My (our) StoryCorps Adventure

image Last Saturday I finally did what I’d wanted to do for two years – experience what it’s like to conduct a StoryCorps in-booth interview. I wanted to sit in one of those cool AirStream trailers, complete with the facilitator and the two microphones, sit across from someone whose stories I want to hear, and leave with one of the two audio CDs that are created during that time (the other CD goes to the Library of Congress).

Mix one part logistics (or how to find the StoryCorps booth and why you should arrive extra-extra early) with one part Los Angeles Parks department malaise, with another part tech geekery, with two parts interviews, and another part Olvera Street visit (first time in 50 years!), and a ton of pictures, and you’ve got our day.

Alternate titles for this story could be: “The Kitchens Family’s Excellent Adventure,” or “The Out of Towners,” or “No country Recreation Department building for old men…or young boys.”

This story describes the whole gosh darn experiece, including interesting (?) slices of La Vida Local en Los Angeles. If you want to read about the StoryCorps experience and see all the cool stuff they have inside the trailer, scroll down.

On the 27th of December, the first day that reservations were open for this booth in this venue, my brother J. and I made simultaneous phone calls to the StoryCorps reservation line. We snagged the first two appointments for Saturday, January 19th, the 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. slots. He signed up to interview Dad, and I signed up to interview Mom. I rejoiced at our good fortune.

The Wednesday Before: The question generator

image A few days before our appointment, I went to the StoryCorps Question Generator to compose the questions to ask my mother. I’ve visited the question generator before, but this one was different. Instead of a visit to explore good web resources on the internets to recommend for visitors of this website, this time it’s personal.  I’ll be using this to come up with questions for my interview with my Mom. In an actual StoryCorps booth.

What would I ask her? I’ve talked with her about her mother before (see, for instance, this movie), but we had not yet explored the topic of what sort of things my grandmother—a professional career woman—told her daughter about charting her own life. I wanted to get a sense of the “when you grow up” kinds of talks that they had when Mom was young.

At the question generator, they ask for your name and email address (they’ll send you your final question list), and the name of the person you’re interviewing. Then you choose whether you’ll be asking the person about his or her life, or will you be remembering someone together. I chose the second option. Then there was a spot where I could say what we both call this person. I frowned. I call her Grandma and Mom calls her Mama. I wrote Grandma. Whatever. Click to continue.

In the second page, I was presented with a long list of questions. If I wanted to ask one, I clicked the checkbox next to the question (see screenshot). Read, click, read, click. Then click to continue to the next page. The new page loads, and I could directly edit the order of questions, or edit the question themselves. For instance, I changed “What do you miss the most about this person you are remembering?” to “What do you miss the most about your mom?” I could also choose to delete a question by changing its numerical order to, well, D. What I could not  do, though, is add a blank spot for a new question once I’d reached the page.

Here’s a tip—If you have some of your own questions to ask, it’s best to click a couple of extra questions on the first question page—then completely rewrite the questions to your own liking. 

Once I was finished, the page reloaded to display my questions, which I also received in email.

Since my last visit in the spring of last year, StoryCorps added another page, the great questions list page. Excellent resource.

In the end, I had 14 questions—12 based on theirs, and one I composed. Plus, the question generator always adds one final question, “Is there anything we didn’t talk about that you would like to add?”

I knew, going in, that I would not be asking all 14 questions. I knew which ones I definitely would ask; the others I might or might not ask. I viewed all the questions as a guide, to help explore the topic: what did Grandma tell her young daughter about When You Grow Up?

Friday: phone calls, logistics, expectations

image Even though I’ve been wanting to do this for years, I saw this as one of many interview events. I certainly wasn’t looking at this as “The story. Tell me everything.” I knew what it’s like to interview each of my parents. I also knew how fast 40 minutes can go. 40 minutes is enough time to hear a few stories, or to explore one topic.

Since I’ve already interviewed both parents, I also had a sense of each one’s pace—how expansive each one is, and how long each can talk before needing a break. Mom can talk at length—two hours or so, whereas Dad can go for oh, 45 minutes to an hour before he needs to take a break.


I spoke with my brother J. a couple of times during the week—once about the question generator, and another about who, what, where, when, and how to get there.

I also checked out Google maps—with satellite—to match up the address with the location in the park.

J. planned to pick up my parents and drive them north to L.A. I planned to come downtown on the Metro—the light rail train that has a station at the edge of MacArthur Park.

J told me his thoughts about the 40 minutes, and what topics he’d like to cover (let’s see… 40 minutes—that’s 4 x 10 minutes, so four different topics at roughly 10 minutes each…. ). I listed the topics that Dad has already talked to me about. If J. wanted to dive into another area, go for it.

Though I’ve been researching and practicing interviewing techniques, I wasn’t going to lay down the “Okay, so here’s how you do it” sister-knows-best routine. (Plus, finding out a relative newcomer’s experience is  research!) Here’s what I told him: Dad may tell you those same stories differently; if you want to know, ask. Follow-up clarifying questions are good to elicit stories. And I passed on advice that StoryCorps founder David Isay gave when I heard him speak at Vroman’s this past fall. He said, Start with the question you most  want to know. Time goes quick, so ask the burning question right off.

I also said that I’d print out images of some photos that I’d scanned, so he could have them to refer to, if he wanted. I also told him that the last leg of my journey to the park would be underground, so I’d be unreachable by cel phone.

Saturday: Getting there is half? three-quarters? one-fifth? the fun

image Early Saturday morning, I caught the Metro Gold Line in Pasadena, which goes downtown to Union Station, and then transferred to the Red Line, which stops at MacArthur Park before heading to Hollywood and North Hollywood. I emerged from the station across the street from the park. I passed by a number of vendors with carts selling tamales and fresh-squeezed orange juice. I crossed the street into the park itself, looking for the parking lot by the recreation center.

image I arrived in plenty of time, just a minute or so after 9. I saw a few people in the park, and, in the distance, spied the silver trailer and a splash of orange. I walked toward it, passing by a soccer field (fútbol) with a game in progress. The trailer was behind a chainlink and concertina wire fence. I kept walking, found the opening to the parking lot.

image

There it was. The StoryCorps trailer. No brother’s car. No parents. I called J.‘s cell.

image

J. told me that, yes, they just arrived. He just dropped off my folks and then parked.

Dropped off where? I thought, looking around, thinking they might be on the street in front of the recreation building.

“I’m here at the trailer,” I said.

“Okay, see you in a moment.”

Minutes later, my cel rings again. “Where are you? Which trailer?”

“I’m in the park, at—”

“You’re in the park??”

Uh oh. It turns out that the street corner with the StoryCorps sign is at the intersection that blocked off street access where he needed to go in to park. Why was it blocked off? A film location shoot at the Park Plaza hotel. Angelenos know to recognize location shoots by the abundance of StarWagon trailers parked nearby. My brother is not an Angeleno. He sees the StoryCorps sign, and the trailers and (not having been to MacArthur Park before) thinks, “Trailers. Sign. We’re going to a trailer to record an interview. I’m golden!” It does not help that the uniformed guard tells him where to park (round the back of the hotel building) and, well, yes, he can drop his parents off right there at the hotel, first. StoryCorps? Whatever, dude. I just told you where you need to go. Despite (as it turns out) the daily reminders by the StoryCorps staff to the film crew about the location of the StoryCorps trailer in the park, my brother was not told to take that other driveway into the park toward the small lot behind the Rec Center building.

I found my brother and parents inside this old, empty hotel with a magnificent lobby that’s used for special events or movie sets. Someone inside said they could use the facilities, and told J.,  sir, we’ll tell the producer that you’re here. What? you’re leaving? But she’s coming, she’ll be right down to talk with you.

Time’s ticking on. All we had to do was walk across the street, down into the park. This wouldn’t be a problem, but for the state of my dad’s knees. He doesn’t move fast. The whole idea was to drive as close to where he needed to be and drop him off.

So that, my friends, is how it’s possible to arrive a half-hour before your appointment and still be late.

Though Mom and I reached the trailer, and theoretically could have switched our times with J. and Dad, Mom elected to go later, since Dad is freshest in the morning.

imageDad and J. stepped up into the trailer, the silver door closed, and Mom and I waited outside in the morning sunshine.

Sometime during the time I’d been walking back and forth to check on Dad and J’s progress toward the trailer and then back to tell Brianna, the StoryCorps facilitator “They’re coming!”,  a set of clipboards with forms appeared on the table outside the trailer.

Mom and I each filled one out. Check this box if you are storyteller or that one if you’re the interviewer. Please give us some basic info: name, address, birthdate, city of birth (this is going to be collected at the Library of Congress, after all, so in future decades someone will know that it’s you, and not that other fella that shares your name.)  While I filled it out, I thought, “Good, maybe we can make up time here for the time lost in getting lost and turned around.” Mom alternated between reading the morning paper she’d brought and filling me in on the latest news of the goings on at their house. Well, and yes, we talked about signs, logistics, getting lost, and how it could have all been done better.

No country Recreation Department building for old men…or young boys

I excused myself to go find a bathroom for myself and scout out its location for Mom and Dad. I found a door to the inside of the L.A. Rec Hall building. Just inside were two bathrooms. Beautiful! Nice and convenient. Easy access. I called back the good news—but then noticed the signs on both the doors. Out of order. Feh. What about upstairs? I’ll try the elevator—not that I need it, but to make sure it works for my parents. I pressed the button. I waited. Nothing. Pressed my hand against the door to detect any rumble of the motor. Nothing. Okay, I’ll take the stairs. Went up the stairs. I found the ladies room, and found the upstairs elevator.  Pressed its button. Lights off. No elevator. So much for easy access to bathrooms for elders, I thought, as I descended the stairs. This is a shame. Certainly we’re not the only StoryCorps visitors with elders who need easy access to facilities. Dad and J. will have an hour to wait while Mom and I are recording our interview. Dad sure as heck isn’t going to climb up all these stairs to find an open bathroom.

image At the bottom of the stairs, I encountered a youngish father aiding his young son (3 years old? 4 years old?) in the act of taking a leak—right there on the ground floor, inside the building. There’s little boy piddle, all over the floor. I said, “there are bathrooms upstairs,” and shook my head as I walked out. In a while, when Papa and son walked out, I asked the man, “Did you clean it up?” The man nodded, then said, “no speak eenglees” so I said, ”¿Limpia? ¿Ya es limpia?” (Clean? Is it already clean?) He asked for paper, and we gave him the real estate section of Mom’s newspaper to mop up his son’s mess. They emerged a little while later, smiling. At least it won’t smell so dank.

(Hey, Mr. Villaraigosa—how about getting one of your staff people to fix the toilets and keep them open while StoryCorps is here? Or make sure the Recreation Center elevator works? Otherwise, you’re going to have lots of people, ahem, watering your plants nearby. Or worse. Ah.  MacArthur Park is in City Councilman Ed Reyes’s district. [his contact info]. I called to complain about the locked toilets. No answer. That was on the Martin Luther King holiday. I called the next day, and left a message for Sylvia, in the field office. I hope that before Reyes and friends held a big hooptedoodle on the corner of the park, at Langer’s Square, they attended to this not-so-minor detail.)

imageMy mom tackled the stairwell to the loo, and I listened to the squeaks and honks from the band class drifting out the windows of the highest floor of the Rec Center. When Mom returned, we declared it too hot in the sun, and moved to the shade of the building to wait. Here’s the view from the shade. The front end of the trailer, and building edge and concertina wire and palm trees. Urban juxtaposition.

image

Into the StoryCorps Trailer

In time, a woman emerged from the trailer, introduced herself as Yuki, and chatted with us. I told her about this web site, and told her I’d checked the StoryCorps blog early that morning.  “I haven’t seen an entry about L.A. on your blog.”

“I just blogged it,” she said.

“Ah good,” I said. “I’ll be blogging this, too.”

“They’re just finishing up,” she said. “You can come in and take pictures” (While Dad was walking across the park to the location, I’d asked to come in and shoot photos of the inside; they said I could when it was my turn, and i could take pictures of Dad and J.)

image I climbed inside. To the right, at the front of the trailer is the table with bench seating. It’s the worktable, with computer. Look on it, people: the computer of the StoryCorps (west) blog. But it’s also the computer of the StoryCorps database. The two facilitators switch off. When one is in the recording booth, the other sits here and enters information about the previous session into the database.

Now, I’ve seen those pictures on the StoryCorps web site with the interviewees against a gray background. Where, in this compact trailer, is that wall? I looked around.

image A set of double doors lead to the back room. Ah! Here, above the outer door, some gray fabric hangs from one hook, and there, above the other side of the door, is the other hook where they stretch the fabric to create a gray wall for their pictures. So they shut the door, put up the fabric, pose, and say, Smile!! and get a photo.

The double doors were open to the back room where my Dad and brother were reading the agreement about archiving their interview.

image I’d been looking forward to seeing the equipment. I’d heard the facilitator is in the booth, monitoring sound levels, and asking occasional questions. What does the booth look like? How is everything set up? What equipment do they use? How do they create the CDs? The facilitator (Brianna) sits just inside the back room, across from an open cabinet door. I peeked into the open cabinet on the right. There are two decks—those are CD writers, and there’s a spindle of blank disks. The CDs are burned in real time during the interview.

image And the levels control wasn’t a sound board with sliders, but a nice compact box at the facilitator’s table.

My Dad and brother got up and emerged into the front part of the trailer. The door was shut, the gray wall hung, and we squeezed together for an “all four of us” photo before Mom and I went into the back. They switched on lights. Slick!! There in the ceiling of the trailer were a set of small lights to illuminate the “photo booth.”  Nicely designed, StoryCorps. Well done. Smile! Click. Keep smiling. Click. Click. One of the facilitators said to my mom and me, “We’ll take pictures of the two of them after you go in.”

Into the Booth

We went in, and sat down. Yuki closed the doors. It was hushed. (no more band practice). And dark. No daylight, but soft lighting.

Mom had brought a notebook of some photos, with a portrait of her Mom on the cover. (She’d asked if we’d need it, and I said, No, but if you want the picture of your Mom to inspire you, bring it in.) She placed it on the table so her mom faced her. Here’s what it looked like from where I was sitting.

image

Yuki placed the microphones close to our mouths, and reached into the cabinet with the CD burners to get the equipment ready. I asked if I could record her introduction statements, just so I could remember them later (the recordee records the recorder!). Sure. When she was ready, she said,

“Do you have any questions about the interview? Do you have questions prepared?”

I told her I had my list of questions right here.

“So basically, in terms of the sound quality, I’ll be listening on the headphones, so I can tell if you’re too soft or too loud. So I’ll probably adjust your mics while you talk [she showed us how she’d move the mics closer to our mouths], and just ignore me. If you happen to make any weird little noises like tapping or something [she gestured drumming fingernails], I’ll put my hand out. But it probably won’t happen. It’s going to be 40 minutes—”

“Yeah, I’m pretty hypervigilant about extraneous sounds,” I said.

“I can watch the counters here, you don’t have to worry about the time. And I can give you—I usually give people a 10-minute warning [she held up two hands, showing 10 fingers] towards the end, and then a 5 minute warning. People say it goes by fast, so if there are certain things you want to get down, [ask them] first. And that’s about it.

I might also ask you a couple of questions. Would that be okay if I did that? (“Sure”) If I do, I’ll be using this mic. But don’t look over at me because your voice gets a lot softer. Just look at each other.

imageThen, just as she was sitting down (photo shows where my view of her “station” but without her being there), I offered to do a sound check, and rattled off a tongue twister. My mom countered with “the quick brown fox…” Yuki said, “Wow. Usually I have to ask people to say something for a level check.” Yes, well, we’ve done this kind of thing before.

The Interview

And then she gave us a thumbs up. We’re on! We began by saying “my name is…” and saying our names, ages, today’s date, the location, and the relationship to the interview partner.  As interviewer, I went first, followed by my Mother. Then we paused a moment, laughed, and I dove into my questions.

“What is your most vivid memory of your Mom?”

Of the 14 questions I had on my sheet of paper, I ended up asking six. I didn’t ask them in order, but had them there as an aid to help me when the current story was winding down. I also re-worded a couple of questions to fit what my mom had just been saying. I asked other questions that were not on my list—to follow up what Mom had just said, or to get her to elaborate.

image I kept my hands in my lap. No table tapping for me, no sir. Not even table touching!  I was very aware of moments when I saw my Mom touch the table, or tap the notebook. (Fortunately, those taps didn’t last long.)

I am sure that I was the exception to the standard interviewer, in that I was pretty aware of time, and its passing. Though Yuki said that she’d track time, I wished I’d snuck a peek at my watch at the outset, so I could gauge how far in I was—20 minutes to go? 15? I was trying to judge whether to follow one of the sidetrails, or get back to the main topic what sorts of things did my Grandmother convey to her daughter about her life and work and such.

We had less than 5 minutes to go when my Mom said something that’s worth a follow up. I let it go, though, because I knew it would take more time than we had. (Yes, I definitely saw this as one of many interviews. We’ll get back to that later.)

I listened to the interview afterwards. Not only do I play back the sound of what was said, but I mentally play back what I was thinking at the time. I hear the point where the conversation branches off to a new direction. It’s as though she fakes left before she moves right, and there’s a tell-tale phrase before she moves in that new direction. I can almost see myself as a cartoon creature in that moment. A lightbulb appears over my head as I have a flash of “Aha! This! Yes. Want To Know More!” But the conversation meanders that-a-way. I pay close heed while it goes that-a-way, and that Aha moment fades. Once the conversation winds down, I have a thought of “What was that? What did I want to ask?” But it’s vague. What was fleeting has now flit.

In other interviews, I’ve had a sheet of paper or an index card where I jotted down a word or phrase to remind me. But my hands were in my lap  and the microphone was in front of my mouth. So no notes. Whether or not I take notes, it’s good to listen again. When I hear the words, and Mom comes to that branch in the conversation, I “see” the lightbulb flash of recognition and can make notes of the question or topic for the next interview.


image Yuki held up one finger. One minute to go. The stories have played out and there’s nowhere, really to go at this point. I thought a moment. Ah, here’s a short one. “Mom, tell me the prepositions.” In an English class in school, she’d memorized them—in alphabetical order. Sometime back, a friend from her schooldays visited, and during lunch I heard them recite them in unison. We’ve got a minute, we’re “live” and recording, so… go! She recited them again, and then continued, “Oh, Mrs. Smith!*  She was such  a wonderful teacher…” There it is, the beginnings of yet another story. That one, too, will have to wait. Our time here in the StoryCorps trailer was up.

After the interview

image Yuki took photos of us, seated there in the back booth.  Then she pulled out the recorded CDs and inserted new, blank ones for the next arrivals, while we discussed the release forms and signed them. Then we cleared out to make room for the next arrivals. Once the door was closed on Brianna and the new people, Mom and I posed for our twosome official StoryCorps photos. 

image We left the trailer with an orange folder that contained an audio CD and a StoryCorps button.

Mom and I emerged to find that my brother had gotten out his laptop and plugged it into the outlet on the exterior of the trailer. He’d also gotten some folding chairs out of his trunk to sit in the nearly-noonday sunlight.

We gathered up our stuff, and got into J’s car (now parked in the lot behind the Rec building, in one of the handicapped spaces), and left for Olvera Street—Mom was eager to go there, not having visited for some 50 years.

image We found a place to eat—more outta towners J and Mom exclaimed at the L.A. County Sales Tax rate (8.25% is higher than the 7.75% of Orange and San Diego County), ate some carnitas and saw the big fig tree in the square, and the original adobe. We compared notes a bit (the 40 minutes goes fast!), and then J went to get his car and pick all of us up. He dropped me off at Union Station (just around the corner) where I took the train back to my neck of the woods, and he drove Mom and Dad back to their house.

While we were IN

Postscript. I had a lengthier phone conversation with J. a few days afterwards. He told me a bit more about what he and Dad did while they waited for our interview. He watched Brianna enter her notes from their interview into the computer. She entered keywords from their conversation into the database.

We talked about the things that Mom and Dad told each of us. And revisited the art of asking questions. J. told me that he’s still asking questions—of anyone. People he works with, whomever.

Ask a question, and stories will come out.

 

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Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on January 29, 2008 in • InterviewingPersonal HistoryStoryCorps
7 CommentsPermalink

« Previous Notes on a first interview | Mailbag Q & A: I want to interview my parents. Does that mean I think they’re at death’s door? Next »

Comments

On the topic of tools and equipment: Richard Hess  wrote a note telling me that the mixer is a Sound Devices.

Quoth he:

Sound Devices—it is the same brand as the recorder I’ve gone gaga over. I have the SD722 recorder, the mixer is a 302.

He also asked about the CD Burners and the Microphones.

CD Burners: Tascam CD-RW901 and Tascam CD-RW2000. There’s a Marantz component on top of the two CD burners, and above that, an ATI Multiple Amplifier Array.

The mics were AKG mics. Cardioid, I’m guessing.

Richard also asked if I’d duplicated my CD. Why yes. So far, I’ve made one silver disk copy and two gold disk copies. I’m using one the silver one for my working playback disk.

Susan A. Kitchens  on 01/30  at  08:51 PM

Thank you for the wonderful write-up of your experience in the StoryCorps MobileBooth. I’ll look into making a space available in the Question Generator so people can write in their own questions, it’s an excellent idea.

Regards,
Dalton

(StoryCorps webmaster)

Dalton  on 01/31  at  11:08 AM

Hello, Susan,

This is indeed interesting. Thanks for the details. The Marantz unit appears to be a PMD570

http://www.d-mpro.com/users/folder.asp?FolderID=3526&CatID=19&SubCatID=179

This is a digital recorder ($900) that records to compact flash (CF) card. So were they really making three copies? It would seem to me that the CF recordings make a lot more sense as they can then be downloaded without ripping the CDs for the LoC to store in a trusted digital repository.

Now that I have the SD722 recorder, everything in the field gets recorded on that. No more real-time copying of MDs or DATs. I cannot tell you how exciting the move to the data-format field recorder has been.

A recent example: I was visiting a well-known audio engineer who is, alas, now confined to a wheel chair. We were discussing his “downsizing” of his collection of stuff—while providing additional funds for living. I had the SD722 with a Sennheiser MKH416T short shotgun and the Nikon D200 with an 18-200 mm VR zoom. As we talked, I recorded his explanations of the history behind various devices and also took still photos. I generated about 1 GB of data, split almost 50:50 between audio and pictures. I was recording 44.1/24 and shooting 10 MP RAW + JPEG. The two CF cards were downloaded onto my staging drive within about ten minutes of my returning home and the redundant copies were made automatically overnight.

Completing the StoryCorps equipment lineup, the Sound Devices URL for the mixer is
http://www.sounddevices.com/products/302master.htm

The ATI unit appears to be this one:
http://www.atiaudio.com/?fa=product&id=216#
and it’s something I’ve used in many installations as it’s sort of a “Swiss Army Knife”. I’m not sure why they used it here, as I probably would have passively split the audio from the Sound Devices 302 mixer directly into the three recorders (after confirming that was possible) or I would have used one recorder as the A-D converter and used a digital distribution amplifier to distribute the digital signal to the other two…or some other configuration that worked without introducing another piece of hardware. Upgrading to the SD422 mixer removes one box from the signal path while providing multiple outputs. It also provides one additional mic input.

Are the CDs recorded one mic to one channel or as mono?

This certainly is a good and flexible setup for recording one-on-one oral history interviews and all the folks involved should be commended for doing this.

Fascinating…thanks for hosting the discussion.

Cheers,

Richard

Richard L. Hess  on 02/01  at  08:56 AM

Dalton—Cool… Glad to see that you’ll be making that change. Oh, and I’ll add one more. I clicked the “print this” button in order to get questions (main div or whatever) no sidebars, and only the intro part was included. The questions themselves were lost.

I’d suggest, too (my my, we are getting technical, but if I have your attention, I have your attention), that you set the stylesheets for print to go for a larger size. In the end, to get my printout the size I wanted, I opted to import the text from email into a word processor and select the size I wanted. excessive, yes, but the size of the web page printout was just too small.

P.S. I hope you like all the equipment hashing we’re doing, here, too! wink

Richard, about the CD audio or mono—thanks for asking, as it reminded me that when I first popped the CD into a player to check it out, it was for that very reason. Mono? Stereo? Split evenly. Mono or split evenly. We didn’t have a facilitator ask questions, so I didn’t get an opportunity to see how that would’ve been.

Susan A. Kitchens  on 02/01  at  11:47 AM

Glad you had such a nice experience and that you’re interested in the details of our setup.

Here are a couple of notes on what you’ve been discussing on the equipment front:

-The mics we use are actually neumann supercardioids.

-We use the ATI distribution amp to split the signal to the three recorders and to create separate channel routing for the participant copy of the CD (which is summed vs. the stereo split we create for our own archive/production copies).

-We chose not to use a single recorder as the AD converter with the others routed or daisy chained to avoid reproducing any errors in the conversion process (which, though rare, do occur).  This way, if we have a digital artifact on the flash recorder copy, we can go back to the CD audio.

Of course, we have the luxury of a permanent setup in our booths.  Using the 422, with the extra set of balanced outs is a nice idea and would make for a more portable rig.

-We also love the SD722 and use it for our off-site recordings.

 
All the Best,
Nick
(StoryCorps Facilities & Archive Manager)

Nick  on 02/04  at  09:02 AM

Nick—

Thanks for stopping by and adding comments. Makes perfect sense, then, having one be a final mix whereas the other is a stereo split. I wondered about that when I listened to my copy, thinking that for audio editing, you’d want each speaker in a separate channel. Does that explain the two different models of CD burners?

Am I correct to assume that in cases where the faciliatator speaks during the interview, the audio is mixed into the interviewer channel on your split copy?

Susan A. Kitchens  on 02/04  at  09:38 AM

Hi, Nick,

Thanks for the detailed response. I now better understand what you are doing and it is very clever. The ATI MLA-800 series excels at this odd mixing requirement. I’ve used a bunch in complex multi-media screening rooms and broadcast facilities over the years.

Glad to hear you’re using Neumann super-cardioids. Are these the KMS-105?

http://www.neumann.com/?lang=en&id=current_microphones&cid=kms105_description

If so, I’m on the waiting list for a loaner as I am very excited by this mic for voice work. I have a Neumann TLM-103 that I like a lot (and also an RCA 77DX for voice work, but I keep amateurs away from it due to the risk of blowing out the ribbon).

So what is the Marantz recorder used for? How does that fit into your workflow?

Thanks for the details. This is a great resource, along with Andy Kolovos’s page.

http://www.vermontfolklifecenter.org/res_audioequip.htm

Cheers,

Richard

Richard L. Hess  on 02/04  at  09:56 AM

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