About the Studio
Recorded sound is a vital part of the world's cultural, artistic, and documentary heritage. Audio preservation has evolved from the conservation of physical objects to programs that ensure not only care for the original but long-term access to the audio artifact. Audio Preservation Services (APS) preserves, reformats, and reproduces audio materials from the collections. APS relies on a staff of engineers experienced with audio formats ranging from wax cylinder recordings to surround-sound electronic compositions; their work allows library users not just to play rare and unique recordings, but to hear them as they were meant to be heard. Administrative and structural metadata are collected for all processes, in order to preserve the context of the preservation work for later assessment and data migration. As participants in standards organizations and through partnerships with other institutions, the staff of APS have drafted reports on best practices for audio preservation, developed open-source tools for automating digitization and data collection, and contributed to international standards for audio collections. The studio accepts projects from Harvard units, as well as from outside the University.
Facilities and Equipment
The studio features some of the finest digital and analog audio equipment available. The preservation studio's signal path features 96K, 24-bit capability and is "bit-clean": digital audio put into the system remains unaltered unless alterations are deliberately introduced. The studios also offer noise-reduction restoration services for audio. APS's audio equipment includes Studer and Ampex tape machines, Prism analog-digital converters, Genelec S30D monitors, and Keith Monks record-cleaning equipment. The room acoustics have been carefully engineered to create well-tuned listening environments. The measuring systems include an Audio Precision Test set, Spectra Foo and other scopes and RTAs that allow for real-time monitoring of the audio signal, proof-of-performance testing of the entire signal chain, and precise calibration of equipment.