Service Overview (What we can - and can't - do)
We can recover and convert any audio, video, or photographic documents to true (lossless) digital format.
We can reduce or completely eliminate noise, transients, and problems without affecting the actual audio recording.
We can't perform miracles, but most of what we can do looks and sounds miraculous!
We don't make copies of records, tapes, or any other commercial material for any kind of use.
We can arrange for multiple copies of personal material that isn't subject to commercial copyrights.
It all sounds simple when we say it like that, doesn't it? What it means is, we extract all the audio, video, or photographic data from your recordings, clean away the noise and scratches and skips, the wear and tear of ordinary use, and then save the results on virtually indestructible digital media. The resulting recordings are clearer than you've ever heard before, they don't have tape hiss or turntable rumble, there are no clicks or stylus noises, the tracks are all separated out, the equalisation and volume levels are properly adjusted, and they'll sound as good - or better! - as the day you first played them.
Although we particularly specialise in recovering and converting audio content from LPs, tapes, and other media, we have expanded our expertise to be able to offer a true range of professional digitisation services to anyone who needs these services.
And, let's face it, all the old records, tapes, photos, and document technologies aren't what they used to be - in fact, every time you play a record, tape, or video, or get out your family slides, you're damaging them further, no matter how carefully you handle them, and even playing them on perfectly maintained and set up equipment reduces their life. Sooner or later, they're going to stop being valuable memories and end up in hard rubbish collections.
Before things get so bad, we can convert old video tapes, phonograph records (LPs, EPs, and 45s), cassettes, photos, slides (35mm and other formats), photographic negatives (colour and black-and-white), reel-to-reel tapes, Dictaphone recordings, camera cards, in fact, just about any recording. And if we don't have the equipment to replay the recording, but you do, we'll use that very same equipment to recover the information. If it's broken, we'll do our best to fix it.
No-one else anywhere in the world offers this range of services - and certainly not at these rates!
One of the good things about "standards" is that there are so very many of them to choose from!
Our standard service has been developed to meet the needs of most of our customers. It does not mean that we automate anything - all recordings we receive are inspected, analysed, and treated personally and individually. It's one of the things that makes the difference between a good service and a great service!
We always visually inspect all media we receive. It's at this point that we can usually identify most problem areas, and notify you before we start work. If we're picking up or if you're delivering the recordings to us, we'll spend a few minutes discussing your needs and previewing the recordings so you know right away if there may be any issues.
Unless otherwise requested, we always clean records (and, if necessary, tapes) with an archival-quality cleaning preparation recommended by the world's best archivers - the American Library of Congress, and the Australian Recording Archives. And we don't just dump the records in an automated machine washer. We individually hand clean each recording that needs cleaning, and we don't touch recordings that don't need cleaning. Your recording, if cleaned, is protected against bacterial and fungal attack, and will resist further oxidation and particulate damage when stored properly.
After setting everything up, we digitise at the highest practical resolution using either a Lynx Studio L-22 at 192k/24-bit, or a Korg MR1000 (at 5.6MHz in WSD (1-bit) format) which is then downconverted to 24-bit, 192kHz (because it's difficult to edit WSD format files). Either way, we pick up every nuance in the original recording. Then we individually remove noise, clicks, hiss, and pops from the recording, using some of the most sophisticated audio software in the world. We don't have or use any 'automatic' settings - although this may work great on 1 in every 50 recordings, we find that hand-tailoring the noise removal results in consistently better results, every time.
Then the recording is mastered onto CD, track by track. (If requested specifically, we can just dump the entire recording onto CD as one lump, but it's usually better to split the recording according to the original production).
The Final Product
The CD is guaranteed playable in every CD player, including car players and most equipment older than 7 years. The final result is at least as good as, and usually far superior to commercial rereleases. And if you don't like the result, tell us why and we'll fix it for free! If it can't be fixed, we'll clearly explain why, and you can make the decision on how you'd like to proceed.
Finally, the CD label is printed (in full colour), and if the original recording cover is presentable, we'll scan and reprint it on the front of the CD case, on HP photographic paper, at full resolution.
Track listings are printed on both the CD and the inside CD case cover. If multiple singles or multiple artists are involved, the artist for each track will be identified in each track. Again, it's all just a part of what makes our services just that bit better!
We can care for and correctly handle all common record, cassette, and reel tape formats. All our equipment is maintained fully in-house (this means we can't blame it on the contractors!) to professional studio standard.
What we can't do is play recordings made on rare or unusual equipment that we don't already own - for example, some old Dictaphones, wire spool recorders, wax cylinders, and so on. But... if you have access to the original recording equipment, that will allow us to create an accurate recording for you. It also ensures that the playback will be as true-to-life as possible with that equipment.
If It's Broke...
