The Talking Newspapers for the Blind, Brighton Hove & District edition first started in the mid 1970's. At that time it was a fairly small scale affair and the recordings were made in the private home of one of our founder members.
Master recordings were made on tape and copies transferred on to standard cassette tapes for distribution to our listeners. This continued for some years until we acquired new premises in Brighton to construct our purpose built studio facilities.
The address we aquired in Mafeking Road, Brighton is our current studio site and we originally continued recording our master tapes here and producing the many copies of cassettes for distribution.
Our recording studio normally uses 4 microphones and the master recording was made onto a pair of 90 minute cassette tapes. Generally our recordings would last a little more than 80 minutes overall.
Our team at a recording session normally comprises 5 persons, ie. four readers including the editor and one engineer at the recording console. These recordings were normally made on a Thursday afternoon and on completion the two master tapes were put aside for the copying team that came in later.
The copying team normally comprised 2 persons and several hundred cassette tapes were made from the original masters. These tapes were placed in a yellow re-usable pouch and dispatched via Post Office facilities to our listeners.
After use the tapes were returned by post to our studio where they were erased, rewound and checked for any damage before being re-used for the following week's recording.
During early 2006 it was decided that the method of using cassette tapes would have to be reviewed and the thoughts of digital recording were very much in mind. There were a number of reasons for this, first of all cassette tapes were becoming obsolescent and would eventually be difficult to source.
The tapes become worn and damaged with use and this would compromise reliability of our service and recording quality. Also, from an engineering point of view, it would be easier to edit our master recordings and the audio quality would be noticeably improved.
Consequently it was decided, after also consulting with our listeners that we should changeover to digital recording and use CDs as our means of delivering the service.
OUR DIGITAL SERVICE
By the end of 2006 we had re-engineered our studio for Digital recording and more information for the technically minded is available on the technical section later on this page.
With the use of CDs to distribute our service we are limited to about 76 minutes of recording time due to the capacity and specifications laid down for CD recordings. Our master recording is now made on a CD disk and this is copied on to new disks for dispatch to our listeners.
Yellow pouches are still used to send these through the post much in the same way as the cassette tapes used to be. Unlike the tapes the CDs are not re-usable and are usually scrapped after use. Some listeners return them in the pouches whereby we dispose of them.
The blank CDs we use are not of the re-usable type because many of the older CD players, which some of our customers would have, are not compatible with CDRW format. Later in 2017 we are proposing introducing USB memory sticks for our distribution, which will be re-usable. Some listeners can already use these and hopefully in the future most will be using this format. For a while we will use both CD & USB distribution, but the goal would be to ultimately cease CD use and deliver the service by USB stick or the Internet. Of course, those listeners of ours who can use computer facilities, will be able to listen to our service from this Website and won't require a recording sent through the post.
We have, from the Summer of 2018, started introducing USB sticks to those listeners who have requested them, but CDs are still our main source of distribution.
Page updated June 2018