Well, we’ve done it. After 30 years we have changed technologies, from analogue to digital and it has been a great success. How do we know? Well we are going through the process of calling as many listeners as we can to gauge their view of the new technology, but more of this later.
In the studio we now have two computers. One is dedicated to recording work while the other manages our internet and office applications but can be swapped with the recording machine should we experience a system failure. We also have our old analogue mixer connected to an external audio capture unit with its own integral analogue to digital converters. We also chose the Newsbridge recording software mainly because of its simplicity and direct relationship to the operation of our old tape machines.
Our listeners have been supplied with the Boom Box player. We chose this particular machine after consulting our listeners with the help of our local Action for the Blind group. They say that…
· Sound reproduction is much better.
· It is lighter than the tape player and more easily carried around.
· The ‘skip forward/backward’ feature is useful.
The recording side has taken some time to settle down however. There seems to be more to think about during a recording session. After initial training, and four full recording sessions each, our recording technicians are quite comfortable using the new equipment.
We us 512Mb memory sticks made for us in our own colours and with screen printed protective covers. Light coloured, translucent, memory sticks have found favour with our listeners as they glow and flash orange light when in use. The fold over covers are also proving very useful as they offer a good degree of protection to the USB connector when in transit. Another idea we have employed is to cover one pivot point with a fuzzy dot. The idea here is that a right handed person can hold the memory stick with the fuzzy dot under their thumb thus positioning it in the correct manner for insertion into the Boom Box. If the listener is left handed they find the fuzzy dot with their index finger.
Digital technology also aids the copying of our master memory sticks in that with three 15 position duplicating machines we produce 45 copies of our 90 minute recording in less than two minutes. The increased speed here has meant that our copying/dispatch volunteers have much shorter shifts.
It has taken us some time to get this far but it has proved to be well worth it.