Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive

The first studio ever designed solely for audio preservation, containing a live end–dead end studio with two control rooms.

Founded as an audio archive in 1963 with a collection of 150,000 recordings held off-campus under the leadership of Walter L. Welch, SCRC's collection of sound recordings and related items has grown to over 500,000 items. The collection includes formats from the earliest experimental recordings on tinfoil to modern digital media.

The Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive maintains equipment capable of playing back all these formats, and staff perform preservation, digitization and delicate restoration work on deteriorating recordings.

SCRC Collections of Recorded Sound

Music genres represented include classical, jazz, popular, film, marches and patriotic, novelty, folk, country, ethnic and experimental. The late 19th century and early 20th are well represented. The SCRC collection also contains recordings of political leaders, poets, philosophers and famous actors, as well as early radio broadcasts and unreleased discs from major recording companies. Famous voices of non-musical recordings include Thomas Edison, Amelia Earhart, Albert Einstein, Margaret Bourke-White, Norman Corwin, Long John Nebel, Richard Neutra, Miklós Rósza, Albert Schweitzer, Benjamin Spock, Mike Wallace and Franz Waxman.

The Belfer Cylinders Digital Collection of cylinder records is one of the largest held by any private institution in North America. Learn more about SCRC's holdings of Recorded Sound and Music.

Recording Studio

The Belfer Laboratory has a Live End/Dead End recording studio and control rooms designed by Chips Davis, nationally recognized acoustic expert and recording studio designer. One control room is furnished entirely with digital equipment by Syracuse University's Setnor School of Music. It is used as a teaching laboratory for students in the Music Industry program, where they learn the principles and processes of contemporary studio recording.


The Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive has an active instruction program utilizing sound recordings, sound playback equipment and other material from its collections.

Listening Session Request

Although Belfer materials do not circulate, they may be heard in the Special Collections Reading Room on the 6th floor of Bird Library, by appointment. Streaming access to selected Belfer recordings is available online or in the SCRC Reading Room, as rights permit.


This space is not open to the public. To request access, contact

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