If you lost the original master...

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by analogue, Jun 9, 2003.

  1. analogue

    analogue Guest

    Please could some experienced mastering engineers give me their views on the best formats to backup masters?
    Obvisouly if its 1/2" make a 1/2" copy, DAT- DAT Clone?
    Do glass masters get stored and if so who has them and where?
    If you were to make a copy onto CDR, would you save it as a BWF as Data or make an audio copy? Could this CDR then be used to make any more runs/ remastering and so forth or would it be useless?
  2. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    Dear A. Alex,

    I find that CD-R is a more robust storage media than DAT. It's less likely to degenerate over time & less prone to "player mismatch". I would backup my 16/44.1 pgm to CD-R made on a really good burner.

    That being said, it could never hurt to have a DAT clone anyway.

    At Europadisk, Glass Masters are not stored or archived. Stampers are saved however, & can be reused to make CD's in the future.

    A DDP data cartridge is a good backup for CD pgm. If you are generating program in greater than 16/44.1 resolution, create a backup in the best resolution you have and generate new running masters/ duplication masters when the need arises.

    Redundency is the key when making backups. Many small studios do not have DAT machines anymore, let alone 1/2" analog decks or Betamax/Sony 601 decoders. These are formats that were common not too long ago. If you make backups in a couple of formats/media, it might be some small insurance that you will be able to play your masters in the future.
  3. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    If you HAVE lost the original master, acceptable masters can be re-generated from a variety of sources.I've had to use metal fathers and / or mothers, EQed cutting tape copies, LP vinyl records, lacquers, 7 1/2 IPS or 3 3/4 IPS reels, cassettes.... all sorts of stuff.

    It's amaizing what modern noise reduction / noise elimination techniques can do.

    None are ideal. It depends on the value or rarity of the program. Store masters in a different location from the masters. Document everything.
  4. joe lambert

    joe lambert Distinguished Member

    I'm in the middle of doing a series of remasters for an artist. Someone try'ed to remaster from the tapes a few years ago. The tapes weren't properly baked (not all tapes need to be baked, these unfortunatly did) and were ruined! So I am remastering from a compilation of several different backups. It's coming out very well but it's so much more work for everyone to check takes, tapes.. some play some don't.

    Every session I do is backed up to a digital tape with its original sampling rate and bitrate. This can be restored to my Sonic to generate master's for whatever reason. I can't stress the importance of this.

    If you are a mix engineer make a backup. Firewire drives are so cheap now I know a lot of engineers who buy a drive for each record and store all there mixes on it along with there multi track files if digital.

    Who knows what we will be using 10 years from now. So make a few copies on different formats to totally cover your but.
  5. analogue

    analogue Guest

    So a BWF file on a DATA format such as AIT/ CDR or FWHD is acceptable?
    ... as long as its of the highest grade - ie. full sample rate etc, no dithering and data compression or editing such as top & tailing etc.

    What would be the ideal if the original 1/2" had become useless but some thoughtful A&R had made a safety?
  6. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    :) Hi! I would like to offer yet another possible back-up on the analog side, just in case. Hi-Fi on a quality VHS tape on a pro deck (SP) with no limiter engaged. Be sure you record nice stable video along with it.

    Just a suggestion,

  7. falkon2

    falkon2 Well-Known Member

    I'd say .wav files are a safe bet - Microsoft is not likely to kick the bucket for the next century or so.
  8. analogue

    analogue Guest

    Create an audio version of a text document *.txt so it doesn't matter what medium it has been stored on, it will open on pretty much anything designed for the task.
  9. joe lambert

    joe lambert Distinguished Member

    All good ideas. Do them all!! Thats the only way to be 100% sure. I had a client recently ask me if the tapes we use would survive a "smart bomb". I told him I wont be around to check and if I am your tapes arent my top concern.
  10. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    As far as the 1/2" question goes:
    I guess the question is why & in what manner the original had been damaged. Does it shed & need to be baked? Is there water damage or other physical damage? Sometimes a damaged master can be made to play just one more time to be re-archived.

    The backup tape copy will be useful if it's the only existing master. Unless it's a mastered tape with some fancy moves that might be difficult to recreate. Of course the original would be better.

    I agree with Joe as far as his backup ideas. Rick, I myself have had intermittant deck mismatch problems with VHS HiFi. Fidelity has been OK, just that some decks would not play back pgms recorded on other decks. Even with video sync. But when it works, it's way better than nothing & it's analog.
  11. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    I often mix to a stereo track within my current PT TDM session and "simultaneously" to a DAT deck. Once automixes are defined, 24/44.1k goes to PT via AES/EBU or light piped and to a Tascam DA40 via spdif/coax @ 44.1k/16 bits dithered.
    Once ( many years ago....) I was saved by a DAT mix.
    Hey, CDR-s are heap, make at least 2 backups of your sessions, .txt and so.
    If you wanna be prepared for the worst save and consolidate all your tracks to .wav or sd2(goes only up to 48k/24 bits ( Am I wrong?) or aiff.
  12. Pez

    Pez Active Member

    Analogue tape has already proven itself to be a good form of backup.
  13. analogue

    analogue Guest

    Has anyone had togo back to a mix/ session from CDR and found the disc corrupt?
    I'm not really convinced in CDRs myself and it seems TOO much important data is floating round on really cheap CDRs very badly labelled!

    Future remastering engineers are going to have a nightmare sorting out the mess thats knocking around!
  14. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    I'll agree with that 100%. That's been the situation for a bunch of years. For example Sony 1630's have been notorious for instability over time & lots of early CD masters are on those tapes.

    Analog reel to reel has indeed been proven to be the best & most reliable long term backup we now know. Other formats change too fast & get replaced.
  15. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    :) Happy Friday all! Digital on analog as storage is a possible long term medium, but not DAT, because the little tapes are not robust enough. I use some D-9 around the studio. D-9 is JVC's 1/2" 4:2:2 digital A/V medium. I have reused tape since day one with not a single drop out.

    I went into the bulk erase room, with a bunch, and hit them 3 or 4 times with the eraser. I went back and popped them in, and had perfect picture and sound. The ONLY way I can remove anything from these tapes is to layer black and muted audio.

    Digital signals are recoverable on magnetic tape, even if the information has fallen well below 30% of it's original strength. All digital needs to see is ones and zeros. Hence, that's why we can get a great TV signal from an 18" inch dish, barring heavy rain fade.

    But, like I said earlier, the tape must be tough, like the old U-matic 3/4" digital masters were. If the tapes are properly cared for the machine would fail long before the tape. I have seen quality 3M, Sony U-matic tapes still deliver with over 500 plays.

  16. Rod Gervais

    Rod Gervais Active Member

    Of course you could always do your back up and archive the way the feds are..........

    They're in the process of taking all of their different media (ie: tapes - vinyl - CD - etc.)
    and transferring them to 78 rpm Vinyl.

    I heard their director in a radio interview say:

    "The great thing about this is the ability to take a beating and still have decent quality to preserve the music. If we had our civilazation destroyed by a nuclear war - you could effectively play this stuff with a piece of sharp rock as the needle"

    Your tax dollars effectively at work........ ;)

    Happy Hunting


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