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Re: [ARSCLIST] basic question from a newbie

On Monday, January 05, 2009 4:18 PM, Eric Jacobs wrote:

> One subtle but important tip regarding 1/4-track stereo reel-to-reel 
> recordings is that they need to be played back on a 2-track machine if 
> your target audience is blind listeners.
> It is tempting to use 4-track heads because you can digitize both the
> A and B sides in a single pass, reducing your digitizing effort/time
> and hence cost by nearly 50%.

Realizing that the above could be confusing, let me try to be 
more clear.  It is possible to play 1/4-track stereo reel-to-reel 
tapes with either

a) 1/4-track stereo heads (play Side A, flip the tape, then 
   play Side B)

b) 4-track heads (play Side A and Side B at the same time, then 
   reverse Side B in your DAW)

> However, blind people tend to have very acute hearing.  If you digitize
> a 1/4-track tape with a 4-track head, there will be too much cross-talk
> on the adjacent tracks (ie. you can hear the B-side (playing backwards)
> at a very low level in the background of the A-side).  The cross-talk 
> is annoying to sighted listeners, but can be intolerable to blind 
> listeners.

The main point is that the use of cost-saving measures such as 4-track
playback of 1/4-track stereo tapes should be considered very carefully
for content destined for blind listeners.  I would generally caution 
against 4-track playback of 1/4-track stereo tapes.  If you do consider
4-track playback, first run several test cases with a test audience to 
ensure that cross-talk is in fact not a problem for your listeners.

Eric Jacobs

The Audio Archive, Inc.
tel: 408.221.2128
fax: 408.549.9867
Disc and Tape Audio Transfer Services and Preservation Consulting

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