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Re: [ARSCLIST] 30-track SoundScriber

Hello, Jeremiah,

I cannot believe the number of orphan formats.

If your FA-5395 is working and you're up to 15 passes on each tape, you can do it by recording timecode plus two channels per pass. 30 channels was not widely used. In hunting logging recorders on eBay for the last year or so, I've seen several (and have two) 40-channel Dictaphone units (with a 20-channel 1/2-inch head assembly as well). These 40-channel units had 40 audio channels and a separate timecode track, but at 15/32 in/s I think the timecode was proprietary (I have two readers) and not IRIG B, but I could be wrong.

These, while they have multi-channel heads were designed to only sum the desired channels into one speaker for courtroom playback and did not have individual outputs. I have determined it is possible to tap individual outputs from each channel and feed them into a digitizer -- I can probably cobble together 32 tracks without trying too hard in my facility.

Obviously SoundScriber made a 30-track 1-inch version. Dictaphone I think also made that configuration, but other suppliers of loggers used 8-16-24-32-48-64 track configurations between 1/2- and 1-inch tape.

There are a few forensics labs that I am aware of their existence, but do not know precisely who/where they are, that might be able to help.

Also, beware that not all 30-track heads would be created equal. For example, what Dictaphone called 30 tracks was 30 tracks PLUS timecode while it sounds as if your 30 track machine does not have a separate timecode track.

Why would NASA have chosen this over an IRIG recorder? Cost? Perhaps there were no mid-level IRIG machines at that point? When did IRIG jump to 28 tracks on 1-inch tape?

Sorry I don't have a good answer for you, but I hope I've provided some idea of the magnitude of the problem.

You're ahead of many of the other people I run into -- at least you have a playback machine (however clumsy) that you can access these tapes with.

Do you have a dimensioned drawing of the tracks? That would be a help. Do you know what speed these tapes were recorded at? (or how many hours on X feet of tape?) I have started searching for a head for you.

I had www.TerrysRubberRollers.com make me new pressure rollers for one of my Dictaphones when I thought I might lease it to someone doing 9-11 911 tapes, but I think he found another solution.

Good luck!



At 10:06 AM 2007-03-13, Clifton, Jeremiah J. (JSC-AP)[TES] wrote:
I need to find a suitable playback system in order to archive

Originally recorded on a 30-track machine (Multi-Channel Recorder Type
FA-5394 by SoundScriber - early sixties) that uses 1" tape.

There is a playback machine (Multi-Channel Reproducer Type FA-5395 by
SoundScriber - early sixties), but the machine only plays back track 1
(usually IRIG-B - timecode) and two other tracks of your choosing by
using a variable selector (mechanically moving two separate playback
heads independently of each other in position over desired tracks). I am
looking for a 30-track playback solution, or any information about
either previously mentioned machines.


Richard L. Hess email: richard@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Aurora, Ontario, Canada (905) 713 6733 1-877-TAPE-FIX
Detailed contact information: http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.

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