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Subject: Recording tape for oral history project

Recording tape for oral history project

From: George Brock-Nannestad <pattac>
Date: Wednesday, July 2, 2003
Kory Berrett <kory [at] juno__com> writes

>My partner is working on an oral history project that will include a
>museum archive of transcribed audio cassettes.  Does anyone know how
>to specify the tapes themselves for maximum archival stability?

Cassette tapes are the most endangered media available. This is just
because they are/were so widely used. They are not regarded as
archival, and they do not tolerate elevated temperatures well.
However, the best to use would be simple Fe2O3 tapes, C60 or C90 (30
or 45 minutes per side), to be used in a MONO cassette recorder if
available, or in stereo, but do not use any Dolby or other noise
reduction system. HX-Pro is a system that reduces distortion but
does not affect replay. The so-called Professional Walkman Sony D6C
or a small Marantz are/were very good machines for portable use.

The modern alternative would be to use a MiniDisc recorder, which to
the ear gives a surprisingly high quality in an environment not
corrupted by surrounding, irrelevant speech. It is a proprietary
format, its audio data is deliberately but inaudibly corrupted in
order to save storage space, and for this reason one cannot measure
any relevant power spectra upon replay. However, handling is easy.
Long term storage would require transfer to a computer-readable
format, but that goes for most sound recordings these days.

George Brock-Nannestad

                  Conservation DistList Instance 17:9
                  Distributed: Thursday, July 3, 2003
                        Message Id: cdl-17-9-007
Received on Wednesday, 2 July, 2003

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