Blog: Store Now, Retrieve Tomorrow

The difficulties of data longevity -      15/07/14

Blog: Store Now, Retrieve Tomorrow


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Lagrange Audio Writes

As you will no doubt know Sonic State's own weekly podcasts turn up a huge variety of interesting topics, which are well covered by the expert guests on the day. Every now and then however there will be the occasional topic that time simply doesn't allow a thorough examination. Sonic Talk #359 offered up such a subject.

As producers and creators of music we all enjoy the benefits that technology provides. With enough time and experience we also know that, as with any kind of technology, it is going to give us a swift kick in the joy department if we are not across the fundamentals of how we preserve our work in the digital world. In the old days we essentially recorded, mixed and mastered to tape and it didn't matter whether you were a professional working with large formats or the home guy using the humble 4-track. We all seemed to understand that our masters needed to be protected.

In my case, every master tape was sealed in anti-static bags and stored in a cool and dry environment. Twenty five years later I fetched them out and thanked myself for that little bit of preservation effort I put in all those years ago. I was able to effortlessly dump all that audio content into my DAW of choice and immediately start working with it.

Did the audio content need repairing?

No.

Did it provide the opportunity to enhance the content using contemporary tools?

Absolutely yes.

For reasons you may not appreciate just yet this is a very important point to note because as we all know, if you attempt to store digital material for that length of time, the certainty that you can reproduce the content is dramatically reduced, if not impossible for most people. If you were to attempt to do so the challenges are immense. Not withstanding the data being in good shape to begin with, there is also the issue of having the equipment to access it and still being able to source and run the software to finally make it all happen.




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