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Re: arsclist Duplicating casette tapes

At 01:00 PM 8/1/2002 -0500, Melinda Curley wrote:
We are beginning an oral history project and plan to purchase equipment to make reference copies of the original cassette tapes. Is it best to purchase a dual cassette deck such as a Sony or RCA, etc. or are there decks that are best for duplicating tapes that are not manufactured to be part of a stereo system? I would appreciate any advice on this subject.

Unless you have a compelling need to copy onto cassette, I strongly recommend avoiding cassette for archiving. An inexpensive standalone CD recorder (not associated with a computer) will give you a digital copy from which analogue or digital transfers can be made without detectable loss and without compromising your originals.

It is legitimate to argue that the life of CD is limited, but it is substantially longer than cassette and the ability to replicate the copy without loss is extremely valuable in practice. If you can go beyond the minimum configuration to a semipro recorder or even better to one working within a computer, then you would be even farther ahead, but mastering to cassette is costly and unwise.

Again, if you have some special circumstance dictating cassette archives, then the above does not apply. Quality dual-well cassette decks have all but disappeared from the market; inexpensive units are available, but I would not recommend any in particular for your job. The bulk duplicators have the advantages of running at high speed and making multiple copies at once but the disadvantage of producing copies with poor audio.



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