Sonicraft A2DX Lab: Ultimate Multitrack Analog to Digital Transfers
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David Weiss pens the New York Metro news column for MIX Magazine. David came to vist the Sonicraft A2DX Lab and in the March 2004 issue he wrote:

" Is there life beyond the recording studio? For the legions of experienced audio engineers who find themselves in a world of highly capable personal facilities, there had better be . In New York City, where new sounds and production techniques are created every day, new business models were bound to be close behind, and as some metro-area pioneers are finding out, there's a world of opportunity for anyone with audio expertise, niche marketing acumen and just a touch of the mad scientist inside.

" Enhancing a process was ... on the agenda for Steve Puntolillo, creator of the Sonicraft A2DX Lab ( in Freehold, NJ. A dedicated multichannel A/D transfer facility, Sonicraft's objective was to design a system capable of performing the ultimate A/D transfer, bringing out extreme levels of quality and clarity from the tape not heard since the original material was recorded.

" Puntolillo first got started on his unique path, which would soon become an all-consuming quest for perfection, in 2001, when he was preparing to mix and master some early 1970 recordings for 5.1 surround. Not set up himself to do the transfer from 1-inch analog tape, he innocently advised his client to take it to the best place he could find in Manhattan. The ensuing nightmare of logistics and sound quality showed Puntolillo the need for a facility committed to performing ultrahigh-quality A/D (as well as A/A) transfers, and that he would have to be the one to fill it.

"I believe in any business you want to solve a problem ÷ isn't that why someone comes to you?ä Puntolillo says. ãMy thought here was that, when the need arose, there would be a place that people could take their tapes to that wouldn't be a dragged-out machine stuck into a corner next to a Pro Tools rig with questionable converters. I don't know how to get it any better than the A2DX Lab."

"With painstaking attention to detail, Puntolillo and a skilled team of experts fully restored and extensively modified two Ampex MM1200 24-track 2-inch tape machines (one optimized for playback, the other for recording). Performing thousands of man-hours of research, testing, prototyping and comparing, Puntolillo's group changed components, upgraded signal paths and added myriad new innovations that would help to noticeably improve analog playback. Next, Puntolillo applied his findings to 1-inch, 4/8/12-track machines for total format coverage. The sound is captured into the computer via Mytek 8X96 converters capable of up to 96kHz/24-bit sampling.

"We're talking about small improvements and how they accumulate,ä explains Puntolillo. ãFor instance, by adding tape rollers to the tape paths where static guides used to be, you get a little bump in clarity. Add that to all the other things that give a bump in clarity, and all of a sudden, you don't need that EQ any more, or as much of it.

"Where I sit is between the audiophile camp and the pro audio camp. The audiophile is going to spend an inordinate time on one piece of wire to make his stereo sound better, and you have your pro audio guy who might simply tweak his EQ a little bit to be perfectly happy. By combining those two philosophies, I'm basically getting the purest, clearest, sweetest sound possible off the tape and making sure every bit gets captured into the computer."

"Sonicraft's Steve Puntolillo with his two Ampex MM1200's and 'Bridgeport' Scully 284 12-track"

David Weiss' complete New York Metro column for March 2004 can be found online here at the MIX Magazine site or on page 144 of the March 2004 issue of MIX.


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