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Archive Recovery and Restoration

For a very long time now I have had an interest in finding lost missing archive recordings and transfering them and where necessary restoring the recordings to the former glory.

The first significant finds were a recording of The Beatles on the Mike and Bernie Winters show in 1964 closly followed by audio of 3 missing episodes of the Peter Cooke and Dudley Moore television series 'Not only but Also'.

Since then I have found a lot of missing audio and last year after his passing I was on national radio talking about the recovery of a recording of Scott Walkers first appearence on Television as a solo artist.



I have also recently discovered a fair amout of missing Jazz Recordings including the likes of Tubby Hayes, Joe Harriott and Don Rendell and Ian Carr. And closer to home I discovered some missing episodes of Sounds Of the Seventies and John Peels Top Gear from my late fathers collection.

If you have any old tapes knocking about and you think something intresting may be on them feel free to get in touch always happy to help.

With this hobby and I must stress its very much a hobby to me reuniting old recordings with the respected performers the copyright belongs very much with the original performers / copyright holders such as The BBC and ITV.

To do this I have gathered a fair amount of equipment to do tranfers with.

When I digitise anything It goes into one of my Tascam Audio interface units.

Tascam US-2x2 a great unit self powered from usb so great when using with a laptop as well as minimal needs mobile recording.

Tascam US-1800 I own two if these one I keep in the studio and aother at home if you have the last 2 inputs (digital) connected to an A/D then you can record 16 tracks at once and I have done that recording Mike Westbrook. Fantastic sound quality and ultra reliable. They are about 10 years old now so secondhand they turn up quite cheap (I got my second one for £50!!)

Cassette Tape

I have a large number of cassette decks, all serviced and have excellent playback quality. The main deck that I use for transfers is this Kenwood. It has the front cover removed giving access to the playback head this is because when I do a transfer I allign the head to how the cassette was recorded in order to get the best possible playback quality as some old tapes may have been recorded on machines that were not quite alligned properly or had fallen out of alignment when the recordings were made. This is a very much 'Dont try this at home moment' if you dont know 100% what you are doing. Occasionally tapes can also have speed variations I tend to correct this in software afterwards.

Above a Kenwood cassette deck for doing transfers. Arrow points to where the head azimuth adjustment is.

Cassettes are great fun and I have recently started putting out releases on cassette. If you want to get into cassettes check out Cassette Comeback on YouTube.

My Pioneer CT-F950 my favourite piece of HiFi that I have ever owned it sounds a gorgous as it looks.

Reel to Reel

Most people associate old recordings with reel to reel tape recorders. I have several they all have different formats. There are basically two formats for normal 1/4" reel to reel. Hlaf track where you have 2 tracks on the tape usuall in the same direction for stereo or one one way and one the other for mono. The advantage is better sound quality. You then get 1/4 Track were the tape is split into 4 and you have 2 tracks in each direction meaning that you can have double the playing time in stereo and 4 times in mono. The disadvantage is slightly reduced sound quality. thought with good tape and a well lined up machine the quality can still be superb.

Pioneer RT-707 I have two of these that were my late fathers possibly one of the best 4 track reel to reels you can ever find.

Revox PR-99. This is an industry standard broadcast tape recorder running at the higher speeds of 15 and 7.5 ips its a half track machine with superb sound quality.

The Revox A-77 is a domestic machine though was used in many studios over the years. Mine runs at the standard speeds of 3.75 and 7.5 ips again like the PR-99 has superb playback quality.

Digital Recording

In the late 80s Digital recording was happening. There were 2 ways for 2 track stereo. It started with the Sony PCM system using an encoder that would turn audio into a digital code this was then turned into a video signal and recorded on to videotape. This was normally Betamax though it was revised for A modified system was used with the U-Matic video system and this was used a lot for mastering CDs. After this we had DAT Digital Audio Tape. This was industry standard for about 15 years after that computer files became the norm.

Above the Sony PCM-F1 encoder. Later version were called the 601 and 701.

The PCM F-1 with its Betamax Recorder

Above an Sony Video 8 Deck that as well as palying Video tapes can work for recording and playing digital audio with the PCM F-1

Above is a Tascam DA-30 MK II DAT recorder in perfect working order. These were suberb quality.

There is also the Minidisc that is much loved and the Phillips DCC format paved the way to the MP3. There is a very good DCC film on youtube if you would like to learn more. I dont own either machine though I have access to minidisc for transfer. I did have several Sony machines but found that I had little use for them.

Other formats

The Cart machine was used in radio from the 60s to the 90s. It was based on the same design as the 8 Track cartridge except the tape ran at 7.5 ips and was half track stereo. I own a couple players and I have rencetly done some transfers for a BBC Radio presenter.

Sonifex Micro HS Cart player and recorder

If you want to know more, or have any tapes please feel free to get in touch.