What we can play . . .
Records: 16,33,45,78 RPM Discs Mono,Stereo,Duophonic,Quadrophonic.
Cassettes—Mono or stereo standard audio cassettes and. We can also play 3-, and 4-track cassettes.
Other 0.15-inch tape formats—With the above audio cassette capabilities, we can play any other format (including micro cassettes)
1/4-inch reels (common reel to reel audio tapes)
—2-track NAB mono/stereo
—2-track DIN stereo
—quarter-track mono/stereo/quad (4-channel)
—Digital, see “digital formats,” below.
1/4-inch cartridges—We remove the tape from NAB broadcast cartridges, Elcasets, and the old RCA Sound Tape cartridges and can play the tape on our 2-, 3-, and 4-channel 1/4-inch players.
8-tracks—We can play stereo and 4-channel (Quad) 8-track cartridges in cartridge or out. Playing them on the open-reel machine provides superior results.
—7-track IRIG instrumentation tapes (FM or Direct)
—20-track logging tapes.
—14-track IRIG Instrumentation tapes (FM or Direct)
—28-track IRIG Instrumentation tapes (FM or Direct)
—40-track logging tapes.
__48 Track with Lynx (studer 24 track machines synced)
We can accept most major audio file formats as an upload.
Please contact us for the uploading details.
—Digital Files on CD, DVD, hard drive, USB drives, etc.
—DAT (44.1 and 48 ks/s)
—MiniDisc (normal and HIMD stereo)
—PCM-F1 on VHS or Betamax
—Sony DASH (3202) 2-channel reel
See the next section for even more detail on noise reduction and variations on the theme.
How we play your tapes . . . Noise Reduction, Equalization
Cassettes—We have several Nakamichi Dragons with automatic azimuth adjustment for the highest quality playback. When variable playback speed is required, we use our Nakamichi MR-1.
In addition, we can handle 3- and 4-track cassettes.
We also have a Philips 900 Series Digital Compact Cassette (DCC) recorder/player.
DATATAPE 1/4-inch 4-channel instrumentation and voice cassette players.
Reels—Our high-end mono and stereo 1/4-inch work is done mostly on our Studer A80 machines. We have many Sony APR-5003V professional reel-to-reel audio tape players with about ten plug-in head assemblies. We have three Studer A810s with several plug-in head assemblies, and a special Studer A807 as a tape preparation machine.
Half-inch tapes can be played on the Sony APR-5003s (2-, 3-, and 4-track)
We have 4-, 7, 8, and 16-track 1/2-inch heads for this machine
We have 8-, and 16-track one-inch heads for this machine.
Our primary instrumentation machines are Dictaphone units which will take up to 14-inch reels. We have these in 7-track 1/2-inch and both 14- and 28-track 1-inch configurations and can handle both Direct and FM within this system.
We have a Dictaphone Logging Player that plays 40-track 1-inch and 20-track 1/2-inch tapes at 15/32 in/s.
We have several Sony DASH reel-to-reel digital audio tape players.
8-tracks—For best results, we remove the tape from the cartridge and play it on a special head assembly for the APR-5003 machines. We have an Akai CR-80D-SS four-channel 8-track recorder/player so we can play both stereo and quadraphonic 8-tracks.
Other cartridges—Most cartridges, other than 8-tracks, use essentially standard reel-to-reel track configurations. We remove the tape from the cartridge, use a reel-to-reel player, and then return your tape on a reel. We have found few dedicated cartridge players that sound as good as our late-model high-end professional reel-to-reel machines. Here is a list of cartridge formats that we can play. If you come across a cartridge that is not on this list, please ask. It is very likely that we can play it.
• Cartridges playable with four-track 1/4-inch heads:
o RCA Sound Tape cartridges
o 4-track Muntz cartridges (same shell as NAB cartridges)
• Cartridges playable with 3-track 1/4-inch heads:
o Stereo NAB Broadcast cartridges .
• Cartridges playable with 2-track 1/4-inch heads:
o Mono NAB Broadcast cartridges
• Cartridges playable with 4-track 0.150-inch heads (Tascam 234):
o Revere/3M/CBS single-reel music cartridge (square)
• Cartridges playable with Stereo 0.150 (standard cassette) heads (Nakamichi Dragon):
o Micro cassettes
—Acetate, including tapes needing hydration.
We have successfully played a circa
—Polyester, including tapes with sticky-shed
and other binder problems are
—Paper tapes can be transferred, too!
—Dolby A (16 chan)
—Dolby SR (16 chan)
—Dolby B (16 chan)
—Dolby C (8 chan)
—Dolby S (8 chan)
—dbx I (16 chan)
—dbx II (8 chan)
Tape speeds—We can accomodate almost any tape speed in almost any format by the use of a variety of tape transports and/or computer tools to adjust speed and equalization.
