Marantz Professional Recorders Help Preserve the History of Ellis Island & Flight 93

(Marantz | Posted 2007-04-06)

Marantz Professional Recorders Help Preserve the History of Ellis Island & Flight 93

The Ellis Island Oral History Project has recorded and archived over 2,000 personal audio memoirs of immigrants, workers and officials who passed through the portals of the famed Ellis Island reception facility in New York's harbor. The Flight 93 National Memorial, located at the crash site near rural Shanksville, PA, is an evolving work to honor the heroism, courage and enduring sacrifice of the 40 passengers and crew of Flight 93. It is also creating an oral history component, recording the recollections of 9/11 by those directly affected. Both of these important national initiatives, overseen by the Museum Division of the National Parks Service, will have their capabilities significantly increased by the addition of two state-of-the-art recording devices from Marantz Professional: the PMD660 Portable Solid State Recorder and CDR310 Professional CD Recorder.

Previously, the Ellis Island Program relied mainly on DAT decks, as well as analog cassettes and open-reel tapes (still used for long-term archival applications). But all three formats have severe limitations, not the least of which is increased scarcity of reliable media for them. Kevin Daley, Recording Engineer at the Museum Division on Liberty Island -- also part of the National Parks Service -- explains, "They have other problems, as well, such as trouble with reliable tracking on the helical scan heads of the DAT decks, and tape twisting, shedding and stretching on DAT and cassette." The new Marantz digital recorders address all of these issues, as well increasing throughput and expediting workflow for the staff at the Oral History Program, which has experienced staff cuts in recent years. "Going [non-linear] with the field recording and editing processes will make the entire workflow move faster and more smoothly," says Daley. A colleague at the Vermont Folklore Center introduced him to the PMD660. "That program there is also a clearinghouse for oral history workers from all over the country, so the PMD660 gets wide exposure there. I saw that it offered us what we needed: ease of use, reliability, the ability to transfer easily and the use of a high-penetration format in the CD. Previously, when documentary filmmakers would ask for audio clips, we had to send them on analog cassette. Now, we can send them a disk. These units are a real step forward for both Oral History Programs."

About the PMD660

The "hand-held" PMD660 Solid State Recorder features portable, battery-powered operation. It offers a choice of recording uncompressed WAV files at 44.1 or 48 kHz, as well as 64 kbps mono or 128 kbps stereo in MP3 format. An optional 1 GB flash card holds over an hour of stereo or 3 hours mono of uncompressed audio (recording at the rates specified above), while the unit itself can operate for up to 4 hours running on 4 standard AA batteries. Furthermore, the PMD660 has built-in stereo microphones, XLR connectors with +48V phantom power, and is compatible with an optional RC600 wired remote that attaches to most any microphone to supply Record/Pause control, track marking and peak metering from the mic position.

About the CDR310

The CDR310 Professional CD Recorder is capable of handling a project from beginning to end, with built-in microphone preamps with XLR connectors and 48V phantom power for use with external condenser microphones, a built-in high-quality microphone for maximum convenience and portability, and the ability to record for hours, then finish the final project to the built-in CD burner, all within one lightweight, battery operated compact unit. The burner can create both audio discs for instant playback on CD players, or data discs for transfer to a computer or for archiving purposes. Battery power capability -- using the optional RB1651 battery -- allows for up to four hours of remote operation without an external power supply, while support for uncompressed WAV, CD-DA, AIFF audio and MP3 file formats provides flexibility and long record times. The CDR310's Background Record Mode enables recording to always be active, as an ongoing backup, even when the unit is in Pause Mode. Recording can also be active in Pre-Record Mode for up to 10 seconds with the recorder stopped. Easy One-Touch recording makes operation simple, even under challenging circumstances. Analog line-level inputs and outputs and S/PDIF-format digital inputs and outputs allow connection to a wide range of professional audio equipment.

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