[Ardour-Users] OT: Audio drive - file system?

Simon Wise simonzwise at gmail.com
Tue Aug 21 03:33:51 PDT 2012

On 21/08/12 16:17, Ralf Mardorf wrote:

> For long term analog is ok, you'll get some echos, regarding to the
> warehousing, but you'll still get very good quality when playing those
> dino tapes.
> Regarding to archiving, digital isn't an advantage, but it's completely
> useless.

hmm ... what do you want from an archive? if, like many archives, you want 
something in a format that can be played repeatedly then most analogue formats 
are no good, they usually suffer a little each time they are played. You can 
keep working copies and ones you only touch rarely to try to get around this. 
But most analogue formats change over time anyway ... the colours in an analogue 
film when it was new are a long way from the colours you will see when you 
project it some years later, even if the film has been untouched since then ... 
chemical reactions continue even without playing the film. Magnetic tape with 
audio or video decays and becomes unplayable over time. Analogue copies are 
never quite exact, so duplicating from time to time onto fresh media doesn't 
solve this in the way it can with digital versions ... with digital it is only 
the original transcription into the digital format that has a certain 
generational loss. Using grooves cut in a medium depends on the stability of the 

Analogue certainly is no help in regard to the player problem ... any digital or 
analogue format requires a working player to access it easily, and both can be 
extracted in some way and the original recreated if the format is properly known 
and the marks are still readable in some way. But digital is much more tolerant 
of the inevitable noise age adds to media, the yes-no nature of the bits means 
it is easier to reconstruct accurately and means the gaps are known gaps and 
strategies can be used to fill them in.

Many accurate copies widely distributed in a variety of formats is the best 
strategy for satisfying some desire for a kind of immortality, and that copying 
is much more feasible in a digital format.

There are a lot of reasons archives use digital formats for preservation, and 
there are particular formats with matching hardware encoders, full public 
documentation etc that are often preferred.

But the question opened up here is what a copy of some work really is, and 
really nothing can preserve a work with all its context, and out of context it 
is in many ways a different work.


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