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Subject: Phonograph discs

Phonograph discs

From: Wlodek Witek <wlodek.witek>
Date: Thursday, November 25, 1999
Linda A. Strauss <lstrauss [at] autry-museum__org> writes

>We have recently received a potential donation of unlabeled demo
>phonograph records. There was no documentation with them to tell us
>what is recorded on them. Our museum's policy has been never to play
>records but in this case, we will not be able to tell if we should
>accession them if we don't know what is on them. Is there anyone on
>the list who has had experience with acetate and/or vinyl 78 rpm
>phonograph records who can tell us what is the safest thing to do.

I have recently dealt with 78 phonograph Pathe disks (20 cm in
diameter) which were copies of original recordings on wax cylinders
used in India 1929. With the help of Oslo University's audio
technicians I managed successfully to play and convert the signals
to music-CD. I monitored the recordings with headphones all along. I
was supplied with an old fashioned record player (from the 1960s) and
a pickup for playing 78 records. It was manipulated to make the
stereo stylus behave as mono by reconnecting + and - of each channel
of the pickup to a serial mode of connection. A wrong pickup would
probably be too sensitive to noise. The merging of "left" and
"right" channels to mono signal can also be achieved in programs
designed to manipulate sound in the finishing process. If you mail
to knut.ottesen [at] hf__uio__no I am sure he would give you more details.

Bear in mind that there are other systems of recording then Pathe
which may influence the choice of a pickup to play it today. If you
intend to use digital sound manipulation using a computer program
you should be able to adjust the speed of your replay even if you
copied it from a slower speed record player. Slower recording may
prove to give better end-result but requires more work with a
computer to find out (I did not have that opportunity).

In a later process I converted and "cleaned" our language recordings
(using SoundEdit 16 from Macromedia) and stored them on QuickTime
files to be used over the internet. The site under construction is
for the moment only in norwegian but you are more then welcome to
have a look at parts which are in English. Start with
<URL:> where bits and pieces from our
Morgenstierne-project are tested. Good luck,

Wlodek Witek
Paper and photoconservator
National Library of Norway
Room 4211
Universitetsbiblioteket i Oslo
Postboks 1030
+47 22 84 42 26
N-0315 Oslo

                  Conservation DistList Instance 13:32
                Distributed: Thursday, December 2, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-13-32-008
Received on Thursday, 25 November, 1999

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