Repairs to audio tape before transfer to digital file

In addition to the high volume of videotapes we’re asked to digitise, we also receive quite a few batches of audio tape that require transfer and digitising by clients.

Before we run a transfer of reel-to-reel audio tapes on either of our professional-quality Revox or Tascam audio tape recorders we routinely check the condition of the tape itself and ensure that there are no perished splices (joins) in the tape itself. The older these are the more handling care and repair work is required before we can actually run the transfer.

Image of tape splice having been applied to a quarter-inch audio tape on Revox B77

Repairing perished tape splices and replacing leader tape is a routine job before transfer can take place.

Many tapes that have been recorded by home recording enthusiasts in years gone by might also not have any leader tape at the head (the beginning) or the tail (the end) of the reel. It’s always a good idea if they do have leaders in and out, especially if the tapes are to be retained as physical archive artefacts (which is always the case where tapes have been sent to us for digitising by libraries and museums or personal archive collections.)

Volume audio tape transfers and digitising for libraries and museums

In the first few months of 2014, SimplyDV has been contracted to undertake a large volume of audio tape and audio cassette transfer and digitising for organisations as varied as Stevenage Museum, the Higgins Art Gallery & Museum at Bedford, University of Cranfield School of Management, The Open University and Bletchley Park Trust, together with a number of personal clients requiring their home recording libraries to be converted to either 16-bit WAV or AIFF audio files. In some cases, we’re also asked to make equivalent MP3 audio files to be used as access copies or for incorporation into exhibition displays via touch-screen technology, etc.

A key activity for us over the last 18 months has been the digitising of oral history collections; until very recently the recording of people’s life stories and reminiscences was undertaken using either professional standard audio cassette recorders (such as the Marantz Superscope) or portable quarter-inch reel-to-reel recorders (such as the Uher Report 4200 or similar) but now that we’re firmly in the digital age this can be achieved using a variety of digital audio recording devices. However, the older analogue audio tape transfers to WAV and AIFF files is something that needs to be undertaken by a specialist – and that’s why we have been approached.

High standard of work and great service

We’re confident that one of the reasons why we gain repeat business is simply because we not only get the job done to a high standard and within an agreed deadline (that’s something we consider to be vitally important) but our clients also like the nature of the working relationship; we actually like working with our clients – and we get on really well with our clients, too!

Will you be our next client? If so, you’ll find out for yourself.

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