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Condition Audio

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A Growing Need for Audio Transfer Services

It may seem like old hat, but many individuals and organizations still have dated audio collections on old analog formats like 8-track, reel, microcassettes, standard cassette tapes and digital tape like DCC or DAT (digital compact cassette and digital audio tape respectively.) With technological advancements, there is a growing need for audio transfer services to get old music and speech moved into modern audio formats.

Damage and Corruption of Tape

Traditional tape recordings can develop problems as they age, especially those that have seen heavy use or weren't carefully stored to protect them from contaminants and environmental conditions. As these tapes are often mishandled over the years they're far more likely to suffer a loss of quality or breakdown completely.

Tapes simply don't age well, and their condition certainly doesn't improve. As time progresses, problems can arise with magnetic tape such as "Sticky shed syndrome" or "vinegar syndrome." Technical names aside, the result can lead to a complete loss of the original recording. That's why it's a good idea to back up analog recordings with audio transfer services.

Outdated Tape

For every bad tape and lost recording there are tapes in excellent condition. With advancements in technology older formats become obsolete and as they break down people have been left without the equipment to play the tapes. For many formats, only used models are available and can come at steep prices. There will come a time where equipment won't be available at all.

Otari, Inc. is the only manufacturer still providing reel to reel tape decks. Elcaset, DCC and the better known 8-track players are no longer being manufactured. Parts are no longer in circulation and must be stripped from other machines. Over time, even that will become extremely difficult as the machines disappear from the market. While professional audio transfer services have these units available to move audio for customers, it's best to change formats as quickly as possible once your old audio has been moved.

Recordings - Music & Speech

While the professional sector has accumulated a lot of analog audio over the years, there are millions of recordings - both music and speech - that have never been converted to a digital format. These analog recordings range from local bands that were never signed to speeches made by friends, family, colleagues, teachers, historians and more. Anyone who would like to listen to those pieces would need some dated technology, or have the audio transfer done to digitize the speeches and music.

Audio transfer services can help individuals and organizations reclaim content and recordings that have been lost to time including oral histories, interviews, sermons, audio journals, speeches and more. Much of the analog content that's floating around out there is a part of someone's history, and audio transfer can preserve that.

Audio Transfer and Restoration Service Providers

If something has been recorded, then there is likely some measure of importance to that particular piece. That audio should be transferred into a digital format as soon as possible. While a recording might be fresh, the tape could still be aged which could cause even new audio to degrade. Because of the variety of analog formats, it's necessary to do a little research into a variety of audio transfer services. Some work with only limited formats while others have access to all the necessary equipment to handle outdated and rare analog formats.

While it's entirely possible to transfer your own audio, the quality of the transfer will be limited by the equipment and how the content is handled. For better quality and to ensure the integrity of the audio, it's best to use professional audio transfer services. Most services use professional grade equipment with external audio interfaces that provide the optimal transfer of quality, far superior to a transfer made using a standard home PC.

Physical damage and issues with tape can cause the most problems, and a professional audio transfer service has the engineering experience to handle a tape properly, repair it if necessary, and transfer the audio. Should the defects of the tape create problems in the audio, the engineer might be able to use restoration software to repair the audio, restoring it to the original quality of the recording.

Aging Digital Formats

While it's important to backup and transfer analog audio recordings, minidisc and digital tape formats that are becoming obsolete should be transferred as well. Some formats are already quite obsolete. DCC comes to mind here. The manufacture of Digital Compact Cassette players was halted in October of 1996 and there aren't very many units out there.

Very few minidisc players are being produced now and DAT has been discontinued. In fact, Sony stopped manufacturing DAT machines at the end of 2005. It's important to transfer audio sooner rather than later and over time, even professional audio transfer services will have a difficult time converting tape recordings and minidiscs to a digital file format due to a lack of support for the equipment.

About the Author
Audible Forensics provides audio tape transfer services in addition to audio enhancement and restoration services. We can also repair broken cassette tapes and are capable of transferring many audio formats including reel to reel, 8-tracks, and microcassette to CD or a digital file format.

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