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Cups ‘N Strings Appoints Archivist Marie O’Connell

Pictured at Cups ‘N Strings are archivist Marie O’Connell and owner/chief engineer Bruce Maddocks. Photo by David Goggin.

Bruce Maddocks, owner and chief engineer of Cups ‘N Strings Studios in Santa Monica, Calif., has appointed Marie O’Connell as its Chief Audio Archivist. “We have been developing and expanding our archival division since we opened in 2002,” explained Maddocks. “With Marie heading the department we now have one of the very best analog restoration and preservation facilities available today.”

O’Connell has specialized in audio restoration and archiving since 1994, when she supervised preservation of the 20,000-piece Open Reel Tape (ORT) collection housed at Sound Archives/Nga Taongu Korero in her native New Zealand. She also designed and built the University of Southern Mississippi’s McCain Library Studios and was responsible for the preservation of the entire “Civil Rights Era in Mississippi” audio collection.

Cups ‘N Strings features multiple rooms for baking analog tape and for archival restoration, and is capable of transferring all audio formats onto digital storage. The collection of analog playback machines includes all professionally supported playback formats, including rare multichannel head stacks and numerous obscure “pro-sumer” formats.

O’Connell invented the Isopropyl Drip Machine, an automatic system for treating, cleaning and lubricating analog recording tape afflicted with “sticky shed” of the binders used to glue magnetic tape particles to the plastic base material. The sticky shed syndrome dates back to the ’70s when most analog tape manufacturers made an imprudent decision to change the binder’s formula. The new formulation eventually attracted moisture, enough to make the tape go “sticky.”

Recent projects at Cups ‘N Strings include archiving audio from several TV series from the ’80s and ’90s; selections from the Steely Dan, REM and Nirvana catalogs; various Hawaiian recordings from the ’60s through the ’90s for the Mountain Apple Company; and catalog recordings of Ray Parker, Jr. (“Ghostbusters”), Cheryl Lynn (“Got To Be Real”) and Steven Greenberg (“Funkytown”).

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