Re: mini-disk or DAT? (Sheila Williams )

Subject: Re: mini-disk or DAT?
From:    Sheila Williams  <williams(at)PSYVAX.PSY.UTEXAS.EDU>
Date:    Thu, 21 Jan 1999 09:38:36 -0600

Dear list, I would like to thank everyone for the information and comments they sent me for my enquiries on Minidisk vs. DAT and will give a brief summary here in response to Christel's enquiry. There was a lot of information so I may be able to post a more complete summary later. Apologies in advance if I may have misunderstood any of the comments/technical information. Christel asked: >I'm about to start a series of experiments on voice quality, and am >planning to use a portable mini-disk recorder to record speech from >subjects with. Afterwards I intend to carry out some acoustic analysis on the >speech samples, including harmonic-to-noise ratios and jitter and shimmer >measurements, among other things. > >However, it has been brought to my attention that, if one wants to do >acoustic analysis on the recorded speech, it may be preferable >to use a DAT-recorder instead. > The overall response to my enquiry was a resounding - Minidisk is good for recording things to be listened to as it gives high perceptual quality and long-lasting recordings. However, and this is a BIG one, in order to avoid use for copying commercial recordings, Minidisk technology incorporates input filtering and data compression strategies deliberately designed to distort the signal in subtle ways which makes the signal more difficult to analyse and impossible to make accurate measurements of - it also leads to perceptible distortion if multiple copies are made, so DAT is much better for accurate measurement. DATs mostly (or all) come with the ability to switch off any such compression factors. However, tape media is less robust so should be archived. Advice on microphones included use of "cardiod" microphones to get a general directional background filtering effect without the need for precise directionality and to use headset mics to maintain distance (to ensure any amplitude fluctuations are due to the speaker and not the distnace). There are devices out there for converting from optical to coax input/output for data trandfer. Decks for rack-mounting seem more likely to have coax digital ports already, avoiding the need for these devices. thanks again for all the advice. For our purposes, which include analysis and resynthesis of speech recordings, we will definitely be going with DAT and I am now investigating the relative costs/benefits of the different systems currently available before we choose our set-up. I'll try to provide a more technical summary (and a list of all the contributors), including a comparison of the different systems I can find, when I've had the chance to wade through all the technical data. Sheila Dr Sheila M Williams phone: 512-471-4253 Psychology, University of Texas at Austin lab: 512-471-0693 528 Mezes Hall, Austin, Texas, USA, 78712 fax: 512-471-6175

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