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Re: [AV Media Matters] Saving the folk heritage


WOW-Thank you for saying that--it articulates what I'm attempting to say to
the AES Technical Committee that has just started working and I'll be
forwarding it to that TC.

I am working at preserving the high-end of the folk heritage -- that which
was recorded at some expense in (sometimes even good) recording studios.

I'm proud to have made my little contribution to the Smithsonian Folkways
"Best of Broadside" 5-CD set that has received a Grammy nomination. (My
contribution was restoring Kristin Lems's track).

I refer you to a page at my Web site that I recently put up:


and an older, more general audience page that describes what I've been


I have a comment on the blank CDs. Mitsui has performed excellently and
they are claiming c. 300 year life for their gold disks (I'm not comparing
200 vs 300, I'm looking at orders of magnitude). These disks are simply
lacquer coated and would be subject to mechanical damage. I don't see the
archive copy of anything being the same as the listening copy. I make a
minimum of three of my restorations: Home archive copy, off-site archive
copy, and listening copy.

I must strongly suggest avoiding stick-on labels for the CDs. I've seen
problems with some of them in a year. Personally, I use a TDK CD marking
pen and attempt to write small inside or outside of the active track area.
All real data is placed on the jewel box.

For some of my restorations I also include a CD-extra portion that contains
the scans of the cover art and other information.

I have suggested on this (and/or the ARSC list) that archives should be
able to make their own audio CD copies at least.

Proper restoration of an album takes the better part of a day for the
high-end projects -- which I usually spread out over several evenings. One
of the problems is catching all the artifacts that the analog chain can
throw at you. For most of the items on my restoration page, I've burned
test copies and lived with them and asked the artist to check them. In the
case of several albums, I've done three test copies before either the
artist or I was satisfied. You cannot always rely on the artist to find
things that annoy the restorer--and vice versa.

Of course, I'm talking higher-end projects, but still considered "folk" by
many people. For much of what you describe, doing a straight across
transfer to CDR and worrying about fixing it when it's needed would be very
useful. The only caveat here is that there are many failings that can only
be fixed properly by retransfer after cleaning, realignment, etc.

I also am on the fence with processing such as Cedar and it's look-alikes.

The reason I'm on the fence is that the defacto restoration will not be the
gold CDRs I hold or send to the National Library of Canada or other public
archive, but rather the commercial release of some of the recordings--and
those you want to make those as enjoyable a listening experience as
possible so people will buy them to help fund the work. So, yes, I've used
processing to enhance the experience, hopefully with good taste.

I am blessed working with still-living artists whose material is only 20
years old or so (and still deteriorating), and I can receive feedback from

Thanks again for the great post.



Richard L. Hess                              richard@richardhess.com
Glendale, CA USA                           http://www.richardhess.com/
Web page: folk and church music, photography, and
                  broadcast engineering

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