System upgrade? Sounds great!

BY ROSS GARRETT

Ross Garrett, Team Leader Audio Services at the NFSA, shares the good news about recent upgrades to our audio services studios.

The NFSA recently upgraded its audio services studios. We can now do more, in less time.

Studio consoles, before and after

Studio consoles, before and after

Audio Services is the area where we preserve and restore all historic formats – from the oldest, such as wax cylinders and wire recordings, to more recent formats like analogue tape and optical and magnetic film. If it’s audio, we can do it!

There are seven studios centred around a server room, which digitises audio in real time. For more than ten years, we have maintained a studio environment that allowed us to produce flexible analogue and digital recording to a variety of external sources, previously by recording to DAT and CD and later to Studio workstation computers.

 

Images left to right: Re-fit in progress; server room (before); removing patch bays.

As some of the components were beginning to fail, and others were outdated, we needed to review our infrastructure and provide suggestions on how to update and future-proof our systems. It was a long process, but the objectives were clear: increase productivity and flexibility, to enable greater public access to the sounds in our huge collection and increase our preservation activity.

We can’t always buy more equipment or engage more staff but we can share the devices between them more effectively. We can now preserve multiple items at once, create more digital copies in less time, perform restoration from a central network location – and more!

Thank you to all NFSA staff, past and present, who helped make this upgrade possible. This work has built on many years of previous discussion and input from the audio team, preservation managers, technical engineers and information technology.

Re-patching new workstations; cable tray on new consoles; MADI routing hardware.