Shipping Media to us
We strongly suggest you ship via UPS or FedEx... DO NOT use the US Postal Service if at all possible... Confirmation of delivery to the USPS only means it was delivered somewhere and not necessarily to the correct address. On average, twice each week, we receive someone's mail. It's not uncommon for packages addressed here to be delivered to our neighbors or somewhere else in town... With their poor tracking, we strongly suggest you do not ship us anything to us via the US Postal Service... With UPS or FedEx, there is never a problem... Course, that's why they even exist in the first place !
Return shipping is only via UPS or sometimes USPS Priority Mail in the case of some International shipments...... Note that we often re-use shipping boxes if they are sturdy enough to be re-used again... This has nothing to do with "being cheap", but my philosophy is why kill a tree for nothing ? Unless you specify otherwise, we re-use shipping boxes when appropriate.
First Step: Label your Media !
Label all your media with your last name, not just the cases, but also the media itself. Unlabeled tapes are too easy to get mixed up with someone else's or separated. If order is important, then also number them, as that will then be the sequence we will use in making the transfers. A grease pencil usually works fine for this and is easily removed later if so desired.
You are responsible for sending us the correct tapes for transfer. If you do not know what is on them, then don't expect us to know either until we make the transfer.
(We're good at what we do.... just not clairvoyant !) We do however offer screening services at additional cost to screen the tapes first for content. Unless screening is requested, we transfer all that is recoverable without regard to content - other than spot checking for copyright infringement.
In cases where you have no idea of what is on your media, we offer screening services for most formats to identify rough content before proceeding with the transfer. Tape Screening is not a detailed rundown of every exciting minute, but rather is a general screening of the tape for content , sampled approximately every 10 minutes of tape. We then call you with a general description of the content. In some cases, tape baking charges apply in addition to screening, since we often have to clean and bake the tapes first to even get them to play. Screening and associated baking charges apply whether or not you desire the final transfer, since we have already at that point performed much of the time consuming tape preparation work. Labor to screen and email results is in addition to the standard transfer costs if you decide you do want the material. Costs for screening and baking if applicable must be pre-paid in advance.
Domestic Shipments are returned via UPS. Alternately we ship via the USPS Priority Mail upon request. We DO NOT ship via any other carrier including Federal Express, even although you may have a FedEx account number to bill against . Neither do we ship to Post Office Boxes. In all cases, a $6.00 handling fee applies to all return shipping except for fragile records which incur a $12 handling charge.
Shipments are insured though UPS for up to $100. Please advise if you desire additional coverage. Actual coverage provided is per their published insurance tariffs.
Visit or contact UPS www.ups.com for more information on their insurance tariffs and coverage.
We ship via the USPS ONLY for APO/FPO addresses, in the case of some International shipments or other times we deem it more appropriate.
Note: USPS in many cases, has a $200 maximum limit
on insurance coverage. In the case of International shipments, USPS insurance
is ONLY in effect while the package is still in the United States. Once the package has left US shores and outside the immediate jurisdiction of the USPS,
there is no insurance coverage.
How to Pack Records for Shipping
Shipping your precious recording is the first critical step.
A penetrating glimpse of the obvious perhaps, but all is for naught if the record is destroyed in shipping.
Before proceeding further, please note that some Early vintage recordings made on glass substrates are EXTREMELY fragile and do not take kindly sometimes to even normal handling - even if properly packaged. In the course of normal handling by any of the carriers, packages will often be tossed onto conveyor belts at the hubs where they "bump and bang" their way thru the automated sorting process. In light of this, we generally recommend glass recordings be hand carried to a local firm for transfer if at all possible For all others which account for the vast majority of vintage records, following these simple guidelines will offer ample protection for all normal shipping/handling conditions the package should likely encounter in it's transit
* * * * * * *
Shipping companies conjure up images of the gorilla in the old Samsonite® luggage commercial that are perhaps not all that far off base. Follow these simple guidelines and it will not be a problem - even if your record encounters an occasional "Gorilla".
First of all, DO NOT use
any clinging plastic such as Saran Wrap ®
as it clings to everything - including the recording surface which can delaminate it from the record substrate when removed.
Even if you read no further, be sure to Double Box and "Sandwich" !
Whether you pack it yourself or have it professionally done, make certain it is double boxed and sandwiched between two STIFF pieces of flat material. Tis' better to have a dented outer box, than to have a broken inner record.
Even so, many of the carriers have no idea how to properly package records for shipping. It is suggested you print this page for their reference.
