View Full Version : archiving old records (this is soo cool!)

2010-Feb-24, 04:58 PM
Hi all!
being an audio engineer i get to work on many cool projects.
a couple of the have been transfering old beta video tapes, vinyl and cassette to a digital format..

i was talking to a guy from the national archives and they have been using a system that can optically read an old vinyl record to get the information off of it.

even if the record is broken into pices, all you have to do is place it on the platter put together and scan it.

it is called The Smart Scope:

the technique basically takes a picture of it then the computer can "see" the stereo phonic information recorded in the groves and recreate the recording.. all without even touching the album..

a high-resolution digital camera attached to a microscope. Haber realized that the Smart Scope could be used to take extremely precise pictures of a recordís groove. And because the twists and turns of the groove carry the pattern of the recording, a clear enough picture should allow them to re-create how a needle would have moved as it ran through the groove, without ever having to play it.


2010-Feb-24, 07:08 PM
Wow! That IS cool!

2010-Feb-24, 07:21 PM
I'm going to send them all my old James Brown albums, so I can get them on my i-pod!

2010-Feb-24, 08:24 PM
well, the technology is still slow, but in the future, i bet that "scanning" a record will only take the same time as it takes to snap an image..
given sufficient computer power, digitizing a whole albom should be a very fast process.. i am excited to see how this technology will evolve..

in the "olden" days, there was a process (one of many at the time) that used iron wire to record sound. it would magnitize the wire as it passed over the magnetic heads.
these old recording are also being digitized..

if anybody is interested, moving audio from a vinyl album is pretty straight forward..
utulizing a record player feeding a phono pre amplifier and boosting the signal to a line level,
you can capture the audio using a good A/D D/A (analogue to digital) audio interface..
Lexicon makes the (USB) Alpha which can be had for less than 100 bucks
I use the Alpha for site recording where i only need a stereo sample.
i have always been very happy with the quality..

The analogue to digital processors in the interface are capable of recording at 24bit depth with 2 channels (stereo).
I use Adobe Audition to capture and master analogue recordings.

while the user interface in audition is similar to Sonar and Samplitude, the tools for manipulating waveform data are based on Adobes Photoshop interface.
this lets you use brushes to directly edit the waveform which is unique in DAW (digital audio workstation) software..

2010-Feb-24, 08:32 PM
Haber and Fedayev believe that they can adapt the existing technology to build a scanner that will read an entire record in five-to-15 minutes, and they expect to have it done in late 2004.

Any chance that the tech has improved by now?

2010-Feb-24, 08:37 PM
i know that the one at the archives still takes some time to scan the record.. the process where the computer reads the information and converts it to a digital file is still quite time consuming..

Nick Theodorakis
2010-Feb-24, 08:48 PM
I don't know if the thing in the OP ever made it to market, but there is this laser turntable (http://www.elpj.com/) for playing vinyl LPs without a needle.


2010-Feb-24, 08:56 PM
the appratus mentioned in the op is being utulized by the national archives for restoring recordings. the biggest advantage of the unit is its ability to reconstruct severly damaged recordings...

on a second note, i have always wondered if using a laser would be a good way to read a record. thanks for the link

Larry Jacks
2010-Feb-24, 08:59 PM
I don't know if the thing in the OP ever made it to market, but there is this laser turntable for playing vinyl LPs without a needle.

At a price of $12,000 to $16,400, I'll have to pass.