I've enjoyed the discussion on declicking soundfiles of digitized
vinyl and/or shellac. One technique I think that may have gone
unmentioned is the 'Copy Other Channel' tool, available in Sound
Forge. I've been pleasantly surprised at how often a loud click in
one channel has an undamaged near-twin in the opposite channel. Of
course this is more useful when the original was a monaural
recording, but it has become one of my reasons for making stereo
transfers of mono records--there's bound to be plenty of cases where
I can borrow undamaged or nearly undamaged signal from the other
Once a click has been zoomed in on and found to be a good candidate
(less damaged or click-free audio in one of the two channels), one
highlights the click in whichever channel it appears. Then click on
the Copy Other Channel button.
The other nice option is to use the pencil tool to redraw the damaged
area, using the click-free channel as a model.
Now as to reassembling broken 78s, I've used crazy glue with some
success. (It's always best to use less of this glue rather than more.
Less crazy glue will spare you a lot of mess, and will set much
faster.) But I much prefer using 2-inch wide clear packaging tape to
put broken 78s back together (long enough to capture their audio).
The basic recipe:
* arrange the pieces of the record on a very flat surface, such as a
sheet of plate glass
* hold them together real snug with one hand (a helper may be useful)
* position and apply tape with the other hand, so that the break has
a good area of tape all around it
* still holding the pieces tight, press the tape down completely
If the above steps have been done accurately, the opposite side of
the record may now be playable. Capture it's audio a.s.a.p. If there
are passages where the tonearm sticks in a groove or jumps ahead (and
if you have a steady hand) you may be able to use a bird's flight
feather (or something gently springy) to restrain the tonearm, or to
urge it along.
Once the audio from this side has been transferred, move your patient
back to the plate glass. Try taping up the side just captured
_before_ removing the tape from the first procedure. On a good day,
the alignment that worked well for side 1 will also be okay for side
I've never had the slightest problem with stickum from the tape
remaining on the surfaces of any record. I normally use Scotch 3M
clear Packing Tape, but have had no problem with off-brands either.
Certainly, remove all tape sooner than later, assuming the record
isn't going into the trash (make back-up copies first).
Where the process can get tricky is that record pieces don't always
fit back together as closely as we need them too. Keep a loupe on
hand, to check whether the groove-ends are aligning properly where
edges are butted together. If you can't seem to get them to align no
matter how tightly you hold the pieces together, a very little bit of
strategic filing of the raw edges (using an emery board or similar)
can make all the difference.
I recommend this technique highly, because I've used it to digitize
records that were broken in as many as five pieces.
Microgroove recordings are not entirely beyond hope. The first time I
ever reassembled a broken record (temporarily, but long enough) was
such a case. Crazy glue was used, rather than tape.
I put before/after sound files up on my creaky old website, way back
around the turn of the century. If earthlink hasn't gotten too tired
of my being slow with payments, you may be able to hear these files
If the link doesn't work for any reason, interested readers are
encouraged to send me a shout. I can email the files to you off-list.
I hope the above suggestions enable the salvaging of some deserving audio.
44 Larry Lane
Oakland, CA 94611
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