You may want to consider a professional shipping outlet. There are thousands of them scattered across the U.S. and a quick look in the phone book will most likely reveal several. Considering the time you'll save, the rates are quite reasonable and you'll end up with a professional packaging job.
Pack it Yourself - Here's How
The Double Box/Sandwich Method
Protect records from moisture, dust and cardboard/filler debris by wrapping them first in plastic unless they are already in protective sleeves. A soft plastic as that from a dry cleaners will do nicely, as they will not scratch the recordings.
Cut 2 pieces of some heavy corrugated cardboard 2" wider or so than the record on all sides and sandwich the record(s) in between them, taping the two halves together. When shipping multiple records, then wrap each one in thin plastic if there is no sleeve. The thin soft plastic will keep the two from chafing against one another. "Saran Wrap" or equivalent also works great for this purpose
If a record is warped, the "sandwiching" procedure noted above, is slightly different. Warped records when sandwiched between 2 stiff pieces of material result in stress points at the high points. Thus in the case of warped records, one must loosely wrap the record in 3 layers of LOOSELY packed bubble wrap. Like an air mattress, this will disperse the load and alleviate any stress points.
Add filler to the bottom and sides of the first box. Bubble wrap works best, as it's free of dust and contaminants.
Place the records in the first box . Note: If the records were sandwiched between 2 pieces of HEAVY Corrugated cardboard, then there is need for only one box.
Use additional filler to make sure that the records will stay stacked and will not shift in transit. It's imperative they do not shift !
Close and tape the first box... Place this box in a second, larger box sufficiently large enough to allow at least 2" of filler on all sides. Even old crumpled up newspapers will work for this, though bubble wrap or packing peanuts will be even better.
Some records are far more fragile than others.... Fiber based Recordio's or aluminum Speak-O-Phone discs are nearly indestructible, as they will flex without causing any damage.
On the other side of the spectrum, glass substrate records are the most fragile by far. GREAT CARE must be observed in the packaging of glass records. There must be no "lumps" or stress points created by the packaging. No matter how well glass substrate records are packaged, any drop onto a hard surface can result in disaster. For glass composition substrate recordings, it is strongly suggested they be individually "sandwiched" and then placed in TWO boxes. Glass simply doesn't flex or "bounce well".....
Make sure to USE filler on all sides including top and bottom in such a way that the inner box does not directly touch the outer box
Label on all sides of the package: FRAGILE - HANDLE WITH CARE (The reality is, that no one will ever bother to read it or comply, as they'll bounce and bang their way down the automated conveyor belts no matter how they are labeled..... But it'll at least make you feel a lot better about it)
Enclose an itemized list of the recordings, your FULL return address, Phone #, e-mail and instructions as to target format, labeling etc.
This method will protect your recordings from all normal shocks and punctures - even an occasional encounter with a "Gorilla"
Though not fragile, first check to make certain the wire is tightly wrapped on the spool. Because loosely wrapped wire is prone to snarl and break, we do not accept loose wires for transfer. When pushing on the wire with your "pinky" finger, the wire should feel "hard as a rock" and not "spongy" which implies it was properly packed the last time it was rewound.
Next identify the end of the wire. Most will have a plastic leader or heavy thread. If not, tie a piece of thread to the end or scotch tape the end to the reel. Sometimes it's a real challenge to id the wire end.
Next take a rubber band and wrap around the wire to keep it from un-spooling during shipment - even if in their original containers.
Next, mark the reels with numbers. The reels will be transferred in that sequence. Un-numbered reels will be transferred in random fashion or by our choice.
Be sure to pack them in a sturdy corrugated box using sufficient packing material to insure the reels will not shift during shipment. Finally, seal well with packing tape. DO NOT use flimsy cardboard mailers, as the reels have some mass to them and can easily break out through light duty packaging.
Since we have daily UPS pickup here, UPS is the preferred carrier but FedEx & DHL are also reliable choices - 2nd and 3rd day air is reasonable for time sensitive media.
UPS picks up and delivers almost anywhere - and most areas of the country have a UPS Store close by..... Excellent tracking, and the only carrier we use for return shipping.
Both UPS & FedEx have excellent on-line tracking and so far none has ever "lost" or damaged a package. We highly recommend either.
NOT Recommended Carriers
The US Postal Service
Our experience with the USPS has been something less than stellar. Reasonably adept at delivering printed material & envelopes (read: anything that resembles a bill or junk mail), they have only a mediocre record of safely handling packages containing fragile recordings. USPS tracking services also pale in comparison to those of UPS and Fed-X for example. Of course, that's the reason why UPS & Fed-X even exist in the first place !
Last modified: Oct 19, 2009
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Northeast Region - New England