NaturesTable.net FAQ
Updated September 19, 2015 by Sean Kutzko

Q: What is NaturesTable.net?
NaturesTable.net is a website for the Nature’s Table Archives Project. NTAP’s purpose is to collect, archive and freely distribute music recordings made at Nature’s Table, a health food restaurant and music club that existed in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois from 1979 – 1991. We are also interested in any posters or schedules from Nature’s Table, to help build our master database of all known performances held there.

NTAP and this website is run by a loosely-organized group of musicians, employees and patrons of Nature’s Table who enjoyed their time spent at the club and want to preserve memories and music from this community resource. It is not incorporated and not-for-profit.

Q: Where do the recordings come from?
Mostly from the musicians themselves. There were also a handful of non-musicians who made recordings at the Table over the years, usually for their personal enjoyment. To date, the recordings have come from the private collections of Sean Kutzko, Jeff Helgesen, Morgan Powell, Jeff Machota and Shelley Washburne Masar.

Q: Where are the digitized recordings stored?
We are uploading all digitized recordings to archive.org, one of the largest free online libraries on the planet. They are currently being stored in the “Community Audio” section of their library. Once we have 50 items in their collection, we get a special area in the Community Audio section devoted to Nature’s Table.

Read about the Internet Archive and their mission here.

Q: Can I contribute a recording I have made at Nature’s Table?
Of course! Please contact us if you have a recording you would like to share.

When making a donation of material to NTAP, please fill out this NTAP-Letter-of-Intent, which allows you to describe the material you’re donating to us.

Q: How do I share a recording with the Nature’s Table Archives Project?
You can either digitize the recording yourself, or allow us to digitize the recording for you. If you would like us to do the digitizing, we require possession of the tape you have, at least temporarily. Once the recording is digitized, you can either send a copy of the digital recording to Sean Kutzko or Jeff Machota on some form of media (CD, DVD, thumb drive, etc) or we can send you an email link to send us the recording over the internet.

A basic guide on transferring cassettes to a digital file on your computer can be found here.

Again, if you don’t want to mess with transferring your tapes, we will be happy to do it for you. Just let us know.

Q: What are your guidelines for digitizing recordings?
Since we are archiving these recordings for permanent storage on the Internet, we want them to be the best quality and as complete as possible. Therefore, we ask the following items be strictly adhered to:

1) All recordings made available to NTAP shall be digitized in the lowest-loss format possible. Lossless WAV, Apple Lossless or other lossless formats with a minimum of 16-bit/44.1kHz sampling is preferred. Please DO NOT record a cassette or CD of a Nature’s Table performance to MP3.

2) We would prefer no MP3 recordings unless that is all you have. If you have any questions about digitizing a recording, contact either Sean Kutzko or Jeff Machota.

3) All available audio from recordings should be transferred in its entirety; no editing or truncating of any recording of any kind should be permitted. If your recording has pauses between tracks where the musicians can be heard tuning or conversations can be heard among patrons, please keep that material in your recording.

4) Recordings should be separated by date of performance, no matter how long or short.

5) If transferring from a cassette, don’t worry about making separate tracks for each song; just make one big WAV file for each side of the cassette. We will take care of editing and tracking the recordings.

6) To ensure the best transfer from your tapes, please clean and demagnetize the cassette deck’s heads before transferring your tape.  If you haven’t used your tape deck in a long time, take the time to do this; it will make a BIG difference in the quality of your transfer. A complete how-to video on cleaning and demagnetizing cassette deck heads can be found on YouTube.

Q: What information do you need about a recording I contribute?
We ask for as much of the following information as possible:
– Name of Group
– Venue (if not Nature’s Table)
– Date of Performance (YYYY-MM-DD format – ex: July 8, 1987 = 1987-07-08)
– Members of Group (including guest performers, if any)
– Song List
– Person who recorded the performance
– Brand/Model of recording equipment used
– Brand/model of microphones used
– General positioning of the recording microphones
– Stereo or Mono recording
– Whether the tape provided is the “master” tape, or a copy of the master. If a copy,
info on how many generations away from the master tape the provided recording is would be useful.
– Any anecdotes or memories of that specific performance.

Q: I’m a musician on one of these recordings, and I don’t want my material to be distributed here! What do I do?
While our philosophy is to post as many recordings made at the Table as we can find, it is not our intention to offend anybody or infringe on any copyrights. If you don’t want your material listed on this site, contact us and we’ll take it down, no problem.

Q: Can I distribute these recordings?
You are welcome to share the recordings or direct others to this website. Any effort to make any money off these recordings is completely against what this project is about. Don’t be a jerk and sell any of this material.

Q: How do I listen to these recordings?
We have provided an MP3 of each recording as a convenience, which can be streamed from the recording’s home page on archive.org. These MP3s can also be downloaded to your iPod or other player. Again, we recommend MP3 for convenience only, as they are compressed versions of the original files and are not as high in sound quality as the lossless files.

Full-quality, lossless copies of the recordings are stored at archive.org in a lossless format called FLAC.

Q: What is the FLAC audio format?
FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec, an audio format similar to MP3, but lossless, meaning that audio is compressed in FLAC without any loss in quality. This is a standard way to store audio recordings without compromising the audio quality. Many media players for your computer will be able to play FLAC files, but some do not. You might need to get a plug-in for your media player to listen to FLAC files, or try a different media player.

If you want to burn the recordings to a CD and play them on a conventional CD player (like in your car or home stereo system), you will first need to convert the FLAC files to WAV files. A good program for doing this is Trader’s Little Helper. It’s free and does a great job. Another program to try is Free FLAC to WAV Decoder.  I have no personal experience with that program, but it comes recommended from CNET.

Once the files are converted from FLAC to WAV, you can burn them to CD using your favorite CD burning software.

Don’t see your question answered here? Let us know.

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