Besides our display collection of vintage broadcast equipment, antique radio and television receivers, and radio books and publications, we also have electrical transcriptions (also known as “transcription discs”) housed in the museum. Unlike the other parts of the collection, the public cannot enjoy these materials readily without special equipment to play the 16″ vinyl and acetate, particularly since some are in deteriorating condition.
Some of these discs might not have been heard by the public since their first broadcast, so we are very pleased to share them with you here. All downloads will be available for free. We are close to having some shows ready for download, so please keep up with our messages here.
To learn more about the California Historical Radio Society, use the links in the “ribbon” above, or go to californiahistoricalradio.com.
For the moment, we’d like to ask you a question.
We will be posting mp3 files for you to download. We’d like to know: what bit rate is your preference? You can post your replies below (no sign-up required).
And thanks for visiting our project!
This Post Has 6 Comments
I think modern collectors pretty much expect 128 kbs or larger anymore. With fairly inexpensive storage and higher speed Internet connections folks want a richer sound especially when it is first or second generation recording. I’m sure it goes without saying that the initial recordings should be lossless and digital rips made from those after cleaning. I see Randy Riddle’s site listed so I’m sure he has given you all the advice you would ever need on technical aspects.
For bitrate I’d prefer something that doesn’t destroy the audio – Please not 32kbps, we’re destroying our heritage with bitrates so low that it horribly degrades the audio. Future generations will hate us when 32kbps is all that’s available for a show.
For predominantly speech-based radio I’d say 48kbps mono is an absolute minimum, and 64kbps mono if there’s some music. But if size isn’t an issue I’d say go higher, 96kbps mono perhaps. (If people with slow connections need a smaller file then perhaps offer a 32kbps in addition to the higher quality file.)
Also apologies if I’m stating the obvious (but so many people make this mistake) remember that 64kbps mono isn’t the same as 64kbps stereo. If you want it stereo you have to double the bitrate for it to be the same quality, so 64kbps stereo is the same quality as 32kbps mono (i.e. useless), but as we’re dealing with recordings that aren’t in stereo then mono is all we need.
Also for your own archival purposes it’d be a good idea to keep a wav copy for yourself. Convert to flac to keep the size down, a 30min mono wav converted to flac will only be around 70-80mb.
A 64 kbps in mono, I think, is minimal for spoken word, higher if music is involved. Otherwise the audio can sound a bit thin. I’ve recorded OTR from albums at this bitrate. Though I would recommend keeping an “archival” copy in WAV format, as mp3s are lossy and can produce screeches and blips if transcoded (that is, coded from to an mp3 from another mp3).
For music, I prefer 320 kbps, minimum 128 kbps. if you must use MP3 files. There are other options as well – FLAC files are lossless. Free codec and free apps that read them, like Audacity, which is also trans-OS. You could put a link to this on your website where files are downloaded.
Thank you for your effort.
I would suggest that you offer both a low 32/44 mono and a high bit rate recording 128/44 mono if you can, but anything you offer will be welcomed. The low bit rate is for people still on dial up connections and the high bit rate for DSL, T1, … If you could offer flac files as well that would be fantastic, but, as I said, anything you offer is welcomed.
Take care and Thank you again for your effort
Thanks for all of the input. I think we should be able to supply at least 128 Kbps,
Some of the content is already recorded, but I’ll do my best to make sure it at least 128.