If the original equipment is accessible, but not in working order, we are happy to examine it and to make minor repairs (leaking or burned-out parts, fuses, wiring, and mechanical belts and so on) for a purely nominal fee.
If we can't fix it, we'll let you know immediately, and we should be able to offer you some alternative suggestions for repair or replacement.
On the other hand, if you do have original recordings, but nothing to play them on/with, by all means get in touch with us, and we can discuss your options.
What About... you know... Protection?
All our equipment is fully protected against electrical interference of any kind, and is powered from a 3 kilowatt power factor correcting Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). This means we can keep recording, even in the middle of a blackout or thunderstorm, for at least as long as your recording (maximum battery backup time is around 4½ hours, so this means we lose nothing, and we don't have to re-play already borderline recordings)!
The UPS also protects us entirely against changes in power line frequency, which can create unusual problems with particularly sensitive playback equipment. Most of the time, this kind of interference isn't immediately discernible, but when time-domain sensitive audio needs to be reproduced accurately, the last thing you need is 'wow' and 'flutter' caused by unpredictable recording characteristics! This is especially true for electronic and natural recordings.
What Equipment Do We Use/Recommend?
For a number of unfortunate legal reasons, we do not recommend any manufacturer or model for any recording purpose. For purely professional reasons, every sound system is unique, and what works for us may sound less than optimal in other environments. However...
We currently use a Stanton STR8-150 direct drive turntable, straight tonearm, and either Stanton 680EV3 (elliptical stylus), Stanton D6827 (78 RPM stylus), or Audio Technics AT91 (sapphire) or DI008 (diamond) styluses. Of course, we welcome any stylus preferences you may have, too! The turntable can be tuned for any variation of speed, from 16 to 150 RPM, and of course we can handle other recording speeds as well.
For cassettes, we have set up a PlusDeck 2 internally shielded player. With an upgraded capstan and drive mechanism, and a very beefy power configuration, wow and flutter are nearly unmeasurable, and the shielding (from the crystal/ferrite heads to the sound card high-resolution inputs) ensures magnificent reproduction every time.
Reel-to-reel tapes are played back on a Bang & Olufsen Beocord 1600 ¼" deck, horizontally mounted. This allows us to reproduce single, dual, or quad-track tapes up to 300ft, at 4.25, 9.5, or 18 inches per second. We can easily handle speeds outside these ranges, from below 1 to more than 60 inches per second, with a reduction in audio bandwidth and frequency response.
All our audio equipment is ground-isolated, power factor corrected, and load balanced, and recorded from either a Behringer 2442 24-channel mixing console (for separating and adjusting left and right channel balance and stereo separation to the Lynx digitiser), or directly to the Korg MR1000 with no mixer in the signal path.
Our current software and hardware can handle any binary file format commonly available. This includes:
Specific PCM subformats:
PCM (or 'wave') file audio encoding may be any of 8, 16, 24, 32, or 64-bit, at sample rates of:
We can also convert (downsample) lossless 1-bit encoded files, including WSD, DFF, DSF, and DSD, at 2.8 MHz or 5.66MHz sampling rates.
If you have a particular format that isn't listed here, please contact us and we can discuss how best to proceed.
Older Floppy-based Recordings
We can read CP/M and other format floppy disks, both 3½" and 5¼" (i.e. IBM 160k, 180k, 320k, 360k, 720k, and 1.2M; and Apple, Apple II, IIe, and AppleDOS soft or hard-sectored disks as well). Specific formats may need additional investigation and will be priced accordingly!
We can easily accommodate foreign language albums, in any format. In most cases, titles and track listings will be provided in the native character set. There are some restrictions, particularly with some Slavic languages, where the characters cannot be mapped within Windows' International character set. In those cases, we'll map to the closest possible rendition of the language.
Mixed or unlabelled foreign language albums
Due to the number of problems with imported cassettes and other audio material in a language other than English, we must insist that before you send an album for recording, you verify that the media corresponds to the cover.
This is particularly important with foreign language albums - although we can usually make our way through Germanic, Russian, and Gaelic languages, and some dialects of Mandarin, trying to figure out why the album lists 10 tracks while the recording clearly contains 8, or 13 tracks is a nightmare in English, let alone a language we're unfamiliar with. We've spent literally hundreds of hours trying to match tracks and titles, and while we're trying to figure out which track is which on which album, our other customers must wait.
So we must insist that you ensure that the recording you send us matches the track listing on the cover. If you are unable to provide the original track listing, we'll provide a generic listing for you. If you subsequently find the correct album cover, we'll rerecord the album for the standard cost, or we can simply provide a new cover for AUD$12.50.
Send mail to Support@audiography.com.au with questions or comments about this web site, or use our Contact form to report any issues.
Our street (postal) address is:
20 Churinga Avenue, Mitcham. Victoria. 3132
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Audiography. All Rights Reserved.