The American Daffodil Society has some old audio cassettes that were made before video recording became feasible and affordable. Some needed repair to make them playable, so we sent all of them to a service that could repair as well as digitize them to audio CDs. Now that we can hear the recordings, we can recognize a number of problems. The predominant problem is microphones not near the speaker which then pick up a fair amount of noise compared to the speaker’s voice. We’ve had to do some digital processing to reduce the noise although this does some damage to the speech. While most of the continuous noise has been reduced, all the clicks and pops remain, and there are a lot of them. Another problem is incomplete recordings. Perhaps the ADS was given incomplete copies. More likely the original recording was incomplete because the tape ran out. Or a section is missing when a cassette is turned over to continue recording on the other side. Or maybe the service bureau missed copying part of a cassette. Another problem no doubt occurred during the tape to CD transfer with an eccentric take-up reel yielding a pulsing sound (at its rate of rotation) and decreasing amplitude as the tape skews off the playback head. A final problem is that we don’t have the slides (or handouts) from the talks. You can hear the speakers commenting about the slides. And we suspect some of the noise in the recordings is from the slide projectors. In the end, it turns out a few of the recordings were not intelligible because the noise was just too loud, so we’ve not put those on line. There was another cassette on which the handwriting was illegible, so there was no point digitizing it, not knowing who or what it was. Typically there were only speaker names without talk titles written on the cassettes, so we don’t have all of the actual titles.

Is it worth your listening to any of these talks? Some of the material is clearly dated, although you might be interested in the history. Most of the speakers have passed away, so you might want to hear the voices of some daffodil luminaries who are no longer with us. We’re taking the word of the labels about the speakers’ identities. If you recognize from the voice that we’ve misidentified a speaker, let us know so that we can correct it. All but one of the recordings  were made at ADS conventions. The outlier is a lecture in Honolulu, Hawaii. Here is the list of hyperlinks to the individual pages about each recording