Week 12: Shadowing

This is the last full week of my internship at MDPI. I spent most of Tuesday shadowing two of the audio engineers. The first one I shadowed has recently been focusing on digitizing lacquer records. His approach was fairly different from mine both in terms of equipment and technique.
As I expected, the equipment-based differences mostly lay in the fact that he has access to better equipment than I do. His turntables have variable speed (while most records were made at 78 or 33 rotation per minute, they did not always have the ability to ensure a specific speed, and sometimes engineers would change the speed on purpose to save space or to make a musical performance sound more impressive), and he has a large variety of needle sizes to best accommodate the width of the record’s grooves. He also uses a standalone analog/digital converter instead of one that is built into the turntable or the amplifier, as well as pre-amplifiers that can make more specific equalization adjustments. This allows for more alteration to be made, and it can allow for a cleaner signal.
The main difference in technique with their digitizations is that they are aiming at having the digital copy sound as close to the original as they can. This means not applying any kind of post-processing and saving the transfer as a single audio file. I tend to prefer not using post-processing as well, however with older recordings like 78 rpm records I will sometimes use equalization curves to reduce noise if it is heavy enough in the original to impair the listening experience.
The second engineer I shadowed has been focusing on digitizing cassette tapes. Although he also uses pre-amplfiers and standalone analog digital converters, his approach more closely resembles mine than the approach to record digitization does. The tape deck he uses is fairly similar to mine, and I have begun incorporating some aspects of his approach to my own transfers. Such as cleaning the tape deck after play and using Dolby noise reduction when the tape appears to have been made with that standard.
On Thursday I returned to my more usual tasks of cleaning records and preparing cassettes for digitization.

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