Audio Disc Transfer
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Audio Disc Transfer
Creative Audio Works provides quality disc transfer, from 16 rpm through 78-rpm records, Gray Audiograph discs, SoundScriber discs, and many other disc formats from the past.
During the early years of audio recording, 78 rpm records were a popular medium for families to record and preserve valued memories. Voice letters were popularized as World War II progressed in the 1940s. Service members could record messages at a local United Service Organization (USO) club and send them home to loved ones. Some of the most famous classical and jazz musicians of the 1920s through today were and are still recorded on 10 and 12-inch vinyl records. Throughout history, we’ve innovated recording technology to preserve the most critical moments of our lives.
Vinyl, Shellac and Aluminum Disc Transfer
At Creative Audio Works, we provide quality transfers of vinyl, laquer, shellac, and aluminum discs. We convert all types of discs from voice letters to transcription discs, 7” to 18″ diameter, 33 rpm to 90 rpm speeds.
As standard procedure, all records are cleaned before transfer. Once cleaned, we transfer each disc onto a modern turntable using a moving coil cartridge with a custom stylus and a state-of-art phono preamp. After initial transfer and with tailored software, we correct the transferred digital file’s playback speed. Additional noise and distortion removal services are available to remove or reduce background noise that may distract the listener. Your original record or disc Audograph recordings will be returned to you as digital files, CDs, or on a hard drive/thumb drive.
The Audograph Disc
Audograph discs are a unique and challenging “dead” media to work with. Introduced in the mid-1940s, the Audograph was designed as a portable dictation system using thin plastic recording discs. These discs were very flexible and prone to damage. The spiral groove is also very shallow, making it hard for the needle to track playback correctly. Also, on playback using modern technology, the sound increases dramatically in speed as the disc is played. Because of this, finding the exact pitch and rendering an accurate restoration becomes a challenge.
Exactly how fast the playback should be at any given point in the recording is always questionable. In the past, there has been no benchmark. With modern technology, we can look at frequencies in the recorded audio that are constant and use them as a benchmark for speed control.
The Audograph is a Constant Linear Velocity (CLV) disc. To put it simply, 1 second of audio will take up X amount of groove travel distance at the beginning of the recording and the same X amount of travel at the end of the recording. This was done to squeeze more information onto a small disc.
Rather than a constant-speed spindle drive as in a conventional turntable, mechanical rollers mounted close to the cutting head drive the disc’s surface directly as the cutting head travels across the disc. A traditional turntable would record X amount of groove travel distance at the beginning, and maybe ½ that amount at the end of the recording. In the case of the Audograph disc, the turntable platter speed continually changes from the beginning to the end of the recording as the circumference increases. As a result, the groove travel distance per second is constant.
The main problem with transferring different formats of that era is that the technology is 70+ years old. Mechanical recording devices of that era have many problems built into them that have to be addressed. The unique mechanical aspects of this obscure format add artifacts like wow and flutter. Inferior cutting head design and inadequate speed control add to the issues and challenges in accurately restoring an Audograph recording.
Since there seem to be no documented/published specifications regarding the Gray Audograph recorder, we have to make decisions based on the transferred files themselves. One problem is determining the pitch of an individual’s voice. We could play back a disc on an Audograph player, but we would not necessarily get an accurate representation of the recorded voice because the player’s electronics are not capable of reproducing full-spectrum audio.
Audograph Disc Before Processing
Audograph Disc After Processing
15 Bay Colony Drive
Plymouth, MA 02360