A lifelong engagement with sound recording and audio tape restoration

with Richard Hess



I first learned about Richard when the mysterious ways of the internet brought me to his comprehensive repository of materials on audio tape restoration, and I started referencing his scientific publications in my own work on magnetic tapes. It was quite a treat to meet him face to face in Culpeper, VA at the Library of Congress at the Audio Engineering Society (AES) Archiving Conference in June 2018. He is a walking encyclopedia on everything related to sound and audio, and a delightful conversation partner! I asked him to share his remarkable career path on Technoculture and this is the result. I am very glad this was an opportunity to know Richard better, and I am glad you get to know him too. He's the go-to person if you have old tapes that you want to save from oblivion, and that are giving you a headache because they stick, shed, warp or... bite!

Richard tells us about his early entry into electronics and provides an overview of the changes he's experienced in 55 years of audio involvement. He speaks to his experiences with the ABC Television Network, WABC-TV, his move to McCurdy Radio Industries in Toronto, and then to Glendale California where he spent 21 years at National TeleConsultants. We also discuss how he got into audio tape restoration and some of the challenges in storing and recovering tape. Finally, he unveils some details about his current project of developing, with John Dyson, a software decoder that is Dolby A compatible. If you're interested in archival storage and knowledge/information transfer... this is episode if for you. Thank you Richard for all the great work!

Richard's knowledge repository on audio tape restoration: http://richardhess.com/notes/



About the cute picture on the left, Richard says: "Note the phonograph on the table. I was hooked by my third birthday... We still have the little table (it's actually allegedly quite old), the needlepoint stool in the distance and the breakfront cabinet against the far wall."
TBS-Throw Back Sunday — in Forest Hills, New York.