MasterDigital is a leading provider of audio mastering, preservation and restoration services worldwide.
Audio is our passion.
Based in the New Orleans area. Since 1991.
Tapes and Disks
We've been restoring and transferring audio from analog tape and phonograph disks for nearly 20 years, and we have excellent equipment for doing this work.
Analog tape was in commercial use in the US after about 1950, and a myriad of track widths, tape speeds, tape thicknesses, tape constructions, and noise reduction systems came into use over time. This creates a challenge for proper playing of analog tapes, because all of these factors must be taken into account when restoring them, and many are not documented with the tapes. We have a special tape machine set up just to analyze mystery tapes, and we have a scientific oven for those tapes which suffer from a type of binder problem which causes the tape to stick. For actual transfer of open reel tapes, we have a Studer A820 with four custom head assemblies, each with factory installed vernier azimuth controls (especially helpful for playing older tapes of uncertain quality). We can also decode a variety of noise reduction schemes which were used during the tape era. For transfer of audio cassette recordings, we use a Nakamichi CR-7A. This machine has a front panel azimuth control. We can play 1/4" and 1/2" tapes, from 3.75 to 30ips directly (slower effective speeds may be created digitally).
At the risk of being too technical, azimuth adjustment is essential for proper playback of analog tapes for two reasons: 1) most analog tape recorded at lower speeds suffers from inaccurate alignment, and 2) inaccurate azimuth alignment causes serious loss of high frequencies. Easy, front panel adjustment promotes accurate use over the entire length of the tape.
We use a Yamato DKM400 scientific oven to bake tapes which have sticky shed syndrome. This provides precise temperature control over the specified time period required to re-cure the binder compound. If you have older tapes, you can learn about 'sticky shed syndrome' here.
We have two turntable systems for playing phonograph disks. One turntable is optimized for 12" or smaller dia. 33rpm records, and the other turntable is designed to play larger 78rpm records, up to 20" dia. Using a bi-pointed stylus, we can even the negative metal parts that were used in the manufacturing process for phonograph records. Playing the metal parts often allows us to obtain superior sonic results.
We have over 20 different styli, including several bi-pointed styli for playing negative metal parts.
We can't give estimates on material we haven't received. We'll be glad to provide estimates on material we have received. Since we work on a time and materials basis, we need complete information about what you require as a finished product. We'd be happy to talk to you about your needs.