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In language documentation (sub-filed of linguistics) our best practice is to record at 96/24. In our filed the goal is often to archive the audio directly (following filed trips and without post processing), and we are often working with the last handful of speakers of some small language (though this is not always the case). 

Have you seen the iSLR app? It does a little bit of audio management. https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=594675946&mt=8  The problem I have found is that the internal audio cards of phones can not handle PCM audio of higher than 44.1Khz/16bit.  theoretically on should be able to build a card to off board the audio processing and then import the files to the phone's file structure. However, even devices like TASCAM iM2: [http://tascam.com/product/im2/specifications/] still process the audio at 44.1Khz/16. 

- Hugh


On Mar 13, 2014, at 5:14 PM, Tom Fine wrote:

> Hi Hugh:
> 
> Yes, I think a high-fidelity full-range speech recording may (or may not) be negatively effected vis-a-vis intelligability. I have encountered almost no such recordings in now thousands of oral history and other amateur speech recording transfers. Only relatively modern professionally produced speech recordings would get noticeably messed up, especially if you EQ for audibility in the DSP realm.
> 
> But like I said, I wouldn't try that trick if I had a pile of high-quality recordings of a famous person known for their beautiful voice. Then again, I doubt they would have recorded onto cassettes in the first place, and if so I doubt they would have used a high-quality microphone. There are exceptions to everything in audio, but that was not the norm with spoken-word cassette recording.
> 
> On a related note, I think if you let loose the legions of amateur recordists who made thousands of interesting but poor-audio oral history recordings in the cassette era, with today's relatively inexpensive digital recorders, and give them minimal instructions about placing the recorder mics-up between the interviewer and interviewee, you'd get much better audio today. Indeed, even cellphones can do this job as long as the user knows where the microphone is located and positions it properly. I keep hoping someone will come up with an app that leads a rank amateur through setting up and capture an oral history with their iPhone or Googlephone. Such an app would include an indicator if the mic is too far away from the person speaking and if there is too much table-comb or room-boom. Ideally, the app would clean up background noise right away, and save a copy of the audio file to some "cloud" system so there's immediate backup.
> 
> -- Tom Fine
> 
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Hugh Paterson III" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Thursday, March 13, 2014 6:48 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Need use of 4-track stereo tape deck/monaural output for digitization project
> 
> 
>> @Tom,
>> 
>> You say that it would be fine for spoken work or oral histories. I am not familiar with the process of double speed, but how will it not mess with the frequencies and formants of things like vowels?
>> (speaking as a phonetician and linguist here.)
>> 
>> - hugh paterson
>> 
>> 
>> On Mar 13, 2014, at 3:18 PM, Tom Fine wrote:
>> 
>>> Hi Andrew:
>>> 
>>> Any of the several "porta-studio" type machines from Tascam, Fostex, Yamaha and maybe others could do 4 tracks at once. I think Richard Hess has said the track configuration is slightly different from Norelco Standard, but it would probably be fine for low-fidelity content like spoken-word. Tascam also made a 4-track front-loading deck. I think most of these decks had dbxII NR instead of Dolby B or C.
>>> 
>>> For low-fi material, another advantage is that these decks almost all ran at both 1 7/8 and 3.75 IPS, so you could do whole-tape double-speed ingestion. That would definitely screw up the audio with anything high quality, but it would be fine for stuff like oral histories.
>>> 
>>> -- Tom Fine
>>> 
>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Andrew Dapuzzo" <[log in to unmask]>
>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>> Sent: Thursday, March 13, 2014 4:59 PM
>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Need use of 4-track stereo tape deck/monaural output for digitization project
>>> 
>>> 
>>>> Does anyone know if the same possibility exists for cassettes?
>>>> 
>>>> machines that "could reproduce 4 tracks at once, which would speed up the
>>>> digitization project. You'll need to reverse the two backwards channels" in
>>>> the DAW?
>>>> 
>>>> When we duplicated prerecorded music cassettes we recorded them this way
>>>> but I am unaware of a playback machine that could playback all four at
>>>> once.  I assume they don't exist but .....
>>>> 
>>>> Thanks
>>>> Andrew Dapuzzo
>>>> Sony DADC
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> On Thu, Mar 13, 2014 at 3:55 PM, Richard L. Hess
>>>> <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>>>> 
>>>>> Hi, Lise,
>>>>> 
>>>>> Some of the Teac and Sony machines could reproduce 4 tracks at once, which
>>>>> would speed up the digitization project. You'll need to reverse the two
>>>>> backwards channels in your DAW software.
>>>>> 
>>>>> If you are willing to play back single channels and move connectors,
>>>>> almost any 1/4-track recorder from "back in the day" could do this for you
>>>>> as long as it has a 3.75 in/s speed.
>>>>> 
>>>>> For the Tandberg, you might contact Terrysrubberrollers.com -- he rebuilds
>>>>> the part, but I don't think he fixes machines.
>>>>> 
>>>>> Of course, there are several of us who could do this for you--on much
>>>>> better machines than the Tandberg, but I fear that the price is high.
>>>>> 
>>>>> Cheers,
>>>>> 
>>>>> Richard
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> On 2014-03-13 2:30 PM, Lise Menn wrote:
>>>>> 
>>>>>> Hello, I am a new member of this list and totally naive about how to use
>>>>>> your collective knowledge so I hope you'll be patient with me and ask for
>>>>>> additional information if you think you can help me.
>>>>>> I have about 60 remaining hours of audiotapes made in the 1970's on a
>>>>>> Tandberg Model 12 which can no longer be repaired (at least not here in
>>>>>> Boulder CO), apparently because its rubber parts have degenerated.
>>>>>> To save money when I was a student, I recorded the four tracks monaurally
>>>>>> at 3 3/4 ips, so that I could get 4 hours of speech recording per reel.  I
>>>>>> started digitizing the tapes gradually a few years ago but when I was about
>>>>>> 1/3 thru the job, the Tandberg stopped being repairable.  The contents of
>>>>>> the tapes are worth preserving for research in language development; I will
>>>>>> donate the digitized versions to the CHILDES archive at Carnegie Mellon.
>>>>>> Is there a similar working Tandberg someplace that I could visit for a
>>>>>> week or so and use to complete this job?  Is there some other 4-track
>>>>>> machine that will permit monaural playback? Is there someone who knows how
>>>>>> to machine new parts for my old tape deck?  Any other ideas?  Please help,
>>>>>> and thank you.
>>>>>> Lise
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Lise Menn                      Home Office: 303-444-4274
>>>>>> 1625 Mariposa Ave
>>>>>> Boulder CO 80302
>>>>>> home page:   http://spot.colorado.edu/~menn/
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Professor Emerita of Linguistics
>>>>>> Fellow, Institute of Cognitive Science
>>>>>> University of  Colorado
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Fellow, Linguistic Society of America
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> -- Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask], Ontario, Canada 647
>>>>> 479 2800 http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm Quality tape
>>>>> transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.
>>>>> 
>>>> 
>>