For cassettes and other 0.150-inch-wide tape, nominal playback is 1-7/8 in/s in the Nakamichi Dragons.
For reels, we have the following native speed capabilities:
Sony APR-5000: 3-3/4, 7-1/2, 15, and 30 in/s
This machine has –50% varispeed capabilites, so the APR-5000 runs reliably at 1-7/8
Studer A810: 3-3/4, 7-1/2, 15, and 30 in/s
Studer A80: 7-1/2, 15, and 30 in/s
Dictaphone Loggers (20-channel 1/2-inch or 40-channel 1-inch only): 15/32 in/s
Tapes with controlled variable speed such as those made on a well-behaved “rim-drive” recorder can usually be recovered, but guessing at the proper speed in the absence of some reference (like hum) is a bit difficult and recreating an exact pitch/speed is essentially impossible.
Tapes made with random and jerky speed variations are essentially impossible to recover, although some improvement can be made to assist in understanding the words.
—AME (Ampex Master Equalization)
Other custom equalizations can be accommodated.
Reel Sizes—Reels from 2-inches to14 inches as well as both NAB and DIN (German/AEG) hubs (pancakes) can easily be accommodated.
1/4-inch quarter-track reels—We have special heads and techniques that can substantially reduce crosstalk on poorly recorded tapes.
Special processing / treatment
—We have developed a non-invasive method for playing squealing tapes such as 3M 175 and Sony PR-150
—We repair tapes with broken splices
—We repair broken cassette tapes usually by re-shelling them
—We are accepting moldy tapes
—We can treat sticky shed syndrome (binder breakdown/hydrolysis)
What we do after we play your tapes . . .
—Samplitude Pro version 10 with restoration suite
—Algorithmix NoiseFree Pro
—Diamond Cut Six Live/Forensics
—Algorithmix Sound Laundry
These programs provide substantial editing and processing capabilities to clean up recordings. Please note the difference between preservation reformatting (a clean transfer with no significant cleanup) and mastering (making the product as good as possible for public release). We do both.
Preferred output formats for clients
—Data files on Hard Drive, CD, DVD
Additional available output formats
please enquire as many play formats can also be recorded, but we do not recommend it.
IRIG Instrumentation Tape Output Options
At this point, our output options for IRIG tapes is somewhat limited, as our main focus is on audio. However, our audio digitization capability is flat (-1 dB) between approximately 10 Hz and 44 kHz which might be adequate for many non-DC measurements. Of course, with IRIG tapes, their playback speed can be changed to accommodate this digitization bandwidth window. We can provide audio WAV file output or text files with the numerical value of each sample.
We can, of course, also record to your current instrumentation recorder, should that be appropriate, or we could also produce another analog recording. For example if you had a 7-track tape and only 14-track playback, that could be copied in the analog domain, with the FM copied straight across so it is not demodulated and remodulated.
Due to the specialized nature of IRIG data recovery projects, we would like to discuss your requirements with you. We are interested in doing everything possible to help you recover important information from these tapes.
Since the beginning of recorded sound, there has been little attention paid to the archival nature of recording. We have been fortunate that many of the formats have retained their information reasonably well over the last hundred years or so. However, if we are going to maintain this information indefinitely, many of us in the archival community believe that the only way this will happen is if we convert the recordings to digital data and then manage that data in an active fashion like other digital data. The data will need to be migrated from one carrier to another as time goes on. Being digital, these migrations will be transparent.
One of the great challenges is creating digital files that are accurate representations of the original analog recordings. This sub-section of my Web site is devoted to this responsibility and my involvement with it.
There are estimates that over 50,000,000 hours of recordings have been made in the world to date. Few of these can realistically be expected to survive for another 100 years. The equipment to play them will be even harder to obtain in 100 years, so while the carrier and its information may survive, we will not be able to confirm its survival because we will not be able to play it. Even if we figure out how to play it, the infrastructure to do so in a high-quality manner will not be available. Where would you get accurate test tapes? Where would you get replacement parts for the old machines or figure out all the nuances that an Ampex, Nagra, Sony, or Studer figured out? The legacy of formats and configurations and companding technology is daunting for quarter-inch tape, not to mention the other tape widths.
Now is the time to start making the transition. Yesterday would have been good, too. Tomorrow may be too late. It has been estimated that the Library of Congress will require 400 PERSON YEARS to migrate their holdings into a digital format.
I do restoration, but more importantly, I hope that I am a spokesperson for creating policy to cause more restoration to be undertaken. It is not a job any one person or one company can complete alone. It is an industry-wide, world-wide challenge. Many of the recordings that are in danger of disappearing are important cultural records of civilizations that may no longer exist in the forms they did when they were recorded. Anything said here for audio is even more important, and more daunting, for video records. I restore audio recordings because I enjoy it, am good at it, and it needs to be done.
Some of this Information borrowed from Richard Hess.