US-based audio and moving image preservation company George Blood LP is using Prism Sound Titan audio interfaces to complete a community project, which aims to create a digitised reference collection of 78rpm records.
Entitled The Great 78 Project, the project has already seen 35,000 sides digitised and aims to digitise in excess of 400,000 sides for preservation, discovery and research.
Company founder and preservation expert George Blood has been a Prism Sound user for more than 20 years.
“We have had a long, very happy history of working with Prism Sound and the technical support is fabulous,” he said.
“That relationship matters a lot. We are also receiving very positive feedback from our peers in the trade for the quality of our transfers - even at the highest production scale achieved by anyone worldwide. The reliability of the Titans helps us keep the price down while delivering on the sonic fidelity that preservation requires and meets the demands of our clients and engineers.”
The Great 78 Project is currently digitising nearly 400 sides a day at George Blood L.P.’s Philadelphia studios, which operate 16 hours a day, six days a week.
Every month an HDD containing 5,000-7,000 sides is sent to the Internet Archive, which uploads them onto its servers where they can be accessed by researchers in a format that allows them to be manipulated and studied without harming the original shellac artifacts.
To record audio from the 78rpm discs, George Blood has devised a custom turntable with four tonearms.
“We capture both groove walls of four different stylus sizes, with and without EQ for each side,” explained Blood. “That's 16 channels in total, which are recorded using two Prism Sound Titans. In this way the user can decide the stylus size they like best. They can even mix and match - size A for the outside of the discs, size B for the inside of the discs, size C for a damaged part of the discs, and size D for some instrument or four bar phrase.”
In addition to the Titan units, George Blood LP is also using six Prism Sound ADA-8XR multichannel converters, an AD-2 converter and a 2024 BitSplitter in its music studios where staff have worked on over 45 Grammy nominated projects over the years.
“We have finally had to replace power supply capacitors on our 15 year old ADA-8XRs due to old age but in general Prism Sound gear just works, year in and year out,” Blood says. “I'm happy to say our Titan units are holding up as well as our ADA-8XRs have. What’s more, everyone is happy with the sound.”
The story behind The Great 78 Project goes back to 2013 when George Blood LP was asked to digitise 10,000 sides for the US Library of Congress, taking in two collections - factory reference discs from the Thomas Edison National Historical Park and un-played or rarely played Victor discs from the Eldridge Johnson Victrola Museum pf the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.
“78rpm discs are not standardised for speed, stylus size, or equalisation,” Blood added. “Normally digitising 78s entails discovering not only the correct stylus size for that label at that time, but also considers how a different stylus size can compensate for years of wear. The wear may be from normal use, playback with the incorrect stylus, abuse, or other ravages of time.”