Tape Restoration

Posted by on Apr 24, 2012 in Audio | No Comments


Audio Tape Recovery and Restoration with Richard Hess

Tuesday, 24 April 2012
7:00 PM
Ryerson University
RCC 361, Rogers Communications Building, 80 Gould Street, Toronto, ON
Corner of Gould and Church, east of Yonge St (Dundas Subway)
For parking info and map, goto www.ryerson.ca/parking/

Pre-Meeting “Dutch Treat” dinner 5:00 pm at the Pickle Barrel (corner of Edward and Yonge, just north of Dundas, in the Atrium).
This month’s meeting will be available live on-line, courtesy of Ryerson University at www.torontoaes.org.

From about 1950 through the 1990s, most of the world’s sound was entrusted to analog magnetic recording tape for archival storage. Now that analog magnetic tape has moved into a niche market, audio professionals and archivists worry about the remaining lifetime of existing tapes.

The near demise of recording tape as a consumer and a professional format has been swifter than anyone thought. The biggest step in the recovery and restoration process is getting as good-sounding playback as possible in order to minimize the need for restoration work.

In his presentation, Hess will discuss some of the challenges in playing tapes, some tricks, and his mantra of just because you can’t play the tape, don’t assume it’s trash. Due to copyright restrictions of the samples that will be played, this meeting will NOT be streamed or archived.

Other issues which must be addressed include
· Tape degradation modalities and getting hard-to-play tapes transferred.
· The absolutely horrifying number of combinations of track/speed/EQ/Noise Reduction
· Obtaining the best possible playback (it all starts there)
· Some workflow issues (how to get through the mountain and keep options open)
· Some digital storage comments (protecting what you’ve done)

Richard L Hess began his affiliation with tape recorders at age 10 in 1962, when he bought a Wollensak with money he had saved. After graduating with a BS degree in Communications from St. John’s University in New York City, he joined the Engineering Department of ABC Television in New York and worked there from 1974-1981. Moving to Toronto in 1981 to join McCurdy Radio Industries, he worked his way up to Director of Engineering, leaving in 1983 when the company was sold.

In 1983, Richard moved to Glendale, California to join National TeleConsultants, working there until 2004. He held titles such as Senior Project Director, Director of Engineering, Vice President, and Principal Consultant. He was responsible for oversight on many large projects, preferring the technical side.

In the late 1990s, Richard started becoming aware of incipient tape degradation in his own personal archive and started restoring and digitizing tapes for his friends. This became a business and, in 2004, he and his family decided to return to Aurora, Ontario, his wife Mary Beth’s hometown, and go full-time into audio tape restoration.

In October 2006, he presented a paper at the San Francisco conference of the Audio Engineering Society on “Tape Degradation Factors and the Challenges in Predicting Tape Life” which was published in the Association of Recorded Sound Collections Journal in the Fall of 2008.

Richard Hess on LinkedIn.

HHB are one of Canada’s pre-eminent professional audio distributors, and Cedar Audio are pioneers in the field of computer based audio restoration hardware and software.

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