As many of the early digital formats are already obsolete and support of these formats cannot be guaranteed much longer by the manufacturers, archives should presently give priority to the replay of original recordings on such material. Based on a short theoretical discussion and outlining the format specific characteristics, the paper discusses a variety of practical problems of signal retrieval from PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) encoded signal on a VTR (video tape recorder) and R-DAT (Rotary-Head Digital Audio Tape), such as mechanical problems, tracking problems and playback incompatibilities, data integrity checking, extraction and incompatibility of sub-code-information, pre-emphasis as well as other problems occurring from irregular recording conditions (typically with field recordings produced on portable devices) or format peculiarity.
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