time until this 
will become a standard.  Perhaps wishful thinking, but I 
think not - the broadcast industry will make this happen.

The digital domain is rapidly evolving, whether it is 
sample rates, storage, or file formats...

We just need to accept that once you go digital, you need
to also commit to evolution and migration, and to the
effort and costs associated with digital preservation.

Digital is here to stay.  Modern recordings are "born 
digital" and will also need to be preserved.  Digital
is inescapable, as is the rapid change around it.  It's
actually kind of amazing that the audio CD has lasted
nearly 30 years as a digital format.


> we shouldn't be pointing fingers at the poor blokes 
> trying eek out a living selling $250 (or free) software.  
> You get what you pay for.  If you paid for that, you got  
> it.  Of your own free will.

...to the extent that your free will is not constrained 
by your resources.

But, yes, you generally get what you pay for (the crux
of this entire thread of postings), and that's not going
to change any time soon in the archival world.


Eric Jacobs

The Audio Archive, Inc.
Tel: 408.221.2128
Fax: 408.549.9867
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