Pre-recorded Cassette Preservation
Russ MatthewsI'm a bargain hunter, I love yard sales, sale tables at bookstores etc. This summer I was in Cape Cod at Borders Books and Music and ran across a YES boxed set for $9.98. Being a YES fan, my heart skipped a beat until I noticed that it was a four cassette boxed set, not a CD boxed set. After my disappointment had subsided. I began to think about my Minidisc recorder and how I could record all the tapes onto Minidisc, thus preserving the music in a digital format.
The result is that I now have an ``MD boxed set''; all the inserts that came with the CD boxed set, plus the music in an easy to access and virtually indestructible format. To my delight, I also discovered that the tapes were all about 74 minutes long and fit perfectly on Minidisc. The sound quality is not quite CD level due to the tape source, but to the non-audiophile, it is very good. And since I do most of my listening in the car, it serves me well. I used the level sync to track mark the songs, and where that didn't engage I manually divided the songs. I titled the tracks and, finally, scanned the cassette box labels and labeled the discs with the appropriate art work.
Since summer, I have also found a four tape boxed set of the Monterey Pop Festival and am at work on my next project. In the interim, I have recently preserved an 8 track version of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band and the mono LP version of the same. I have also resurrected an eight track of Crosby Stills Nash and Young's 4 Way Street and recorded it.
If I wanted to be ambitious and had the time, I could also record the tapes into a program like Cool Edit, remove the tape hiss and have a very good approximation of CD quality sound. (I recently recorded an album track off an old album, cleaned it up with Cool Edit, made it into an MP3 file and sent it to a friend. He later told me he thought it was a CD recording.)
So, if you are into yard sale-ing and bargain hunting don't ignore the tapes that can often be picked up for a "song". One of my next projects is to preserve a copy of the No Nukes concert which I found on eight track. I am not sure if that is even available on CD at all.
Old Home-recorded Cassette Preservation
Simon MackayA good use for MD, and one of the aces it has over CD-R, is to preserve old cassettes. A common situation for people who started out on cassettes was to "mess around" with those old "shoe-box" cassette recorders. Some of the activities included doing "acoustically-coupled" recordings off TV with the recorder's built-in microphone.
Invariably with these recordings, they are often recorded in mono; so you could transcribe them to MD in mono. You can then fit the whole of a C-90 or two full C-60s onto a 60 or 74 minute MD.
By doing this, you are salvaging the sound from the "print-through" problem and other problems that affect tape.
Removing Hiss from Cassettes when Recordng to MD
[email protected]If you are looking for an excellent way to reduce tape hiss when recording from tape to minidisk, invest in a Behrenger Denoiser. This unit removes unsightly hiss, but doesn't kill the "highs". It can be found at most musical equipment stores for a couple hundred bucks. The unit is 1 space, rack mountable... see SKB racks while you're at the store.
NOTE: This unit and other products by Behringer seem to be VERY well designed. Use the suggested setting for basic noise reduction in the manual, it seems right on the money.
Rick Kahl, Quality Audio, San DiegoA more economical way of restoring cassettes or LP's and preserving them onto MD is through your computer, although it is a bit more time consuming. There are a number of audio editing packages on the market, my favorite being CoolEdit. Use this to copy your cassettes or vinyl through the PC's sound card onto your hard drive. You can then use the features of the editor to easily remove unwanted noise, pops, etc., before copying onto MD. With a multi-track plug-in, you can get perfect mixes with smooth segues from track to track. CoolEdit also opens, edits, and saves MP3's, Windows Media, and Real Audio files too. It's easy to use, gets great results, and it's free for a limited function version (all functions work, just not at the same time), or under $50.00 for the full version.
Cassette Mix Preparation using MiniDisc
Jill CarterI've become so terribly spoiled recording onto Minidisc that when it becomes necessary for me to make a mix cassette tape for a friend the prospect is a bit overwhelming. Mix tapes are certainly an art. I've found the construction much easier by incorporating my MiniDisc Recorder in the process. I record several songs onto a disc and then take it to work with me where I'll play it back and switch the tracks around for the best continuity or edit out the songs that just don't blend well. Then I can check it for perfect time for one side of the cassette I plan to use. The spacing and levels are generally taken care of and any odd sounds that make their way onto a CD track can simply be edited out. This is also a great way to incorporate other sources onto your mix tapes such as sound clips from TV or movies, a prospect that may have seemed a bit too ambitious using only cassette recording.
Plus you end up with a nice MD copy of what you made for your friend! -eaw
MD Makes Creating Tape Mixes Easier
Jill CarterI've become so terribly spoiled recording onto minidisc that when it becomes necessary for me to make a mix cassette tape for a friend the prospect is a bit overwhelming. Mix tapes are certainly an art. I've found the construction much easier by incorporating my MiniDisc Recorder in the process. I record several songs onto a disc and then take it to work with me where I'll play it back and switch the tracks around for the best continuity or edit out the songs that just don't blend well. Then I can check it for perfect time for one side of the cassette I plan to use. The spacing and levels are generally taken care of and any odd sounds that make their way onto a CD track can simply be edited out. This is also a great way to incorporate other sources onto your mix tapes such as sound clips from TV or movies, a prospect that may have seemed a bit too ambitious using only cassette recording.
Josh TaskerCheck out Clive Backham's page for a comprehensive explanation of LP->CD-R recording, as much of his advice applies to LP->MD recording as well. Quoting from his site:
This page of notes is a distillation of my experiences in transferring LPs to CDR. I offer it as hopefully unbiased advice to others wishing to do the same thing. I have attempted to address the whole process at a reasonably deep level... My standards are high. I have a stereo system which all but a small minority of audiophile extremists would regard as "very high end". I'm not interested in putting anything onto a CDR unless I can get fairly close to perfection. The advice contained in these notes is empirical, and results from my own personal experiences.
Al JonesI was thinking the other day about a possible neat use of the MD. Anyone who has the Bible (Old or New Testament) on tape or CD might find it useful to copy it to MD. Recording in mono mode, since it is spoken word, would provide good long recording times. The entire New Testament, for example could be put on just a few MD's. Track marks could be used to break up the recording into chapters. That would give quick access to specific portions of text. I'm planning to try it soon and on the disk label, I'm planning to identify the chapter number along with the corresponding track. If there is room for more than one book on a disc, I'll probably mark it as follows: MT 1 - Matthew chapter 1, MT 2 - Matthew chapter 2, ....., MK 1 - Mark chapter 1, etc. Additional track marks could be used to subdivide chapters or to identify specific verses if desired. This would be very useful for group discussions, devotionals, lectures, etc., providing for easy access to just the sections one would be interested in.
Stretching MD Capacity with Monaural Mode
Bert BouwmeesterI'm a big fan of Minidisc. What I like the most is the posibility of making mono-recordings. I'm a big fan of standup-comedians. I have several double CD's of them, and among the speech tracks are also a couple of songs. Speech is fine in mono, songs are nice in stereo. What I do: First I record a complete double CD in mono on a Minidisc. Then delete all songs, and record them in stereo! In that way you can have a double CD on one single MD without hearing the difference!