Paul Blakemore stores irreplaceable analog tape masters in a large, Diebold fire safe. Most of these recordings are one-of-a-kind, so loss due to fire would be catastrophic.
Blakemore stores irreplaceable analog tape masters in a fire safe. Most of these recordings are one-of-a-kind, so loss due to fire would be catastrophic.
Many older analog and digital tape recordings suffer from a condition called "sticky-shed syndrome." In many cases, the tapes can be restored to playability by incubating or baking them at very low temperature in a scientific oven that accurately maintains the desired temperature. Here Blakemore prepares the reels for incubation.
Reels being loaded into a scientific oven for incubation to repair "sticky-shed syndrome." Empty reel hubs are used to separate stacks of reels to maximize air circulation during incubation.
One of Blakemore's specialties is repairing, preserving, and transfer of older analog tape recordings to high resolution digital for either remixing or re-release on both physical and digital distribution. Here he works with a Studer A827, two-inch multitrack analog tape recorder. Blakemore has both 16-track and 24-track, two-inch heads for this machine.
Aligning or optimizing various mechanical and electronic adjustments on a fully rebuilt, Ampex/ATR Services ATR-104 tape machine. This ATR-104 can be outfitted with 1/4 inch or 1/2 inch heads and guides to accommodate several different tape track-configurations.
Optimizing frequency response and level adjustments on the super HiFi, Aria, discrete class-A reproduce electronics used in conjunction with the ATR tape transport. These playback electronics were designed by David Hill of Cranesong Audio and provide extremely high-fidelity reproduction of older analog tape recordings. Blakemore uses these electronics for doing archival, digital preservation of analog recordings.
An Ampex MM-1200 that has been modified to playback one-inch, 8-track analog multitrack recordings for digital preservation. One-inch, 8-track was a commonly used studio recording format in the late 1960's and early 1970's.
Another view of the Studer A-827, two-inch multitrack recorder along with its remote control and auto-locator unit.
Blakemore's Nashville studio is equipped with both analog and digital equipment to accommodate a wide variety of mastering, mixing, and audio restoration projects. Pictured here are (lower left) Maselec MTC-2 mastering/transfer console with additional Crookwood analog meters. (Lower right) Sontec 462 and Millennia NSEQ analog equalizers. (Center) Display of Pyramix digital audio workstation (DAW). Blakemore uses Pyramix, Sequoia, and SADiE DAW systems.
Studio control console. (Right) Merging Horus analog to digital and digital to analog converters. (Lower right) one of two XLR patchbays used to reconfigure the studio signal routing. Blakemore prefers XLR patching to 1/4 inch TRS or TT TRS because of better electrical contact that is less prone to ill effects of oxidation on connector surfaces. (Center) large video monitor displays graphic interfaces for VST digital signal processing applications plus digital meters. Blakemore has a wide variety of specialized signal processing applications including Universal Audio, iZotope, MAAT, FabFilter, Voxengo, Cube-Tec, and others.
Blakemore at the control console. Ampex/ATR Services ATR-104 tape machine, oscilloscope used for critical tape machine alignment, and other analog signal processing hardware is pictured.
Blakemore's studio is also equipped with a fully rebuilt, Nagra IV-S tape recorder with its QGB, 10.5 inch reel adapter. This machine is used to reproduce recordings originally made with various models of Nagra recorders, and especially those recordings made with Nagra's proprietary "Nagra Master" equalization curve.