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Subject: Sound recording formats

Sound recording formats

From: Jim Lindner <vidipax>
Date: Friday, October 21, 1994
Tricia B Wilke <twilke [at] csd4__csd__uwm__edu> writes

>is there some sort of hierarchy for
>the retention of formats?  That is, should we use the cassette for
>public use and the CD for archival purposes?  What about reel-to-reel,
>vinyl, and videotapes?  Which medium is the best to keep for archival

Your question touches on several complex issues, but in *general*, the
best media for archival retention is the earliest generation in the
highest quality format.  As an example, if you have an audio cassette
which was a copy from a 1/4" reel to reel tape, and the original reel to
reel tape recorded at 7 1/2 ips, the highest quality would be on the
reel to reel for two reasons:

1.  The 1/4" is the original and not the copy. Copies virtually always
    represent a lower level of quality than the original from several

2.  1/4" reel to reel tapes at a "professional" playing speed will have
    higher quality than a normal consumer audio cassettes recorded at a
    low speed.  This is because the format itself has inherently better
    performance specifications.

These general rules should be balanced against media that have a track
record of poor long term or unproven long term longevity.  The following
article was published in the newsletter of the National Media Library
and specifically discusses restoration issues relative to video tape.
The same logic, however, can be applied to most media for restoration
purposes, and by inference which media should be selected for archival

Jim Lindner
The Media Restoration Company
Toll Free Help Line 800-653-8434

                  Conservation DistList Instance 8:29
                 Distributed: Tuesday, October 25, 1994
                        Message Id: cdl-8-29-003
Received on Friday, 21 October, 1994

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