Audiophile Archive: Digitizing Reel to Reel Tapes

Could anyone please update me on the latest hardware and software required to digitize analogue media?

I have a friend who would like to archive his collection of live jazz recordings.

Another Audiogon thread for digitizing LP's suggested not bothering with digital conversion which I can understand, but the real issue is preservation, not debating the pros and cons of digital vs analogue.

(Of course, extra credit will be awarded for any suggestions that will also satisfy the snobbiest of audiophiles.)

And DOUBLE extra credit for solutions which offer 95% S.O.T.A. performance, but for a reasonable price.

Thank you.
I may have been the person who said not to bother, but that is based upon having digitized 900 of my own albums. My point in the other thread was that it's very time intensive. However, if these are one off tapes and your friend is only looking to archive, as opposed to regularly using the digitized music, then it's really not that difficult a task.

At the low end, but still good quality, a stand alone CD recorder will do the job. Sony, Tascam and TL (formerly HHB) all make machines in the $500 to 600 area.

A step up in quality is the Alesis Masterlink. It will allow you to recorder at 96kHz 24 bit rates. It also offers some editing capabilities. I think the street price is around $1,000.

Adding an outboard A/D converter such as an Apogee to any of the above would be a subtle, but worthwhile upgrade.

If you want to go all out, you might consider the Genex. It will record up to 192kHz PCM and also DSD. Sorry, I don't know the price.
If you go the CD-Recorder route be sure to get a pro-audio CD-Recorder since it allows you the flexibility of using any CDR media. Hi-Fi CD-Recorders can only use music CDR's which cost significantly more and don't sound any better.
I copy my open reels to a Digital Audio Labs sound card.
I use Samplitude Master for my wave recorder. My intent is to have CD copies that I can listen to where ever I go.
Samlitude will record 192kHz but then you have to go to
16 bit if you want CD's you can play anywhere. The transfers
are great. My sound card sells for around $500.00 I had a
ARC44 card which did a respectible job also. That card can be had for alot less. Start small. The results may surprise
your friend. Joe
With all of the editing functions available on the Alesis Masterlink, I can't imagine using anything else for your project.

Kind regards,
Brian Weitzel
Record Research Labs
I have used an Alesis, and I must say it has the most counterintuitive interface I have ever seen. It is difficult at best to use, and the manual is not terribly helpful. It took me and a friend close to an hour just to figure out how to copy a CD with it... And we are pretty good with operating electronic gizmos. A few months later I wanted to copy some more CDs and it took me nearly 30 minutes to figure out how to do the very same thing again. This machine is not for the weak willed.

Unless the latest Alesis is far different than the one we were using (I do not know), I would go another route.

Keith Forrest
Glacier Showroom
Monterey (Seaside), CA
Update from my friend --

it seems he uses an iMac, which has a superdrive where he can burn at least CD's, if not DVDs.

He said copying CDs is very easy and was wondering if he should buy an iMike (?).

Does anyone know what that is or how I should advise him? $35 bucks or so sounds cheap compared to new sound cards, Alesis devices etc so I must be missing something.