Prism Sound helps digitise rare masters
Posted on: Tuesday 6th of April 2021
Prism Sound audio conversion equipment is playing a key role in specialist restorer Graham Joiner’s marathon project to convert 233 analogue master tapes to digital .WAV files.
The archive, now owned by Good Time Records, includes releases from the Crash, Satril and Catawba labels. These were all formerly administered by the
Henry Hadaway Organisation (HHO) an innovator in the independent record label sector that saw success in ’70s and ’80s with artists such as The Sandpipers, The Rockin’ Berries, Kenny Lynch, Frankie Vaughan, Lyn Paul (ex-New Seekers), Marvin Gaye, Wilson Picket and Jackie Moore. One record within the collection, The Tweets’ infamous Birdie Song, shifted 1.6 million copies in the UK alone.
“I got involved in this project at the end of 2020,” says Joiner, “just as we were about to go into another lockdown… Some of the original boxes were mouldy and falling apart, and all the tapes had to be baked at 55deg C for up to eight hours to prevent the oxide from shedding. It is painstaking work as I can only bake five tapes at a time, but this has to be done in order to stabilise them.”
Graham set up his Audio Restored business in 2008, and has since handled projects for a variety of record labels and music publishers including the BBC. His studio is equipped with various turntables, Studer cassette decks, Revox ¼ inch tape decks and Steinberg’s Wavelab. The latest addition to his equipment list are three Prism Sound Titan audio interfaces, added specifically to tackle the GTR project.
“GTR was adamant that they wanted their tapes transferred at a high resolution sample rate of 192kHz/24-bit so that they could be stored as Ultra HD WAV files. That led to a conversation with Prism Sound’s Managing Director Jody Thorne who recommended Titan because the units could be linked and operated together over a Dante network.”
Prism Sound’s Titan interfaces have a maximum capability of 18 concurrent input and output channels, offering 8 analogue recording channels, 8 monitoring outputs, stereo digital input and output on a phono connector and concurrent optical digital I/O ports. The unit incorporates an MDIO expansion slot that allows users to stack Titans together to achieve sample accurate, phased locked audio between multiple units.
Graham purchased three Titans with MDIO Dante cards and a Focusrite Rednet Dante PCIe card so that he could transfer 24 track audio directly into his computer. The sound quality he is achieving is, he says, “phenomenal” and he is delighted with the detail he is capturing from the original masters.
The digitisation project will also allow GTR to release vintage sample packs, allow remixes, and remastered editions of popular albums and singles in Ultra HD formats.
GTR’s Oliver Murgatroyd says that the company is “already seeing demand in the Far East for hi-resolution audio,” and that while “the HD market is still fairly niche in Western territories, we expect this to become more popular as the likes of Amazon launch their Ultra HD stores.”