I respect Duane and his contributions to the restoration and
preservation of disk recordings as well as his cleaning system for
CD's, so I'm sure that his discussion on the merits of vinyl (or
acetate) vs. CD is and should be intelligent aural food for thought. |
In our case here at Family Theater, we use Duane's Disk Doctor manual cleaning tools (solution and brushes) to be able to extract the cleanest possible sound from our library of radio broadcast transcriptions, and then, create a digital master therefrom for the duplication of multiple copies sent out to radio stations throughout the world. So far, the reactions to the rebirth of these OTR broadcasts has been quite good, and perhaps this is not so much a result of the quality of the CD's which on A/B listening stand up very well, but because listeners have the "illusion" that they have been able to reestablish a moment in time when they were or their parents were young. Even more important to the employees of Family Theater and the Catholic Fathers of the Holy Cross order that finances this reclamation is the ability to sound out once again the original broadcast mottos, "The Family That Prays Together, Stays Together", and more importantly today, "A World at Prayer is a World at Peace". And, this along with radio plays that used the best Hollywood actors and actresses, writers, directors and musicians of the forties and fifties that created a very loyal following that exists even today.
So, our use necessitates a process that "tries" to emulate the best possible sound that we hear directly from the disks when they are played on a turntable. In addition, after we digitize the individual broadcasts (1/2 hour each), we use digital tools to further clean up scratches, clicks and pops that are already a permanent part of the disks' surfaces; they cannot be manually cleaned away. Unfortunately, the physical surfaces of any of these analogue products are prone to damage, dirt and dust, while the plus of CD's is their sealed information. We've already had discussions in this list on the technology of making better CD or SACD media for the future, so things seem to be moving toward solving some initial flaws in the digital fabric. While I agree with Duane that one can hear some truly thrilling clean high fidelity directly off disks, and I've yet to hear that quality of sound from any current digital sources at my disposal, this is secondary to my success in creating aural mirrors that most listeners find to be clear reproductions without the original clicks and pops. The enjoyment of hearing again these professional productions of dramas, comedies, historical biographies and adaptations of great literature, in our case, is even more important than the quality of the media; it's great that they're getting a second, third or even fourth hearing. They were/are quality entertainment with an emphasis on family values. They were, in general, excellent then, and they're still excellent today.
Finally, the topper has to be the fact that we're able today to broadcast these over better lines and transmitters than the AM Mutual Broadcasting network had when these were originally aired.
So, summing up, I guess your take on archival work and the CD vs Vinyl discussion all depends on your end product and purpose.
The only technical addendum I would make regarding our project is that we make three CD "masters" for the archive in addition to the copies that we send out to the various broadcasters and sell on the Family Theater Productions web site. In addition, I keep the final .wav files on two separate hard drives which I will disconnect from my system once I finish the project (100 more shows to go). So, we will migrate our productions to any future media in spite of changing technologies. Oh, Duane, we won't be throwing any of our original disks and reel to reel tapes away; they still play beautifully in spite of the media flaws.
A final question: Is anything perfect?
Family Theater Productions
Don Cox wrote:
On 24/09/04, H. Duane Goldman wrote:Perhaps I've come into this thread to late, but does sound quality have a place in these assessments? Is a digital copy of an analog recording now considered equal to the original by this group? Have you traded sound quality for convenience? Have you lost touch with the original recording or don't care about the performance but simply want to claim that you have a "copy" of the work? Is this the direction that sound archives are seeking? if so its a sad day indeed!!! Of all the media presented in this thread, vinyl & shellac recordings offer superior sound quality & longevity than CD/DVDs or tape, so just what is the end point of your archives? Is it to preserve second class sound for the sake of convenience? Do any of you actually care about the sound of your holdings or isjust your ability to make a list of your digital recordings all that matters?Isn't the question the preservation of recordings which are digital in the first place? Or where only a digital copy survives.If I'm having a bad day & missed the point then please forgive the tirade, but I can't help but see a pattern that has little to due with a reference to the quality of the sound of the original recording. If you actually hear typical digital recordings as equal to their analog originals, then it is fair to say that indeed a very sad time has been reached.I don't think we should get into an argument about the sound quality of CD versus vinyl. The question is how to preserve whichever you have. However, the great strength of digital formats is the ease of copying - so a central archive may hold the original and many others can hold (and will wish to preserve) digital copies. If the original is fragile (for example a lacquer) it may not be safe to play it more than once or twice a century. Regards -- Don Cox doncox@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx