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Timothy Powell, of Metro Mobile Recording, suggested that I call a mutual EARS (Chicago's Engineering & Recording Society) friend, Fletcher, at Mercenary Audio in Boston. Fletcher is a famed audio geek and an absolute analog Luddite. He despised digital audio almost as much as he disliked the Grammy Awards. So when he recommended a digital to analog converter to make great sounding DAT transfers, I listened carefully. And he really had my ear when he told me about The Toy Specialists.

One reason Chicago's studio scene was considered paltry by New York, London, Nashville, and Los Angeles' standards is the lack of equipment rental companies. In any of these other cites you can phone a "hire" outfit twenty-four hours a day and get any mic, any tape machine, any piece of outboard gear and have it delivered within thirty minutes. Sadly, Chicago clientele wouldn't pay for hire gear, period.

The Toy Specialists was just one of these rental companies in Manhattan. Fletcher informed me that they had just opened the "Transfermat" in the back of their warehouse, on the city's upper West Side. A call to The Toy Specialists' owner, Bill Tesar, confirmed that this was the place for me. They had all the different format machines in their rental pile. They were right downstairs from Atlantic Records tape library and I could even use Atlantic's oven to bake and stabilize shedding reels. They would provide me a teaboy and a tech person as well. And, because their rental operations ran twenty-four hours a day, someone was always there to watch the Kinks' masters while they were "in limbo." Plus, I would be the only one to have a key to the Transfermat.

I knew then in '97,  that DVD was just around the corner. DVD's can yield audio quality better than twice as good as a CD's. I knew that if I was going to handle all these aging master tapes, I had better find the highest resolution digital format on the planet. Cutting nice sounding 16 bit DAT's  wouldn't get it. But at that time 44.1k/16 bit  digital audio was the norm. This was before lo-fi MP3's and iPods had hit the market

So I tracked down (with Bill's help) the people at Pacific Microsonics in Northern California. They had had an HDCD (high definition) system in place for a couple of years which made better sounding , 20 bit emulated CD's. Their new HD-1 96k 24 bit analog to digital converters had just then been completed with an eye on DVD. They agreed to rush me one of the first beta units. By luck, my timing was perfect and The Kinks would be the first recording artists to utilize this new technology for an entire catalog. We not only would have a better sounding CD with current technology, but these 88.2k/ 24 bit masters would be able to shake hands with future recording formats for many years to come. And for the massive amount of data storage, I chose a Genex GX-8000 removable optical disc recorder which would yield a shelf life for these masters of over 100 years!
I don't know if Ray ever fully realized this contribution I had made to The Kinks catalog and masters longevity. (continued)

Hi-Res Transfer Rack

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