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ARSCLIST  April 2012

ARSCLIST April 2012

Subject:

Re: Recording_78rpm_records

From:

Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 10 Apr 2012 07:22:01 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (55 lines)

This is a very convoluted method to recover audio from non-RIAA records. Gary Galo has written a 
very good article about the science of grooved-media recording and playback curves here:
http://www.smartdevicesinc.com/riaa.html

Gary has also written for ARSC Journal advocating analog playback and EQ of grooved media, rather 
than "flat playback" and software EQ, and has specified the technical reasons why analog EQ works 
differently from DSP EQ.

Keep in mind that exactly what recording curves were used on almost any 78 record is not set in 
stone, and that even if a specific curve was specified, the antique equipment was generally 
non-precise by modern standards.

In any case, after many transfers of 78's (and pre-RIAA LPs), I am a strong advocate for doing as 
much in the analog realm as possible, saving the digital realm for things like file-storage, CD 
authoring and the like. Minimal but time-consuming DSP is useful, specifically in the area of tick 
and pop removal. I do all of this by hand, having found no automated software to be foolproof and 
thus time-saving. A waveform editor is a wonderful thing and ticks and pops can be near-silenced or 
completely silenced if you know what you are doing. As for background noise, I prefer to do this in 
the analog realm, tuning turnover and rolloff to ear (what makes the music sound most natural with 
the least background noise, that's my cardinal operating principle). I also apply moderate secondary 
EQ when needed. DSP is useful for removing 120hz or 60hz hum, and also very useful for removing 
low-frequency rumble (just make sure to tune it so you're not rolling off the lowest notes in your 
program content).

Despite elaborate claims by software companies, I have yet to find any "select and run" software 
that "cleans up" transfers of analog material without removing a good bit of the content. If you 
minimalize the automated stuff enough to have no musical content in the removed-audio signal (which 
you can monitor in most of this software), it's doing very little and leaves in material that needs 
to be manually removed or EQ'd out, so I prefer to just do that in the first place. BTW, I find this 
to be true also with blanket-applied hiss removal for tape transfers, by the time you use it 
conservatively enough not to remove top end, echo tails and air and space around instruments, it's 
not removing any hiss. What can help, especially with mass-duped tapes, is to not assume that they 
were recorded with a very strict adherence to the NAB curve since high-speed duplicating was an 
inexact thing back in the day. So trim the NAB high-frequency control to your ear, maintaining the 
correct balance of instruments, natural sound on the instruments and listening carefully to preserve 
reverb tails and air and space. I usually find you tame the audible hiss without losing any content, 
and you're taming it at the very frequencies where it's most annoying. I know, tuning EQ to ear is 
anathema to some, but I'm telling you the results can sound great.

One man's experiences, opinions, etc.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Chris J Brady" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 6:24 AM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Recording_78rpm_records


For those who like rescuing old 78s and even cylinders of folk music etc. from junk shops etc. and 
then digitising them there is some very useful info. here:

http://manual.audacityteam.org/man/Recording_78rpm_records

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