One man's experiences ...
The best way to maximize signal-to-noise ratio on playback of old grooved disks is first of all find
the best example of the disk in question, then clean it thoroughly. Then play it back with the right
EQ curve on the preamp, starting with whatever is documented for that label/studio and era and then
confirming or changing that based on your own careful listening through a good playback system.
With old 78-era disks, there is no magic machine. Some of them just sound like crap. Some were
recorded just plain badly, under conditions that wouldn't yield a good recording. And some were
pressed on junk material, or had noise added from primative or faulty plating and pressing, etc.
There's no hard and fast rule. I have some acoustic-era disks that sound amazing given their age
(frequency-constrained and somewhat noisy but the instruments sound like what they are and not tinny
cartoons), and others that don't sound like music. And there are some electric-era disks that sound
crappy, too, but it's less common as time goes on, especially for recordings made in the major
studios (location recordings were catch as catch can, some excellent and some terrible). None of
this is that much different from any other era, by the way, the majority of recordings are average
to unappealing and the rare ones are what jump out of the speakers and involve you.
Joe Salerno is correct in that modern digital tools can do a better job of repairing pops and even
some groove distortions (my experience is, the most effective tool is the pencil tool and lots of
human time invested to correct things, but there are some automated processes that can be helpful if
used with full human hearing engaged). The old analog "noise reduction" tools are worse versions of
the same life-sucking EQ tricks that over-used computer tools sound like. Usually, it's best to just
ignore the noise and enjoy the music. You can do some experimenting with low-pass and high-pass
filtering, it can help. But with 78's, proper turnover and rolloff help more than anything else.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jan Myren" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 12:59 PM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Esoteric and Rekokut vintage sound restoration modules
Have anybody had any experience with the various sound restoration modules from KEK-O-Kut and
Esoteric on playback of 78 rpm records?
I think about the surface noise reducer and the de-hisser units, also the RE-Equalizer...