Vermont Folklife Center
If your looking for one of the best sources for evaluations of field research equipment, particularly for oral (or personal) historians, we suggest you go to this website first. In addition to their own content this site offers links to numerous other sources of valuable information.
From the Vermont Folklife Center website:
"In an effort to provide useful information to fieldworkers, students, community scholars, and others interested in cultural documentation, ethnography and oral history, the Vermont Folklife Center archive provides online access to a series of research guides."
Digital Audio Field Recording Equipment Guide : An overview of digital audio field recording technologies currently available to researchers.
Audio Recording Equipment Guide: Retired Equipment List :: A list of audio field recording technologies that have been retired from inclusion in the Digital Audio Recording Equipment Guide. Currently covers information on analog cassette, DAT, laptop interfaces, MiniDisc and Hi-MD.
Field Recording in the Digital Age :: Information on working with Solid State digital audio recording equipment such as the Marantz PMD660.
Digital Editing of Field Audio :: A basic introduction to digitizing and editing field audio for access and distribution.
Resources on the Preservation of Materials in Ethnographic and Oral History Collections :: An overview of Web and print resources on the preservation of multimedia mateirals commonly found in ethnographic and oral history archives.
Here's what it says on their homepage. "Transom.org is an experiment on channeling new work and voices to public radio through the internet etc, etc."
But don't be fooled. It is also an excellent source for evaluation of new equipment, and some excellent articles about a number of topics related to sound recording equipment.
Safe Sound Archives
In the interest of full disclosure we have been referring our clients to George Blood of Safe Sound Archives for the last 7 years and have yet to hear anything but excellent experiences with him and his company.
From their website:
"Safe Sound Archive is a leading provider of archival audio and video services. Our services include:
Each month Safe Sound Archive reformats approximately 1,000 hours of audio content. Reformatting may be 1:1 preservation copies, or it may include conservation (recovering sound from failing or obsolete formats), and/or restoration ("enhancing" the sound, including improving intelligibility, removing noise, etc). We have significant experience in a wide range of historic, obsolete or damaged audio and video formats, and addressing collection-specific issues.
Clients from around the country trust us with the long-term storage of their magnetic media. Projects which are in our studios for reformatting are kept in climate controlled and fire protected storage.
Whether we're working for a major symphony orchestra (clients include The Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony and Chicago Symphony) or on oral histories (the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the National Park Service or the Library of Congress), whether your project is contained in a shoe-box or a truck, we can help you design and complete your archival audio project. Our expertise is brought to bear every day in our transfer studios. We also provide assessment and consultation services for your collections to help evaluate their needs, assess priorities and consider options (including designing in-house studios or deciding not to reformat!)."
If anyone is planning an audio preservation transfer project you might be interested in a paper presented on the subject presented by George Blood at an SAA meeting, then click here to be taken to the paper. Warning! Not for beginners.