While at the 75th Annual IBS International Radio & Webcasting Conference in New York, I was fortunate to meet the team from Ameryn Media, who had a display outside the main panel rooms. The conference ran from March 6-8 at the Hotel Pennsylvania and featured over 150 speakers. It was an excellent event – with an audience mainly made up of student broadcasters from across America.

Ameryn specialise in transferring LPs, 45s and cassettes to CD and according to their website, the company aims to “preserve your memories on timeless digital media”.

Ameryn 2Given my own interest in cassette preservation (the University has a collection of cassettes of New York Radio Festival entries) it was a real pleasure to meet with Alex Ball, Cody Smith and Tessa Young.

I spoke with Alex at length about Ameryn’s cassette archiving methods – and he talked about their digitisation equipment and workflow systems when converting old analogue tapes as digital files.

Here, Alex discusses some of Ameryn’s cassette digitising processes…

“We do not record at high speed. We do not dub the tape twice as fast as it’s meant to be played. Magnetic tapes are a medium that’s very sensitive to playback quality. Whatever’s going through the reel should be in real time – so we don’t speed it up.

The cassette is played the whole way through… We will trim the beginning and end – and any possible silence in between the sides A and B. We run clean up scripts to make the audio sound a lot better. Basically it scans for pops and crackle and removes some of the background noise from the recording. It will sound better than just about any hardware you might play it back on directly.

Finally once it’s been digital restored, noise reduced, the recordings will have the track information programmatically added. Whatever we wrote down in the first step, whatever’s written down in your cassette, is reproduced in the digital files and finally they’re exported to whatever format you chose in the beginning, MP3, FLAC, AAC or whatever else.”

With thanks to Alex Ball from Ameryn.

ameryn 1

Birmingham Centre For Media And Cultural Research

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