Thursday, January 13, 2005

Windowing, Curling, and Sticky Shed

These are all bad things to happen to your tape.

Just a note, gentle readers, that the contents of this blog may not always be interesting to a wider public. It's meant as my online journal of my internship experiences with audio recordings and the cataloging of them. Caveat emptor.

With that, let me go through what I did with my four hours today.

Went through the ATM's Project Workflows and Procedures manual.

I have to make sure that all the documentation's in the folder of the collection I'm going to work with. Read only the wording given for announcements/labels, as written by the archivist. This is for the beginning of a track or CD, to introduce listeners to what they are about to hear. Very solid audio archival practice.

I'll be transferring from source recordings for access. Not preservation, that's Mike's job. The idea is to reproduce the sound as it's heard on the original. If it's requested, we do signal processing to get rid of the pops and clicks and tape hiss, etc. Makes it sound all shiny and new. :-)

You have to watch out for physical problems with magnetic tape: curled tape and windowing, plus scratches, that affect playback. Here's a site that talks about common causes of magnetic tape failure. Here's the book.

What is windowing you ask?

Good question!

Windows are defined as: "voids or see-through air gaps in the tape winding. They happen when magnetic tape is loosely wound onto a tape reel, and especially when the loosely wound reel is later exposed to extreme heat or humidity."

Lesson: Keep your reel taut!

Ugh! and if you still use tapes a lot, clean the heads. Then your hands.

I'm curious to see what azimuth is doing on tape machines? This is quickly veering into the realm of geochemistry.

I'll be back with some more fun tips on magnetic recording.

Here's the definitions of the day:

Source recording = The recording that's going to be digitized to another format.

Tripping = What happens when the light doesn't come on your open reel tape player (something to do with Otari and Tascam machines, VU meters, etc.)


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