Audio Conservation

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What To Expect When Digitizing Your Home Recording Discs:

home recording disc transfer

Home recording discs and the sound quality of homemade type lacquer, glass, aluminum or acetate records is heavily influenced by various factors. Nearly all of these records known as “home recording discs” are difficult to transfer and most are impossible to fully restore regardless of the restoration method used. Below we will cover some of the inherent issues effecting these fragile discs.

One of the primary issues with homemade records is that they can only be played a limited number of times before they start to degrade in sound quality. The abrasive nature of the stylus against the soft lacquer (glass, aluminum, etc.) surface causes wear and tear. Many such records are now over 70 years old and have have been played countless times with the wrong needle on the wrong turntable. Over time these records naturally degrade causing the sound quality to further deteriorate. Combine this with years of mishandling and improper storage and you’re left with a family heirloom in great need of rescue!

What We Typically Receive:

poor condition home recording discs

It is unusual for us at audioconservation.com to receive a homemade record in pristine condition. Typically we receive records that are cracked, chipped, missing pieces of lacquer or delaminating completely. Most were made as disposable novelty items with little thought to their longevity. The problem is these discs are irreplaceable and contain unique recordings of family members that represent an overlooked part of audible family history that’s in desperate need of preservation. When doing family tree research or saving family heirlooms the first thing people tend to do is save photographs and video, almost zero thought is given to the old record or tape in the attic! In fact it seems the first piece of family history to be lost forever by being thrown in a trash bin is the audio recording. This is because most people no longer have the equipment to play the media or they incorrectly assume that the record or tape isn’t salvageable due to age. If you own any type of recorded audio media don’t assume it can’t be saved, we can help! If you have photos, slides, film or video we can help HERE

What To Expect From Your Lacquer Record Transfer

All Home Recording Discs sound quite poor, this is due to the limited dynamic range, frequency response, production quality and the aging of the media itself. You can expect that your record will have constant sheeting noises such as crackle, hiss and large pops and may even skip due to warping, cracking or missing groove sections. We use every technique currently available to minimize noise during the capture your record. This involves testing dozens of specialized cartridges and styli to find the one that’s best suited for your record as there is no single needle that is perfect for every disc.

After your record is successfully transferred we can assess it for restoration. It is not uncommon for audio saved from a lacquer to be impossible to fix. In this case we do what we can to improve the sound quality of your transfer and there is no additional charge. If we are able to create an acceptable version through digital audio restoration we will supply you with a quote for the additional work. It is important to keep in mind that home recording discs can rarely be 100% restored and will most likely still be extremely noisy.