Sirensound is a high-end Audio Mastering and Archival Facility
specialising in recording, archiving and mastering. We have specialised equipment sourced from the world's leading manufacturers, including ATC (World class monitoring), Millennia music and media systems (HV3D) Preamplifiers, (LPE-2) Library of Congress Legacy Archival Playback Environment for vinyl, shellac and acetate discs and wax cylinders, (TD-1) single channel preamplifier and DI, CEDAR De-Clicker hardware, Cedar for Pyramix software, Sony mixers, recorders and playback apparatus, Sonnox software, equalisation, limiting and audio restoration suites, Pyramix recording software bundles, with Panasonic, Junger, Audio Design and Audio Developments recording and clocking products.
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Our clients past and present encompass major higher learning instutitions throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland such as The British Library, The University of Edinburgh, Cardinal Tomas O'Fiaich Memorial Library and Archive, Gloucester Archives, The University of Gloucester, The Krishnamurti Foundation Trust, Voyager Press, The Planned Environment Therapy Trust, The Royal Dragoon Guards, CBS New York and the Wellcome Trust.We will work to collate and organise your oral history projects, your transfers from analogue to digital originating on quarter inch tape, cassette or PCM F1, vinyl, shellac and acetate discs, and perform your mastering requirements and recording projects using established skills providing meticulous attention to detail, in areas that others may overlook. With the British Library Sound Archive announcing that in their opinion we only have approximately 13 years to transfer the older formats to a more robust digital storage state we can only suggest that now is the time to act, as decaying materials in most formulations make accurate transfer that more risky. We've noticed the HF carrier signal in VHS tapes dying at an exponential rate, and this also includes Betamax, U-Matic, DAT etc. Some of these recordings were put to media only meant for editing as a primary function, not long term storage.
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Sirensound Digital remains a preferred contractor to the British Library Sound Archive having recorded thousands of obsolete recordings to a more robust digital format, and we keep the older machines in service by using them as often as possible so they're ready when required.
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Our current archival practise for Archival Audio is utilising 96 kHz 24 bit converters with the capacity to transfer from one channel to 24 channels at this high sample frequency. Briefly, by recording to this frequency according to the Nyquest theorem (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyquist_frequency) we get a true representation of half that frequency of 48 khz 24 bits providing a huge dynamic range for accurate playback as a .Bwav file. We are also able to provide a 48 kHz 24 bit .mp3 file from the master 96 kHz wav file.
When this recording and archiving facility was first established, a new power supply to the studio was installed so all audio (and video) work would be on a seperate clean single phase. The rooms are acoustically treated to aid a flat frequency response for the listener and an accurate reference for the mixer and mastering engineers. The Sirensound facility is being upgraded to comply with broadcast audio to the EBU R.128 loudness standard.
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Sirensound Digital UK also offers an acoustically designed room for acoustic recordings; for drums, brass, woodwind and voiceover.
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All digital audio is referenced to a single clock via AES or word.
When asking for an estimate for work done please provide as much information as you can extract from the master recordings. For analogue open reel quarter inch there are several variations to be aware of.
1. It may be mono or stereo
2. Is it full track mono? Two track mono? Quarter track mono or Quarter track stereo?
What's the difference you say?
Many domestic recordings have been done as 1/4 track, using tracks 1 + 3 in a single direction and tape turned over and recorded the same on side 2, again as tracks 1 + 3. Once both directions are recorded all four tracks are occupied, 1,2,3,4. Playing in the opposite direction tracks (2 + 4) are
(1 + 3) thereby preserving stereo in both directions. Half track mono equates to mono recording on only one track of half tape width in each direction.
The speed of the reels.
The common speeds run in multiples of 4.75 cm/sec. Check the speed on the box and the length of the tape. 19 cm/sec is 7 1/2 inches per second, and 9.5 cm/sec is the old standard of 3 3/4 ips. You can deduce that 4.75 cm/sec (1 7/8 ips) is very slow and an 18 cm (7 inch reel) will take a few hours to complete one pass. If the four tracks are occupied as mono recordings you can be in for a long wait to reach the end.
These are common speeds in all audio archives. They matter because our clients invariably worry about the cost of their archives, trusting that the job will done to the highest standards, and that the cheapest quote will not always represent the best overall value. We try to achieve the best price/performance for our clients and an estimate will reflect this.
We are forever evolving as a species, and our methodologies must be kept at the highest standards.
This is the world of Sirensound Digital UK. There is over £1,000000.00 of equipment, much of it purchased new, sourced from the world's leading suppliers with whom we are valued in a 'family' relationship.
You will benefit from our professional relationships with the world's leading suppliers, and our knowledge and experience in this kind of work. We expect that many/all archives we have worked on will survive many decades ahead through careful management and migration and in doing so will provide insight to future generations not born yet. That's a little scary, don't you think? (since we did the Ken Jones Collection at Ironbridge sadly Ken Jones OBE has died) and his collection of recordings of miners, their families, the stories of the pits and life on the railways rests in the museum at Coalbrookdale on CD-R.... that was their specification.
Sirensound can also source high-end NAS systems configured as RAID 5 arrays running enterprise grade hard drives. As storage technology evolves, so does our methods of migration and backup. Please ask!
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Whatever your requirements may be, at Sirensound Digital your projects will be treated with the respect they deserve and managed sympathetically to the highest technical and artistic standards in the world by Paul Turney of Sirensound Digital UK.
Sirensound Digital UK is a specialist provider of recording, mastering and archival work.
We record to AES and EBU R.128 broadcast standards
We work hard and achieve our goal of producing the highest quality audio each time.
In doing so, we help you to achieve your goals for the future ...
Quarter Inch Tape A workhorse of the audio industry for nearly half a century, 1/4 inch (6mm) tape has declined rapidly in recent years with the production of tape decks and blank tapes coming to an end.
Because 1/4 inch tape was so successful for so long, audio archives across the world are filled with this format. Around 90% of ‘one-of-a-kind’ material in audio collections and over 50% of total audio archives including commercial recordings are estimated to be on 1/4 inch tape. Some of this material is on notoriously unstable acetate and other recordings may have been archived for more than forty years – ten years more than its life expectancy but still able to be transferred successfully. Furthermore, with the decline in 1/4 inch tape usage, playback equipment has become obsolete and numerous hours of material are now unplayable. Preserving and protecting these precious audio assets has become a major challenge for organisations all over the world and remain a challenge in the United Kingdom where our methodologies are endorsed by major organisations like the British Library Sound Archive.